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Showing posts from 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, what does the lack of absence bring?  What does togetherness bring?  What is the result of spending lots and lots of time together?  Ponder that thought for a moment.

Jesus said, “You have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”  Rev. 2:4-5

For the last 6 ½ weeks, I have been in Florida.  The normal reaction to that statement is “you lucky dog”, especially during the winter months.  However, because of the urgency of a new job, I left my family behind for 51 days.  It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Does absence make the heart grow fonder?  You better believe it does.  It’s all the small things that I had grown complacent toward that I miss the most.  Does my family permeate my thoughts all day long?  You know it. 

When Jesus chastises the church in Ephesus, He is telling them that they have grown complacent in their love and affection toward H…

How did he do it?

“For I know that my redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Job 19:25-26

How does one man, suffer the greatest level that anyone can suffer, and yet still extol the one that allowed the suffering?   Job had graduated from the school of Theology.  We learn so much about suffering, sovereignty, creation, heavenly creatures and spiritual warfare from the book of Job.  Job wasn’t just a nominal follower of God, nor a fair weather Christian.  Job lived out his belief and everyone around him knew it.  Job was constantly seeking to bring more glory to His maker. 
How did Job do it? 
Job didn’t stray from what he believed about God (good sound theology).  He didn’t let his eyes determine his belief.  Clearly, Job was a man that spent much of his days with his eyes closed...in prayer and in worship.  Though he did not understand why God was allowing him to suffer, he did not cast aside his integrity …

I Want to Die . . . when all Hope is Lost.

Have you ever felt like death would be a welcome alternative to living?  That life is so awful that you have lost all desire to continue existing in a world that seems to offer no hope?  Maybe you have said to yourself, “I wish I had never been born?  Don’t despair, you are not alone and there is hope for you.

In my quiet times I am continuing to read Job, a man that holds fast to his integrity.  He rests in his faith alone, but that doesn’t ease the pain of his suffering.  After being bankrupt and losing his children, he is further tested by painful, loathsome sores from head to toe.  Clearly, the hand of God has come down swift and hard on this mortal man.  His days of prosperity and respect are a distant memory as friends come to sit in horror as they gaze upon this broken and downtrodden figure of a once great man.

Immediately after being plagued by these excruciating boils, Job still has a healthy perspective on life.  He says, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not re…

Gone in Sixty Seconds

I am a number, a growing statistic.  One year ago this month I was laid off work like so many others in North America.  My vocation?  Pastor.  This fact is made even stranger in that I gave up a thriving secular career to follow God’s leading into a vocation ministry.  Things become even more surreal with the knowledge that I raised my own support for the first three years of ministry so I worked for the church for free.  Therefore, on this anniversary month, it seemed like a good day to reflect on the past year. 

Today, the house is strangely and wonderfully quiet.  The morning begins with a hunger to dive into His Word.  I open the Holy Bible to the book of Job . . . His timing is perfect.  It is one of my favorite books of the Bible and yet this morning chapter one seems so fresh, vibrant and new.  In lieu of the last twelve months, chapter one has new meaning, I can relate to Job like never before.

Read Job 1
Job is blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil (1:1, …

Following Jesus While Rejecting the Bible? Yet Another Tragedy in Mainline Protestantism

Reprinted from www.albertmohler.com. http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/05/11/following-jesus-while-rejecting-the-bible-yet-another-tragedy-in-mainline-protestantism/ May 11, 2011

This is yet another tragedy in the sad history of mainline Protestantism’s race toward total theological disaster.

Yet another denomination has voted to ordain openly homosexual candidates to its ministry. Yesterday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota voted to approve a change to the church’s constitution that will allow the denomination’s 173 presbyteries to ordain persons without regard to sexual orientation.

The Twin Cities presbytery cast the deciding vote in what is now a 33-year effort to remove all restrictions on homosexuals serving in the church’s ordained ministry. It became the 87th presbytery to affirm the action of the church’s 219th assembly last summer authorizing the constitutional change. The action not only concludes over three decades of controversy over t…

Eating Words

There is something really special going on in the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4. As I was reading this passage this week, I couldn’t get past the first temptation, especially Jesus response found in the 4th verse:

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Jesus, defending the tempter’s challenge, retorts with the impervious Scriptures found in Deut. 8:3.  However, there is much more going on here than just a simple quote from the Torah.  The two stories seem to be inexorably linked. 

Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days.            Israel was in the wilderness 40 years. Jesus is hungry.                                             Israel was hungry. Jesus is tempted to make bread.                  
Israel was complaining they needed bread.  Jesus is being tested.                                   
Israel was being tested.
The hunger that Jesus and Israel was experiencing was very real.  Their stomachs were growling, they are growing physic…

Death and Taxes

They say that two things are sure in this life, death and taxes.  Every year I approach April with fear and trepidation.  Not because I normally owe the government, but because I despise preparing my taxes.  Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself that I actually completed my taxes in record time this year, 3 weeks before the due date.  It might have something to do with being out of work and really needing the refund...but none the less the deed has been done. 

