Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"May the Holy Spirit, who is the Divine Revealer and Interpreter of Christ and His truth, impart to your heart a sober, spiritual and sanctifying receptivity of His Word — abasing self, and exalting Christ! May you see Christ unveiled in glory, beauty, and perfect fullness. And may you be overwhelmed by the personal realization of what Christ is to you...and of what you are to Christ." ~ Octavius Winslow

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Greatest Fear

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure,
but of succeeding at things in this life
that really don’t matter.”
~ Francis Chan

Persevering in Relationships

I've been pondering this from James MacDonald all morning...

Genuine fellowship requires commitment.
Philippians 1:5 tells us, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer... because of your partnership (or fellowship; it’s the same word) in the Gospel from the first day until now.”

Notice,“from the first day until now.” Starting in a relationship is easy; continuing in relationship is difficult. There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. And that requires commitment.

The greater glory goes to Jesus Christ—not when we take our marbles and go home because something didn’t work out the way we wanted it. The greater glory goes to Jesus Christ when we pursue and persevere in relationships in spite of the shortcomings that we see in one another.

It’s not about you or about me. It’s about growing in love together for the glory of Jesus Christ.

If it is truly about His glory then in relationships as well as all other facets of our our walk with Christ we must pursue and persevere. By God's grace may that be true in my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Motherhood Is A Calling

I find this very thoughful and thought provoking. It was written by Rachel Jankovic, and I've included a link to the entire article at the end of this post.
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike.
You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy.
You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
You can read the entire article here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

God and Man on the Scale

J. I. Packer:

“I think of the two pans of an old fashioned pair of scales. If one goes up, the other goes down.

Once upon a time folks new that God was great and that man by comparison was small. Each individual carried around a sense of his own smallness in the greatness of God’s world.

However, the scale pans are in a different relation today. Man has risen in his own estimation. He thinks of himself as great, grand and marvelously resourceful. This means inevitably that our thoughts about God have shrunk. As God goes down in our estimation, He gets smaller. He also exists now only for our pleasure, our convenience and our health, rather than we existing for His glory.

Now, I’m an old fashioned Christian and I believe that we exist for the glory of God. So the first thing I always want to do in any teaching of Christianity is to attempt to try and get those scale pans reversed.

I want to try and show folks that God is the one of central importance. We exist for His praise, to worship Him, and find our joy and fulfillment in Him; therefore He must have all the glory.

God is great and He must be acknowledged as great. I think there is a tremendous difference between the view that God saves us and the idea that we save ourselves with God’s help.

Formula number two fits the modern idea, while formula number one, as I read my Bible, is scriptural.

We do not see salvation straight until we recognize that from first to last it is God’s work. He didn’t need to save us. He owed us nothing but damnation after we sinned.

What he does, though, is to move in mercy. He sends us a Savior and His Holy Spirit into our hearts to bring us to faith in that Savior. Then He keeps us in that faith and brings us to His glory.

It is His work from beginning to end. God saves sinners.

It does, of course, put us down very low. It is that aspect of the gospel that presents the biggest challenge to the modern viewpoint. But we must not forget that it also sets God up very high.

It reveals to us a God who is very great, very gracious and very glorious. A God who is certainly worthy of our worship.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Note To Self - Fear

By Joe Thorn

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! ~ Ps. 111:10

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. ~ Ps. 10:28

Dear Self,

You often fear the wrong things.

For example, often you are fearful of conflict, suffering, or the loss of good things like respect or acceptance by certain kinds of people. It is understandable from a worldly perspective, for these things you are afraid of losing are themselves—worldly.

This does not mean they are bad, but they are temporal. So many of the things you value are good gifts from God; but they do not last, nor are they supposed to be something from which you find your identity and lasting hope.

The problem with this kind of worldly fear is that it will lead you to toe party lines instead of correcting and challenging the people you are close to.

It will compel you to try to live a safe life, free from risk or danger instead of being willing to make the hard and “risky” choice of following Jesus in a culture that rejects him.

It will lead you to so prize the good gifts of God that they mutate into idols that you are unwilling to let go of.

You don’t need to be afraid of anything, but you do need to fear your God with a holy reverence.

Such “fear” is an aspect of faith that responds to God’s holiness, sovereignty, and transcendence. This higher form of fear is that which leads to awe, adoration, and carefulness of life because of the intimate knowledge of your Maker and Redeemer.

