Dec 18, 2009

Discovering the Art of Trust

Tonight I learn to trust.

I am on the brink of a decision…a decision that I cannot make. I have done all I can – all that is humanly possible I believe. Now I just sit and wait to see what tomorrow brings forth and what will await me in the outcome.

Some days it is hard to trust. It is easy to wonder if I have missed something and that is what is causing the delay. Was there some command of Christ’s that I have mislaid? Is there some duty I have failed to perform? Is there a sin I have not dealt with? Am I in the wrong place?

So I turn to my Bible to find the answer. I enter a cocoon of discovery to find what I am lacking.

Trust in the Hebrew means “to flee for protection; to confide in; have hope in; make refuge (Psalm 5:11) to be confident or sure; secure (Psalm 25:2, Psalm 9:10).
In the Greek it is “to expect or confide”.

So I wonder. Is my firm confidence and expectation in the Lord? It is a good question…but I don’t know that I have found the Word of the Lord for today yet. So I continue my search.

My need is for provision so, like normal, I find myself turning to Matthew 6 to read about the Lord’s great and trustworthy provision…and to find out what I am lacking.

Ah, the Lord takes care of the birds. They don’t toil or spin or store in barns for tomorrow – yet the Lord takes care of them day by day. The lilies too. What purpose does a lily serve? Nothing useful, surely, yet a lily does exactly what it was designed to do. A lily is a lily according to the Creator’s design and the Creator is careful to clothe the lily in splendor the same as the raspberry or any other more useful thing. Is a bird lazy to not think about tomorrow and fret if the food for the winter is stored up? No! Of course not! A bird has its job to do (purposeless though it may look compared to my own) and in doing its job it is not neglected by the Lord.

Here am I, setting out to do what I believe the Lord has designed me to do and I am fretting because the barns aren’t yet full for winter. Me! The one who has never gone hungry – the individual who has never lacked any necessity – the one who has seen the Lord move time and again just in the perfect time, the perfect way, and with the perfect results. And I am fretting?!?!
It’s true in verse 30 where it calls my faith so little. That word literally means “lacking confidence”. Not being absolutely confident in the ability and willingness of my Father to take care of me constitutes faithlessness. A faithless person’s destiny is grim indeed and my anxiety places me on the level of one tottering on the brink of hell. Why? Because faithlessness denies the nature, attributes, even the very existence of God!
Ouch! Tis time I spare not a moment in becoming very confident in the character of my God!

After a great deal of time spent in repentant tears and joyful praise I finish reading Matthew 6. I stumble upon this gem of wisdom…

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Seek – the picture here is quite interesting. It is the image of an assassin seeking revenge on his foe. It is pursuit. It is singular purpose, focus, vision; unflinching determination. It is not resting until it has acquired what it was after.

First – means first in time, first in place, first in order, first in importance. It means at the beginning, chiefly, before anything else, with no hesitation.

Seek first what? Seek the kingdom of God. This includes the rule and reign of the kingdom of God.

What is kingdom rule?
• Righteousness
• Peace
• Joy

Righteousness is justification or right relationship with God due to a correct dealing with sin.
Peace is quietness or a “sense of God’s mercy. Peace regulating, ruling and harmonizing the heart.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
Joy, last but not least, is a cheerfulness or calm delight (not noisy pandemoneous giddiness). But rather “happiness brought into the soul by the Holy Spirit and maintained there by the same influence.” (Clarke)

In other words, I am to pursue above all and before all “righteousness, without mixture of sin; peace, without strife or contention; joy, in the Holy Ghost, spiritual joy, without mixture of misery!” (Clarke)

How releasing! What wondrous things to pursue! And it is so much better than pursuing a paycheck or an answer from an employer.
Not only do I get to pursue the treasures that will bring delight and refreshing to my heart, but there is a promise that as I pursue them all that I need will be added. Mercy, justification, peace, joy AND provision. This sounds to me like a beautiful life!

Dec 1, 2009

Think About What You Think About

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are [honest], whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
-Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)


True thoughts are not just fact-based, but rooted in the Word of God. This looks like thoughts that consider the full counsel of God.

Anxiety and worry are not truth because they deny the power of God.
Matthew 6:25-32 "…And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs."

Unthankfulness is not truth, because it denies the acts of God in times past.
Again, if I refuse to be thankful for what God has done or forget who He is; if I dwell only on the deception the enemy brings (“has God said…?”) my mind will become futile as I forget the works of God and it will lead to a darkened heart full of every evil thing.
Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile (vain, idolatrous, foolish) in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Discouragement is not truth because it denies who I am in Christ.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”


Just = innocent or holy, righteous
Pure = untainted or sincere

  • Are my thoughts uncontaminated with worldly ideas or philosophies or am I tainted with the ideas of the world?
  • Do my thoughts pull always towards my own desires or are they unbiased and willing to consider others?
  • Do I maintain the same degree of holiness in my thoughts as I do in how I represent myself to others?
  • Is there a mixture of sin in my thinking or is it becoming of one who calls themselves by Christ’s name?
  • If my thoughts were acted upon would it be sin?
Psalm 106:3 “Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times!”


