Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Advent Monologue

This will be a bit longer than usual, but I promise well worth it. I was recently introduced to a story I have passed over for years now. (Thank you Andrew Gullahorn and Jason Gray for your performance of this story through song at the Behold the Lamb of God concert.) Don't make my mistake, READ THIS STORY. The following is by Walt Wangerin, Jr. and is called An Advent Monologue. It is a beautiful story of Christmas. As I read about the woman, I couldn't help but picture myself and many of my closest friends. What a powerful parable...and it just shows us how much God loves us and how much He cares for us. You can read it and a few other stories from his book Ragman by clicking this link

I love a child.

But she is afraid of me.

I want to help this child, so terribly in need of help. For she is hungry; her cheeks are sunken to the bone; but she knows little of food, less of nutrition. I know both these things. She is cold, and she is dirty; she lives at the end of a tattered hallway, three flights up in a tenement whose landlord long forgot the human bodies huddled in that place. But I know how to build a fire; and I know how to wash a face.

She is retarded, if the truth be told, thick in her tongue, slow in her mind, yet aware of her infirmity and embarrassed by it. But here am I, well-traveled throughout the universe, and wise, and willing to share my wisdom.

She is lonely all the day long. She sits in a chair with her back to the door, her knees tucked tight against her breasts, her arms around these, her head down. And I can see how her hair hangs to her ankles; but I cannot see her face. She’s hiding. If I could but see her face and kiss it, why I could draw the loneliness out of her.

She sings a sort of song to pass the time, a childish melody, though she is a woman in her body by its shape, a swelling at her belly. She sings, “Puss, puss.” I know the truth, that she is singing of no cat at all, but of her face, sadly, calling it ugly. And I know the truth, that she is right. But I am mightily persuasive myself, and I could make it lovely by my love alone.

I love the child.

But she is afraid of me.

Then how can I come to her, to feed and to heal her by my love? Knock on the door? Enter the common way?

No. She holds her breath at a gentle tap, pretending that she is not home; she feels unworthy of polite society. And loud, imperious bangings would only send her into shivering tears, for police and bill collectors have troubled her in the past.

And should I break down the door? Or should I show my face at the window? Oh, what terrors I’d cause then. These have happened before. She’s suffered the rapings of kindless men, and therefore she hangs her head, and therefore she sings, “Puss.”

I am none of these, to be sure. But if I came the way that they have come, she would not know me different. She would not receive my love, but might likely die of a failed heart.

I’ve called from the hall. I’ve sung her name through cracks in the plaster. But I have a bright trumpet of a voice, and she covers her ears and weeps. She thinks each word an accusation.

I could, of course, ignore the doors and walls and windows, simply appearing before her as I am. I have that capability. But she hasn’t the strength to see it and would die. She is, you see, her own deepest hiding place, and fear and death are the truest doors against me.

Then what is left? How can I come to my beloved? Where’s the entrance that will not frighten nor kill her? By what door can love arrive after all, truly to nurture her, to take the loneliness away, to make her beautiful, as lovely as my moon at night, my sun come morning?

I know what I will do.

I’ll make the woman herself my door—and by her body enter in her life.

Ah, I like that. I like that. However could she be afraid of her own flesh, of something lowly underneath her ribs?

I’ll be the baby waking in her womb. Hush: she’ll have the time, this way, to know my coming first before I come. Hush: time to get ready, to touch her tummy, touching the promise alone, as it were. When she hangs her head, she shall be looking at me, thinking of me, loving me while I gather in the deepest place of her being. It is an excellent plan! Hush.

And then, when I come, my voice shall be so dear to her. It shall call the tenderness out of her soul and loveliness into her face. And when I take milk at her breast, she’ll sigh and sing another song, a sweet Magnificat, for she shall feel important then, and worthy, seeing that another life depends on hers. My need shall make her rich!

Then what of her loneliness? Gone. Gone in the bond between us, though I shall not have said a word yet. And for my sake she shall wash her face, for she shall have a reason then.

And the sins that she suffered, the hurts at the hands of men, shall be transfigured by my being: I make good come out of evil; I am the good come out of evil.

I am her Lord, who loves this woman.

And for a while I’ll let her mother me. But then I’ll grow. And I will take my trumpet voice again, which once would kill her. And I’ll take her, too, into my arms. And out of that little room, that filthy tenement, I’ll bear my mother, my child, alive forever.

I love a child. 

But she will not fear me for long, now. 

