Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in review

It's been an amazing year. As I look back on the year I see amazing things happening. Here are just a few of the things that have happened in my world this year:

1. We (pastors) found ourselves leading our church family through a very difficult time. It was exciting to be part of it and see what God did through this time.

2. This was the first year in a long time that I didn't go to Haiti. YEAH!

3. This is the first year in my adult life that I have taken 2 weeks off at the same time. It was amazingly refreshing. I think I will do it again.

4. I got the chance to ride my bike to Colorado and spend the week motorcycling in the mountains with my sweet wife and friends. I think I will do this every year.

5. On vacation this year I grew my first beard. I was surprised it was ALL gray. I think it looked pretty good.

6. I pastored at more funerals this year than I have in many years. Some of these dear ones were good friends. It's been hard in that respect.

7. I have been able to read some great books this year. I love books!

8. My dear wife has gotten very busy in the ministry, and I have been thrilled to see that.

9. We, as a church family, have seen the Lord work in amazing ways through this year. I know the kingdom of God would continue on just fine without our church, but it's been great to see God work in our little church family.

10. We found a new teaching pastor, Steve Hixon, this fall. He's a great guy, and I'm looking forward to working with him.

11. One of our pastors and a good friend is leaving us to work in missions. I'm sad that he's leaving, but excited to see what God will do in and through him.

12. I have been blessed to be able to spend some time in the word each day. I don't think I could spiritually survive the last year without that time with God each day.

13. I have been blessed to see God work in the lives of people in our church family. They have grown more than they know. Many left our church because of the problems we went through, but those that said, "this is my church" and stayed through this time have grown into an amazing church family. I wouldn't have missed it for the world or be willing to go through it again for anything!

I hope your year was one that brought you joy in your memories and growth in your faith.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Going deeper

Today I got an e-mail from a man I have been discipling for a while. He is growing tremendously, but it hasn't been never is. Here's his note today:

But He knows the way I take,
When He has tried me,
I will come forth as gold.
My foot has held fast to His path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than food....Job 23:10-12

"God calls us into a deeper relationship than we can ever imagine. God will do whatever it takes to get us there if we ask Him. Sometimes it includes hardship, trials, and even tremendous loss in order to get us to loosen the grip of world. Often it is not that the world that has a hold on us, but rather we are equally holding tightly on to the world. Still, in this journey God will never leave us. God always finishes His work. Though it may take time and we may feel as if the cost is too great, He is preparing us for His purpose and will not relent. The real question I often ask myself is, would I really want Him to; especially after coming so far? In our impatience, we want it However, as we read God's Word it is evident that God is prepared for the long haul. He is faithful in ways that we do not understand. If you go deep into the ocean, the deeper you go the more pressure you will experience. Still it is only in the depths that you will see things that few have ever seen. God longs to purify each of us. How long will we be content to simply float on the surface?" --Mike B.


We finally got to have "Christmas" with or kids and their families last night. It was great chaos. A present opening orgy of sorts. That happens when you have grand kids at their ages, they simply want to open them all RIGHT NOW. So we let them. We had a great time. One gift I want to mention is the one I got from my son. He's 32 now, married and doing well. I love both of my kids dearly. They have been a wonderful blessing in my life. My son gave me a framed picture and in the frame was this:
"Dad, I wish there was a way to repay you for all that you've done for me: Al the caring, all the love, all the sacrifice and concern. I always knew you would be there for me, and that your love never depended on what I did or didn't do. You encouraged me to work towards and reach whatever goals I set, and you helped me to have faith in my abilities. You taught me that mistakes don't mean failure, and that I need to try harder. Thank you for all these things, and for everything that made my growing up years a very special time.
I love you very much."
Knowing that he wrote it himself makes it a prized possession to me. Isn't it funny that over time it's little things like this that are the most valuable to us? It's not the expensive "toys" we care about, it's the inexpensive personal things that are important.
And, I must mention one more that is really amazing- my daughter used her gifts to make something by hand. She is a wonderful artist and craftsman. She spins her own yarn! This year she gave me a neck warmer for cold days on the motorcycle, but what was great about it is that she spun the yarn herself, then knitted the neck warmer too! That's a lot of work and love for her to invest in what looked like a simple gift, but I won't see it that way.
I don't know what you may have gotten for Christmas, but I was richly blessed with two simple gifts I will keep for the rest of my life.
(The pictures are from our evening together)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Person of the year 2007

The person of the year for 2007 is not one, but one represents them all. They are all the men and women who are risking their lives to protect our country and those in Iraq, Afganistan and other places around the globe. My nephew is one of them, and although war is never the best choice there are times in a fallen world when it is forced upon us. War is a horrible thing, and yet these men and women are risking everything to serve their country. For their sacrifice and service they are the person of the year 2007. Thank you all for your great sacrifice for us all.