  • If my thoughts were to be displayed would they render me beloved by anyone who saw them? Or better question, will my thoughts endear me to the heart of God…are they worthy of His beloved?
  • Do they give a good report of myself and of others? Does it give a right report of the working of God in my life? Does it allow grace for the work of God in the lives of others?
  • Do I have Joshua and Caleb thoughts, or do they more often tend to look more like the report of the 10 other spies? A good report does not mean unrealistic or covering over what should be taken into account, however a good report is always full of faith and believing that through Christ nothing is impossible. A lovely and good report always places expectations on the promises of God as being more important and weighty than “reality”. In fact, the promises of God are the only reality of a good report because they rely on the eternal faithfulness of God.
A good report does not ask God where He was, but it stands expectantly waiting to see the glory of God revealed yet again. (see John 11)

A good report understands the resurrection power of the love of God for myself and for others.


Virtuous thoughts are those that would not do damage to my reputation if others knew what I was thinking.
As Christians we are to be an example and a pattern for the rest of the world to follow…even in our thoughts. If my thoughts are not worthy of commendation or can’t be proclaimed from the rooftops then I should not be thinking them!

1 Timothy 4:12-15 "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all."


What weight do I give my thoughts? Do I view what I think about as important in the long term? Do I realize I will give account for my thoughts?
In the Gospels we see over and over again that Jesus knew the thoughts of those around Him; the thoughts of those people were always a representation of their character.

Matthew 9:4 "But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, 'Why do you think evil in your hearts?'"

My thoughts indicate my character and determine my actions…which will in turn determine my destiny.

What I think about IS important!

Nov 25, 2009


Once You gave me a treasure

I held it tight

I gave it my heart

I made it my life

There in my clutches

My treasure was me

It was all consuming

It was my soul, my destiny

You came and asked for my treasure

And I closed my hand

I rebelled against Your right

To return and demand

“These things are mine,” I said

“You gave them, You recall

This just isn’t fair

You must not love me at all.”

Held onto so fiercely

My treasures all shattered

My cold heart broke with them

My hopes quickly scattered

And because my identity

Was so tied to these

I was left with nothing at all

Not even my dreams

“My treasure has failed me,

I have nothing!” I cried.

You said, “I didn’t bring you this far

To leave you behind.”

That was the day of my turning

In my mind was a shift

I began to pursue the Giver

Not just His gift

So I ran with new fire

That day and after

You healed my heart

Restored love and new laughter

Joy in the journey

And fresh treasure beside

This was turning out to be one wonderful ride

Then You whispered once more

“Give Me all of Your treasures”

And these fists once clenched

Now hands opened in surrender

All that I own, I offer

My love, my hope, my life

Because I've learned when You take

You give it back multiplied

Nov 5, 2009

Four Kinds of Christians...Which Are You?

The Bible likens the local church to a body - a body of which Christ is the head and we, the Christians, are all members.
The beauty of any body is the perfect connectivity every member has with each other through a common blood and the way each member functions at the direction of the head.  In the same way the Body of Christ is united through the Blood of Jesus, by which we have been made holy and able to enter into correct fellowship.  Each Christian is connected to other members and moves as commanded by the Head...or at least they should...

I was thinking this afternoon about the many different types of people I have met in churches over the years. The good, the bad, and the ugly are out in force in any given congregation. Some churches seems to attract more of the good, some more the bad and ugly.

I created analogies for some of the different types I have observed:

The Clothing Christians:
These are the people who look like they are connected but aren’t. They are like the clothes on your back – they look like they belong with the body, but aren’t a true member. These are the pew fillers, the event stuffers, the adornment that make the church look good and big…but they are never truly connected. They can get old, worn out, full of holes. They have no ability to reproduce themselves. They do neither harm nor good and when they are leave, it’s like changing outfits, no one really notices and the Body remains unaffected.

The Cancer Christians:
These are the life suckers of the Church. They are created, not through proper body development, but are the result of a problem or issue. These are the wolves among the sheep. They can be nearly undetectable until they are too big to get rid of easily…and usually when they go they take the members they have poisoned with them. They are a growth on the Body, but refuse to be controlled by the Head or the immune system.

The Creepy Christians:
I tried to find an analogy for someone who was connected to the head but not the Body and discovered something interesting…it can’t be done! To be truly, vitally connected to the Head, one has to be a part of the Body. The Head and the Body go together…always. You cannot find one without the other, unless it be the a grave or the scene of a horrible crime. It is creepy and morbid to try to place a head on anything but a body and the head refuses to send brain waves to any other object except the body.
Bill Scheidler says, “The only way [a part] can properly function is to be rightly related to the whole” ("The New Testament Church and it's Ministries" page 63). Only creepy “Christians” (imposters!) will attempt to connect the head to themselves without the rest of the Body. God has specially designed His Body in such a way that no one can be in relationship to Him without becoming part of what He loves the most – the Church. He refuses them any notice, time, or life sustenance.