Look! Look, it is almost happening. I am doing a new thing— and don’t you perceive it? I am coming among you, a baby.

And my name shall be Emmanuel.

The Christ of God

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cost of Christmas


Christmas is a mystery. Shoppers go to extremes to buy the perfect gift to show their love. Unfortunately, love often has a price tag. Many will buy low and attempt to "sell" it high when they give it. That's what Black Friday is all about. Buy the best/most expensive gifts at the lowest possible price. It makes us look like we give good gifts…when in fact, we are just cheap. Don't believe me? How do we react when a store has a price labeled or advertised wrong? It completely reverses the whole spirit of Christmas and the whole message of God's love for us through the gift of Christ.

You see, God gave us (presented) Christ at the lowest possible price. Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, born to an unwed, but engaged peasant. Born, then placed in a manger, an animal's food bowl. Don't forget, animals were not given fresh food, just baked for them. Animals received the scraps, left overs. Oh, and they aren't arranged on the plate so they aren't touching each other. Have you ever seen a bucket of scrap food before? The 8.6 lb baby Jesus was not wearing a golden fleece diaper (sorry Ricky Bobby) but instead, wrapped in scraps of cloth that did not smell like Tide or bleach. Scraps. If we saw a child in scraps of cloth today, what would we do? 

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 tells us that Christ will come and will not be regarded by men. He will be despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. (Please go back and read the whole text... seriously, I linked the text for you!)

Unlike our gifts, Christ was presented at the lowest possible price. Then when the time came, Christ paid the highest possible price. He gave His life.

1 John 3:1 tells us God has lavished His love on us. Just a few verses later John describes that love in 1 John 3:16 telling us that this is how we know what love is, that Christ laid down His life for us! 

This Christmas, my hope is that when we give gifts, we do so with love, not with price tags.

all about Christ,

*Picture taken from http://www.digitaltrends.com/guides/black-friday-survival-guide/

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spur: Dirty Laundry...

One of my tasks around the house is doing the dreaded laundry. It wasn't to bad gig when it was just me and my wife. But then add in three kids six and under and the laundry basket has become like the widow's flour jar and oil jug in 1 Kings 17... it never runs dry.

Every Friday for me it's time to attack the laundry...It's not a task I look forward to but that changed last week. Lately, I've been trying to do better at prayer. So every piece of clothing I decided to pray for the person who wore it. My son Isaac's bear pajamas...pray a little something something for Isaac...Sadie's purple socks...shoot up a pray for my daughter and so own...

I can't tell you how quickly the laundry went from mundane to meaningful...

What do you do everyday that you could make meaningful?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Big Burden

So today my family and I are moving. We are leaving Southwest Virginia and moving to Kentucky. Julie and the kids are in our minivan while I am driving a really big yellow truck, a 26' Penske moving truck to be precise. (A huge thanks to the Hall family for transporting our other car!) The trip takes about 4 1/2 hours. In the back of the 26' truck is the vast majority of our possessions. Clothes, furniture, electronics, kids toys, pictures, and all kinds of stuff. I bear the burden of all the things we have acquired and kept over the years. Some of you have moved before and you know this burden...but there are bigger burdens.

Several years ago Christ carried my burden on the cross. He took every sin I had ever committed and bore them on the cross. He took every sin I have yet to commit and bore them on the cross. I'm far from perfect. My burden must have been huge, but Christ bore it. Not only did He bear my burden, but He also bore your burden. Every sin you ever committed. Every sin you have yet to commit. All transported far from us. The burden of our sin is gone.

Rejoice your sin burden is removed!

all about Christ,

Monday, October 31, 2011

See You On Monday

Chic-Fil-A is a great example of what you need in your life...Sabbath and Rest...I know you were hoping I'd say a #1 hold the pickle, with a sweet tea.

God models Sabbath and rest for us in the creation story, six days of work, then a day of rest. Later, in Deuteronomy 5:12-15 we are commanded to observe the Sabbath. Jesus models Sabbath and rest as well as you read through the Gospels.

Is there a time of rest and Sabbath in your life? Is there time carved out for is spiritual renewal and physical rest?

I love this video below it's uses comedy to portray a truth we need in our lives...Sabbath and rest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Transition and Change

Yes, yes, I realize Brian and I have not posted all summer. Brian, as a youth minister, is very busy during the summer and me, I re-started my graduate school work. We have both been busy and agreed to let the blog simmer for a few months, hoping God would lead us as we began to post again in the fall…which leads to today's blog.