What should you fear in life above a holy God who forgives the sins of unholy men like yourself? What can be taken from you?

Your possessions can go up in flames, but you have treasure in heaven and stand to inherit the kingdom. Your reputation may be sullied, but you are justified in Jesus. You may be rejected by those you admire, but you are accepted by God. You may be hated, but your Father in heaven loves you with an undying love.

What is there in this life to fear?

The fear you need to maintain and cultivate is a fear of God, for in it you will discover wisdom and develop strength that enables you to persevere in faith to the end.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Moth and Rust from the M.O.B. Society

I found this post from the M.O.B. Society powerful and worth pondering on December 1st, 2010

Moth and Rust

By Brad

I have four little boys who really don’t know anything about Christmas. They have no clue that Americans spend over 200 Billion dollars per year on Christmas gifts. They don’t know that most of their peers families will spend $800-$1000 on gifts, whether they can afford it or not. They would not complain if we gave them one 99 cent hotwheels car, and that’s it. Its a beautiful thing. It’s not going to last.

Christmas is about our God sending us a Savior in the form of a baby boy 2000+ years ago. They do know that. They do know the words and hand motions for “Away in a Manger”. They also know that it’s not just about His birth, it’s because he came to die. Even at 3, they knows these essential truths.

The battle for Christmas will begin to intensify this year to keep the focus of Christmas where it ought to be. We are blessed to have a wonderful extended family who love and are loved by our children. Naturally, they will all purchase the boys toys, and I don’t fault them for doing so, we will too. However, my boys are sinful, they were born that way. (Eph. 2:3, Psalm 51:5) They won’t need to be taught to love material things, that will come naturally.

So what do we do? There are a number of things that can be done to help curb the materialism that is Christmas in the United States. We could quit buying things for them at Christmas all together. We could demand that our extended families also exclude our children from the gift tradition. I personally know a christian family who has opted out of Christmas gifts. It’s a legitament consideration.

What are we going to do? Personally, we are choosing to address the sin in their hearts instead of trying to shield them from the temptation. Why? Because I don’t think it’s realistic to think that we will successfully shield their hearts from the temptation of materialism by opting out of gifts. The issue will not be avoided in our culture, it must be dealt with.

How do we address this difficult sin?

Once all the gifts are opened and the wrapping paper is in the trash, we are going to teach our boys about moths and rust.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matt. 6:19

I plan to pile all of their new gifts in the center of the room and sit them down for a lesson. I am going to pick up that new dump truck they are drooling over and ask them where it will be when “they get big like daddy”. I will go get a broken toy from last years Christmas, one they no longer play with much, and show them that this old toy is now trash. I am going to use any tool I can think of to drill an essential idea into their little heads: “Do NOT store up treasures on earth…”

I want them to enjoy their new toys, and I will encourage them to thank God for the wonderful gifts they receive. But moms, our boys have got to realize that the things of this world are temporary. We don’t get to take any of it with us, not even the clothes on our backs. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Todd on Daniel

A lot of Daniel will be familiar, and thus easy, for you [my son]. But parts of it are tough. Let me try to help you make sense of everything.

Those stories that you already know in chapters 1-6 are more than just entertainment for kids. They make a very important point: God will protect his people even when they are in exile. This is even more important when you understand the rest of the book.

The rest of the book (chs. 2 and 7-12) says this: you (Israel) are going to be in exile for a long time. It doesn’t tell us exactly how long, but it says that there are going to be four kingdoms (four parts of the statue in ch. 2 and four beasts in ch. 7). Only when the fourth kingdom arrives does God’s kingdom come and smash the kingdoms of earth.

The most important chapter of the book is chapter 7, because this is the “big picture” that makes sense of the rest of the prophecies. The two animals in chapter 8 are kingdoms #2 and #3 from chapter 7. The war described in chapter 11 is during the time of kingdom #3 and then at the end (v. 36) it jumps to #4 (and the key for this is given in chapter 7).

A lot of this is too much to take in when you’re reading quickly through the Bible, but one day you’ll want to come back and try to “crack the case.” It’s a lot of fun; perhaps you remember a few weeks ago when I seemed really happy. That was the week I was studying Daniel.

