Jump in the lake!

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

In the message yesterday, I mentioned A.W. Tozer’s comment on “Civilized Christianity”. Civilized Christianity could almost be compared to going to the lake with a group of friends but not jumping in. Here are a few thoughts:

Civilized Christianity is…

               …blending in…

               …careful to not step on toes by not sharing God’s Word…

               …politically correct…

               …weak…

True Christianity is…

               …having confidence in Christ…(Acts 4:13)

               …teaching and proclaiming Jesus…(Acts 4:2)

               …filled with the Holy Spirit…(Acts 1:8)

               …pursuing one heart with fellow believers…(Acts 4:32)

Civilized Christianity doesn’t…

               …pray on the spot for people…

               …get uncomfortable to help those in need…

               …talk in public about Jesus being the Only Way…

               …deal with sin…

True Christianity does…

               …speak the word of God with boldness…(Acts 4:31)

               …get uncomfortable to care for other’s needs…(Acts 4:34)

               …result in being together to lift our voices to God…(Acts 4:24)

               …proclaim Jesus as the Only Way for salvation! (Acts 4:12)

Have you jumped in? 

Have a Great Week!



Responding to the Fire

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Psalm 103:8

As I type this, I hear the low roar of our woodstove. There is something comforting to me about a contained roaring fire that brings heat to my home. As hot and strong as the fire is right now, it didn’t get there on its own. I got up out of my chair seven or eight times to interrupt my reading to tend to the fire. Add a piece of wood, rearrange the wood, add a piece of wood, open the door, add a piece of wood, close the door…responding to the fire in the right way this morning led it to burn hot.

As a parent and a spouse, the way I respond to my family can either weaken or strengthen my relationship with my family member. Just as my responses to the fire in the woodstove this morning led to a strong fire. My responses can lead to a stronger family. My responses are highly important to building a strong bond between us.

God is compassionate and gracious. God is slow to anger. God is full of lovingkindness. God expects me to live by His example. God gives us the example of how we should respond to our family.

Is there an area that you need to improve your responses to your family? I certainly need to continue to grow in this area.

One way to grow in this area is to spend extra time thinking on the parts of scripture that reveal the character of God. As we think about God’s word and His character while trying to practice it; God starts adding His character to our lives.

Want to start today? Try spending some time in Psalm 103:8-10.

Have a Great Week!



Basketball Player, Astronaut, Wife

“for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

There is a phenomenon happening in the world today…have you noticed? This phenomenon doesn’t apply to everyone…only to Christians. Tell me if this seems to ring true with your observations…there seems to be many Christians that don’t think they have what it takes to speak to others about Jesus.

Have you observed this?

Does this seem rather odd?

A Christian…that can’t talk to others about Jesus…?

Wouldn’t it be odd if a basketball player couldn’t tell you the basic rules of basketball?

Wouldn’t it be odd if an astronaut couldn’t tell you the first thing about space?

Wouldn’t it be odd if a wife couldn’t give a basic description of her beloved husband?

Don’t get me wrong…I used to be one myself…that is…a Christian that didn’t think I could talk to others about Jesus…I never want to go back there because that was not a good place to be.

Christians are…well, Christians…They follow Jesus. Christians get to know Jesus. Christians grow in their relationship with Jesus…Christians talk to others about Jesus.

My encouragement for us is to be Christians…speak about what you have seen and heard about Jesus!

Have a Great Week!



Help Me!

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Help!…

A pastor once said, “the simplest prayer of all is… ‘Help!’”

I am so thankful that I serve a God that is willing and able to help me in time of need. This is a truth that I will cling to.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a lady about her thoughts about God. She shared with me how she believed in Him and how He has helped her along with some of her family members. As she spoke about her belief about God, I wondered if she had faith in Jesus or if it was simply a belief that there was a God who could help.