We have just slid into the fall season. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love seeing all the leaves change and living here in the mountains of Southwest Virginia it is beautiful. The leaves have just started to change! It's nice to see nature change and even feel it in the air with the cooler temperatures. What I love about fall is, like spring, it is a season of transition. It's not quite summer and not quite winter. There is a general feeling of progress. 

Another change my family is going through is we are now packing. We are relocating. I have recently accepted a ministry at Lincoln Trail Christian Church in Irvington, KY. This change is a type of transition. While I am leaving behind a ministry that has been very dear to me, I know there is more to come. It's like fall. It's both exciting and sad to see the trees loose their leaves but you know they will grow back in the spring.

Scriptures like Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 remind me that there are lots of seasons of change in life. What we need to remember is that God is not a god of seasons, but rather the God of all times. Beginnings, endings, planting, harvesting, a season for everything and God is God of all of them.

I'm curious now, what changes have you gone through recently?

all about Christ,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So what are we going to do today?

I have to admit, because of my sons and Netflix, I now have a secret addiction to the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb. The premise of the show is to create the best day of summer vacation ever...and they do this each day. I find myself singing the songs and quoting the show at random times to my wife and kids. Every show has a similar flow and one statement that is made in each episode is "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!"

Well this past week was the last week of school for my boys and I was looking forward to Saturday. It had felt like an exceptionally long week. I was thinking everyone would sleep in on a lazy Saturday morning. My wife works out of town most Fridays and Saturdays and so I have a few extra hours of "craziness" to contend with. My daughter has a 6:30 a.m. internal alarm clock that malfunctioned this past Saturday. It went off at 5:10 a.m. I wasn't ready for that. My sons were both out of bed and ready for Saturday at 6:45 a.m. The cartoons aren't even on yet!

I later asked my oldest, why did you get up so earlier? Why didn't you sleep in? His answer was perfect. He said, "Daddy, it's the first day of summer, I didn't want to waste it."

He nailed it!

Paul tells us not to waste time as well in Ephesians 5:15-17.

There is nothing wrong with resting. In fact we need to have a Sabbath. But we do not need to be wasteful of the time God has given us. Don't waste today! Or maybe the motivating question is what Isabella from Phineas and Ferb always asks, "Whatcha doin'?"

God has and will continue to do His part, now it's up to us. Go ahead and do what you can to make today a great day.

all about Christ,


Monday, May 30, 2011

Seven Deadly Sins of Today

I've been working on a modern list of the Seven Deadly Sins. The name, Seven Deadly Sins, comes from the Catholic Church and there is no "biblical" list of seven deadly sins. Proverbs 6:16 does includes a list of 6 sins God hates and 7 that are an abomination and Galatians 5:19-21 includes a longer list of sins (15 specific and a broad 16th). The Seven Deadly Sins, according to the Catholic Church, are Greed, Sloth, Pride, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Gluttony. They are deadly, again according to the Catholic Church, because your soul is in extreme danger if you commit these.

All that aside, sin is sin and any sin separates you from God. What I wanted to do is update the list for today. I will keep the name "deadly" because I believe these sins will KILL the Church if they go on unattended. You will notice some sins on my list are similar to the original. I need help adding the 7th so here are my Six Deadly Sins (just doesn't roll off the tongue). Some of these deadly sins may need to be regrouped with others. Just let me know what you think!

1 - Opinion (Which is nothing more than pride repackaged. Opinion says I'm right, you are wrong so it includes judgment. Opinion is not fact.)

2 - Gossip (This is fake or immature knowledge. When you pass on knowledge/information that is not known or not yours to share that is gossip. If you wonder if what you are sharing is gossip, then don't share it.)

3 - Apathy (Apathy says I don't care. Faith without works is dead. Is your faith active or dead? There is no place for Zombie Christians, they may move but they are actually dead. We must care. We must live out our faith!)

4 - Intentional Ignorance (Some have a fear of being responsible for the knowledge they gain. There is little to no (or know) personal study, no desire for personal growth, always asking others if they ask at all. Grow so you can share!)

5 - Cultural Attrition (The culture has a definite affect on us. The culture determines for too many people what boundaries they can and cannot cross. The nation becomes more sexual, our language deteriorates as we sound more like flash celebrities and theology is replaced with philosophy.)

6 - Habitual (So many buy into the "healthy habit" lie. Habits are broken all the time. We don't take habits serious. People say, "I got out of the habit of 'prayer', 'church', 'study', whatever…these are not mere habits, these are lifestyles that must be lived.)