This morning I was reading about man who was trying to avoid paying his dues.  He was trying to profit on something that he didn't do and literally just stumbled upon.  It's like finding a bag of money in the street, you know it doesn't belong to you, but in an instant it seems ok to pick up because no one is watching.  You try not to think about the desperation of the one that lost it, you try not to think about how you will have to explain to your loved ones how you suddenly came into all this money.  Yo…

Where is the harvest? Who is the harvest?

I am looking for a little help from my friends.  I have been camped out in Matthew 8-9 for many days.  This morning I read the very familiar words of Christ, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few". (9:37)

In your opinion, where is the “harvest” today?  Who is the harvest today?  Jesus sent his disciples to a very specific group, if you were called as a laborer, where would you go and to whom? 

Thank you!

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Sometimes you just need a good dose of the classics.  I recently listened with great intensity as I heard the classic sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" by Jonathan Edwards, originally given in 1741.  The recording that I listened to was either made in the 50's or made to sound like it was recorded 50 years ago.  The scratchy sounds reminded me of listening to a well loved LP.  The voice of the orator heralded the poignant words of the sermon notes as if Edwards himself had risen from the grave to preach this masterpiece to a much needed audience.  The result of the old-time sound made it easy to believe that I was sitting in church listening to Jonathan Edwards preach this hell-fire and damnation sermon.  It was said when this sermon was first preached, the congregation began clutching the pews in fear that the ground would open up and swallow the wretched sinners.    

The other classic that I have been enjoying is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  Instead …

Where is God in disasters? (part 2)

The last few nights sleep has eluded me.  The mysteries of God can be deeply profound and more than mortal man can comprehend (Isaiah 55:8-11).  However, it doesn’t stop us from trying to make sense of the profundities of life.  Over the next few issues I want to examine God's providence, His sovereignty and the profound impact of His sovereignty on the direction of our lives (i.e. God's will).  Part 1 and 2 will be reprints of an article by John Piper that addresses God's sovereignty in natural disasters.  Parts 3 and following I want to answer some very specific questions that many might be asking in lieu of disasters abroad or in our own lives.

Here's part 2:

Tsunami, Sovereignty, and Mercy
By John Piper
© Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org 


“The waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me. . . This God—his way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:5, 31).

After the loss of his ten children owing to a “natural disaster” (Job 1:19), Job…

Where is God in disasters? (part 1)

The last few nights sleep has eluded me.  The mysteries of God can be deeply profound and more than mortal man can comprehend (Isaiah 55:8-11).  However, it doesn’t stop us from trying to make sense of the profundities of life.  Over the next few issues I want to examine God's providence, His sovereignty and the profound impact of His sovereignty on the direction of our lives (i.e. God's will).  Part 1 and 2 will be reprints of an article by John Piper that addresses God's sovereignty in natural disasters.  Parts 3 and following I want to answer some very specific questions that many might be asking in lieu of disasters abroad or in our own lives.

Here's part 1:


Whence and Why the Earthquake in Turkey?
By John Piper August 18, 1999
© Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org


"Weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). When love has wept and worked, it must have some answers. Not all the answers, but some. No earthquakes in the Bible are attributed to Satan. M…

To the Clouds: Faith is Gazing at the Heart of God (part 3)

What motivates you?  You are who you are because...?  Before you read another sentence, take a moment to answer that question (I’ll wait).  Do you have an answer?  I have all the time in the world if you aren’t ready.  Ready?  Great, let’s begin.

When it comes to things that motivate us, our answers are probably as diverse as we are.  However, I suspect that money, family, love and God are high on most lists.  The writer of Hebrews excites our Christian faith as we are reminded of the great Heroes of Faith in chapter 11.  He wants to motivate us to be the next Abraham, Moses and Enoch.  They seem larger than life yet the goal of finishing strong seems to be within our grasp.  Read with me the next two verses that follow that great chapter on faith.   

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder [author] …

FAITH is Gazing at the Heart of God (part 2): Five Practical Steps to Faith

According to Tozer (see part 1 - Faith is Gazing at the Heart of God) faith is gazing upon God.  Faith is directing one’s attention to Jesus, faith is our heart continually hearing “behold the lamb” so that our attention will be drawn to Jesus.

Heb. 12:1-2 begins with “therefore”, pointing back to the great chapter on faith then simply says, "look to Jesus".  Within Hebrews 11 lies person after person that exhibited a life that pleased God by their faith.  Rahab, Enoch, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses and so many more.  All these believed the words that God had spoken to them.  Practically speaking, how do we do that day in and day out?