Believing there is a God and having a saving faith in Jesus Christ are not the same. One recognizes there is a higher power and a reason for existence, the other is surrendering a life because of the recognition that salvation comes through no other name.

God wants to help! Ultimately, He wants to help people come to know His son Jesus Christ. Why? Because faith in Jesus will not only help in this life, but for eternity!

God will also help you tell others. Are you willing?

Have a Great Week!



Family Rest

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,” Psalm 37:7

My wife and I love to sit and watch the ocean! We love to watch the waves crash on the shore and the mist dissipate into the air! There is something soothing and restful about watching the ocean.

Waves by nature are not peaceful. Waves by nature are not restful. Waves are destructive. Waves are forceful. Waves are full of terror.

There is One is who stronger than any wave…there is One who can provide safety when the waves are crashing…there is One who says, “do not fret…rest in Me…wait for Me”

One of the best things you can do for your family is to practice resting in the Lord. Have times of resting in the Lord individually. Have times of resting in the Lord as a family.

At the beginning of each year, my family takes a retreat. At this retreat, we practice resting in the Lord. I don’t have room in this blog to share the details. But, it starts with a choice. We choose to take a retreat centered on God and spending time with Him.

Do you have a time that you and your family rest in the Lord?

Choose today to plan a time for your family to rest in the Lord.

Have a Great Week!



Find a Soul and Plant a Seed

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him…” John 1:45

January is here and spring is coming! That means that I have lots of work coming my way to get my yard into shape. I don’t have a clear plan…all I know is that I want to have green grass and some nice looking bushes. I may need to plant new seed for the grass…

I’m not a gardener. I don’t have a green thumb. But, I do love to plant seeds!

The seeds I love to plant are not grass, flowers, or trees that grow from the soil of the earth. The seeds I love to plant are the seeds of God’s Word that go into and grow out of the soil of a human heart. These seeds grow and make people into beautiful creations of God!  
 
Last week, my wife and I had the opportunity to pray with a lady to receive Jesus! We have been praying for her for a couple months after some seeds had been planted.
 
Planting the seed of the gospel and then getting to see it grow is the most exciting thing in the world! 
 

Even though I am not a gardener, I do plan on planting some flower seeds that we have been collecting at our church. We are collecting Nasturtium seeds for every gospel conversation we have with people in the community. These Nasturtium seeds that will be planted in the soil of the earth represent the seeds of the gospel that have been planted into the soil of a person’s heart.

Let’s be like Philip above and go find another soul to tell about Jesus!

Have a Great Week!



Fill’er Up…family!

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Fill’er up!

That’s what I used to say when I went to the gas station when I lived in Oregon. I don’t say that near as often now because I have to pump my own gas. Truth be told, I enjoy pumping my own gas because I don’t have to wait for an attendant to wait on me.

Fill’er up!

On New Year’s Day, my family asked God to do this! No, not to fill our car with gas. We asked God to fill our house with Him. Until New Year’s Day, we had not prayed and anointed each doorway in our home. We thought that the start of this New Year would be the perfect time to do that, so we did.

We took turns reading scripture (above) at each doorway, anointed the doorway with oil of gladness, and prayed over each room represented by that doorway. In doing this, we dedicated our house to the Lord telling Him that we want Him to be pleased with everything that goes on in our home along with renouncing and rebuking any evil that has been in our house previously.

I believe the Lord is pleased with any action a family takes to stand on the authority of His word and draw closer to Him!

What actions do you think the Lord would want your family to take in 2018 to stand on the authority of His word?

Let me encourage your family in 2018 to ask God to…

Fill’er up!

Happy New Year!



Shining Brighter in 2018

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5

I know I’m not supposed to talk about Christmas for a New Years’ blog…but… I got an LED Work Light for Christmas. It shines brighter than any other light I have in the house. The really nice thing about having a really bright work light is when there is a dark area that I am working in, I can have my work light shine in the darkness!

