Monday, December 28, 2009

Changing Your Name

Life is different when your name gets changed. Whether it's a wedding day, or wrestling with God, or putting your new name on your Bengals jersey, a name change is a huge thing.

This is also the power of God. He changes your name by changing you.

They will go from being called "Forsaken" to "My Delight."

Isaiah 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

Have you ever had your name changed?

Thank you Lord, for re-making us.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent - The Season of Waiting

From today's reading...

Isaiah 25:9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

So what are we waiting for? What is this salvation?

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.


1. Food. :)

2. The end of tears.

3. The death of death.

Ok. I think I can wait for that.

Lord, Thank you in advance for Your rescue that is coming.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dinner with the Dead Guy.

The way that John writes this, it's almost like it's no big deal. Which I guess it's really not a big deal for Christ who is all-powerful. I'm still amazed at the thought of sitting down to dinner with a guy who not too long ago was wrapped up and in a tomb.

John 12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table

Lord, thank you for showing your amazing power.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Desperation

Kenny spoke on one of my favorite topics yesterday - Desperation. He spoke of the woman with the issue of blood, and Jairus Daughter. Two people whose lives were vastly different, but both came to Jesus with reckless abandon, because they were desperate for help. And he helped them.

Today I read Psalm 107 - if you're ever feeling desperate, this is the Psalm for you.

107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Lord, let us tell the world of how you deliver desperate people even as you have delivered us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Psalmist Got His Wish...

Psalm 102:18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:

His words were recorded - and we are praising.

Hallelujah!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sometimes Loving Means Hating...

From today's reading...

Psalm 97:10
O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Monday, November 02, 2009

From Everlasting.

I'm from 1971. Maybe you're from 1949 or 1996. Where is God from?

Psalm 93:2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.

Still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that God has no beginning and no end. That is incredible.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Now No Condemnation.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Now No Condemnation.

This is a message worthy of spreading. Shout it from the rooftops and in the ball stadiums and over the internet. Now No Condemnation.

There is a catch - You must be in Christ.

Lord, Thank you for providing freedom in Your Son.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Into the Sanctuary

The psalmist was envious of the wicked, upset that though he tried to live a righteous life, he was not prospering as the wicked man was. He was having difficulty understanding the prosperity of the wicked until he went into the sanctuary...

Psalm 73:16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.

We need quiet time with God for many reasons, but this is one of them - to discern truth about life. Spending time with God helps me remember why I'm here and what this life is all about. In case we forget - the Psalmist reminds us at the end of this song...

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


Lord, our flesh will fail. Be our strength and our portion.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Weak Link

I don't remember reading this Psalm this way before...

Psalm 69:6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.


Lord, don't let me be the weak link.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sometimes We Forget...

Sometimes I forget this truth from Romans 3

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

The whole world is held accountable to God. Every person will be judged by their creator. And the simple truth here in the beginning of Romans 3 is that we are all sinners. Not good people who've made some mistakes. Or people with psychological issues - though I'm sure I have my share of those - the truth is this, we are ALL sinners who will stand before our Creator and we need someone to rescue us.

Lord, help me to not forget why you came. And help me to go and share the great news that salvation for sinners has come.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Doing the Law...

We don't talk this way, but I still think the point is very clear. It's not those who hear the word who will be justified. It is those who do it. I've been troubled lately with similar thoughts, but this passage pinpoints my thinking.

Romans 2:13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

I know that no one is justified without the blood of Christ. But a justified person is a person of action and obedience. Not just a person who hears the scriptures or the preacher.

Lord, please help my practice to match my preaching and my hearing. I need you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

People Don't Write Songs like this Anymore...

There's something about an imprecatory Psalm. But some of the lyrics seem a little too harsh to sing in church:

Psalm 58:10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.


Any of you found a place for the use of Imprecatory Psalms in corporate worship?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday is for Photos - Hoops in Hoosierland

Hoops in Hoosierland...