7 - 

Well, as you can see 7 is blank. Help me out.

all about Christ,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What are you going to do?

What are you going to do?

As I write this, Brian and members from Galilee Christian Church are in Haiti working with an orphanage through Imagine Missions. I had the privilege of taking a team from Long Hollow Christian Church last year to do the same. Last year about this time Brian was leading a team from Galilee to Nashville to do flood work. I was also taking a team from Long Hollow on a trip to Nashville for the same reason. We worked through the same organization. Just a few weeks ago the tornadoes devastated areas near both of us so we took groups from the churches we serve to help in these areas (Brian in Alabama and I in Virginia). He and I talk about various opportunities to serve.

I love the fact that Brian and I desire to "spur one another on to love and good deeds" and we do this out of Christ' love. 

When God's people see others hurting, then we, as God's people, need to respond. Often, many sit idly by and let others go and do. Let me encourage you to go. If you can't go physically, you can go financially by donating even $10. Maybe you are physically unable to go, or financially unable to support, could you organize a goods drive? People need the supplies and basic necessities (from toiletries to clothes to food) we may take for granted. Most importantly, don't go at it alone, but do go at it!

Get involved. Joplin, Missouri needs help. Glade Spring, Virginia needs help. Tuscaloosa, Alabama needs help, towns that used to be along the Mississippi River need help. Haiti and Japan still need help. There are so many more opportunities to serve that I didn't list. Maybe opportunities that are ongoing in your neighborhood or town. Just don't remain apathetic. Let me ask again, what are you going to do?

all about Christ,

P.S. About the picture. Yes, that is a door in the top of a tree. It was one of the most unsettling sites I saw on our trip to Glade Spring, VA. To me it illustrated the destruction and power of the storm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sick of the leadership hype?

Do you ever get sick of the leadership hype? Many times, I do.  All I hear, read and see is about leadership. How you must become a leader and develop your leadership skills. How you must be a leader, excel at leadership, read about leadership, and study other leaders and of course you must learn the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership and never break them. Everyone wants the fast track to being a leader.

Why isn't anyone teaching people how to follow well, or how to be a great follower? Nobody is talking about following, it's all about being a leader. Why is nobody training people how to be good followers? What are the 21 irrefutable laws of being a follower? The only following we want to learn is how to get more followers on Twitter.

Current books on Amazon under "leadership": 67,194
Current books on Amazon under "following": 10,952

Jesus first words to the disciples..."Follow me"...Why? So one day they they could lead.

Maybe you need to step off the leadership fast track, stopping listening to the leadership podcasts, quit memorizing the 21 laws and and learn to follow. .

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pause and Reflect

I celebrated my birthday this week. Kind of a big one for me, as a Christian minister that is. I’m 33. For some that may not seem significant but it is an age that has me very contemplative. Just this past week we celebrated “Holy Week” and Sunday was Easter. Jesus was 33 at the time of His crucifixion. So, here I am, 33.

Jesus’ earthly ministry (from baptism to crucifixion) lasted 3 years. He changed the world by making an impact on those around Him. While I’m not Jesus, I do serve the same God. So here I am reflecting. What have I done for the Kingdom, what kind of impact have I made on those around me?

As I have begun to do this, I would ask you do the same. Reflect on your own life, just for a moment. In what ways have you made an impact on those around you?

all about Christ,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reality is better than truth...

Reality is better than than truth, here is why...

As a kid growing up in the 80's the commercials and hype about the original Nintendo NES, the 8 bit video game system that would change your life was truth. But it wasn't reality until you become a plumber and saved a princess, shot ducks and the dog that laughed at you, or found out why Zelda was a legend, using a controller with only an A and B button.

All games a side, reality is better than truth.

We read and hear the staggering statics of how many people are starving in the world, we even see pictures and videos showing this devastation. It's truth, it's fact, it's happening and we know it. But it's not reality till you have walked into a village in another country, or came in contact with someone across town and seen  it first hand, it's real and now is a reality.

It's truth that we are supposed to love our neighbor. Love your neighbor is directly after the golden rule, so it's the silver rule then right? It's part of our mission statement, a tag line in many churches, and something we seek to do . It's truth, love your neighbor.  But it's not reality, it's not real, till you actually do it.  It's not real till you have been wronged, and gossiped about yet you continue to love and forgive. It's not real until you love, those who curse, mistreat, and can't even repay you. Luke 6:32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even "sinners" love those who love them." Real love is loving without expecting an thank you, a reward, or maybe eve a smile.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That's truth, that is the Gospel. But the reality is much better than the truth, I was once lost and was found, and Jesus saved me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Ya Feeling?