We live in a dark world. We live in a world where death, disease, and destruction seem to be winning right now. We live in a world where fear, anxiety, and depression are the norm. Friends, this is not the way it is supposed to be. The reason our world is dark right now is because of the one who is ruling. Scripture says the devil is ruling as the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). This will not be the case forever. I’ve read the end of the Book!

Those who follow Jesus are the ones God is using to bring light to the world. Jesus said this when He told His disciples they were the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

Truly shining for Jesus is sharing Jesus in the darkness!

Yesterday, I gave my church family three ways to Shine in the Darkness:

  1. Prayer

Christians must penetrate the darkness with prayer by praying for the lost!

  1. Do the Right Thing

Christians must penetrate the darkness by doing the right thing even when others are not

  1. Build Relationships with Non-Christians

Christians must penetrate the darkness by building relationships to tell others about Jesus

Happy New Year! Let’s Shine Brighter for Jesus in 2018!



Merry Christmas…Darth Vader?

“When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” Luke 2:17

We have a tradition of getting a yummy hot drink and going to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. This Christmas Eve (yesterday), it snowed…! I cancelled Christmas Eve communion service because I did not want to put anyone else at risk for traveling on the slippery roads. But,..that didn’t stop us from going to look at lights! For the most part, we stayed to neighborhood roads that were less traveled in order to avoid other crazy drivers.

I saw Santa…I saw Reindeer…I saw Peanut’s characters…I saw Disney Characters…I even saw Darth Vader! Who knew Darth Vader was a Christmas decoration!? Merry Christmas…,Darth Vader?
 
The lights were beautiful! Some simple, some elaborate, some crazy…some told a story!
 
One house sticks out among the rest and that one had a Nativity scene along with a cross.
 
Just as the shepherds started spreading the word about the Messiah once they saw Him, I got to see families spreading the word about Jesus through their Christmas decorations!
 

Those who have seen Him, spread the word about Him!

Have a wonderful Christmas as you spread the word about Jesus! He has come to save us from our sins!

Merry Christmas!



Cheese Pizza…Best Christmas Present Ever!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

We drove up to the church and saw that someone was sleeping in the entry way. My youngest, Riley, asked what I was going to do… “I’m going to ask’em to leave”, I replied.

My boys and I were headed to the church to put up some Christmas lights in the fellowship hall at church. That’s when we saw this person sleeping outside the church. My first instinct was, “I’ve got to ask this person to leave.” We already have a ministry that allows registered guests to sleep in their cars in the parking lot. This alone has caused some anxiety with the neighbors falsely saying that we have started a “homeless camp”. I certainly can’t allow a homeless lady to sleep outside next to the church.

When I walked up to the lady, I greeted her and she just started crying. She started telling me that people yell at her, nobody gives her a chance, and she doesn’t think she can make it another winter. I sat down with my boys beside me and just listened. After finding out more about her and her story, finding out she has been on the street for 7 years, I asked if we could get her something to eat. She said her favorite is cheese pizza. So, me and the boys got pizza, brought it back to the church and had dinner with her. While we were eating and talking together, she said to us, “this is the best Christmas present ever”.

I wrestle within myself how to best handle these situations. I didn’t really want to take the time that evening. But then again, there are two reasons I did.

First, Jesus said that helping those in need is just like helping Him. Therefore, when I take time to help those with less than; it is as though I were doing it for Jesus.

Second, my boys were with me. I’m so thankful they were. They got to see their dad take time to care for a fellow human being. They certainly get to see me do this more than that evening. But the reality is, this time it was with a person that most would not take time for.

As the evening was coming to a close, I was walking to my office and my youngest ran up to me to ask if we had any water bottles. He asked if he could give her one.

Helping your children see how to treat a fellow human being even when many would not give them the time of day might just be the best Christmas present ever.

Merry Christmas!   




June 9, 2019 FACEBOOK LIVE RECORDING
(Recording will be added here after the service)
 

What If My Brother Abandoned Me?