We had a lot of fun at the Hamilton County Sports Complex this week. If you want to read more about it check out The Heights Blog. If you'd like to see some higher res pictures head over to pennsweb.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soliciting, Marketing, and Proclaiming the Gospel

We had a good conversation at the Penn house tonight. Lot's of questions, not many answers - normal for any Penn house. :) Just ask my brothers.

As we set out on this adventure, we want to invite, share, and proclaim. So is there a difference between inviting and soliciting in reference to the Gospel? Is there a difference between proclaiming and promoting (marketing)?

Just out of curiousity I checked out Webster's definitions...

Solicit:
1 a
: to make petition to : entreat b : to approach with a request or plea
2 : to urge (as one's cause) strongly

Marketing:
1 a
: the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

I'm afraid that the gospel lends itself to solicitation. We make petition and entreat. We plead with people that they would seek God in Christ. When you are speaking about life and death - urgency is natural.

As far as marketing is concerned, it always worries me when we treat Jesus and the Church as a product to sell or a service to distribute. But I will say this - we are to be promoting a person. And something as simple as giving your testimony or inviting a friend to church could be considered "marketing" on some scale. I personally think that promoting is important. I just want to make sure I'm depending on God for reaching people, and not my design or marketing plan.

So the questions tonight are (as they relates to missions)...
How do you solicit without soliciting?

How do you promote/market without "selling" Jesus?

Monday, September 14, 2009

No One Said Following Jesus Would be Easy...

I probably shouldn't write things like this, but sometimes transparency can be good eh?

Making the move to Noblesville has been tougher than I thought. The kids are doing well, and I love helping to plan out the worship services. I've made a few new friends, and the Lord has been taking good care of us.

But some days you just want to go back to safe. Safe is a place where you are already known. Where you have already made friends and already have places and spaces that you belong. Safe is sleeping in and then having coffee with Chris or going to a Rocket ballgame or spending 3 hours on a Wednesday morning looking into God's word with friends.

But I know God sent me to this place, to teach me all about being a missionary. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not pretending to be Carlisle Hanna or even Wallace Malone. But slowly I'm starting to get it. Being a missionary is a lifestyle, not a location. And it makes you desperate. I need God's help to make friends. I need God's help to find the poor and hungry and hurting. I need God's help to discern whether to blog or work or pray or sleep.

And I'm more convinced than ever that every disciple of Christ should be a missionary.

I guess I didn't realize how much I would be tempted by "safe." And time and again, the Lord's words break my world apart and cause me to seek his help and his mercy...

Luke 9:57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Lord, help me. Help me resist the lure of "safe." Help me proclaim the Kingdom of God.

P.S.

If you're reading this. I think God wants you to be a missionary too. :)

Friday is for Photos - Alexander's

Alexander's on the Square

I've been running a little low on time lately - who hasn't? So instead of posting pics in two places, I'll be posting some pics of Noblesville hopefully once a week over @ the Heights blog. This week we're introducing you to one of our favorite new places called Alexander's.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Why aren't the captives being set free?

John needs some confirmation.
18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

In Luke 4 Jesus says this...
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

Most of this comes from Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

So why doesn't Jesus tell John that the captives are being set free? Ultimately, John will be free. But before that, he will be beheaded. This is tough stuff.

Jesus does encourage John by reminding him of the prophecies fulfilled. But John must still walk through this valley.


Jon Bloom has some good commentary on this passage. If you get a chance to read it, I think it will encourage you.

Blogging @ the Heights

Some different members of our church team are posting articles on our new Church Blog. If you are interested you can check it out at www.theheightschurch.us/wp

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Project Serve

My brother's Church is doing a new project called Project Serve.

Project serve is a service project our church began last Sunday, where each individual received an envelope with either a $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100. They are to use this money to serve someone with this week.


I love reading these stories of people showing kindness. It's amazing how a small gift can prompt us to look for ways to encourage someone else.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

That's What Friends Are For.

I cannot express how grateful I am for praying friends and family. Many have asked how they might encourage us during this time. Some have even said it - "What else can we do besides pray?" What more could you want than for godly people to speak on your behalf to the Creator and Sustainer of life?