Todd Bolen

Friday, September 17, 2010

Letter to one hurting by A. W. Pink, 1886 - 1952

My dear friend,

My heart goes out to you in sympathy in this dark hour, and I feel my helplessness to comfort you. The loss you have sustained is far greater than any human creature can make up--your suffering is too acute for any fellow-mortal to alleviate.

I may endeavor to pour into your sorely-wounded heart something of 'the balm of Gilead,' but only the great Physician can give any efficacy to the same. I can do little more than point you to Him who alone can 'bind up the broken-hearted'. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Unburden yourself to Him.

May divine grace be given you, so that you shall be enabled to meekly acquiesce unto whatever our all-wise God may appoint. It is in heart-submission to God's providential dealings with us, that true religion largely consists. Your acute sorrow is among the 'all things' which work together for good to those who love God. If the Spirit of God is pleased to sanctify this affliction unto you, it will prove a real blessing in disguise.

May I suggest several lines of meditation which, if pursued by you and blessed to you by God, will enable you to improve this affliction.

1. Learn anew the terribleness of sin. 'Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.' (Romans 5:12) Yes, had sin never entered this world, no graves would have ever been dug in it. Every funeral should be a forceful reminder to us of what the Fall has brought in! Every funeral ought to beget in us a deeper hatred of sin. It was sin which necessitated the death of God's beloved Son. Then how we should loathe it, seek grace to resist its evil solicitations, and follow hard after its opposite--holiness.

2. See the great importance of holding all God's temporal mercies with a light hand. The best of them are only loaned us for a season, and we know not how early we shall be called to relinquish them. It is the part of wisdom for us to recognize and remember this while they are in our hands: not to grasp them too tightly, nor to look upon them as ours to enjoy forever in this perishing world. Holy Writ bids us to 'rejoice with trembling', for that which delights my heart this morning may be taken from me before the shadows of night fall. The more I live with this fact before me, the less shall I feel the loss when it comes!

3. Endeavor to get your heart more weaned from this perishing world. 'Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.' (Col. 3:2) But we are slow to heed this exhortation, and often God has to use drastic means to bring us to a compliance with it. It is for our own good as well as His glory, that we do so. It is only heavenly things which abide; then let us seek grace to have our hearts more and more set upon them.

4. Seek to demonstrate the reality of true religion. Only the real child of God is enabled to say, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.' Earnestly seek supernatural help from above, dear brother, that you may be enabled to manifest the sufficiency of Divine grace to strengthen and support--to show you do have a peace and comfort which the Christless are strangers to. Sorrow not as others do, who have no hope. Doubt not the Lord's goodness. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22

Yours by God's abounding mercy,

A. W. Pink

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This is the Grand Need for the Day

Today I printed out the e-book The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by Winfield Bevins. It is available in PDF format free on the Resurgence web site. I love that! I'll be using this study for my personal devotions for the next while and am very excited to get started.

I have been captivated today pondering the quote in the front of the book from J.C. Ryle:

"Pray daily for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and on the world. This is the grand need for the day - it is the thing we need far more than money, machinery, and men. The "company of preachers" in Christendom is far greater than it was in the days of Paul; but the actual spiritual work done in the earth, in proportion to the means used, is undoubtedly much less.

We need more of the presence of the Holy Spirit - more in the pulpit, and more in the congregation - more in the pastoral visit and more in the school. Where He is there will be life, health, growth, and fruitfulness. Where He is not - all will be dead, tame, formal, sleepy, and cold.

Then let everyone who desires to see an increase of pure and undefiled religion, pray daily for more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in every branch of the visible church of Christ."

P.S. Two other favorite books of mine on the Holy Spirit are: Forgotten God by Francis Chan, and The Holy Spirit by Bill Bright.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jesus in My place

Picture Christ on the cross and ask yourself: What’s He doing up there? Answer: He’s subbing for you. He’s taking God’s wrath for your sin. He’s satisfying the just demands of a holy God. He’s paying the price that God’s holiness requires so that you and I can be forgiven.

Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” and 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

What’s Jesus doing up there on the cross? He’s substituting: Jesus in my place. My heart overflows with gratitude when I think of Jesus Christ taking upon Himself the penalty that was mine to bear! God demonstrated such love that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.