(I don't care what Time magazine says. I'm right and they are wrong on this one. Putin as man of the year? I don't think so!)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Planning ahead

At this time each year most of us begin to plan ahead for the new year. We call those plans "New Year Resolutions." It's an opportunity to try to do better this new year than we did the last.
But let me invite you to look ahead a little further....further into the future than just the new year. Further than you have ever looked before....all the way to the end of your life. When it's all done here what do you hope others will say about you at your funeral? When friends and family gather to remember you what do you wish they would say about you?
He was a great dad, godly man, hard worker. She was an amazing woman who loved her family, everyone around her and her Lord. I'm sure you have your own list of things that race through your mind...."I hope they will say," or "I would like to hear." So, let me invite you to plan ahead....not for the new year, but for the finish line.
Plan ahead in this way- write down the things about you that you would want others to remember you for and begin to weave those things into your life NOW. None of us know when our days are done, but we can intentionally set a course for the finish line now. Live your life today with the finish line in view.
There is another finish line for each of's our interview with our creator. That meeting is the final finish line. For those who have trusted Christ as their savior it will be a great day whatever the commentary may be, but for those who have not trusted Christ for salvation that finish line is a dark day. Many have said it before me, but let me repeat it. We do not live for the commentaries of friends and family, although their words about us will tell a lot about our lives. We live for an audience of one- God himself. Live your life knowing that there is one who is watching, one who will give the ultimate report card on your life. Live for an audience of One.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas delayed

It's been a strange Christmas. We found out last weekend that Joye's mom was ill. So we postponed Christmas and drove to Arkansas to take care of her. She's out of the hospital, and home with us for a while to recover.

As we get older so does everyone around us including our parents. We are still blessed to have our parents with us, but that will not last for too many more years. Time passes, we all age and one generation departs with another to follow, but for now we will enjoy having Joye's mom with us.

I hope you all had a great Christmas with family. We still have Christmas ahead of us.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thinking about Christmas

I have been reading the Christmas story over and over to prepare for tomorrow. It's such an important event in the history of mankind....the entrance of the creator into our world. I know that most simply see this as a secular holiday....a time of gifts, vacation, a time to be with family. But it's so much more. It's the visible revelation of the love of God for each one of us. The God who made us became one of us to save us. It's the most amazing story the human race has ever heard. I think I'm just beginning to get a sense of how much this birth of Christ really means...this humble entrance onto our planet in a little backwater town in Israel is the pivotal event of history. The world has asked for proof that God it is. There has been no other person in the history of the human race that has made such a difference in our world as Jesus Christ has. He is the central figure of time and history. He still makes the cover of Time magazine each year, and he has changed my life forever.

Happy Birthday Jesus

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thank you for showing us what the love of God looks like.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another reason I like Texas...

It's December 21st and I snuck away to spend the day with a couple men from our church riding motorcycles! Christmas is only 4 days away and we rode 300 miles's another reason I like Texas.....75 degree weather a few days before Christmas!

We had a great time, rode out into the country and found some roads where we didn't see a car for miles. It was great. I got some time to "breathe" and pray. I really needed it.

I don't know if you can call this a hobby, but I will claim it as one. For me it's a great way to get away and refresh my mind and lose myself.

The best Christmas gift ever!

Christmas spirit

Christmas is a great time of year for most, but for some it's a very sad and lonely time. It may be the first year without someone they love. For others it's simply that they are alone, and this time of year is really difficult.

In this time of celebration of the love of God and his gift to man, look for those who are alone, discouraged, grieving and reach out to them. Invite them to join you for Christmas, give them a gift, call them....reach out.

Christ came to show us the love of God for us, let's do the same for those around us who simply need a warm smile, a hot meal, a friend. And if you know someone who has lost a loved one this year call them and encourage them. It's the perfect time to extend the love of God to those around us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

For us!

The Christmas story is one that never gets old to me. It's the ultimate revelation of God's love for mankind that he, the one who made us would become one of us to save us.