I love this from Daniel Chapter 2
17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel and the boys were desperate for their very lives. They sought the One, True God and he answered in a mighty way.

Lord, thank you so much for praying friends and answered prayers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Does He Do That?

You've been there. Sometimes you just really need to hear from God. And then he speaks so clearly. It's amazing. It's happened about 4 times this week. And here's another example.

Psalm 25:1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous...

12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land...

21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Thousand Times...

I'm sure I've heard this passage read well over a thousand times, but I don't know if I ever needed hearing it more than I needed it tonight...

23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rejected and Marvelous

The world rejects Christ thinking that He is a waste of time, a crutch, something for the weak. To the beloved, He is marvelous.
10 Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Lord, You are marvelous.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Makes God Marvel?

I marvel at God and His works, but what makes God marvel?

Mark 6:4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.


Our unbelief.

God can't believe that we can't believe.

When I marvel at His handiwork, I too can't believe that we can't believe.


Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Music Tuesday - Phil Wickham

Sometimes you hear a song for the very first time and you just know it's right. Cannons from Phil Wickham is just such a song. It's a cry to the Holy God that He deserves to hear from us every day. I bet we'll be singing this one at The Heights very soon.

You can get the video from youtube or just watch it below.

Update:
You can go to Wickham's website www.philwickham.com and if you sign up you can download the singalong album for free! I like the "singalong" version better than the "polished" one from the new album.

Here's the songlist for August 8th, 2009 at the Heights.
Meet with Me
There is None Like You
The Love of God
Speak O Lord

Friday, August 07, 2009

As Sure as Day and Night

God's promises are as sure as day and night...

19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”

23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What Words Give You Away?

Random thought from my reading today...

5 And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” 6 they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.


I grew up in Decatur, and you could recognize people from that area by asking them to say the word "wash." People from Decatur usually say "worsh."

What words give you away? Do you "cut" on the lights? Do you light a "fire" or a "far?"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guest Preachers and God's Word

Today I was tremendously blessed by two different speakers at Calvary. The Lord spoke loud and clear to me.

Lesson 1: Don't serve out of guilt or even duty. Pray to be motivated by love.

Ephesians 5: 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Lesson 2: Follow Me.

John 21: 22Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."


Thanks to Jim and Luke for delivering God's word.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sharpen That Axe...

I heard the phrase "sharpen your axe" used a lot in seminary - I didn't know it had biblical roots.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good Stuff...

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Smart, Sad Man

Solomon had such promise, but his faithfulness was lacking. In words like these throughout Ecclesiastes, I think I can hear the sadness in his voice...

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.


As Shane and Shane would say, "Get OVER the sun!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Stones in the book of Joshua

Sometimes I'm a little slow. I didn't realize how many references there are to stones in the book of Joshua.

There's the 12 stone Memorial after crossing the Jordan,
The stones piled on Achan and his family (see yesterday's post)
The stones piled on the king of Ai
The stones set by the Cave after the killing of the 5 kings
The stones of the wall of Jericho

Any others that you know of?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Stone Piles in Memory of Sinners

Do you have any monuments to remind you of your past failures and God's judgement of those failures? Usually when I think of monuments, I think of successes - something left as a tribute to great people. In Joshua 7 there is a monument left to remind people of great sin and God's judgment on that sin.

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.


Lord, please help us to learn from our sins as well as the sins of others.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Heights "Vision"

Kevin (our team leader) is blogging about the vision of The Heights Church. You can check out his blog at www.wakebeforedawn.com

A BIG Thank you to everyone who has been praying. Please continue to pray, God has been answering in a big way. We both now have jobs, we have an apartment, and we hope to close on our house at the end of the month.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Fanatical Fundamentalists and Flaming Liberals

John the Baptist was considered a fanatical fundamentalist, because of his ascetic ways and his harsh message. Jesus was a flaming liberal because he drank and ate with the sinners.

Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

The religious couldn't stand John, because he was too holy, and couldn't stand Jesus because he wasn't holy enough. Sound familiar?