I'm sitting in the doctors office right now. Waiting. Thankfully, I'm not sick. The reason I'm here is for a check up.

I began thinking about how we fool ourselves. I'm ok on the outside, so everything must be okay on the inside. Then you hear things like high blood pressure, high sugar, cancer. You say, not me, I'm healthy. It's a medical denial. Chances are you have seen it too.

There is a temptation in Christianity to do the same. Look at the outside only. At church you are all smiles and you look like nothing ever goes wrong. Someone says how are you? You say fine or maybe something like too blessed to be depressed! We both know the truth though. Life isn't perfect. Are you blessed? Yes. Should we complain? Probably not. But a lie? I hope not!

The truth is things have gotten out of sync. Our Spiritual blood pressure is out of whack. We are struggling with a spiritual cancer we haven't addressed yet. Why? The sooner you address it, the higher the survival rate, the more effective the treatment will be.

If it is important that we not skip our check ups and physical examines, it is more important that we not forgo doing a spiritual checkup. Maybe instead of opening up our mouth and saying "ah" so much, we need to open up the scriptures and say "oh".

all about Christ,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Truth or Consequences

In studying leadership many times we study the triumphs, success stories, and the good to great moments . But I think we can also learn from the pitfalls, train wrecks and mistakes leaders make. One I have seen this past week is that leaders must strive for honesty and truth. 

Two high profile collegiate coaches at high profile colleges have either been suspended for several games or fired completely because of honesty. They have great records, won more games than their predecessor, and taken their teams from good to great, but they came up against the powerhouse in the division, truth, and they were defeated.   

Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Lying leaders last only a moment as well. 

Once a leader's words and actions can no longer be trusted, the consequences are costly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Movie Watching Has Been Adjusted

Really looking forward to seeing the movie "The Adjustment Bureau" for a few reasons... I think Matt Damon is great actor, he's really moving into being one of Hollywood's elite actors. Secondly, it looks like a great way to bring up some theology and truth into conversation and everyday life...Check out the taglines from the movie...
  • Fight For Your Fate.
  • Your Fate Has Been Adjusted.
  • Your Future Has Been Adjusted.
  • Your World Has Been Adjusted.
Predestination vs. Free Will...Classic argument, one that people love to debate and talk about.  I'm not sure to which side the movie leans, but I know it will spark talk about God, His will and His plans. 

Movies in some sense are modern day pulpits...people gather together, to listen, engage and are told a worldview. Granted most of the time it's not a Biblical worldview, but let's redeem the screen to see truth in it, leveraging it for the Kingdom. 

Your Movie Watching Has Just Been Adjusted.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011


There is so much noise in our lives today...so many people and items begging us to listen and gain our attention.

Cell phones don't leave our reach...we talk, text, surf and even video chat.

Facebook "friends" tell us the status of everyone we know and some tell everything they do. Oh, you're doing laundry, thanks for the update.

Blogs we listen to opinions, strategies, gazing at peoples lives and hearing their views...

Twitter we listen to people we will never meet yet we must follow...

Advertisers scream to get our attention through billboards, ads, mailers and commercials...

Books speak to us quietly to train, teach and sometimes even change us.

These are all great things to listen to, but they may crowd out the most important voice. God's voice. Don't get so busy listening to the noise that you miss the voice.  

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Beware the Know It All

    Following up with last week I wanted to talk briefly about thinking and theology.

    Again, we all have our beliefs and our convictions, but how sure are you that you are right? Are you 100% right?

    I once heard Dr. Elmer Towns say something to the effect that behind every theology is a bit of mystery, a bit of God still yet unrevealed. I loved the wisdom and humility in that statement.

    I can't speak for all of us, but I know I want answers. I always want to learn everything I can about as much as I can (maybe one day destroying Ken Jennings record on Jeopardy…mwhahahahaha…sorry). The truth is, I don't know it all, and neither do you. I like to think I have the answers for every turn of life, for every theological question. From "at what point are we saved", to "does God really answer prayers or were they predestined to be answered", to "if a tree falls in the woods…"

    My point is this, my dependence should not be on my own finite knowledge or contrived wisdom. My dependence should be on God. Period. I don't need all the answers. I need God. After all, if I had all the answers, I wouldn't need faith, would I?