The Connected Christians:
These are the kind of people that I want to be, strive to be, and choose to be like. Correctly connected, in perfect function, to both the head and the other members, they complete the beauty of the Body. These people know their place, love their place and listen to the Head. They are covered with the same immune system, feel by the same nervous system, and are of one mind with everyone else – because they are of Christ’s mind! They are alive and reproducing, and to sever them from the Body would result in the same disablement and pain as amputating a limb. They are Body builders!

Which kind are you?

Oct 17, 2009

Caleb - Mouthpiece of Faith

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30)

Caleb was born a slave.
All he knew in his first 39 years was a life of subjection and obedience to whatever he was told. He was not allowed to form opinions, or follow his own beliefs; rather he must be at all times submitted to the ideas and pressure of his masters. There was no opportunity to live as he thought best.
All his life he was considered the lowest of the low. Life was painful, life was void of dreams, life was defeat. His very identity was to be whatever he was told he was.

But somehow in the body of a slave beat the heart of a hero. Somehow, in the middle of the mud and sand and searing heat of Goshen God was forming a man who would never, ever be swayed by popular opinion – or even by ‘rational’ opinion if that opinion denied the power of Jehovah. He would be a man that would never live in a slave mentality, but he would rise in faith above circumstance and situation and possess ALL that had been promised him.

Caleb was present on the glorious day when God freed the Children of Israel and they marched triumphantly out of Egypt. He was one of those hundreds caught between the Red Sea and the army of Pharaoh. Both times he saw God deliver His people while shaming His enemies.

The real story starts, though when Caleb was one of twelve chosen to spy out the Promise Land. When they all returned from their reconnaissance mission, they gave a factual report. It was a fruitful land, there were broad rivers and lush meadows and high mountains, there were flocks and herds and pasture land as far as the eye could see, there was room for all of them. AND there were fierce warring tribes, and broad walled cities that could withstand the mightiest of armies. There were incredible giants that ruled the land.

All twelve faithfully reported what they had seen. Ten, though, left their greatest asset out of the picture. Ten looked at themselves and their weakness and suddenly they were whiny, weak, cowering excuses for men. Ten were like grasshoppers in their own sight. Ten had never left the slave mentality. Only two believed differently.
Ten were correct when they said that they could never overcome those giants. You see, they had already, by the doubt they fostered, been stripped of the power of God. They were truly left like bugs before their enemies. They were weak, they were ineffective, and it was no one's fault but their own. The result of a doubt and a slave mindset is this: You are exactly what you say you are.

Joshua and Caleb, saw things differently. Yes, they knew they were weak in the eyes of their enemies and that, on their own, they had no hope of ever reaching the promised inheritance. Unlike the others they remembered that they couldn’t have made it out of Egypt, either, without Jehovah providing the way. They remembered their own futility at the Red Sea, and they remembered God's great deliverance through the Red Sea. Yahweh was the only reason they had made it this far.  They counted their God into the equation and the sum was greater than any enemy.

Caleb stood before the entire crowd of terrified people and – despite the popular opinion – boldly announced that they should "go at once" into the land and take it because they could "certainly conquer it". Here was a man who was slave no more and he didn’t intend to return to Egypt’s mindset.

Now, the rest of the story we know. The people complained, God got tired of the unbelief so He let gave them exactly what they wanted. He didn’t make them go into the land of giants and milk and honey.
Instead they wandered in the desert for 40 years until all the men who had spoken in doubt – all the slaves - were dead. Then God let an entire new generation of Israelites claim the promise – and Caleb and Joshua lead them.

Forty long years in sun and sand - a wandering punishment for others' complaining - still did not daunt Caleb. When the Promise Land was finally taken, he was offered his choice of land. And what was his choice? "Give me the mountain with the giants on it, though I am 80, my strength is still as a young man's." This one time slave was a victor through and through. Oh. Did I mention? He conquered those giants, too.

What things have you been a slave to all your life? What opinions or views of yourself have bound you?
The God has set you free from your old identity and you will never have to be a slave again. Your peers can’t make you view yourself as a failure when you know your God.
In Daniel 11 it says “Those who know their God will be strong and do great exploits.”
A realistic view of ourselves in ONLY achievable when we have a proper view of God and what He has said.

Slave mentality will kill the promise of God in your life…
but Faith makes mountains removeable and giants defeatable.

Oct 3, 2009

Invincible Humility

We all hear the term. We all know what it is. We can all spot a person who is not functioning in it. Yet none of us would consider ourselves and expert at humility. Why? Because it is uncommon in the human nature.
In order for humility to truly be understood it must be practiced because it is totally contrary to natural human thinking.

1. Humility is not weakness.
    It is controlled strength. The strongest man in the world is the one who can rule himself.
2. Humility is not a personality trait.
    It is a character trait. No personality finds humility easier to practice than others. Any personality will be improved by humility and degraded by pride.
3. Humility is not lack of identity.
    It is the identity of Christ within us, and flowing out of us!
4. Humility is not just the absence of pride.
    It is a quality of itself that must be applied! It is far from passive or neutral; it is active and must be put on in place of pride.