When will the church stop bickering over methodologies? Never.

But notice that last part... "
Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

So whether your ultra conservative, fundamental, libertarian, post-modern, ortho-praxis oriented, seeker friendly, attractional, missional, Christians or Christ followers, let's be sure of this--wisdom is justified by her deeds.

Lord, I want you to make a difference in your kingdom through my life. Please help me to not waste time, on meaningless arguments and give me the grace to serve you and those you love. Please let wisdom be justified in the works of my life as they flow from a heart that has been changed by your love.

Undimmed and Unabated

From today's reading...

Deuteronomy 34:7 Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.

How I would love this to be said of me if I live to a good old age.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pretty Girls and Proverbs 31

From my reading today...

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.


This phrase really sticks in my head thanks to a Kim Hill song of the late 80's. But I guess you didn't need to know that. So on to the question...

Is it right to celebrate beauty in our wives and daughters?

Can you defend this biblically?

The other day my wife was bragging on the beauty of our daughter. Though I'm sure we are prejudiced, she is a pretty girl. If I want her to strive to be godly, am I sending conflicting messages by praising her beauty instead of praising her character?

Our culture has elevated the value of image so high and Photoshop has not helped. Beauty is defined and redefined time and again. How do we raise our young girls in this image-crazed society to focus on their character instead of their hair?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday is for Photos - Squirrel Feeder

Squirrel Feeder
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


My son built a bird feeder, but it has become a terrific squirrel feeder. At times there are 3 squirrels around the feeder all at once. This guy doesn't mind us getting close. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Any captions for this one?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

How He Loves Us - Kim Walker / Mcmillan

Music Tuesday at 2 am on a Sunday Morning. No more coffee for me on Saturday nights!

This song is pretty awesome - it's a pouring out of the heart. Probably not something that the congregation sings easily, but the chorus could be something special in a corporate setting. Wow, I especially love right at the end of verse 2 (about 3:48)

"I don't have time to think about regrets when I think about the way...He loves us...O how he loves us!"


I know this setting was highly charged with emotion, but it's hard to get past the simple truth that He loves us.

Video clip here.



Lyrics and chords here.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Messin' Me Up

Some scriptures encourage. Some empower. Some enlighten. And then there are some that just tear into me...

2 Timothy 3:2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Am I one of these that should be avoided?

I feel like I'm part of a generation of "Christians" who love pleasure more than we love God. Sometimes I think I've caved. I know more about Illini Basketball than I know about the Word. I care more about feeding my face, than feeding those who are hungry or thirsty. I am more interested in the next tech toy, than I am in loving people who are hurting all around me.

What's my deal?


And that's not even the scariest part of the verse...

These people appear to be godly. They look like good people. They are "nice" and "kind." They watch "clean entertainment." They are probably doing plenty of good deeds. They are model citizens. But they deny the power of God in their living. They aren't living in the Spirit, they are accomplishing "godliness" through the flesh.


And now the most troubling part...

Avoid such people.


Lord, I need help. Please, please don't let me love pleasure more than I love you. Please change me, make me truly godly through the power of Your Spirit. Please let my life be one to be followed, not avoided.

Friday, June 05, 2009

There is No Other

From my reading today I was reminded that the Lord is God and there is no other. Just out of curiosity, I looked up this phrase in the ESV to see where it occurs, and you can see the results below. Pay close attention to the last reference, I'm sure it's no coincidence.

Deuteronomy 4:35
To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.

Deuteronomy 4:39
know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

1 Kings 8:60
that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Isaiah 45:5
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,

Isaiah 45:6
that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:14

The Lord, the Only Savior
Thus says the Lord: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.’”

Isaiah 45:18
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:21
Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.

Isaiah 45:22
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

Isaiah 46:9
remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

Daniel 3:29
Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

Mark 12:31
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:32
And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's the Old People's Fault!

I couldn't believe what I heard at our Bible study tonight. Our Wednesday class has been working through the series "God is Closer than You Think." Tonight we got into a discussion about judging other churches' ministry methods and practices.