    While it is important that we all seek to know God in every possible way, don't think you, me or anyone has all the answers. Our goal with this blog is simply to encourage you to live Hebrews 10:24. Think about ways you can spur one another on to love and good deeds (or more love as it were).

    Let me add to that one thing. In the realm of theological bickering (as seen with the discussion of the theology of Hell recently) remember Philippians 4:8-9. The context of Philippians 4 is some type of disagreement or falling out between to members of the church. We are not to feed the hate, but rather focus on doing what we are supposed to do.

    all about Christ,

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Throwing Digital Stones

    We all believe something. We have convictions about other things. But
    there is a sad truth in all these; some of us don't know why we
    believe what we believe.

    This past weekend an article was published by Justin Taylor at The
    Gospel Coalition
    . I was shocked at what was written. The article sets out to ask if Rob Bell is a Universalist. A Universalist believes that eventually,
    everyone will be saved. As the article continues Taylor pronounces Rob
    Bell a Universalists. Several Christians, some prominent like John
    , have began the digital stoning over this very dangerous belief. Equally disturbing is supporters of Rob Bell rushing to his defense.

    While it seems like this should be an open and shut case. Bible says
    "A" and Teacher says "B" so Teacher must be a Heretic. The problem is,
    the book isn't out yet. We don't know what Rob Bell is teaching or
    saying. The digital stoning started because of a clip written by the
    publicist combined with the video where Rob Bell expresses that our
    views of Heaven and Hell are essential to understanding God.

    For what it's worth, I don't believe for a second Ghandi is in hell.
    Nor do I believe Hitler is in hell. Wait for the other shoe to drop
    and put down your digital stones down. Satan himself is not in hell,
    at least not yet. Hell is what happens during eternity after judgment
    for those without Christ as Lord and Savior. Hell is a prison for
    Satan, not his command post and it's certainly not his kingdom…at
    least that is what the Bible teaches.

    Would love to hear your thoughts and discussion below!

    all about Christ,

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Time well spent?

    "How we spend our days is, how we spend our lives." -Annie Dillard

    Focus on yesterday, look back for just a moment. Grab a pen or pencil and a scrap piece of paper and go back through your day. Scribble down everything you can remember regarding how you spent your day, starting with the sound of the alarm lock or maybe you're like me and you're kicked by the foot of a three year old that snuck into your bed. Write out your day. I read about this exercise and tried it this week, it really opens your eyes to how one spends their life and puts James 4:14 into perspective.

    Is yesterday reflective of how you're spending your life?

    There is no such thing as saving time...it's only spent. How will you spend it?

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Feel the Pain

    I woke up with a migraine today. Hated it. Took some meeds to feel
    better. Then I began to think about how much we want to kill pain. I'm
    not just talking about something like a headache, but the pains of
    life (finances, death, illness, persecution and so on). We want
    everything to be fine. We want to be happy all the time. We don't want
    pain. And you are probably asking, the problem with that is…

    Have you ever heard of CIPA? It's a condition called Congenital
    Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis. It affects close to 2 dozen
    Americans…not many. For those who have it, they hate it. CIPA is the
    inability to feel any nerve related sensations and that they cannot
    sweat. Someone who cannot sense heat or cold or even know they need to
    go to the bathroom. You can't feel heat…you may get burned. You can't
    feel cold…you may experience hypothermia. You can't sweat…you may
    experience a heat stroke.

    Ever been eating food and bite your tongue. It hurts. Then a few
    moments later, you bite it again. What if you didn't feel it the first
    time? The damage that is caused when we can't experience pain is

    James 1:2-4 tells us that we should consider our trials, our pains,
    all joy or pure joy. Pure joy? Yes, pure joy. The pains of this life
    (not broken bones or hurt heads, but broken lives and hurt hearts) are
    there for a reason and a purpose. No addiction will kill those pains.
    Only God will allow you to recover from the pain. He is the medicine
    we need. When you have pains, and you will, consider it pure joy
    because your faith is being developed as you trust in God.

    all about Christ,

    Thursday, February 17, 2011


    One of the things David and I would like to do through this blog is Spur you to love and good deeds, simply applying Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds."

    A few thoughts about spurs...