James MacDonald

Sunday, January 31, 2010


"I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the Kingdom of God." David Livingstone

Piper challenged me today with this quote he posted on Twitter.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

by Randy Alcorn

This Sunday, January 24, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday; marking the 37th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973. There is a great spiritual warfare associated with the issue of abortion. Killing children is Satan's way of striking out at the very heart of God. If he cannot kill God, the next best thing is killing those created in God's image. He is killing God in effigy.

Today our churches must, once and for all, dispel the illusion that showing grace means not talking about hard issues. Every time the subject of abortion is brought up, some people get offended, others get hurt. But what is the alternative? Not bringing it up, thus offending God and setting up people to follow the lies of culture, which ends up hurting them far more than telling the truth?

Our doctrine of grace has been distorted by our culture's dogma of tolerance. Many Christians and even some pastors have told me, "It's cruel to bring up the subject of abortion." But by talking about abortion in our churches—with grace and truth—we will prevent abortions and offer forgiveness and healing to women and men who are suffering in silence. The greatest kindness we can offer them is the truth. Women who’ve had abortions and the men who’ve participated in an abortion decision can find help and healing through their local Pregnancy Resource Centers. (Also see the article Finding Forgiveness after an Abortion.)

Last weekend, along with my son-in-law Dan and good friend Diane Meyer, I spoke at my home church, Good Shepherd, about the sanctity of life. Listen to the audio from the service. (By the way, the Eternal Perspective Ministries website has lots of prolife resources for pastors, including two PDF handouts that can be downloaded for free, Biblical Perspectives on Unborn Children and How Can I Help the Unborn and Their Mothers?)

As we go through this weekend, I would ask believers to remember and pray for prolife ministries and victimized mothers and babies. If the darkness of child-killing is to be overcome with the light of truth and compassion, it will require spiritual warfare, fought with humble and consistent prayer (Ephesians 6:10-20).

I’ll close with these heartbreaking statistics from the The Liberty Counsel, which are a profound reminder of the devastating effect abortion has had on our country:

Since that time [the 37 years since Roe v. Wade], approximately 50 million innocent and helpless children have been killed by abortion. About 1 in 5, or 20 percent, of our nation’s youth have had their lives ended by abortion. Minorities have also been hit hard by abortion. African-Americans account for about 12 percent of the population, but 37 percent of the 1.3 million abortions each year. Latinos make up about 15 percent of the population, yet account for about 22 percent of the annual number of abortions.

In all the wars in American history combined, from the Revolution to the War on Terror, we have lost approximately 910,000 people. However, in 37 years we have lost about 50 million children to abortion. We lose more children to abortion each day than we lost in all the tragedies on September 11, 2001. About 98 percent of abortions are done for convenience unrelated to health. Less than 2 percent of abortions are done for serious health reasons, rape or incest.

The youth of our nation under the age of 35 are more pro-life than any other generation. A majority of all Americans oppose abortion. Last Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, about 15,000 people, mostly youth, gathered in Houston, Texas to protest Planned Parenthood’s 78,000 square-foot abortion facility scheduled to open in April in the midst of a minority community comprised of Hispanics and African-Americans. [Read more about Planned Parenthood's first "big box" abortion store in America.] One of the youth held a sign saying, "We survived Roe. Roe will not survive us."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our Song Is Our Evangelism

Psalm 40: 1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

And what about the secular city, the nations, the people who do not rejoice in God and do not know his salvation through Christ? Does our mission free the future for them?

The answer is found in verse 3: "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord."

There they are. Our joy, our gladness in God is the great mirror in the telescope for the nations and for the neighbors.

God saves me from the miry clay. He makes me secure. He puts a new song in my mouth. He makes himself the feast of my joy.

And what happens: "Many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord."

Our song is our evangelism. Our passion for God is our persuasion for the nations.

When we are satisfied in God, he will be magnified in others. That's exactly what David says. We will sing and many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

So our joy in God is both our worship and our evangelism. Our mission is to be a Christian Kitt Peak Observatory at the center of the city. We are called to seek God—to see him in the telescope of his Word. And we are called to rejoice and be glad in what we see—to have a new song of praise to our God—that's worship.

And out of that worship flow missions and evangelism as we show the power and love and wisdom of God, and welcome the nations and the neighbors to join us in our joy.
John Piper

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Peace of God

“Let the peace of God guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

The peace of God; it’s an awesome thing to think about.