"For unto you is born" is the language of the story. It was for us. Christmas is the revelation of God's great love for us and his willingness to humble himself by becoming a man, living here with us, dying for us and then rising again so we could have eternal life through faith in him. It's a wonderful story of God's great love. For all the social discord over Jesus and Christianity it's still the greatest story ever told...the story of God's love for us!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quote of the YEAR!

Well, it's official. The quote of the year is......drum role, please.....‘Don’t tase me, bro!’

updated 12:56 p.m. CT, Wed., Dec. 19, 2007-

LOS ANGELES - "Don't tase me, bro," a phrase that swept the nation after a U.S. college student used it seeking to stop campus police from throwing him out of a speech by Sen. John Kerry, was named Wednesday as the most memorable quote of 2007.
Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, said the plea made by
University of Florida student Andrew Meyer on Sep. 17, accompanied by Meyer's screams as he was tased, beat out the racial slur that cost shock jock Don Imus his job and the Iranian president's declaration that his country does not have homosexuals.
Shapiro said Meyer's quote was a symbol of pop culture success. Within two days it was one of the most popular phrases on Google and one of the most viewed videos. It also showed up on ringtones and T-shirts.

I won't even list 2 through 4 on the's just too sad. If this is the best that the great minds of our country can come up with then we are in a sad place. Hopefully they chose the most notables, not the most at least that would give me some solace.

While you're making other plans....

There's an old saying, "life happens while you're making other plans." As a pastor I see that in my life and the lives of the people I care about all the time. Yesterday one of our guys called me to ask for help. His mother was dying, and he wanted to know what to do about funeral arrangements. He said, "we just didn't think about this part of it." That is usually the way it goes...we are busy just living each day and then suddenly must deal with things we never thought about.

We got a call like that yesterday. My wife's mother is going into the hospital today. She has pneumonia. So we spend the evening discussing what we should do. Should my wife go there immediately? How to get there- drive or fly? Do we cancel Christmas and do it later? How do we fund the trip? Can I rearrange my schedule to go with her? A dozen questions that suddenly must be answered and dealt with. It's just life in a fallen world, and we all go through these things.

Once in a while though I get a glimpse behind the curtain and see what life could be without the ravages of sin on this planet, and wonder how many of the things we live with, endure and have to work through would not even exist in a sinless world. So, here's a short list of things that I think will change when this broken, fallen world is fixed and put right-

-We won't have to deal with funerals more death...that will be nice.
-I won't have to have a Kleenex box on my desk for the spouse who is sitting in my office after finding out their mate is divorcing them. In fact the tissue companies will be out of business with the removal of tears....even that little thing is profound.
-Hospitals will be empty! No more sickness or death.
-No more glasses! I'll be able to see perfectly.
-The courts will be closed. Without sin to mess things up they won't be needed.
-Traffic lights will be turned off, you won't have to legislate "doing the right thing."
-No more politicians! How great will that be?!
-No more keys needed...without sin we won't need to secure against its temptations.

As my mind wanders I think of a dozen things (I'm sure there are hundreds) that would change when sin is dispatched. I can't wait for the day...the day when Christ returns, sets up his kingdom, and we see for the first time how life was meant to be without sin and it's impact on our lives. I think we will be amazed at how different it will many things we think of as "normal" will be done away with....I can't wait.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quote of the day

The quote of the day comes from a good friend of mine, Eric. Eric has decided, at the tender age of 45, to go to seminary and prepare for ministry. His quote comes from his own odyssey of faith and what he has learned about the Christian life. Eric said,

"You don't have to be ok, you just have to be obedient." --Eric Allen

Great songs come from trials

One of the men in our church, Mike Bascue, has been through an amazingly difficult time and is coming through the other side. He found times of doubt, times when he was angry at God, times when he felt alone.....but through it all, and now on the other side of his trials God is working in his life. Here is a song he just wrote. I think you will really like it. Here's the link to his first cut of "The Stone."

Christmas is coming....

