Wednesday, April 30, 2014


If you extend grace to others you will be misunderstood.  

Extend grace anyway.

If you extend grace to others you will be judged.

It's better for you to be judged than for you to judge.

If you extend grace to others some will consider you permissive.

Extend grace and let the judgments come.  It's better to be associated with those who need grace than with those who refuse grace to those in need of it.

If you extend grace to others some will say you are not a Christian.

Extend grace anyway, it's more like Christ than you could possibly imagine.

If you extend grace to others some will say you are ignoring sin.

Extend grace anyway.  Remember, God is in charge of dealing with sin, not you.

If you extend grace to others who need it you will be misunderstood.

Celebrate being misunderstood! They misunderstood Jesus too!

(see Luke 6:27-38)

The King and The Chaos

Chaos- "Complete confusion and disorder: a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything." -Webster's Dictionary

There are two contrasting worlds around us.  One ruled by a good King, loving, giving, caring, compassionate and totally in charge of the events of our lives for our good.

The other world is the world of chaos.  It's a world without a king, without direction, without purpose, without....

We each live in one of these two world systems.  The rule of the King or the rule, if you can call it that, of chaos.  The goal of the King is to destroy chaos once and for all and set up his kingdom, and that will happen, but until then chaos is creating havoc with those who  live on planet earth.

The contrast is simple, it comes from John 10- "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

All around us we see the work of chaos and the work of the king. The contrast is dramatic and intentional.  The two oppose each other for the rule of mankind.  The King has the best intended for mankind, the chaos has the destruction of everything as its goal.

In the middle is the human race with a choice- The King or The Chaos.  Make your choice, it's important, but know that the choice of one is completely different than the choice of the other.  As the old knight in the Indiana Jones movie said, "He chose poorly" and then, in contrast, when Indy made his choice he responded, "He chose wisely".  

The choice is ours....The King or The Chaos.  The outcome of each is clearly defined in scripture.  Choosing the King seems restricting, but it's not. Choosing Chaos feels free, but it's not.  

The war rages on for the eternal destiny of each man, woman, boy and girl....the war between The King and The Chaos.  Ultimately the King will win, he must, but the Chaos will take millions in the fight.  It's a war for the very soul of man.

Choose wisely....choose The King.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Being Jesus

I've posted this photo and the story before, but wanted to revisit it once more.  It's a photo of a man giving his shoes to a homeless girl.  It's a small thing, but it's the main thing.....this idea of sharing what I have with others simply because they are God's precious creations and he loves them....just as much as he loves me.

It's a photo that says more than words can convey.  It's a picture of what it's like to be Jesus in the real world.  This week a friend told me of helping the homeless in our area.  They were helping them with clothes, shoes and other needs.  One of the ladies asked for a certain size of shoe.  The one helping her said, "We don't have that size here, but that's the size I wear.  Here, take my shoes."

Being Jesus to those around us is much easier than we realize....if we only see the need.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Our awesome son, Ian, turns 39 today!  I can't believe he's that old.....I'm not even that old yet.

I'm so proud of him and blessed to know this great man for 39 years.  Happy Birthday, son.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A circle in the dirt

I've started to do a small thing when I go to a new place.  It's simple really, but it's a way for me to remember what I'm here for, who I am.

I draw a small circle in the dirt.

Then I pray.  "Lord, begin a revival in this place and begin in this circle." Then I step into the circle and pray, "And Lord, begin with me."

That simple exercise does two important things for me.  It reminds me that my presence anywhere is a chance for God to work in that place.  And, it's also a reminder that any place I am I will touch other lives.  How I interact with them can draw them to the Lord, to his love, or turn them away.  I pray that my little exercise will allow God to work in that place and in me.

So, let me invite to my little exercise.  Draw a circle in the dirt and then step in it.  You are in this place, in this time, encountering people for eternal purposes....never forget that.  If a simple reminder like this helps you I invite you to join me as I draw circles in the dirt.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He is.....

Easter is the day Christians remember the resurrection of Christ.  It's the essential truth of our faith....that Jesus died on a Roman cross, that he was buried and that he rose from the dead on the third day, but that's not all there is to the story.  

There's more!

He is......

......ascended to heaven. (Mark 16:19)
......seated at the right hand of God on his throne. (Eph. 1:20)
......Lord of EVERYTHING! (Eph. 1:22)
......King of an eternal kingdom. (Dan. 7:13-14)
......the only worthy one. (Rev. 5)
......the soon coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Rev. 19)
......the soon coming Savior and Judge of the world. (Rev. 22)

He is God!  If you wonder what God is like look at Jesus.  He is the very presence of God in human flesh on planet earth!  He is Lord.

And, might I add....he is my savior and Lord.  I look forward to the day when I will see him face to face.

Come Lord Jesus, Come.....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen!

