Browsing "Spiritual Walk"

The Story of Jesus

story-of-jesusThis morning I was looking for some music that would be appropriate preservice/post-service music for a funeral which I am doing today. Usually I use the same spotify playlist for each funeral I do.  Most of it is soft piano music.  This morning I wanted something different.  I did a quick search for Devotional Piano music and one of the albums that came up was called Piano Hymns.  Now I don’t listen to hymns very often but I do have a deep love of them and they are part of my Christian heritage.  They bring a lot of great memories to mind.

So I started playing the album to see what it was like. The first song that played was a song called “Tell Me The Story of Jesus.”  A song I have always liked. As I listened to that old hymn I began to think about the message of the funeral today. I have been seeking the Holy Spirit this week and have asked Him what He wants me to say.  I have done many, many funerals and the messages are pretty similar.  But I knew all week that this one is supposed to be different.  So I have asked this every day; “Father, what do You want to say to them?”

I have indeed heard from Him what He wants to communicate today but as I was listening to that hymn the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me. Tell them my story.  Tell them the story of Jesus.

Isn’t that we are all called to do as His children.  We tell others the story of Jesus, what He has done, what He paid for us, what happened after three days in the grave, what happened after appearing to the crowds, how he is active now, and what He is going to do for us at the Father’s appointed time.

We are not called as Christians, as Pastors, as Teachers, as friends etc to be elaborate and impressive on our own.  The gospel of Jesus is the most impressive thing truth to our existence and we must at all cost tell people that story.  God wants to save! God wants to call wayward children back to Himself!  God wants to cleanse the vilest sinner and make him or her clean.

So today as I speak to a crowd that may or may not know Jesus my duty is not my own message but my duty is to tell them the true story of Jesus.  His story changes everything!

Sep 10, 2015 - Life, The Bible, Trust    No Comments

Called

IMG_1685Like most of you our family is busy trying to settle  into our school year routine and find a rhythm that fits us well.  Because our two oldest boys attend a Christian school 45 minutes away from our house, mornings start really early.  I usually get showered and dressed while my wife Jenn shakes two sleepy boys awake and then fixes breakfast for our family.  We make it a point now to sit and eat together at 6:15am each morning.  I admit its a bit quieter than our dinners together when we are all home together.

Yesterday was a day I was out of rhythm.  I have been fighting a cough and terrible cold so I didn’t want to get out of bed in the first place but I mustered the willpower to get up and get going knowing that I always feel better when I am up and moving.  Around 7:00am my youngest realized that he had left his entire backpack at home by the front door.  We were too far away to turn back so we stayed our course and really in first grade its not a huge deal.  There was no homework in it, just a few leftover raisins and crust from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that somehow found its way out of his lunch box and into his backpack.

It must have been around 9am that I got my first phone call from my son from this school year saying that he had forgot his lunch in the van.  When eleven o’clock rolled around I drove 25 minutes to get to the school and drop off a lunch.

Many of you go through the same kind of things day in and day out.  It’s life.  It’s full of ups and downs, mountains and valleys, ins and outs, joys ands sorrows.  It’s full of crying babies, spilled drinks, school commutes, forgotten lunches and every once in a while even crust in back-packs.  It’s Life!

What if this mundane life full of routines and rhythms is not what it seems?  What if your morning commute to the office today was more than a sequential set of happenings that dropped you off at your current business position. What if it’s not just happenstance? What if you were to find out that someone had planned it out and put together every circumstance in your life to bring you to right where you are.  Car accidents, breakups, financial pitfalls, tragedies, joy’s, mountaintop’s, valley’s, winding turns that seem to be taking you no where.  Could it be?  Is it possible?

This morning as I was seeking the Lord I came across the book of I Corinthians.  As I began to read I kept coming across the word “called” . Called by God and called to something specific.  All throughout scripture we find God orchestrating circumstances and calling men and women to specific life circumstances.  Now I don’t believe that God forces anyone hands, (and I realize that sin brings consequences that are not inline with his calling for you) however I do believe that God has called you and directed you to where you are today.  Whether that place is a happy place, a frustrating place,  an exciting place, a temporary place or a place you have been planted to grow, God knows where you are because you are His child and you are where you are meant to be.  So stay put, find rhythm, & find the abundance of living in His will. You will find the most joy in the place He has called you.

 

Oct 15, 2013 - Fear, Life, Spiritual Walk, Trust    3 Comments

Detour

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For those of you who know me, you may have noticed that I have tried to keep a lower profile with social media.  The things I have posted have been verses, songs, and sports related.  Maybe because I haven’t wanted to answer questions.  Maybe because I fear being judged.  Maybe because taking my foot off the gas for a while is what I have needed.

