Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What is Love?

Alexander Haddaway once wrote, “What is love, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.” 

People have an idea that love involves no pain…maybe puppies, rainbows, and fluffy things…an endless honeymoon with no mistakes and complete happiness. Not quite. Love is not real unless it knows how to handle pain. John wrote in his Gospel, “My (Jesus) commandment is this – that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12, 13 New English Translation) Jesus’ love compelled Him to the cross. Love is not really love without sacrifice. We are told…strike that…we are commanded to have this kind of sacrificial love. When love is practiced we open ourselves up to a world of pain. People will hurt us, disappoint us, and let us down. But is that pain a bad thing?

Imagine you could feel no pain and you were to grab a kettle of boiling water. Just because you cannot feel pain does not mean you cannot be hurt. The kettle would burn the skin potentially causing lifelong damage. Pain, while not enjoyed, has its benefits. Pain in a relationship allows us to know that we experience actual love!

When mankind first sinned it grieved the heart of God. Our choices hurt Him. He set about a plan, one forged in love, to bring us back into a relationship with Him. We all know “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 New English Translation) God’s love drove Him to send Jesus, His Son to us…the very ones who broke God’s heart in the first place. Why do this? 

Because He loves us! To show it, Jesus lays down His life for us. He made it all about restoring us to God the Father. Jesus, lived a very simple life, told us about God the Father and His Kingdom, told us we could find forgiveness. Jesus was then humiliated and murdered (sacrificed) on a cross as a guilty man even though He was without any error or sin. On the third day He rose from the dead. His life, death, and resurrection left us with a message of love. We are called to love one another. Do you? 

It won’t be easy, but it is worth it. Loving our kids, spouse, friends and family may not always be easy, but in the end it is so worth it! As God looks down on us, I am sure we test His love, maybe even make it difficult, but He never changes. When Christ returns, we will know that love has been worth it!

all about Christ,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The path that leads to beauty...

The older I get the more I love to hike or hit a trial. There is nothing like getting off the pavement and trekking with my family. The best hike is one I haven't conquered before, to see the new sights, wild life, or my choice of late, ending at the beauty of a waterfall.

Many times, on these journeys, the path is worn down and easy to follow, maybe even having trail marker or signs to guide you. This makes it just about impossible to get lost. Sometimes there is a fork in the path and I try make an educated decision on which way to go, many times there are many other sub-trials people have carved to lead off to an overlook or something else that would distract you from the end goal. But even still, most times it's crystal clear the way that leads to the goal.

I'm finding in my spiritual journey it's much the same as the hikes that I love.

I know the path I'm supposed to be on, it's clearly marked, I know how I should walk. I know where I'm supposed to go, act, speak and live. But many times I choose a different path, knowing it will lead to no where good. The path Christ calls us to walk leads to beauty.

I know the path. I know how I should walk, Lord help me to stay on your path which You have clearly marked.


Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6 

Monday, February 11, 2013


Doxology. Not a word you probably said today...well, if you just read this, you did, but do you know what it means?

A doxology is a formation or formula of praise words. Hopefully it's something we utilize every day.

There is also a song called Doxology. I grew up singing it every week and I can't think of the song without the sound of an organ.

Here is how the song starts:

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

It is so easy to look at the negative in our lives. I'm sick. I'm broke. I can't believe my kids did this. I can't believe my spouse did that. Pretty sure my boss hates me. The negatives keep coming...but so do the blessings, if we chose to see them.

I'm sick, but I'll recover. I'm broke, but I have what I need. My kids got in trouble at school, but they are learning from their mistakes. My spouse did something wrong, but I am blessed to have a spouse to love and be loved by while we, together, practice mercy through forgiveness. My boss may hate me, but I have a job that allows me to provide for my family.

"Praise Him all creatures hear below."

Do others hear your praises or are they more in tune with the negatives?

"Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts."

It's not a competition, but I don't really want anything to give God more meaningful worship. It's about respect and recognizing who God is to me. So, do I worship God with a fervency of the angels or beyond?

"Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

It's easy to sing praise to the Father once we recognize His everyday blessings. It's easy to give praise to the Son when we recognize the death, burial, and resurrection showing us the extent of God's love and the forgiveness of our sins. But that last one, the Holy Ghost...don't forget Him! I love the term "ghost". It comes from the German word "geist". You've probably heard the word polter"geist", but did you know we also get the English word "guest" from "geist". He is our Holy Guest on a day to day basis, sustaining us, leading us, guiding us, correcting us, and when necessary convicting and rebuking us.

We have so many reasons to praise God. Brian and I don't often get multiple comments, so let me ask you to share your doxology below...your words of praise for God. Let's encourage one another in this!

all about Christ,

Friday, February 1, 2013

Just the front gate...