As Christians, we believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead.  It wasn’t just a dream, it wasn’t a vision, it wasn’t a lie made up by the 12 disciples, but it was a real event in time and history. A real event with historical and eye-witness proof.

"Sir Lionel Luckhoo (1914-1997) is considered one of the greatest lawyers in British history. He's recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Most Successful Advocate," with 245 consecutive murder acquittals. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II -- twice. Luckhoo declared: "I humbly add I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt." - Lee Strobel

The resurrection is vital for our faith, because the defining event of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Christ.

If he didn’t rise from the dead then our faith is worthless, but if he did, then everything has meaning.

If Jesus rose from the dead then…..

…death is not the end, there is something beyond this life.
…what Jesus said about himself really is true. He really was the son of God (God in flesh)!

…there is more to life than what we understand here.

…there really is a God who was able to raise Jesus from the dead, a God we have to acknowledge, a God we will have to deal with.

…death is more than sorrow, loss and grief; it also has with it a hope for more than just these few years. 

This is not all there is....there's more!

The resurrection was the defining event of man and defining moment of history.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead…then nothing matters, eat drink and be merry….this life is all there is. (Paul, 1 Corinthians 15)

But HE DID RISE FROM THE DEAD!  And for that we celebrate, because of his resurrection we have hope, we have faith, we believe.

The resurrection is the defining event of the Christian faith.  It was a historical event with more evidence than most events of history!

"If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead."  -Timothy Keller 

The resurrection is our line in the sand, our one issue that must be addressed.  If he rose, then he's God.  If he didn't, then nothing matters.  

But, I'm thrilled to say, as I close these Easter thoughts, 

He is Risen!!  He is Risen indeed!  

And he's coming back soon.

Are you ready?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The struggle

During Easter week there is one day that is left out.  It's this day, Saturday.  Friday is the celebration of the passion, the day Christ died and Sunday is Easter, the day of resurrection, but Saturday is missing...both in the bible story and in our own narratives.  

What happened on Saturday?  It must have been the most terrible Sabbath for the disciples.  It was a day of struggle, a day of despair, a time of fear, of self-doubt.  I can't even imagine the thoughts they struggled with...

....did we follow the wrong guy?
....what has just happened, we thought Jesus was the Messiah. could so many who were healed by Jesus turn on him like this?
....what do we do now?
....are we next? can we ever trust anyone again?

The questions, the doubts, the struggles must have been overwhelming.  They always are.  Between a time of great loss...on our way to faith and victory is "the struggle", that time when we question everything! Was I wrong? Where was God? Doesn't he love me? How could he let this happen? We thought we had followed the right path....why did he allow THIS?

The loss is always bad, but the time of struggle before we see the resurrection is the darkest time in our walk with God.  It's what David called "the valley of the shadow of death".  It's that time of darkness, doubt, despair and confusion.

But wait a day, tomorrow something will happen that will change everything!  They won't believe it even when they see it!  When resurrection happens in our lives the time of struggle is overwhelmed and overshadowed by the bright glory of God's redemptive work.  The contrast is amazing!  

Between our loss and the time when we see what God is doing is always that time of struggle.  It's the Saturday between good Friday and Easter.  It's the darkest day you will ever experience.  In that time never forget 12 men who wondered if they had made a terrible mistake, never forget that Easter is coming....just wait!  

When Easter comes the time of struggle will be so forgotten that it won't even be mentioned....just as it's been completely left out of the story of Jesus.  What happened on Saturday?  Who cares!  Look at what happened on Sunday!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

What would you ask?

This week, as my wife was working on a bible study, she came to the story of Bartimaeus in the study.  It's the story of a blind man (the story is below) and his encounter with Jesus.  When he had persisted in his plea for help Jesus called him and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"

In her study the question was this- If you had been in that situation what would you have asked for?  I thought about it a bit, but pretty much already knew my's my primary request to God....but then my mind wandered to another story.

The story that came to my thoughts was the encounter of Solomon as God came to him and said, "Ask what you will..."  It was the "magic genie" kind of have one wish, anything you want, it's yours! God's hands were open wide for anything Solomon would ask. To his credit, Solomon asked for wisdom.  God was pleased with his request and gave him more than he had requested...he gave his wealth, power, wisdom and much more!

As I thought about  Bartimaeus I also thought about Solomon.  Two men who both were given one grand open ended offer- "what do you want?"  Solomon chose well, but I wonder about Bartimaeus. 

Here's the story and then a few thoughts on the offer of Jesus.

Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Bartimaeus had a problem, he was blind.  His opportunity came and he asked for what he thought was the most important need of his life, but realize he could have asked for anything...wealth, power, long life!  What would you have asked if you had been blind in the presence of Jesus the miracle worker?  What would you have asked for?  I think most of us would have asked just as he did...for our most important need- sight.