Last Sunday October 6th was my last day at Sunnybrook Community Church due to theological differences.  I know that is a broad reason but that really is the heart of the issue.  I have had people speculate and question what else it could have been.  The honest truth is this.  Sunnybrook is an incredible church and is doing amazing things.  They are reaching people, they are growing, they are serving the lowly, they are loving people far from God.  They are a great church and I will forever love the people and staff there.  Since the very first day I have known that we were not yoked together for the long hall.  We fall in different places on some issues and that is okay.  Neither they or I are right or wrong and although most everyone seeks me out wanting to place blame on something or someone, the truth is there is no one to blame.

It is was it is.  God has been moving us along for quite some time and although we do not know where that will take us, we are trusting that God is in complete control.  He is sovereign! I believe that! The hard part is now living that out day in and day out when we cannot see what is around the corner.

This morning I was listening to a song on repeat.  It’s not a worship song or even a Christian song. I can hear the gasps from some  already.  It’s a song called  “Wake me up” by Avicii.

For most of us when trials come we want to wake up after all the hard things are over.  We want to skip the waiting.  We want to bypass the pain.  We want to speak with anger.  We want to be defended.  We want to fast forward through it all. Read these lyrics and see if they do not ring true.

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

During this season of my life I am making the decision to not just get through it.  As much as I would love to wake up tomorrow and be in a new place of ministry I do not want to miss out on the lessons God has for me in the waiting.  Am I tired? Yes!  Is it painful?  More than you know!  Am I scared? I’m afraid so. (no pun intended) I hate these circumstances with every piece of human nature that I posses. But I cling to them knowing that it will produce endurance among other things. I love what Romans 5 3-4 says in The Message

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

I may not know where God is leading us but I am determined to live in expectancy that we will soon be able to look back and be in awe of the journey we have travelled.

Jul 31, 2013 - Holiness, Life    No Comments

Embrace

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When we hear the word “embrace” it invokes feelings of love, tenderness, & intimacy. It reminds us of snuggling with our kids or hugging a loved one or close friend.  The things we embrace tell a lot about who we are. We elevate those that we embrace.  They are important to us!  They are the ones we love.  They are those that are most important to us and we communicate our affection for them by our embrace.

As heart warming as an embrace is, God issues a warning about those things or even those people we embrace.  In Ezekial 14:3 God sends a message to Ezekial about the leaders around him.  It says “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin…” 

As I read that verse this morning it jumped out at me.  Maybe I am not actively sinning at the moment but what are things that I am embracing that will cause me to fall into sin.  For some it could be money.  For others it might be embracing people that will lead to worldly success.  *(Please note that success in itself is not  worldly) For others it could be alcohol.  For some of  you it might be the friends you are embracing that will eventually cause you to fall into sin.  That’s why Proverbs is so full of instruction and warning about the company we keep.

What I want you to understand is this.  Even things that may neutral or non-sins can lead to destruction if they are embraced.  So why embrace them?  Why get as close to them as possible?  Scripture tells us to do what with sin?  Get as close as we can?  NO! It says run from evil.  Abhor what is evil.  If you were to look up the word “abhor” in webster’s dictionary it would give you these descriptive words ;”to hate, abominate, despise, detest, execrate, loathe”.  As Christians we do not try to walk the line, we run from and get as far away from sin as possible.  So if something is a grey issue is it okay to embrace?  Well, from my study of scripture I would say no even if for no other reason than it might offend a brother.  You cannot pursue both holiness and nominalness. I know its not a word but I think it should be.  I would define it as the act of pursuing nominal living or walking the line.

Forgive me  if I have been ranting.  My purpose is never to spew opinions but to disperse truth and encourage biblical living.  If we are called to be a set apart people of God and called to holiness we must be careful what we embrace.  The things we embrace say a lot about us.  What are you embracing?  Are they drawing you closer to Christ or is it possible that they could lead you to fall into sin?  Embrace the things of God. I want to challenge you with I Thessalonians 5:21 .  It says “test everything and hold fast to what is good.” Embrace by all means! But be careful what you embrace.

NWLC 13 Update

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I am writing from my hotel room in Kansas City as I have just sat down to begin to decompress and filter through all of the things that I have observed and experienced today.  I am no stranger to this conference.  I have attended all but one conference since it started.

Each year there are always times of incredible worship, however tonight I experienced something that I don’t know if I have ever experienced.  On stage was Big Daddy Weave and frontman Mike Weaver began to share from his own struggles.  There is something so inviting about honesty when someone well known sheds their mask and begins to talk about their own painful experiences.