We were discussing how some churches have been experiencing some pretty incredible growth stories, and how others seem to enjoy criticizing their "success." One of the "older" ladies in our church made the observation that this significant growth seemed to be happening in churches with younger congregations.

Then she said something that I thought was profound. She said that the older folks resisting change and holding to their traditions were getting in the way of the growth of the church. It's one thing for a teenager to say this, and another for a young pastor at a church plant to say this, but for an "older" person to point this out made me ask...

Why am I leaving a church with amazing people like this?

Obviously, it's not just the old people's fault. Young people and middle aged people and all sorts of people are hindering growth. But young people and middle aged people and old people are also helping the kingdom, especially when they recognize that it's the kingdom that is important, not the way they want to do church.

I hope in 20 years I'll be able to have the same attitude. I hear it's not that easy...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Death Has Been Destroyed!

Shout it from the roof tops! Death has been destroyed. (I think the word "abolished" is fine, but I like the NIV a little better on this one.)

2 Timothy 1:10b our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

What a King. He has destroyed the thing that is feared the most. Not only has he finished death, but he has brought life, and not just life, but immortality - through the gospel. People have been searching for immortality since the fall. Jesus has secured it through His cross.

Thank you Lord for taking the sting away from death.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On One Condition...

I love those verses that remind us that God is near, but this one tonight comes with a condition. God isn't near to all. Look closely...

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

God is near to all who call on him in truth. There is a condition. You must come to God on His terms.

Lord, help us as we call, to call in truth.

Monday, May 25, 2009

He Came to Save...

I'm sure there are many reasons why Jesus came, but one has stood out to me lately - He came to save.

1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Lord, my life may be about a lot of things, but please let it be about helping others to find salvation.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Quiet

Sorry it's been so quiet here lately. But I'm listening and the Lord is speaking. If you don't mind...say a prayer for me. If you'd like for me to pray for you, just leave a comment.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Job Opening

Actually it's not so much a job as it is a calling. Calvary Free Will Baptist Church in Salem, Illinois is officially searching for a new pastor. If you, or someone you know might be interested in leading a great group of people, please have them contact me or one of the deacons at our church.

For contact information and other details, you can check out our Church Resume.

We are trying to get the word out to as many as possible. We'd appreciate all the help we can get. I'm confident that God has the right person for the job, we're just trying to find them. ;)

We'd also covet your prayers for the transition.

Thanks for your help.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not Afraid of Bad News...

Thankfully, I don't have any "bad news" to share right now, but these verses stood out to me this morning...

Psalm 112:7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.


Lord, please help me to be the righteous person that is spoken of in this passage through the power of Christ.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Even the Sweetest Frames are Still Just Frames...

Psalm 103: 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

Lord, forgive me when I forget that you are the only frame worth leaning on.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Singing with Stacey

Singing with Stacey
(Click the thumbnail for a larger picture)


We had a really great time on Thursday night. We went to Moweaqua to give my cousin Stacey her own private "concert." Her son Trevor is a good guitar player and he picked out some of his mom's favorite songs. The rest of the family showed up and surprised Stacey and sang and played for a while.

It was an evening I won't soon forget. Stacey has been such a blessing to me. She has reminded me about how to live. She has been through a lot and has faced her cancer head on. I know there has been sadness and questioning along the way, but Stacey has constantly reminded all of us to keep the faith. The Lord's name has been hallowed because of her. She has made such a difference in my life.

I'll try to put up a small gallery later on, but for now you can check out Kellie Penn's blog. (Thanks for taking the pictures Kellie.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

A New Adventure

It's been about 13 years, but my wife and I are moving again. This time we're taking along a couple of kids that we picked up in that last 13. There are tons of emotions, lots to do and very little time to accomplish it all. (Sorry, but the blog has to suffer - it's just not that high on the priority list right now)


We are headed to Noblesville, Indiana. We are going to help start a new Free Will Baptist Church on the North East corner of Indianapolis. The name of the church is The Heights. We are so excited about the promise of this new beginning. We are being joined by 3 other families.