Here are five very practical steps to exercise those faith muscles:
Read the word daily (faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God - Rom. 10:17)    The Word of God is just that, God speaking to you.  Just like Moses on the mountaintop speaking to God, the completed canon is God personally speaking to you.  The bible provide…

FAITH is Gazing at the Heart of God (part 1)

Is your work important?  If the CEO of your company called you into his office and said, “If you want to succeed in this business, there is one thing you must do.  It is impossible to succeed here if you don’t do this one thing.”  Obviously, you would do that one thing with gusto.

For the last week I have been reading, listening to and meditating on Hebrews, especially chapters 10-12.  That “one thing” that God says is imperative to please Him is faith, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6).  Every church of every denomination has preached untold sermons on faith. The preachers will say “just believe”, “take God as His word”, “if you have the faith of a mustard seed”, and then they will share the life story of a person that did unbelievable things for God. Most of the time, we walk out thinking to ourselves, there must be something more than this.

Heb.10:38 (quoting Hab. 2:3-4) says “My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasur…

President Obama said what?

I don't normally comment on political happenings as this blog is really an outpouring of my spiritual journey.  And it's not that I am short of opinions, because if you have read my blogs or come to know me, you will know that my 10.5 (extra wide) finds its place in my mouth more often than I like.  However, on this historic anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think I must comment...or rather share the insights from Dr. Mohler's blog:   

"This past Saturday, on the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, President Barack Obama issued a statement that is remarkable, even for presidents who support legalized abortion. The President’s statement included not one word that indicated any recognition that abortion is in any case or in any sense a tragedy. There was not even a passing reference to the unborn child. President Obama did not even use the language used disingenuously by President Bill Clinton — the pledge that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”

Ev…

Being unemployed is . . .

The last month has probably been the best time for me...spiritually speaking, which couldn’t possibly happen if I was employed.  We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety.  The “choice” of holding on to what little we had left was made for me.  Augustine said, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”  I am just now beginning (and I emphasize beginning) to understand Piper’s foremost creed, “God is most glorified when we are satisfied in Him”.  Frederick Faber says, “No one need to be poor, because, if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession.”  Tozer writes, “Self can live unrebuked at the very altar...it seems actually to feed upon orthodoxy and is more at home in a Bible conference than in a tavern.”  He continues, “God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow …

Seeing Him Who is Invisible

Have you ever wished you were born into a family like Bill Gates, Donald Trump or the Queen of England?  Do you often think you have "missed the boat"?  Are you reliving that "golden opportunity" that you let slip away? 

Just flip on the TV and every network will have some reality show that highlights the socialites, the million dollar winners of some Burnett production or the hugely successful realtors.  The reality is, we see the lives of the brightest, the most fortunate, the luckiest and we desire to have even a little of what they have.  We know that if we had one of those big commission checks, or even the $50,000 prize from Wipeout that our current financial struggles would be eased a bit (or a lot). 

Did you know that dream of adoption actually happened?  A baby boy, born into a very average and struggling household, was adopted by a princess of the most influential and prosperous kingdom.  For forty years, he was raised and lived as prince with all the po…

Inspired by Ted Williams

Turning on a Friend

I am amazed how quickly and easily we can turn on a friend.  With only a word or sentence from a mere stranger, we can totally change the way we think about a good friend.  Take “Social Networking” for example, a few comments about a friend and almost immediately you have changed the way you think about your friend.

About 10 years ago my wife and I were selling our home.  We had sold a few homes over the years and made a good business relationship with a local realtor.  So naturally, when it came time to sell this home, we called him.  For whatever reason, our home wasn’t moving and our date to move was approaching fast.  We didn’t have the luxury of waiting until it was sold as we had to move to another state.  In the 11th hour, we had a mother and daughter that showed up at our door wanting to view the home.  We gladly ushered them through hoping for that last minute sale.  They said they had contacted our realtor and he wasn’t returning their calls.  In fact, they were quite insist…

God will not forsake His Saints

1    Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
 be not envious of wrongdoers!

2    For they will soon fade like the grass
 and wither like the green herb.

3    Trust in the Lord, and do good;
 dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4    Delight yourself in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5    Commit your way to the Lord;
 trust in him, and he will act.

6    He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
 and your justice as the noonday.

7    Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
 fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
 over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 37:1-7 (ESV)

Today, of all days, these words are a timely reminder that God holds my tomorrow and cares for my today.  Today, the reality of my unemployment is larger than life.  I begin 2011 without a job, currently without prospects and no income.  However, in reflection over the last 6 months, I see God's perfect hand in my life and I have …