And it’s not with God, it’s not from God, this is the peace of God.

It’s the calm assurance that what God is doing is best. It doesn’t matter what comes in the mail today, it doesn’t matter what comes from the doctor, it doesn’t matter who rings my phone, it doesn’t matter what comes my way today, I have something guarding my heart.

Like sentinels on the wall around the city, the peace of God guards your heart, you see it there?

“And the peace of God which surpasses understanding,” you just can’t even imagine this peace. It didn’t matter what news came, it didn’t matter what happened. There’s a peace that comes from God that is such an awesome protection.

You can get off the emotional rollercoaster and let this peace guard your heart and nothing can penetrate that except that you open the door yourself and that’s the peace of God.

Please pray this prayer, wherever you are this Christmas:

“I pray Lord, for Your peace to guard my heart. I see how quickly the details of life can penetrate my experience and cause me to live apart from what I know to be true. I reach out to You by faith that You would grant to me Your peace which passes all understanding. Amen.”

May His peace be with you this Christmas.

James MacDonald

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Chrstmas...Because of Jesus!

Joy to the world ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ the Lord is come ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Let earth receive her King ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Let every heart prepare Him room ♥ ♥ ♥ And Heaven and Nature sing ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ And Heaven and Nature sing ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing!♪♫•*¨*•..........¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Perspective on Dirt

Last nite the joy level in my home rose significantly when our kids from Little Rock came home for an extended visit before moving to Australia. What joy to have them here with us for this short window of time!

It's funny to me that in anticipating their visit my perspective on dirt changed considerably. I actually viewed it differently, even intentionally looking for it.

I looked for it. I saw it. Suddenly it was "not ok", and I dealt with it.

This morning I opened my washing machine and right away noticed a blob of detergent spilled on the top, and a ring of dirt that had built up around the inside of the door. Where had that come from?

It had obviously built up over time and I had not even noticed. Today, in the light of my guests who will be using my washer during their stay, I noticed...and it was NOT ok.

As I grabbed a cloth to clean my washer it struck me that I had used my washer several times yesterday and never noticed it was dirty. Why?

I realized that my perspective on dirt changed when I saw it thru the eyes of others.

Sin can be a lot like dirt. I can miss or even ignore it in my life till something provides perspective.

The dirt in my washer has caused me to ponder my perspective on my sin today. How skewed is it? How tolerant am I with my sin? Am I even watching for it, let alone dealing with it consistently?

I have much to learn as a housekeeper and child of the King. I am asking God to help me to be much more alert. To see my sin thru His eyes...and that it NOT be ok with me at all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Love of Pleasure

By J. R. Miller, via Grace Gems:

Is the love of pleasure growing upon you, gaining the power and the ascendency over you? Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures?

Is it making Bible-study, prayer, communion with Christ, meditation upon holy themes–less sweet enjoyments than before? Is it making your hunger for righteousness, for God–less intense?

Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing you used to find in worship services, or in Christian work?

If so, there is only one thing to do–hasten to return to God, cut off the pleasure which is imperiling the soul, and find in Christ the joy which the world cannot give, and which ever enhances the life.

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule–Are they helping us to grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How to Help Your Pastor

by John Catanzaro

Understand: The first way to help your pastor is to develop understanding and sensitivity to the stress and demands of a pastor's work.

Pray: Secondly, pray for your pastor. A very active prayer ministry to support the pastors in their evangelical work is fundamental to the health of pastors and the church at large.

Grow: Thirdly, mature in the faith. Grow and work to preserve the work of God in your sphere. Do not contribute to confusion, gossip and bitter attitudes. Get involved in action, service, and financial contribution, which are all vital to the health of the Christian mission of proclaiming Christ in your community and the world.

Lead: Finally, faith in action is serving others above what you want in support of the ministry of the church. Don't just get involved in ministry; actively work with the leadership to provide healthy momentum in ministry and to become a personal preacher of the ways of Christ!


"Down on my knees have I often fallen, with the hot sweat rising from my brow under some fresh slander poured upon me; in an agony of grief my heart has been well-nigh broken;

...This thing I hope I can say from my heart: If to be made as the mire of the streets again, if to be the laughing stock of fools and the song of the drunkard once more will make me more serviceable to my Master, and more useful to his cause, I will prefer it to all this multitude, or to all the applause that man could give."