Christmas came whether anyone believed it or not. How many in our day miss out because "it's just impossible!"? The truth is that it is a miracle, it is impossible....and that's why it's so exciting. The God who made us became one of us to save us. It is a miracle....don't miss it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday's cartoon

Well, we did it.....we got a Nintendo Wii. Joye got a really amazing deal from, and we got the Wii for $79.00! It's great fun, but now we battle with "Wii elbow" and the temptation to use words pastors shouldn't use. The games are very frustrating! I must tell you that my dear wife, Joye, is a Wii addict. Intervention may be necessary.....especially with the new game Mario Galaxy. She has nearly conquered it, and can't stop until she does. She loves puzzles, and this kind of game is the ultimate puzzle. But the truth is that I knew that about her, and I get blamed for getting the game and getting her addicted. I confess....I did it. We are having great fun and frustration with the Wii. Come over sometime....let's play a game...a Wii little game.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A blessed dad

I am a very blessed man. I have a wonderful wife, kids and grandkids. I just wanted to share a photo with you of our beautiful daughter, Lindsay, and her husband, Zach at his company party last night.

Lindsay is a wonderful blessing, and an amazing woman. I'm honored to be her dad.

Thanks, Linz, for being such an amazing godly woman.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Training for the race

I am preparing for a year with a group of men from our church. I have invited about a dozen men to join me for a one year odyssey of faith. I am going to title this year, "Training for the race" because of the two verses that use this language in the bible. Paul uses this language to describe his own walk of faith, and so I plan to use this same language to bring focus to this year together.
In my own life I see that I easily lose my focus on what's important if I don't keep my eyes on the goal. The dilemma for most of us is actually knowing where the goal is, so it's easy to get distracted. There are a lot of things that are part of this race-the world, work, family, etc. It's not simply a 100 yard sprint down a track to a finish line I can see. It doesn't take just 10 seconds and then I'm done. This race takes a's a marathon, not a sprint, and the finish line is not in sight for many years. When I first realized this, that it will take my whole life, it changed how I live.
So, I need your help....if you were to join me in this year of training for the race what would you want to study, what would you want to know? What do you need to help you grow in your life? What do you need to train for your race? Based on these scriptures would you give me your suggestions for what you would want to know to help you in YOUR race to the finish line?
1 Cor. 9:24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fedex - Cast Away Commercial

This little parody is loaded with spiritual implications. I have a whole list of them that came to mind. What applications to life do you get from this funny little video?

Another sign that demands a question....

Here's another sign that piques my curiosity to know....where is this sign? It's a great sign, and as a pastor it has spiritual implications for me as I think about the tendencies of us "sheep." I have never thought of sheep "escaping into the jungle," it's quite a picture.....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Only Worthy One

This morning I was visiting with one of our pastors discussing his Christmas Eve message. We were talking about passages for the scripture readings. We discussed Isaiah, Daniel, Luke, John and Philippians, but my thoughts raced to a passage in Revelation. It's a passage that gets me excited each time I read it. This is only a portion of the chapter (read it all when you have time), but here are the words I want to talk about. Read the verses, and then let's discuss them....
Rev 5:1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.
Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"
Rev 5:3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.
Rev 5:4 Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;
Rev 5:5 and one of the elders *said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."
Rev 5:6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
Rev 5:7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Rev 5:8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Rev 5:9 And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Rev 5:10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

This passage thrills me. It takes me into God's very presence and introduces us to the ONLY worthy one.
There have been hundreds of religious leaders and founders of religions over the centuries, but as we come into the very presence of God we get a clear commentary on all of them when John writes, "Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy." It's clear that this is an intentional passage meant to focus the eyes of the human race on the only one worthy of our worship and praise, Jesus Christ. It's clear how God feels about all the other religious leaders of time and history.
But did you notice why he is worthy? It's because of his obedience to the father to do for us what no one else could do. No man can pay the price for his's too high, so here is what the worthy one did, "for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
Christmas is the grand introduction to the world of the only worthy one. Thank you, Lord, for sending the worthy one to provide salvation for the human race.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A post you need to read


One of the blogs I check regularly is written by a brother in Christ in Singapore. He just posted a story you need to read. He shares the story about his visit to a Christian church in China. You can read his thoughts here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Google earth's new discoveries

One of the great software programs available online is Google Earth. It's a compilation of satellite photos from space. There are some amazing discoveries from these photos, many of them you may have seen. Here's a new one found recently as people have scanned the photos- Noah's ark-
And here's another one that amazed me-

.The children of Israel crossing the Red Sea on dry land!

Two weeks 'til Christmas

Christmas is exactly two weeks from today! I guess I better start shopping....

Leading up to this most amazing rememberance of God's gift to man I'd like to share a random selection of Christmas "stuff." Have a great holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How rich are you?