It struck me there might have been a much better choice, a better request.  My mind wandered as I imagined what God might have done with another request from this man who could have anything he wanted.  What if he had asked, "Jesus, can I follow you?  I'll need some help because I'm blind, but could I follow you?"  

As I thought about that question I could see a twinkle in Jesus eyes. I imagine he would have smiled and replied, "YES!  I would love that, but you will need your sight, here is that as well."  I imagine this once blind man following Jesus, one of the 12...or should I say the 13 and after the cross he takes Judas' place among the apostles.  

I imagine Bartimaeus among the others on the day of Pentecost.  I think of a man with a testimony that changes his world....but he didn't ask to follow Jesus, he probably didn't even think of that.  He just asked for sight.  How blind we really are sometimes.  Even though we see we sometimes miss what's most important.

In the midst of your greatest need, if God came to you and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"  What would you reply?  What would you ask?

Now the answer's not so easy, is it?

Good Friday

More than 2,000 years ago God in flesh, Jesus Christ, died a terrible death by the hands of man to pay for the sins of those same men and us as well.  He was, as the bible describes, "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world".  On this terrible day so many years ago Jesus marked all of human history with this event and this statement- God loves you and paid the ultimate price to give you all he wants for you.  He paid the price himself!  He paid my debt and yours and invites us, by faith, to receive the ultimate gift....forgiveness and eternal life.  

On this day, when we remember God's love and gift, I just want to say, "Thank you God!  I can't express how grateful I am for your love, your forgiveness and your mercy to all of us.  You are so wonderful!! Thank you!"

Isn't it strange that the most terrible day in history was also the best because of what God did for us? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Deception and accusation

The enemies best weapons are deception and accusation.  First, he deceives us into sin telling us God is holding something back from us, cheating us of "pleasure".  Then, when we sin, he accuses us of that sin and of our unworthiness of forgiveness or love.

It's the same tricks he's used for centuries.  He has none better!  First, the deception, then the accusation for falling for the deception.  What a evil being he is!  How foolish we are to fall for his age old tricks.


Sorry I have been missing in action.  The recent trip to Kenya really took a lot out of me and Internet was spotty at best.  I will catch up here soon.  If you stop to check on me, thank you.  I will post soon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quote of the day

 "The mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about...I think it makes sense to believe in God." Bill Gates, interview in Rolling Stone.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Coffee in Nairobi

This morning (Saturday) I'm sitting with a nice cup of coffee in very cool Nairobi.  It's been a great week with 40 pastors on the east coast of Kenya, but tonight we head home.  

The week was difficult because of the heat and humidity, but we adjusted our format and made it a fun week for everyone.  I think the results were great and the pastors all seems to be benefited.  

We had planned to move from lecture format to facilitator format and it proved to be a great plan.  We heard from pastors who had not said a single word in three years.  It was quite a surprise to find out several of them are quite the comedians!  It was a very fun week and I'm glad it went well.  

Today we rest and tonight we fly home.  I look forward to my home and family, but am most grateful for the week that has just passed and I am thankful God used us in such a wonderful way.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

It's ok, God's in charge

If you watch the news it's easy to panic. The world seems out of control and panic, fear, worry are all emotions that come when it seems anarchy is  imminent. 

But it's ok....God IS in charge.  Nothing is out of control, it's ok.  As I read scripture there is one thing that is very clear- God is sovereign and all the chaos you see is not God's doing, but he is sovereign over it all.  Rulers are placed in their roles by him (see Daniel 11!), nations have their existence because of him, the events of history do not catch him by surprise....he's a "hands on" God, fully engaged in two things- 1. Glorifying Christ, and 2. Saving the lost world Christ died to redeem.  

It's quite a simple plan, but all fully under the control of God with the intent that Christ be glorified and the lost man be drawn to him.  How do I know all that?  It's fascinating, but I get it from Revelation.  As I read in chapter 17 I find these words, "For God has put it into their hearts to carry out HIS purpose...until the words of God are fulfilled."  

These are the events of the last days.  Anti-Christ is in charge and yet even this one who is against God is fully responding to the direction of a sovereign God with one goal.....HIS purpose, HIS glory, and the salvation of his children.

The Christian world I live in is in full panic mode because it seems "wicked men" rule and chaos is looming near, but don't's ok, God's in charge.  Even the apparent wicked ruler you see in different places around the globe is there by divine appointment to accomplish his will, his plan, to bring glory to his son.  

Relax, God has everything fully under control.....the government, the leaders, the weather, global warming, prices at the pump, your job, your life, you future...all of it....God's in charge.

So what do we do????  Preach Christ and make disciples, be ready when he comes and present to him a life of trust and obedient response to his one command to his disciples...the final words...go into all the world and make disciples.  That is his goal...the redemption of the lost man and he has given us that one task.

Why are we so busy with so many other things he never told us to do?  Why are we worried about all the rest?  It's ok, God's in charge, focus on the one thing he has told us to do and don't worry about the rest.  ok?