  • Kevin and Debbie Scott: Kevin and Debbie went to FWBBC with me and Wendy. They have 3 kids, and are hosting the initial church services in their home. Their hospitality is amazing.

  • Kenny and Anna Panduku: We just met Kenny and Anna for the first time this past week. They opened up their home to us, and Isaiah was thrilled to watch the NCAA championship on Kenny's "fancy" TV. They have 4 boys, and we can't wait to be a part of their lives.

  • William and Megan Higgins: William and Megan bring a lot of energy to the team and have a new baby girl named Avery. She is a doll.

So when you add us all up, we are beginning this new work with 10 kids and 8 Adults. We are so blessed to begin with such a great team of people.

In the next few posts I'll share how we got to this point, and what our hopes are for the future.

Jesus Wants the Rose

I'm sure many of you've already heard this, but just in case...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Making a Move...

Today was one of the hardest days that I've had in a long time. Today we told our church family that we are moving to Indiana this summer. I'm very excited about what the Lord has in store, but it is also very hard to think about leaving so many close friends. God has been so good to us while we have lived here.

How do you tell people that you love that you are leaving? I couldn't find an easy way to do it. We have spent over 13 years with our church family laughing, and singing, and ministering together. And lots of eating too! And every now and then there was some crying and lots of praying. When you go through so many events with your church family, it brings you close.

And yet, when God is calling, we must follow. In my heart I know that staying when God said to move, would only bring difficulty. And I also know that this move isn't just about our family serving in a new place, but also someone new serving here. I know that God has great things in store for Calvary and for our new work, if we all will be faithful in seeking Him.

For now, my wife and I covet your prayers. We have a lot to do in a very short time. In the weeks ahead, I hope to share what we are looking forward to in Indiana, and how we have come to this place in our lives.

But tonight, I just want to say thank you to my Church Family for their incredible support, and love and for the Lord who has allowed us to labor together.

Acts 20:32 And now a I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whether You Are an Arminian or a Calvinist, This is Still the Most Important Prayer Request in the World.

Two years ago the Lord changed how I pray after we studied the Lord's prayer at Church. Every prayer ultimately should end with the goal of Hallowing the Father's name.

Read Piper's take.

Rested and Refreshed

How often do you take a break?

Exodus 31:17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

You've heard it often - "Even God has to take a break once in a while."

We are built to work and to rest and we need to be about both of these things. I've neglected the latter at times, and it usually comes back to get me.

A friend sent me a book by Wayne Cordeiro entitled Leading On Empty. I've been a little "extra" stressed lately, but I don't think I'm near to the point of stress that is displayed in some of the stories in this book. And yet, I've found some preventive things in this book that I think will be a huge help in ministry. So if your feeling a little stressed, here's some things to consider:

1. Solitude is a healthy and prescriptive discipline; Isolation is a symptom of emotional depletion.

Intentionally getting away to spend time with God and to renew and refresh your soul is a great thing. Escaping from cares and worries by hiding or running away is a sign that you are heading for depression. What are you seeking solitude or isolation?

2. Draining and Refilling.

What drains you? What fills you?

Pastor Cordeiro gives examples of both in his ministry. For him excessive counseling was an example of something that drains, while dinners with his wife was an example of something that fills.

Over-empathizing has been draining me a lot these days. Listening to and playing music is something that refills me. We all will be drained, and we all need to be refilled. If you are not refilling, eventually your engine will stop. What can you do this week to refill?


3. Concerns and Personal Responsibility
"When we mis-define concerns as personal responsibilities, it will eventually confuse us and diffuse our energies"

Pastor Wayne shares these concerns: A Neighbor's messy yard, a teacher's inability to keep a student's attention, what we think others feel about us. These things are concerns, not personal responsibilities. So what do we do with concerns that are becoming worries? We take them to God regularly, until he grants us peace.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Powerless Cross.

I know it has been a while since my last post. We were working intensely on hosting this year's Illinois State Association Meeting at our church and it's finally over.