It tough to wrap our minds around what heaven is going to be like...We've all seen cartoons, movies and TV cast their view of what it will be like. We've also heard every "St. Peter @ the pearly gates" joke. But it's hard to even imagine heaven...right?

Well...How about just looking at front gate...Rev. 21:21 says "The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each made of a single pearl." 

Mark Bourne, last summer @ The Event, shared that according to size of the gates recorded in the Bible, one pearl, for just one of the front gates of heaven, would be worth $9 Octodeillion, or 9 to the 57th power. Still not getting it...that's a 9 with 57 zeroes behind it...(just look at the picture)...

And that's just one of the front gates!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The new year is now 22 days gone.

68 days till Easter. 163 days till July 4. 337 days till Christmas. 344 are left in this year.

Time goes by pretty fast and I'm sure you are already thinking about an upcoming date this year. Maybe it is Valentine's Day or an anniversary. My daughter's birthday is just days, really hours, away.

As we focus on these points in time, other things slip up on us. We forget to make a call, forget to go somewhere, forget to meet someone, forget to pick something up. We lose focus.

This happens at work, at home, politically (I can't believe it! I know, right?), and yes, even at churches across this globe.

As for the church, our focus and our chase needs to be Christ. Anything else will distract and pull us away. We chase our rabbits and our squirrels to the point of forgetting what we are supposed to be chasing after.

But what is the church? The church is a community of individuals gathered together because of Christ. Maybe those individuals understand a phrase like "the sacrificial lamb who takes away our sins" or maybe they are individuals who just want to know how to live a better life (which is a great starting point!). If we lose our focus, if we lose sight of Jesus Christ, we have lost our direction, our way, and our effectiveness.

It is my prayer that we may find our focus and sustain it daily.

1 Corinthians 2:2 "For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (NET)

all about Christ,

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Moving Past Lewis

One of my favorite Christian authors is C.S. Lewis. His apologetics are, in my opinion, life changing. I have read Mere Christianity several times and cannot tell you how much The Screwtape Letters impacted my developing faith in college and beyond. Whenever I contemplate the workings of temptation, I remember the correspondence of Wormwood and Screwtape. As a kid, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia and checked them out from our church library every summer. A thing to note in regards to the often quoted and referenced Lewis, the world has changed. For me, Lewis's apologetic typically speaks to those who struggle with the existence of God because of the problem of evil or suffering. Today, I believe many non-believers come from a desire for personal or experienced "logic" and "philosophy". It has nothing to do with God. While I hear people still say how can God be real if there is so much evil in the world, I more commonly hear quotes or restatements of men like Dawkins and Hutchins. Their disbelief in God is not from the problem of evil in the world, but rather from their belief in the superiority of man.

The voice of the world has changed and if the message of Christ is to remain relevant and impactful, we must listen and answer the questions and accusations leveled today, not yesterday. Let me encourage you to read and study and listen...even if you don't agree. If I may recommend a few resources check out Stand to Reason and apologist Ravi Zacharis. And while you are at it, NEVER skip a chance to read and reread C.S. Lewis!

all about Christ,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pack Your Bags, We're Going on a Guilt Trip...

I was recently driving through Louisville to pick my kids up and I noticed a sign out front of a building. It said something along the lines of "a portion of every dollar spent here goes to…"and they listed an organization. I'm not 100% certain what the organization was (check the P.S. below) but I was distracted by the "buy here and we'll do this good deed" attitude. What a horrible motivation! Were they suggesting their products are not good enough to sell on their own accord so they had to attempt to tug at our heart strings? Is this an attempt to manipulate people to buy?

Manipulation is wrong but prevalent...even in the church.

For example: Christians are to pray for others. I just spent several weeks looking at prayer in the New Testament and I noticed something. Jesus never said pray for your enemies SO THEY WILL COME TO HIM. Paul never said pray for your enemies SO THEY WILL GIVE THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST. In fact, we are never told in Scripture, but I'm sure you have often heard the "love-them-to-Christ" mentality. 

What a manipulated, sad, and twisted faith!

We are supposed to pray for and love others, period. Don't add to, don't take away. Love and pray for others.

When Jesus began teaching about praying for (and loving) our enemies, he was not intending it as a way to guilt them to repentance or salvation. He taught us to pray for and love our enemies because it was about doing the right thing. I'm praying today that you do the right thing. Love and pray for those who are against you. The power of the cross is strong enough without manipulation or guilt, do you agree?

all about Christ,

P.S. I believe the group they were raising support for was Wounded Warrior Project. I love what this group does. If you'd like to support them without being coerced into buying a product from some store, then just give here. Simple.