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Dream

By Scott Thomas

I dream of a body that loves the Lord, loves His word, loves the church, and loves the calling from God to be instruments of righteousness in their community.

I dream of a people who practiced spiritual holiness, rather than judging others for their lack of adherence to man-made rules.

I dream of marriages that visibly demonstrated the relationship of Christ and the church.

I dream of homes that were led by the Holy Spirit, by godly heads of households and by the Scriptures.

I dream of a church that had influence in its community: spiritually, morally, evangelistically, and socially.

I dream of a church that served willingly and enthusiastically according to their spiritual gifts, passions, and God-given abilities.

I dream of a church body that had a burning passion to share the gospel in their city, their state, their nation, and their world and to be a vital link for the establishment of churches all across the world.

I dream of a body that had an insatiable thirst to encounter God in a real, personal, and intimate way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Praying For Isaac

I met Issac for the first time in June, but have know of him for years. Actually he lives right down the road from me and I know his mom Laura.

Issac offered to help me carry some bulky items out to my car when he saw me struggling with them. I discovered who he was as we walked out to my car together.

I had heard that Isaac had a very specific and unusual career/ministry goal which he confirmed as we walked and talked.

God has purposed in Isaac's heart that he is to serve our country as a Navy SEAL - quite a calling on a young man's life to be sure.

What fascinated me is how very real and clear this call from God is on his life. Isaac KNOWS this is what he is to pursue. He is focused like a laser on his duty and has prepared himself in every way possible to face this challenge.

I did pondered what it would be like as a Mom to have a child with that particular calling, knowing what they would face and endure. Navy SEALs complete some of the most dangerous U.S. military missions imaginable. Their training is beyond intense, and demands the brightest and the best.

After meeting Isaac I have no doubt he is SEAL material.

Before I got in my car I asked Isaac if I could pray for him, and I placed my hand on his shoulder and committed him to our heavenly Father's care. It was such an honor to meet him and to pray over him just days before he left.

Isaac's family has been sending me short updates on Isaac so I can be praying very specifically for him. Last week I received this update which brought tears to my eyes. Isaac's Chaplain had written this note to his family:

"Know that your son is attending to his relationship with our Heavenly Father with all sincerity.

He is a good witness for the Lord among his fellow mates...I am convinced that the work that the Lord has begun in him will bear much fruit as time goes by."

And I know it is true because I have met Isaac and heard his testimony. His goal is to bring honor and glory to Christ. Please pray for Isaac!

Piper on Humility

  1. Humility is glad that God gets all the credit for choosing us so that we boast only in him and not man.
  2. Humility happily admits that everything we have is a free gift from God, so that we can’t boast in it.
  3. Humility is glad to affirm that God sovereignly governs our heartbeats and safe arrivals, or non-arrivals.
  4. The root of Christian humility is the gospel that Christ died for our sins. That’s how sinful I was. That’s how dependent I am.
  5. Humility gives itself away in serving everyone, rather than seeking to be served.
  6. And humility is glad to affirm that this service is true greatness.

The Mission Field We Like To Ignore

Top 10 Least Religious States (Human Events)

1. Vermont 42%
2. New Hampshire 46%
3. Maine 48%
4. Massachusetts 48%
5. Alaska 51%
6. Washington 52%
7. Oregon 53%
8. Rhode Island 53%
9. Nevada 54%
10. Connecticut 55%

Monday, August 31, 2009

God's Word My Authority

To be a biblical Christian, I must not simply affirm the inspiration of God's Word (that is necessary, but not sufficient).

I must consciously critique everything else in light of Scripture (otherwise all else will unconsciously conform my mind to the world, the flesh and the devil).

I must make a conscious effort to evaluate all my beliefs and my lifestyle preferences in the light of God's Word.

I must commit myself to making an examination, no matter how painful, of all my dearly-held beliefs (e.g. a loving God cannot send people to an eternal hell).

And whenever they do not stand up to Scripture, I must abandon those beliefs.

If I do not, then despite whatever I may profess to the contrary, my true authority is not the Bible, but my background, upbringing, peer group, the media, and schools that have influenced me.

In short, I make myself and my culture (the flesh and the world) my authority.

Randy Alcorn

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Being Watched

I just found out I'm being watched.