    • Spurs make a horse advance, moving to a place it may not want to go, or something it may not want to do. Many times you and I need that push or encouragement to advance to go and love when we may not want to.
    • Spurs are to back up the natural aids (the leg, seat, hands and voice) used to control a horse. Sometimes love and good deeds just come natural and other times a spur is needed when the norm it's effective.
    • Spurs are not to hurt, but to transmit a signal. Spurring and encourangement should not be used to guilt others, but to trnsmit the signal we must be about loving others and serving them.
    • Spurs aren't used by novice riders, one must know how to handle a galloping horse. You must know how to spur and encouage people and the key is knowing who's life you can speak into and challenge and who's you cannot.
    • Lastly just for fun..."Don't squat with your spurs on" Will Rogers.
    Today, my challenge to you before the sun goes down and you ride off into the sunset seek to love and serve others...Spur.

    Inspired to write this from blog http://www.morethandodgeball.com/ post written by Joseph Robinson.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    What is Love?

    Valentines is a day when thoughts are turned to love. But what is love? Just last night the Grammys were on and I saw on my Twitter feed that people “loved” this performance or that outfit. Tonight, I plan on making a dinner for my wife that she will hopefully “love”. While those may be types of “love”, there is more to “love” than the things we hear, see and eat.

    The Scriptures tell us that we are to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31) and that we are to love our enemies (Luke 6:35). As we love our neighbor and our enemies our love must be sincere (Romans 12:9). And we are told the greatest example of love is seen in sacrifice, specifically the sacrifice of Christ for us (1 John 3:16-18).

    And I think the last verse I mentioned is where there answer is. Love is not a feeling, or something we fall into. Love is giving. Love is intentional. Love is active. Love is truthful.

    Happy Valentines, now go show real love.

    all about Christ,

    P.S. When you read the title did you start bobbing your head a little and singing?

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    It's not just for you...

    Ever wonder why are you so creative, why you got the creative gift from God? Obviously it's so you can innovate and create, right? Or maybe your finances are surprisingly strong in this weak economy, you excel in money manners, you've always been blessed to be an entrepreneur.  Possibly you have the leadership gift and people just seem to follow you and believe in your vision.

    Why? Why does God give us these gifts, these blessings? We know to advance and help us, right?  But you need to realize this...It's not just for you

    God tells Abraham in Genesis 12:2 " I will bless you...and you will be a blessing." God blesses, then we bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing to others...

    Your creativity...is not just for you.
    Your finances, your entrepreneurship...is not just for you.
    The leadership God has blessed you with...is not just for you.

    What has God blessed you with that you can blessed other with? 

    You are blessed to be a blessing to others...

    If you want to be challenged more regarding this topic I recommend a book my friend Andy Martin gifted to me on missions and subject...Unveiled at Last by Bob Sjogren

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Blessings and Gifts

    When is the last time you were blessed by God? I mean really, really BLESSED. Warning, I'm setting you up. I'm very guilty of this myself, so it's not just you. I saw a tweet post about being incredibly blessed the other day by someone who had received something. Maybe it was just the wording, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I know nothing of the situation they were talking about, but it got me thinking. I tend to only think about God's blessings when it is in connection with something I want. I have a hunch I'm not alone in this.

    God doesn't simply give us the things we want or think we need. God gives us what He knows we need. Sometimes His gifts and our wants/needs line up, sometimes they don't. When they line up we say, we are blessed. When they don't line up, we tend to overlook the blessing. Think about the gifts God gives. James 1:17 tells us He only gives the good and perfect gifts. We see those as blessings, funny thing though, they aren't called blessings…they are called gifts.

    I got to thinking about the blessings mentioned in Matthew 5:2-12. I'm not simply blessed because I receive something from God, but I'm blessed, when my motives are pure. When I have a pure heart I get to see God! Talk about being incredibly blessed! And that's just one of the many blessings talked about in the scriptures.

    The final thought I had was this, we all want to be blessed. Right? So look at a text like Matthew 5:2-12 and realize that we can be blessed by living for God, not just by receiving from God.

    all about Christ,

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    The best movie I saw in 2010...

    The best movie I saw in 2010 was Inception by Christopher Nolan. I love watching movies just to watch and join in the story. But I also love to watch and see how we can find redemptive themes movies, leveraging culture for the Kingdom.  
    As I watched Inception, I thought it was interesting in the movie that each character carries a "totem" a marker or reminder to reality to mark what is real and what is a dream. Cobb carries the famous spinning top, Ariadne a golden chess piece, Arthur a weighted die and Eames a poker chip. 