A fellow pastor, Kris, posted this on his blog and I wanted to share it with you. It's a "how rich are you?" web page. Take a moment, go to, plug in the numbers and see where you fit. You may be surprised how blessed you are.
As Kris says on his post we are amazingly blessed, and are challenged to use the blessings God has given us in a way that honors him.
I was visiting with a man in our church last night who has worked hard in his life (coming from a difficult childhood, abandoned by his mother and raised by relatives) and is now a very wealthy man. He has all of this "money stuff" sorted out nicely. He shared with me several things he has recently been able to do with some of the money God has given him. He and his partner just finished building an orphanage for 450 children in India because it was needed. He just recently gave his wife a large amount of money for one of their anniversaries with this stipulation- you can't spend any of it on yourself, you have to give it all away to help others...and she did. This couple has this money thing figured out. They are using the rich blessings God has given them to change their world.
As a pastor I don't have nearly that kind of wealth, but when I plugged in my meager salary on this web site I was embarrassed to see how blessed I really am compared to the world around me. It helps at times to remember that we are a most blessed people. Lord, help me to use those dollars you give me in a way that honors you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Compass reviewed

.The Golden Compass starts today, and with all the discussion about it I think I need to see it myself, so this afternoon I'm going to see the movie. I'll give you a report when I return....

My wife and I saw the movie this afternoon. I have been trying to think of a way to describe it. It's dark, depressing, a little confusing....but the visuals effects were amazing. It was like many of the adventure fantasies being made now. The big difference was the message. There is a monolithic organization in the movie trying to control the human race. I can see how this could look like the catholic church.

There were many spiritual elements in the movie, but most people would miss them. Many of these are vague and hard to follow, and some were just upside down from our reality. It was entertaining, but the plot and story were slow. Frankly, it got a little boring at times. The movie finished with a setup for a sequel, and where that will lead would be the thing that would concern me.

After the movie we talked to two different teenagers in different settings and neither of them seemed very interested in the movie. I will be curious to see the impact of this movie. I will also be interested to get some definitions for all the spiritual elements in the movie because I still don't know where the author was going with some of them.

I rate this film a "yawn." I think it will be a non issue.

Today I'm reading....

This morning I'm reading in Acts 27, and I come to this verse.....
Act 27:23 "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,"
I noticed two things from this verse, but first let me set the stage for Paul's comments-
Paul is on a ship heading for Rome to appear before Caesar. He's a prisoner. The ship has been adrift in a severe storm for nearly two weeks. The crew and passengers have given up hope. They all anticipate that this is the end.
In the midst of this Paul makes this statement of faith. What made his statement so amazing is not just the circumstances, but his perspective on his life in the midst of a time of hopelessness for those around him.
Here's what I saw in Paul's brief testimony- 1. He belongs to God, and 2. because of #1 he serves God. This is slave language. This is a declaration of ownership, obedience and dependence, but it's also a statement of purpose...because I belong to God and serve him my life is his to do with as he pleases. It's a declaration that whatever happens to me, wherever I go, whatever I do...I'm his, and because I'm his I serve him where I am....even on a sinking ship.
So, I ask myself this- Do I see my life as one belonging to God? And, do I serve him because of that? It's an ownership issue....
1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
I'm not my own, I belong to someone else. Do I believe that? And if so, do I live like it? I have to constantly remember that it's not all about's all about HIM.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


There's an amazing site in our community. In a field near our home a family has decorated a large, lone tree with Christmas lights. What's amazing about the display is that you can see it from quite a distance....the lights are a neon white, and it looks like they have put lights on nearly every branch on the tree.

What looks like a beautiful site at night is just an ugly tree by day. It's funny what a difference light makes.

I wonder if that's how we appear....without Christ just another ugly dead life, but when the light of God's presence enters our lives we light up those around us and draw a crowd.

Truth or passion?

I am noticing something in our culture that has caught my attention. I am watching to see where this all ends.
What I see is a battle between truth and passion. It appears to me that passion has gained an equal footing with truth. In other words if someone is passionate about what they believe then their view is accepted even if it's not true.
Truth as an absolute has lost its place in our culture. Now passion has replaced it.
So, I'm I the only one who sees this or do you see it too?