I was alerted to a blogger who is following what I write and post. She then takes it and posts it on her blog along with some of her own commentary about me and what I do. She also posts my name, my picture (not sure where she grabbed that one from), my families pictures, and links to my blog, Twitter and web page.

I must say it was rather odd to see my words reprinted in someone else's blog. She didn't post it because she agrees with me, but because she opposes what I believe and what I do.

Some of her colorful commentary on my posts were mocking of me, and some were actually aggressive towards me. All of it was meant to incite a negative response towards me from her readers.

At first I was a bit unnerved by all this and not quite comfortable. I'm being watched!

But I am ALWAYS being watched, and being aware of that is a good thing. What I do and what I say is being seen by others all the time.

Being more conscience of being watched is good for me because being watched is always an opportunity - even to those who are offended by what I believe.

I've been thinking of this verse today and asking God to help me to walk worth of the Gospel of Christ in everything I do...and post. I want to make the most of every opportunity.

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents."
~ Philippians 1:27 & 28a

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stubborn and Blind = The Deadly Character Combo!

By James MacDonald

I have a lot of people in my life, and have had for a long time. A LOT! And because of that I have had countless opportunities to observe a deadly character combo: two traits that on their own are bad enough, but together are crushing to any real chance at Christ likeness. In fact if both these things are true of you, life transformation will never be more than a mirage. Wanna know what they are?

There are two character traits that make life transformation difficult if not impossible.

1) Blindness: Not physical blindness but spiritual blindness. Another term would be lack of self-awareness. None of us perceive ourselves perfectly but some people have a large gap (think grand canyon) between who they perceive themselves to be and who they actually are. Like the guy I just heard about who is trying out for American Idol even though he didn’t even pass the audition to sing on our worship team. Or the person who is sowing discord in the church right now because he can’t have the personal relationships he wants with the main leaders. (If you can’t join them criticize them? weird huh?). Or the family I know that was barely holding it together here in America yet claimed that God was calling them to a very difficult part of the mission field. They refused the warnings of others and invested themselves in a 10 year ministry of ’survival.’ Such a waste, all because of a blindness to their true condition. Ever wonder about the problem with the preacher who keeps firing away for almost an hour each Sunday, unable to see that every single person jumped off the ‘pay attention’ train at the first stop? Why is our church shrinking? Hello, hello, are you really unable to see that you are talking peoples faces off and boring them into the bottomless pit? Answer: Yes, I am unable to see that. It’s called blindness!

Now blindness by itself is not that deadly because there will always be an army of people lined up to tell you how incredibly clueless you are about the way you come across. If you have even a shred of humility you will benefit from the input of others. You will listen and learn as loved ones guide you by the hand to the life transformation you desperately need but couldn’t see. That has happened for me more times than I can possibly count. But what if you won’t let other people do that for you? This leads to deadly character flaw number two:

2) Stubbornness: Some people are flat out stubborn. No I’m not, you say! YES YOU ARE YOU! Need some evidence? OK! a) you argue with everyone who tries to tell you anything, b) you keep making the same mistakes over and over, and c) you think that your way of seeing things is the best way, the right way, the only way. Yes you do!! . . . You just can’t admit it because you are . . . ____________ (fill in the blank, hint: it’s starts with ’st’).

OK, so nothing so bad about being stubborn or blind, but together they form the deadly character combo. People who are blind and stubborn are impossible to lead, difficult to follow and painful to be in relationship with. Are you blind and stubborn?

Pr 26:12 “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

Blindness and stubbornness; I have seen it in elders who gave up everything rather than let someone shine a light down the dark hole of their own arrogant unawareness. I have seen it in husbands who refuse to even consider that they ARE part of the problem. I have seen it in young people whose immaturity and naivety is massively multiplied because they can’t see the problem and won’t let anyone connect the dots on their behalf. And worst of all, YES I have seen the combo in the mirror and it has terrified me. Are these deadly twins lurking in the corridor of your character? If in doubt, ask the people who know you best: “Hey, am I stubborn, and are there things you think I need to change that I might be unable to see?” Ask a few people who know you well . . .
Then count to a million outloud before responding to their answer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vision - Lead by Example

What I am pondering today...

There is a lot of talk about “vision” and how it relates to the church, specifically for Pastors/leaders and their role in leading God’s people. I think one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to assume that a statement or a program or a long range plan equals vision. It absolutely does not. Vision is something you live.