7 Indisputable Facts About the Invincibility of Humility:
1. It cannot be swayed by opinion because it does not fear opinion nor care about contempt.
2. Has no enemies - save for one and that one is already conquered.
3. Cannot die because it is impossible to kill a corpse.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." -Galatians 2:20
4. Has nothing to fear because it has nothing to hide.
5. Has clear battle lines. Humility will never be found in Satan's camp and pride will never be found in God's.
6. Always has more grace available, while pride runs grace dry.
"Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.'" – 1 Peter 5:5
7. Cannot be conquered - it has already conquered itself and won. The definition of conquer is to bring under, to subdue. I dare you to conquer that which is already conquered or to subdue that which has already subdued itself.

Humility wins in the end.

One last thought...humility is the root of every virtue.
It goes hand-in-hand with trust. Love must be mixed with humility so that it can be true love without hypocrisy, "esteeming others as better than itself".
Patience must have humility, because humility has no agenda and places no demands on others.
Servanthood MUST have humility to function. Humility makes itself the slave of all.
Forgiveness ALWAYS has humility involved because humility remembers where it came from and holds no one to a higher standard than itself.

Sep 7, 2009

One Way

What is your portion?

The Lord asked me this about a year ago for the first time and it has echoed in my memory every since.

What is your portion?
What are you satisfied with?
What is sufficient to meet your every need?
Who is your life source?
Is it Jesus?
Is He the your only way?

As Christians I think we understand that our first approach to God can only be through Jesus, but what about after that? As we come before God again and again, how do we approach? Do I come through the blood of Christ, or do attempt to approach based merely on the fact that I've been there before?

Let me present an illustration:
I am a citizen of the United States. As such I have a passport proves that I am who I say I am. Say I go to Greece on a vacation, but when I try to reenter the US I have lost my passport. I come up to the border with my suitcases full of mementos to bring back to my family and friends, but the guards won’t let me in…I have no passport……I can argue that I have been there before. I can show them that I speak like an American, that I have the clothes of an American, that I have family that is American. I can try everything I know, but only ONE document will let me into the United States no matter how many times I’ve come and gone.

It is the same with God.

In 2 Timothy 2:19 the Bible says that the Lord knows those who are His.
Ephesians 2:13-14 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the BLOOD OF CHRIST. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

What opens up the border between where I am, and where I belong? My spiritual passport..the blood of Jesus

How do you approach the Throne of God as a Christian? Often we come before the Throne of God and bring before us our works, our ministry, our triumphs, our steadfastness…all like gifts on a platter to appease and delight the King? To which the King says, “Those are beautiful gifts, but who are you who brings them? I cannot accept or even look at a gift from one I do not know!”
But there are those who approach with head bowed and empty hands lifted – empty, that is, save for the stain of the blood of Jesus on them. To those who do that, the King says, “Ah, I recognize that mark, that stain is familiar. You are the one that was guilty and is now saved. YOU are one of those that my Son rescued. I recognize you. Come, what do you have to show Me?” And then you pull out your treasure trove of gifts to present to Him.

Heb 10:19, 22 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

The blood of Jesus is our passport into the Presence of God. There is no other way that we can belong there. It removes all suspicion and vulnerability to the judgement of God. When we have the blood of Jesus over us it is our confidence that we are where we belong.

When I ask, what is your portion, the question is What are you relying on to bring you close to God and what do you rely on to supply the grace that you need today? To be the only thing that you need. Are you trying to enter the hard way, with hands full of gifts from a foreign country? Or do you have the identifying symbol of one who belongs? Have you been washed clean and transformed by the Blood of Jesus?

Aug 14, 2009

The Answer = You

“The Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. So the LORD handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.” (Judges 6:1-6)

If this story happened in modern times it would, perhaps, look like this...

A culture plagued with problems like materialism, entertainment, immorality, teen pregnancy, murder, injustice in government systems, lost generations of young people…
It would look like a church that forgot the power they possessed, and so became oppressed by society and had their freedoms taken one-by-one…

Sound familiar?
Yes, because it is where we live.

I personally have seen too much of the American church living in oppression, and going into hiding.
Oh, it did not start in my generation. No it started long ago. We did once live in a godly nation, but slowly the enemy began to creep into our culture.
First, he took the entertainment – and the church withdrew.
Then he grabbed music industry too – and the church acted as if nothing happened.
He took over our businesses – and the church lost the fathers, so the mothers took over.
He stole into our families and homes – and the church gave him the spare room.
Then he began to steal our youth – and the church labeled them as needing to find themselves, so we left them to themselves.
Then he crept into our education system – and the church bought into the lies.
He broke our marriages – and the church acquiesced because it was “easier that way”.
He began to kill the unborn – and we turned our faces away. Yes, we made an outcry, but it was too faint and too late.
He set out to ruin the definition of marriage – and the church shrugged its shoulders and said “What is this world coming to?”