A great movie for the family

I'm not a great movie critic. I love comedies, westerns and action films. I will tolerate "chick flicks" because I love my wife, and that is the extent of my movie expertise, but I love a movie that just came out on video, Mr. Bean's Holiday.
We watched it Monday night with the grand kids, and we all laughed, from 5 years old to's a great family film. And it's rated G! How amazing is that?
So, if you're bored and looking for some fun, silly entertainment let me recommend "Mr. Bean's Holiday."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! Our wonderful little grandson, George, turned one this last Sunday. He spent the evening at our house last night, and he knew the present was for him. How do they figure things out so quickly? It was great fun watching him play with his new toy.....pushing all the buttons, making all the noises (his parents will hate us in a week), what great fun it was.
So, today, let me say, "thank you" to the Lord for blessing us with George.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A book review

I just finished C.J.'s book on humility. In our culture of pride and self-focus a book like this is like a shoe that just doesn't fit. I really enjoyed the book. It challenged me to look at my heart. It's a painful examination.
This book is a must read for anyone in ministry or leadership.

Monday's cartoon

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A big enough faith? Part 2

My good friend, Tony, read the previous post and recommended this video. I agree with him, this is a great video to follow part 1 and a very insightful message from Mark Driscoll.

A big enough faith?

I have heard this phrase in Christian circles often, "if you only have enough faith..." and then the comment fades off into some great miracle that would happen for you....if you only had enough faith. I'm honestly tired of this perversion of the bible, and want to take a moment to vent a little. The reason it's such a problem is that it makes God small and forces me to take his place.....if I only had enough faith. The whole weight of a miracle in my life rests on ME. The whole idea is neither biblical or true. You don't need more faith for God to act in your life, and the fact that something isn't happening has nothing to do with the amount of faith you have or don't have.

Jesus said, "for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." Did you see that? It's not the size of your faith, it's the size of you God. It's not a focus on ME, it's a focus on God. It's not how much faith I have, it's God's wonderful will and plan for my life. It only takes small faith to do big things, but it takes a big God.

This whole perverted theology "if you only have enough faith..." makes faith into something it isn't. It's not something to accumulate for a blast at my problem, it's not measurable or powerful of itself. Faith can do nothing. Did you hear that? Faith can do's the one you have faith in that performs the miracle. Faith has NEVER performed a miracle, and never's GOD who does the miracle.

A little faith in a big God can move mountains. I don't need more faith, I have all I need. What I need is to have faith in the right thing- in the BIG God who can answer my prayers. And, frankly I'm really tired of hearing people put the weight of a miracle on the backs of those who are least able to carry it. You will see far more miracles with a little faith and a big God. You will see far more miracles with a faith in God rather than a faith in faith.

Enough faith to move mountains? You don't need more than you have, all you need is a God big enough to move the mountain for you. It's much easier to let God be God. Take your little faith to the throne of a big God and watch those mountains move!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A site for sore eyes


Often I will highlight web sites because I like them. Here's one with a series of high speed photographs of different liquids. They are amazingly beautiful. You can find the photos here.

Living in a broken world

This morning I got a call from a crying wife who just found out her husband is having an affair. My heart hurts for people going through such horrible things.
This is the part of my job that is the hardest.
We are living in such a broken world, and the results of how broken it is are more evident each day. There are days when I feel like a doctor in the emergency room who is dealing with the broken, hurt and dying. There are some situations where I know the patient will "die", but I do the best I can to help them.
Sin does that in our lives. It destroys lives. There is often little we can do but comfort those suffering the results of someone's sin.
I still remember what one of our men said to me, with tears in his eyes, when we had to announce a sin in our church family, he said, "I hate sin." May I add my voice to that of my friend and say, with a realization of sin's work in my own life, I hate sin. I hate what it does in our lives and in our world. I can't wait for the day when sin, death and the enemy of our souls will be destroyed.
Jeremiah wrote these words to describe our condition,
Jer 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
I'm so glad that, through faith in Christ, God has dealt with the penalty of sin. I can't wait for the day when he comes to complete our salvation and deals the final death blow to this horrible curse we live with called sin.
There is a day coming when.....
Rev 22:3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;
Rev 22:4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
There is a day coming when.....
Rev 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
I know my friend who called today, with tears in her eyes, looks forward to that day.

Seeing things as God does

I'm aware from what I read in the bible, that I don't see things as God does. My vision is skewed because of sin. I value things that God doesn't, and I don't value some things that God knows are priceless. I'm always in a values alignment mode as I live each day- what do I value? And then, how does God see it? The challenge for me is to get the same view of people and things that God has. Here's a reminder that has helped me- people are eternal, things are temporary.....that always gets my thoughts straightened out when I get my values confused.