As Mike talked to the audience about our identity in Christ he made a statement that I have heard before but on this night it hit home.  He said “the person I was was is not the person I am now.”  He went on to say how he has struggled for years with his own identity and fears.  Fears of not measuring up, doubts of his own self worth.  He stated that he always knew Jesus loved him but that he always struggled to love himself. My eyes filled with tears as my heart cried out to God.  He went on to sing their hit song “Redeemed”  Here are the Lyrics.

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

The Holy Spirit used Mike & the band along with these lyrics to create a moment I will never forget as long as I live.  We all prayed and were dismissed but hundreds of people stuck around and continued to pray.  The keyboard player came back out on stage 20 minutes after it ended and began to play Revelation song and a bunch of tired and weary ministry guys with identity issues sang “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.”

No one wanted to leave.  People were crying. People were kneeling at the alter.  People were looking around for others to pray for and minister to .  I wanted to stay praying & worshipping; I didn’t want to leave.

You see, those lyrics are my story.  Lately in my own life I have struggled with the ghosts of my past. Maybe this is your story too.  Do you know what releases chains?  Do you know what sets the prisoner free?  It is worship.  It is surrender.  It is receiving what has already been done for us and allowing our identity to be Christ.

Can you imagine if when we worshipped at Church chains were falling off and people were being set free?  They would never want to leave the presence of Holy God and would long to stay and worship.  That is how I felt tonight.  It’s late but I just had to share what God is up to with me and many others at #NWLC13

If you are on Twitter you can keep up on all the tweets and quotes by searching #nwlc13

Perspective is Everything

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A huge part of my ministry for the past few years has been Biblical Counseling.  Through my own life’s circumstances God has given me a unique gift and desire to want to instill biblical thinking and biblical living into people’s lives.  For the most part if we would submit to godly living a vast majority of our issues would disappear.   Now I am not of the school of counseling that believes every single issue can be fixed by refusing to sin and practicing biblical disciplines,  but I would say that the majority of issues could be set right if we lived by the instructions given to us in scripture.

This morning as I was reading Philippians 3 it was a good reminder to me that righteousness does not come from me or anything that I could ever do.  My heart’s fire was stoked to know Him and the power of His resurrection. And I was reminded that I am not a citizen of this world for my citizenship is in heaven.

Oh dear people of God, I can not implore you enough to be in God’s Word.  It is too easy to get depressed when we, like Peter look at the troubles around us.  We see the waves of culture and society slapping against the boat.  We hear the winds of mediocrity and lukewarm commitment blowing our sails to and fro.  We panic looking at the waters which will surely engulf us and take us under.  The master calls us out of the boat and we begin to walk through everything that shouts to us that we will not make it.  We do not see the Savior in the storm and the peace within the chaos.

When I get into scripture in the mornings I hear “peace be still”.  The winds may not cease to blow, the waves may not cease to crash upon me, but the perspective and peace of Jesus comes over me as if they had.  I am reminded this morning to “reach forward to those things which are ahead”.  I am encouraged to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.

Your life may feel like it is out of control. Maybe you’re in a dead end job.  Maybe your spouse doesn’t get the whole “Jesus thing”.  Maybe you have been given a bad health report and the winds are blowing.  Le me encourage you dear friends to seek the Savior in His Word.  He has a message for you today.  God wants to speak to you today but you must be willing to hear.

Reading God’s Word will not fix all of your problems but it will fix your perspective!

May 15, 2013 - Life, Prophecy    No Comments

The second coming of Christ

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I love theology.  I love listening to sound doctrinal preaching and I do so every day.  One of my favorite pastors I listen to is Dr. David Jeremiah.  For the past few weeks he has been teaching about Biblical prophecy when it comes to the end times.  For those of you who do not know Christ, it should scare you. But for those who know Christ there is a comfort in the fact that Jesus will carry His church away at the second coming.

So why is it important to study prophecy and the 2nd coming?  

1.  The Bible is 1/5th prophecy.

2.  If you take that 1/5th, 1/3rd of that is about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

3.  There are 660 prophecies in the Bible.  333 are about Jesus.  Of these 333 prophecies 109 of those were fulfilled at his first coming.  An astounding 224 are yet to be fulfilled at His second coming.

4. To put it another way: There are 7,959 verses in the Bible.  330 are about His second coming.  This means that 1 out of every 25 verses talks about the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

5.  For every one time Jesus’ first coming is mentioned…His second coming is mentioned eight times.

6.  For every time the atonement is mentioned in the Bible, the second coming is mentioned twice.

7. Over 50 times in the New Testament we are told to be ready for the return of Christ.

8. If you are a Christian you would be foolish NOT to study the second coming of Christ.

 

When you begin to read and study Daniel, Revelation, and end times do not panic.  Jesus has a message for you that brings hope and peace which is found in John 14:1-3

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

Don’t be troubled.  He was written eternity on your heart.

 

 

 

 

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