He took over the world and we shook our heads in pity and did nothing.
So, when he came knocking on the door of the Church we shrunk back in fear and let him in to plunder what he would.

Now we hear of legislation that puts a gag in the mouth of the church, and the church gets mad…for a moment…then we are lulled back into passivity out of fear.

Yes, some radicals run to the hills to become weird activists, scared of every bump in the night. They have bunkers, pantries stocked with beans and ammo. They hide their children away from the prying eyes of “the government”, and cry wolf every time a “liberal” opens their mouth…but they don’t really DO anything.
Most of us, though, hide in plain view in our well manicured subdivisions, keeping to ourselves because we are afraid to be the only one to speak out…or perhaps we have just forgotten what we were called to.

We’ve become reactionaries. We were called to be people of action.
We struggle on the best we can. We were called to thrive in our promised land.
We thresh our wheat in a winepress. We were called to be a city set on a hill, not hidden.

I know we have all been disturbed by the state of things in our nation. We have prayed, we have cried to the Lord.
What is the answer?

“Then the Angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!" "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites." Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!" (Judges 6:11-14)

Here is the answer.

The first thing Gideon did was start pouring out his complaint to the Lord and his frustration at all that was happening. He asked for a solution, someone strong to come and save them.

The Lord’s answer was simple. He didn’t answer by raising up someone else, he responded by sending Gideon.
“You see the problem, you go take of it. You are tired of your lack of freedom? YOU go be the deliverer.”
This passion that you feel because your inheritance has been stolen is the might that will propel you forward. The hand of the Lord works through you…you are His weapon of choice.

God did it with Gideon, with Moses, with Esther…what would have happened if Martin Luther had waited for another person to stand up?

YOU are the answer to the problems of your culture! If you see a problem, it is your call to go and take care of it. Don’t wait for someone else, don’t look at another person to volunteer.
Don’t wait for some deliverer to rise up from another quarter. Yes, the Lord may raise someone up, but will your generation die in the meantime?

If you are sick of a corrupt political system, get involved in politics. TODAY, before it gets worse. If you are concerned with the welfare programs. Get involved. If you have a passion for the youth of the city, YOU start dreaming up ideas and knocking on the doors of city officials. If you are worried about the state of the church, YOU raise the standard of holiness. You learn how to teach and preach! If you are sick of movies that make immorality and death and violence the norm get out into the movie industry and learn your trade well. If you want to see good Christian artists in the music industry, quit dreaming and start training.

Yes, you can dream all you want, you can even plan all you want, but in order to affect a change you are going to have to wake up and start DOING something, PREPARING for something.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

What are you passionate about?

Aug 7, 2009


My Lesson for Today:
Give everything
Expect nothing
Let forgiveness know no bounds

In the Bible I read that if I don’t love the Body of Christ I cannot say I love Christ. It sounds so easy, this loving the Church.
It is easy until there is a breach in relationship with one person and I find it easier to withdraw my heart than to willingly sacrifice it on the altar of forgiveness.

1John 2:7-11
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.
Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
If anyone claims, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.
Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness."

If I love part of the Body, I have to love the whole and not exclude any member. If I love the whole that must be unfailingly else it is not really love at all because “love never fails”.

Who am I to withhold my love? Was it ever mine to monopolize? Did I originate it? Is my love not just borrowed from the One who loved me first? How selfish I am to grasp the gift of God so tightly in my fists! How ignorant I am to refuse to share it as He commanded.

To love is never easy…see, the thing about love is that it must consume. The thing that fuels love is the offering of my selfish desires to be burned. Love and selfishness are a sorry pair – they can never coexist. Love will always be determined to consume the selfishness and selfishness always desires to quench the fire of love. Love, true love, requires me to die that God might live His love through me.

Jul 4, 2009

One Thing To Know

This one thing I know
This one thing I’ve learned...

God is God and I am nothing
But His mercy’s faithful as the morning
While all this world is passing
There’s a love that’s everlasting
In a God who's God for I am not

That anything worth having is worth the wait it cost
And waiting’s not complaining but trust
Though the end is lovely
The journey was planned for my gain
By a God who’s God while I am not

That love is never easy but it's more than I can know
And that sometimes to love best, we have to let go
Though I think I’ve been forgotten here
He remembers every tear
For He is God...but I am not

That every seed must die before it comes to life
So that’s why He requires a sacrifice
But then there's times He stays my hand...And provides Himself a Lamb
That's why God is God and I am not