In my mind it is similar to love. Just because you write out a plan to love your spouse doesn’t meant that you actually love them. On the contrary, if you truly love your spouse, having a plan for putting that love into action is a natural outflow in your life. Vision is much the same.

True vision comes from deep down. True vision finds a way to come out. True vision is something that is so much a part of who you are that you find yourself talking about it in all kinds of settings to anyone that will listen. If someone has to remind you to talk about the “vision” then it is no vision at all - at least not for you. It might be a good idea. It might be a good plan. It might even be a great strategy for the Kingdom, but if you do not live it and breathe it, then it is not a vision.

This morning as I was reading through my Bible I came across a great example of vision:

1 Chronicles 29:3 and following - David says to a huge gathering of leaders
“And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of God, I am giving all of my own private treasures to aid in the construction...Now then, who will follow my example? Who will give himself and all that he has to the Lord?”

The crazy thing about this vision is that David already knew that he would not be the one to build the Temple. That privilege would go to his son, Solomon. But the vision David had for building a Temple took over his heart and life so much that he collected materials and even donated his own private treasures to be sure everything was ready for Solomon to finish the vision. He was so sold out to it that he even invited others to follow his example and give everything he had to contribute to the vision.

It grieves my heart how many leaders in churches create programs for their people that they have no evidence of living out in their own lives. As a staff member, I have been guilty of it, and I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Please, do yourself and your people a favor: go spend time figuring out what consumes you. What is it that you would be willing to give up your own personal treasures to see happen? What is it that you believe so strongly in that you would invite everyone around you to do the same?

Make that your vision. Make that your life. Make that the thing you stand before your congregations and say, “This is what we are going to be about as God’s people.” It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or cutting edge, but it does need to be something that comes from deep within you.

Don’t just try a new marketing strategy or add another event to the already crowded schedule. Figure out what God has laid on your heart and then live it with all you’ve got.

One of the most interesting things about living in Tucson is the interaction I’ve been able to have with lots of different types of church plants. The variety is amazing, but the ones that are seeing God move all have one thing in common - leaders with vision. Leadership strategies are completely different, preaching styles vary greatly, makeups of congregations change dramatically from place to place, but these leaders have done what David did. They have given everything to be part of seeing God accomplish His will in people’s lives.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not really what the package looks like, it’s the heart that wrapped the package that matters.
The great thing about this process is that these leaders will see and are seeing the same kinds of results that David did when he put out the call. In 1 Chronicles 29:9, the passage goes on to say:

“Everyone was excited and happy for this opportunity of service, and King David was moved with deep joy.”

There is nothing more moving than when God shows up in fulfillment of the vision He has given to a leader that has given all for Him. Verses 10-22 of that chapter recount the worship service that broke out following that moment.

I am praying for the city of Tucson with that kind of desire and want to do anything I can to see God move in a mighty way. How about you?

~ Paul Ingram, Worship and Arts Pastor at Revolution Church in Tucson, Arizona.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Acts 11:26 Question

Isn't it interesting that in Acts 11, at the end of verse 26, it says, "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."

What I find interesting is the simple thought that the Christians didn't name themselves. But rather, they were called (or named) Christians" by those watching their lives.

I wonder if it would be the same today?

Could someone look at your life or look at my life and name me a Christian? A humbling question for sure.

~ Chris Tomlin, from the forward of the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus Grace

A thot to ponder as we read and watch the marriage struggle of Jon & Kate Gosselin:

When we say, "They got what they deserved" we forget that we didn't.

Did Jon and Kate introduce new risks and rewards into the structure of their family when they invited television cameras and millions of viewers into their home? Without a doubt.

Does fame and celebrity come with consequences that are often toxic? Without a doubt.

Did Jon and Kate get what they deserve? I don't know. I've seen other Christians express this opinion but I don't know Jon and Kate.

I know me. And I didn't get what I deserved. I got grace.

I got forgiveness. I got Christ. I got rescued from the ruins of a life that seemed beyond redemption. I got a second chance and a 10th chance and a 300th chance.

I didn't get what I deserved.

And when we say that someone, "Got what they deserved," whether we're talking about a reality TV couple, our relatives or our neighbors, we lose sight of grace, which is the undercurrent of our entire faith and a gift we do not deserve.

[Prodigal Jon]