    For the Christian, everyday is filled with totems that point directly to God and to truth. From the sunrise this morning to the star lit sky tonight, from the simplest to the most complex, people in and around our lives, to moments and experiences, all totems reminding us of God. Psalm 19:1-4 tells us even creation reminds us, without speaking a word.   

    Maybe it's time we "wake up"...and see the totems all around us.

    What’s your choice for the best movie of 2010? Click on comments to share…

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    I Love Her!

    I love her. Shhh. It’s not my wife…well, I love her too, after all, she is a big part of my new love. Last week we welcomed home our first daughter. To be honest, I am still scared to death as to what that means. Please join me in my prayers (and I’m sure the prayers of every dad out there) that long dresses and turtle necks will come back in style before she reaches the teenage years!

    In all seriousness, I love my daughter and she has done NOTHING to deserve that. In fact she has cost me sleep (my wife more than me). Speaking of costs, do you realize how much it costs to have a child. And that is before you get them home. She has, in just a few days time, gone through an entire box of diapers. She can’t talk or walk so she is completely dependent on my wife and I. She has gotten louder as her lungs have gotten stronger. We have to lug her around everywhere we go, if we go anywhere because in some ways she keeps us chained to the house. But I love her. I love every moment with her. She is beautiful. Even that belly button thing that is about to fall off. So to recap, I love her not because of anything she has done, in fact she’s pretty needy. I love her because she is mine.

    That is how God’s love works for us. It is not based on what we do or don’t do. God loves us unconditionally. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). God loves us regardless of the mess we make (Romans 5:8-10). And let’s face it, we make some pretty big messes with our sin. Don’t we? And the good news is there is nothing we can do to change His love for us (Romans 8:38-39).

    If you have a few minutes check this video out that deals with this love. The song starts at about 50 seconds but the intro is fun so enjoy.

    all about Christ,

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    A little late on getting this post up. Brian and I had talked about paying tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr on our blog, but we also, as always, wanted to spur you on.

    "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and
    conscientious stupidity."

    These quotes are attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. There are a few things I have learned about him I want to pass on to you (I found these on the Twitter stream of @ShaunKing). We know Martin Luther King, Jr is a larger than life legend, but in truth, he was only 5' 5". Shorter than the average man. In school, at Morehouse College, he was an average student, not an academic elite.

    Martin Luther King, Jr was just 39 when he shot. So he lived a relatively short life, at least by American standards. He was 26 when he LED the Montgemory Bus Boycott! TWENTY-SIX!!! He was only 34 (I'm 32) when he gave his most famous speech, a speech that has been heard around the world, "I Have a Dream".

    The most inspiring thing, to me, about Martin Luther King, Jr was that he let God use him. You don't have to be a giant, an academic elite, wait till you are older. No, in fact, it can all start RIGHT NOW if you let God use you. Then you too will have a dream.

    Let me close with one of the more painful (spurring) quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

    Have you discovered something you are willing to die for?

    all about Christ,

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Why Hope?

    A friend asked the other day why is the New Year is so full of HOPE when circumstances for most have not changed? I've thought about that for a while now. I think I understand, at least from a Christian leadership perspective.

    HOPE is the catalyst for changing circumstances. It's a starting point. It's a beginning. HOPE gives us the ability to look past the frustrations we may find ourselves immersed in. We all want frustrations to end. We all want to see perseverance. The problem is HOPE, at face value, is not enough. It's a power chord that needs to an outlet.

    HOPE begins as a dream or a vision of what could be. Dreams and visions are not meant to stay in your head. They will never be achieved if they stay in your head. HOPE must be grounded in active FAITH. FAITH requires action on our part. Maybe another way to say it is FAITH is HOPE lived out. HOPE must be grounded in thought out BELIEF. How can I achieve "X"...well I need to do "A" and "B"...and probably need to do "C" and "D" as well. I was once told, if you believe it, you can achieve it. While that is a little "pie-in-the-sky", the truth is every HOPE needs a plan, which means it is achievable, maybe not easy, but achievable.

    Take your HOPE and live it to the full, share it with others without reserve and know that it can be done.

    all about Christ,

    Monday, January 3, 2011


    I'm done with New Year's Resolutions...and here is why...

    They don't work...I look the last few I have made and they didn't work. I read this week that University of Minnesota reported 80% of people give up their resolutions within the first 60 days...

    They bring guilt...when you don't meet your goals or purpose guilt moves in.

    They don't matter eternally...weight loss, organization, learning to play the guitar are great things but they are not going to matter eternally.

    They focus on self...most of the time the focus is always on guess who?  Me...