Apr 5, 2009

Letter To An Apostle

Dear Peter,
I am writing because I was reading my Bible the other day and I think we have a lot in common. So I have a few questions for you…
What was it like to be a disciple of Jesus? What was it like to be one of His closest friends? It must have changed your life. I wish I could have been friends with Him like that.
How close were you standing when He touched the blind man’s eyes, or when Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead? That must have been the experience of a lifetime. I wish He could’ve come in this century. I have family that desperately needs healed.
What was it like to hear Him silence the arguments of the Pharisees, were His words different than any other man’s? What were His techniques? Did He carry with Him a Presence of power and authority? I bet that when you were with Him you learned much…maybe you had more courage, too. I think I would have.
You, see, Peter, I hear many arguments against Him in my workplace, and I wish I could have been taught by Him how to answer.
I can imagine what it would have been like to be right there every time He opened His mouth to teach. I know I would’ve listened with everything in me.
It must have been so nice to have Him there to counsel you before you talked with someone so He could tell you what to say that would help them. Or to debrief with Him in the evenings and have Him tell you what things you said that were silly and how they could’ve been said right…or He could tell you when He was proud of you for acting like He would have. I wish I could have walked with Him every day and talked everything over with Him.
You see it’s harder here. So many times I feel like I’m going on a wing and a prayer. Often I get confused and I don’t know what to say and I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten in trouble when I should’ve known better. I do stupid things a lot, and always regret it later. If I just had Jesus here with me, I’m sure it would be different….

Oh well, I guess that’s just how things are.
Do you have any advice though?

Yours truly.

.......and the response..................

Dear Believer,

In response to your letter, I admit I was a bit confused at first. Apparently we are alike in many ways. Apparently you too don’t recognize God when He’s standing right next to you.
You say you do not have Jesus living with you in your day-to-day life, but…think harder…don’t you?
I supposed you to have a Helper, a Counselor, a Divine Teacher, one who is God, just as much as Jesus was…The reason I say that is that once Jesus told us that He would send us One who would be in all ways like Him. He said it was to our advantage that He went away, so that He could send us the Helper. Have you not met the Helper and formed a partnership with Him?
Do you not have the Holy Spirit?
See, yes we had Jesus living with us for a time, but YOU, beloved, have Jesus living WITHIN you.

You say you don’t know right from wrong? He said the Holy Spirit would convict us of sin and righteousness.
You say you don’t know what decision to make? The Holy Spirit was sent to guide you in all truth.
You say you don’t know the will of God? The Holy Spirit declares and bears witness in you the will of God.
You say you have no one to be with you to keep you from making a fool of yourself? As I remember, you too received the promise that He would never leave you or forsake you.
You say you can’t have the same friendship relationship? He said that He is a friend to those that fear Him.
You say that you wished you could’ve seen the lame walk, the sick healed, the blind made to see? He said TO YOU that you would do even greater things than He Himself did as soon as the power of the Spirit dwelt in you.

DO YOU REALIZE the resources at your fingertips? DO YOU REALIZE the power that you could tap into if you only would? Do you even understand?!?!

The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now quickens you. The same Spirit by which we prophesied is ready to speak through you. The same Spirit that filled us on the day of Pentecost is at hand waiting to give you your DAILY Pentecost.
The fire the touched me that day when I preached to the multitude with a boldness I had never possessed is still burning. The same power at work when 3,000 were added to the church in one day has not lost its potency.
The same - the exact same Spirit - by whose wisdom and authority James, and John, and Andrew, and Matthew, and Barnabas, and Philip, and Stephen, and Paul, and the rest of the Early Church walked and talked and prayed and preached and evangelized and prophesied and healed still lives and works and moves mightily through you!!!

Oh yes, we may have walked with Him and observed His power, but when we walk IN Him the world will observe His power at work in us!

So, remind me again what excuse you have.

You asked for my advice? Start talking to Him as you would to Jesus. Recognize His wisdom. Seek it out and pursue it, because it will be a crown of glory to your head and a grace to your actions. Listen to His words and receive them. Walk in His ways and let Him be the power at work in you.
Who knows…perhaps someday you too will raise the dead. If you don’t it won’t be for lack of the Divine power available to you.
If you live an ineffective life it will only be for lack of pursuit of the Divine on your part.
So, learn the art of pursuit...LIVE in the Presence of the Holy Spirit.



Mar 22, 2009

Pride & Love

Pride and love cannot coexist.
It is impossible.
Love is patient, pride requires immediate gratification of every desire
Love is kind, pride is selfish
Love is not jealous or envious, pride says, “I deserve to have that.”
Love does not parade itself, pride holds itself up as the one that everyone ought to be like/think like
Love is not boastful, pride puffs itself up to appear better than it really is and refuses to admit that there is a problem
Love does not behave rudely, pride can’t help it because it only cares about its own feelings
Love does not demand its own way, pride crushes others opinions in pursuit of its own
Love is not provoked, pride explodes at the least provocation
Love thinks no evil, pride considers another’s motive to be wrong and hurtful
Love does not rejoice in injustice, pride always considers itself innocent of any wrongdoing
Love rejoices in the truth, pride rejoices in looking good
Love bears all things, pride leaves relationships in pieces because it “could not handle the pressure.”
Love believes all things, pride becomes disillusioned with life and people
Love hopes all things, prides loses hope and gets discouraged
Love endures all things, pride grows a heart of stone
Love never fails, pride will burn up with the rest of the wood, hay and stubbles leaving nothing
Insanity is an unrealistic/untruthful view of life. Pride is insanity because it always believes itself better than it really is and always assumes the motives of others is only for themselves. Pride is easily hurt, wounded, oppressed, victimized. Love grows stronger when trials come, when the wait gets long, when the pressure is too intense because Love throws itself on the grace of God, pours itself out in the service of others, and grows strong in the purification.
1Co 13:12-13 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Mar 21, 2009

Activist or Anarchist?