During Dr. Garnett Reid's message on Saturday, one verse that he referenced struck right at my heart. This same verse was also in my devotions for yesterday.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


There are two things that stick out to me from reading this verse.

1. I don't have to save, baptize or convert. That's not my job. My job is to witness, to preach and to herald. I don't need to feel guilty about not converting someone or saving someone. I must preach the gospel.

2. I can empty the cross of its power. This is a scary verse to me. Somewhere along the way words can become "eloquent wisdom." Paul didn't have a projector, or a creative team, or Photoshop. But he still feared using an eloquent wisdom when delivering the gospel. He didn't want anything to jeopardize the power of the cross.

Here's my question - When does our preaching cross the line into eloquent wisdom?

How do we promote doing things well without promoting "eloquent wisdom." How do you know if you are rendering the cross powerless?

I'd love your thoughts on this one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Prayer

My Father I pray that this would be the cry of my heart...

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Precious Blood

Whenever I hear the words "Precious Blood," I usually think about Jesus. But this verse in Psalm 72 reminds me that our blood is precious too!

13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.


Lord, help us to value others, even as you value us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Latest Project

I've been working on a new website for the Illinois State Association of Free Will Baptists. It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun too.

This has been my first "real" venture with Wordpress, and I must say I'm impressed. Hopefully in the next few weeks, I can put together a series of posts on fwbmedia.com about the process.

I think I'm going to do my next project in Wordpress. I couldn't believe all of the features that the widgets provide and how easy it is to add pictures. I think that's one of the things that has been lacking in the couple other Content Management Systems that I have tried.

If you have some time, leave some comments on the Introducing ILFWB.org post. I'd like to see how the comment feature is going to work.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going Forward

I've found myself in a few spots like this one recently - knowing that I must go forward, but so unsure of how to get across...

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

Basically, God is saying "stop crying and start moving."

This is the big leap of faith. It's Noah building the ark, when he hasn't seen rain...It's David against Goliath against all the odds...It's the old saying "Watch out for the first step, it's a doozy." It's the huge leap where faith and obedience meet.

Lord, help me to move forward.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Even God Runs out of Patience Sometimes

Here's a reminder that God does have a limit to His patience...

2 Chronicles 36:15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.


Lord, keep us close to Your grace, and far from Your wrath.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Would You Listen to This Man?

Would you listen to this man?

1. He built places of worship dedicated to false gods
2. He worshiped the stars and the hosts of heaven
3. He desecrated the house of God
4. He burned his sons and offered them as sacrifices
5. He was involved in witchcraft and sorcery.
6. He led others away from God.
7. He killed so many innocent people, their blood filled the city.

His name is Manasseh and and you can find his story in 2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.

And by the way, God did listen to him.

2 Chronicles 33:12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.


Man, I wish I could have heard that prayer.


Lord, Your grace is truly amazing.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Only God Knows

The ESV translation of Exodus 2:24 caught my eye...

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.


We usually use the phrase "only God knows" as way of saying that no one knows what's going to happen. "God knows who will show up today."

But what this passage reminds me is that God DOES know. He knows and cares and has compassion. He heard the cry of His people and He was about to answer in a mighty way.

What's going to happen next in life?

Only God knows.

I'm so glad He does.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Want to Live Like This...

2 Chronicles 31:20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.


Lord, thank you for good examples. Help me to seek you with all of my heart.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Afraid of Pharaoh

I bet Pharaoh was one intimidating guy. Wealthy, wise and powerful. I'm sure he could probably end your life with a word if he so chose. All the more reason I'm impressed with the Hebrew midwives...

Exodus 1:15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.


It's natural to be afraid of Pharaoh - but it's wise to be more afraid of God.


Lord, give us the boldness of the Hebrew midwives. Help us stand up for the life of the unborn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

214

I think we've found some insider jargon for our morning study group. The next time we hear anyone complaining or arguing we' re going to holler at them "214." I wonder what kind of reaction we'll get?

Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,


Wanna join the fun? Start using 214 whenever you hear complaining and arguing and see what happens. This may be the beginnings of a movement.

:)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can You Have a Church Without Jesus?

Passing along this thought provoking post from Jared at the Gospel Driven Church...

We want to go to a place with ample parking that hands us a latte for free as we enter the doors. We want to sit in a comfortable chair that vibrates. We want a poppin' band. We want to see fog. And a laser light that draws the shape of a cross in the fog. We want a good singer to sing comforting things to us as we listen admiringly. Then we want an energetic speaker to alleviate our fear of the bad economy and inspire us in no more than 20 to 22 minutes. Then we want to leave without being bothered, have our retinas scanned to pick up our kids, and watch them slide down the slide out of the Kidz Playz having heard a lesson from no less than SpongeBob SquarePants himself on obeying parents and not lying. And if we feel like it, we want all that all over again in a week. That's evangelicalism.


Read the rest here...

The Invitation

It's been a rough couple of weeks for some of my friends and family. I've been down, because they have been down. But today's reading brings a sense of hope...

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.


Lord, I'm so thankful for your invitation to throw our little burdens into your huge hands. Thank you for sustaining us in the midst of any circumstance. You truly are our Rock.

Monday, February 23, 2009

When Uzziah Died...

Most of us are familiar with the phrasing from Isaiah 6 that says...

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

The Lord is high and exalted in Isaiah's vision. But something that I never paid attention to before showed up in 2 Chronicles 26 where Uzziah is in the temple to burn incense:

16 But when he (Uzziah) was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense...19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the Lord had struck him. 21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the king's household, governing the people of the land.


Not only was the Lord high and lifted up in the year that Uzziah died, He was high and lifted up in Uzziah's death. Uzziah's death was a reminder to everyone that God was holy and not even the King would be exempted from God's commands.

Lord, help us as we try to live a holy life in a sin-filled world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unworthy of Eternal Life

Who in their right mind would ever abandon eternal life? Well it appears some of the Jews did (obviously not with a godly mind, but a blind, carnal one)

Acts 13:44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.


Lord, give us wisdom as we witness.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Should God Always Get the Credit?

How should we credit God when bad things happen?

Hit a homerun? Score a Touchdown? Escape a bad wreck? Just miss being involved in an accident? God seems to often get praise for these things.

Make an error at second base? Fumble? Break your leg in an accident? Lose a loved one? Where's God in these events?

This CNN article had quotes from two passengers who were supposed to be on the flight 3407. Here's one of the quotes...

"I'm still in shock, really," said the 49-year-old Becony, a Catholic. "God was looking over me."


Sometimes I'm too cynical, but my first thought was - what about the other 49 people? Was God not looking over them? How can we thank God when he is gracious to us, and still recognize His sovereignty when terrible things come our way?

We don't want to come across as blaming God, but in some ways, if he gets the credit, shouldn't he get the blame?

If you had one of the victim's families in your church as well as one of the survivors, how would you handle this situation?

Say you have two couples in your church both desperately wanting to have children. After years of waiting, one couple is able to have kids, the other never does. The one couple blesses the Lord for their children. How do you counsel the other couple?

How do you appropriately bless the Lord for even the difficult things?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have to Talk to Yourself

Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves of what we already know to be true.

Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Hey. Self. Trust in God.

What do you find yourself telling yourself about God?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Don't do it.

Ok Men, here's some good advice from Johnny and Chachi. I can't believe the words "good advice" and Johnny and Chachi are in the same sentence. Anyway - I hope you enjoy this.

Special Revelation

I've received some important documents from some important people, but I don't think I've ever received anything from angels...

Luke 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.

These wicked men refused the gift of God as delivered in the law. The unfortunate thing is that we have received the Word of God in Christ and we neglect it. Think about it. We live looking back at the cross. We have all of the evidence that Christ is the Messiah. Yet we still lack faith.

Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Death Has No Chance.

Love this...

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.


Death had no chance of holding down Christ. It has no chance of holding down the believer, either.

Thank you Lord for the resurrection.