Freedom of speech. The rights of the people. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. These are familiar concepts to every American. They are the very foundation of our government. Yet, every American has had moments when they feel like the law has infringed on their individual rights in some way – like their opinion has been passed over, like their view has not been considered. There is not a person who has not witnessed moments of injustice or of morality being threatened, but what can be done about it?
Some protest, some picket, some write letters or put bumper stickers on their cars. They speak, write, and convince, all under the heading of exercising freedom to speak their mind. It is the right…no, the responsibility and privilege of Americans to have a voice. Still, there are some who chain themselves to trees, they stand in the way of police, some riot, and some lay in the roadways blocking traffic. These engage in different forms of civil disobedience to make their point.
This brings the question, is it the right of a Christian to break the law if they feel that their freedoms have been infringed upon? This is a controversial question and the answer may seem somewhat elusive, but it does exist.
The Christian has been commanded to “obey God rather than men.” (New King James Version, Acts 5:29) He has to live by a higher standard and if the laws of the land conflict with the law of God he has no choice except to disobey. But, there is a place where a line must be drawn.

Activism vs. Civil Disobedience
In order to address this issue in more detail, the delineation must be made in the differences between activism and civil disobedience. According to one dictionary definition activism is, “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue”. (Random) Civil disobedience is defined as, “refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government”. (Webster)
Simply put, activism is to be active. It is to have a voice, to make a statement, to present another view on a subject visibly and vocally. Civil disobedience is to break the law in order to force a law to be changed.
All would most likely agree that Christians are to be active in our nation. However, is civil disobedience wrong? Is it un-American? Is it un-Christian? Both the intent of American law as well as the commands of God’s law seem to give a balanced answer so each should be considered carefully.

The Intent of American Law
It is well known that this American government was created by the Founding Fathers expressly so that it could be open to the will of the people. It is also obvious that the laws put in place were sacred to the men in the earlier days of this nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln put his view very passionately in an address when he stated, “Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty.” (Lincoln 12) Men died so that Americans could have the sort of laws enjoyed today. Yet the Declaration of Independence states:
“…that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute a new government…” (Jefferson)
Here were men who had been under a government where they were oppressed – where their opinions mattered not at all and where a king or parliament dictated how they were allowed to live, speak, and worship. When these men had an opportunity to form a more perfect government they determined to submit it to the will of the people who must live under it. The founders of this nation knew better than any the importance of the individual having the freedom to express opinions, so they made provision that if the laws of the country infringed on the rights of the people that those laws could be easily abolished.
Yet, they held the law dearly. They knew that every country must have laws, and that in order to have a civil society those laws must be enforced strictly. Josiah Gilbert Holland put it this way: “The moment law is destroyed, liberty is lost and men, left free to enter upon the domains of each other, destroy each others’ rights, and invade the field of each others’ liberty.” (Holland 42) For the sake of each man, woman, and child, all must be held to the same standard. If they were to form a good government the Founding Fathers knew they must form it with the principle in mind that no man could be above the law, and no man below it. No person, no matter their wealth, politics, social standing, or religion could be allowed a different set of standards. What was enforced on the majority must be enforced on the whole!

The Conscience Issue
This presents a problem, though. As legislative and governmental leadership changes, there may be those who could create laws that directly oppose the moral views of a portion of society. Would it then be required for that portion to obey the law at the expense of their conscience? This should not be done because it would create a society of mindless, conscienceless, immoral people! Provision must be made, then, so that this moral segment can be heard without becoming lawbreakers. But, on the occasion that no such provision is available, Christians – that moral segment – must walk the fine line between godliness and anarchy.

God’s View of Civil Law
In the Bible, Paul writes, “Let every man be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God.” (Romans 13:1-2)
This verse shows how God feels about civil government and the Christian’s responsibility to obey it. It is sobering to think that any resistance to the government could be seen as resistance to God. Do many Christians, in an attempt to stand up for the law of God, really end up subverting it by rebelling against the law of man?
God’s instruction is to obey civil authority; however, His instruction was also to put His law first and foremost. So, what if civil authority is opposing of the law of God? What is the obligation the Christian should hold to civil law on the occasion that it calls upon them to disobey the higher law of God? The line is defined on the basis of whether the law is broken out of necessity versus breaking it merely to make a political statement.
Daniel in the Bible had a point of his life where he had to make a choice. He could either continue to obey God and die or he could disobey the law and live. He chose the law of God – the correct course of action. It was not out of rebellion, but out of true obedience to the highest Authority. It was his only option, there was no other path he might have taken and honored God.

Modern Religious Activism
Consider now what Christian activism looks like today. The Church has been warned of persecution to come, but rather than being proactive in its approach to insuring that its freedoms are preserved, it often becomes reactionary instead. Christians don’t appreciate their liberty and don’t take steps to safeguard the things held most dear until they are snatched away. Of course then the Church and other parachurch organizations cry about it but the damage has been done. So, what does the Christian community do? They take the law into their own hands. “We’ll show them!” they say… and they do. They show that Christians are no more committed to the law than a criminal. They obey the law only as far as it benefits them, and then manipulate it from there; if it cannot be manipulated, they rebel against it outright. Is that right? Should that be the attitude of Christians? Looking from not only a logical but also from a biblical standard one would cry that it should not!

Consider if a man believes abortion to be murder and there is a prominent abortion clinic in his city. The man gathers friends and they begin to picket outside the clinic. The owner of the clinic becomes angry, goes to a judge to complain, and eventually gets a restraining order taken out against the picketers. The man is left with two options: First he could continue his picketing just as before and, in doing so, break the law. This would prove his point and get him desirable media attention most likely. Or, the second course of action he has would be to stop picketing and find another way within the boundaries of the law to continue his cause.
There are positives and negatives on both sides. With the first course of action this man would make his point, possibly get him much desired attention, but it would also get him arrested. The far reaching effects could be that with his new criminal record he could stand to lose a great deal of credibility. If he was to then try to get the law changed, how much would his voice be heard if he has already established himself as a lawbreaker?
The second course of action would attract less attention to the issue, but it would leave his reputation as a respectable citizen intact. It would honor God, it would honor the king, and he would still be free to continue his work unhindered…and un-imprisoned! Also, would not any judge or legislator be more willing to listen to his arguments if he had already proven to them that he was a mature man who held the laws of the country in highest esteem? Would they not view him as proactive, seeking the good of society rather than selfishly reacting and causing possible harm? Could he not go further in his cause because he has the favor of those that ultimately decide the issue? He would have striven to take action against something he believed to be very wrong, yet he would not have performed another wrong in the process. As the old saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that is what must be considered here.
The man, in this illustration, is an American presenting his opinion so long as he stays within the boundaries of the law. The instant that he crosses the line into disobedience of the law, though, he becomes an anarchist. He virtually destroys the law simply by disregarding it.

Law: The Safeguard of Liberty
Here is another consideration: If the law is thrown aside and destroyed in an attempt to do a good work (or to do well), it will not be in its rightful place to secure and safeguard the good once it is established. It is a frightening idea that the very thing that should be the defense in troubled and evil times could be destroyed by the men it was made to protect.
Not only is the protection of the law removed when men disregard it, but also freedom itself! The law is a servant of the people, yes, but it is not to be taken lightly. When honor is withheld from the authority of the law, liberty is destroyed. Alexander Hamilton put it this way:

“The instruments by which it [government] must act are either the AUTHORITY of the laws or FORCE. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an end to liberty. (Hamilton)

The Reconciliation
The Christian’s loyalty should be first to the law of God and second to the law of the land. Usually, if this is the case, he will not only obey civil law, but will go above and beyond. He will be a model citizen.
In the condition of a liberty being violated by the governing authority, lawful means should still be used, as far as is possible, to remedy that. If a Christian, to right a disregard of the law also disregard the law how will that in any way prove his point?
Again, I will quote Abraham Lincoln:

“When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all laws, let me not be understood as saying that there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force for the sake of example they should be religiously observed. So, also, in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay; but until then, let them, if not too intolerable, be born with.” (Lincoln, 12)

When a man breaks a law his conscience tells him is unjust, the question must be asked, “Was there no other way to go about gaining justice?” Sometimes the answer is no, but the urgent consideration of this question is called for. The Christian must strive to his upmost to honor that civil law and God so far as is in his power.

The Course of Action
There are nations that have forbidden Christianity. America could even legislate that which would outlaw the basic principles of the Christian faith. Should such a calamitous event ever occur in our nation civil law ought to be set down and the divine laws of Scripture upheld as the guiding principles.
It is permissible according to Scripture to break the law when that law requires one to personally defy God’s law. If the decision is set before the Christian, he ought to do as Daniel of old did and continue to obey God in the face of evil legislation, but he ought to do it personally. He should do it, not to be seen or because he is angry, but out of personal conviction that what he is doing is the command of God.

Christians…Americans…all who love this country. Uphold the foundation of law on which America stands. Hold the law of God in highest honor – and lend staunch loyalty to the laws of men that emulate it. Be men and women of morality by not condescending to petty disobediences in order to gain attention. Rather, be pillars of society, and influence this nation to return to righteousness. Be active, be proactive; be an American and a Christian.

Works Cited:

The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982

Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Toronto: Random, 2006

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. Toronto: Random, 1995

Nicolay, John G. and John Hay, ed. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln – Vol. I. New York: The Century Co., 1894

Jefferson, Thomas. Declaration of Independence. June 28, 1776

Holland, Josiah Gilbert. Gold-Foil Hammered from Popular Proverbs. London: William P. Nimmo, 1878

Hamilton, Alexander. Tully, No. 3. August 28, 1794