Saturday, January 30, 2016


Have you ever been in a time of prayer with friends and it 

seemed to go on forever? This week, in our staff meeting, 

we finished our time together with prayer but I didn't hear the 

request that I close. We prayed, and then silence, and then 

someone else went on forever....finally I looked 

up and asked, "Did I have the "amen?" Several nervously 

laughed, "YES!" and so I said, "AMEN!" and we were done. 

Prayer is such a wonderful and odd thing all at once. We 

know we are called to pray, but there are so many 

questions, so many uncertainties with prayer. It's difficult, but 

we need it badly. We need to pray as much as we need to gives life to our souls. Lord, help me, as I 

continue to struggle with this wonderful thing called prayer, 

to really communicate with you, to really know you and hear 

you when you speak.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth.
God gives, God takes.
God’s name be ever blessed.
Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.  -Job 1

I spend so much time in my life chasing ashes.  I hate to admit it, but I do.  Advertising is to blame for my desire for this pile of ashes, then that pile of ashes.

It looks like a new computer to you or that dress you love so much.  It might smell like that new car you want so badly or the house you can't wait to own....but it's all ashes.

One day it will all rust, decay or burn day it will all be ashes.

Dr. Henry Brandt said, "The goal of my life is not to get to the end of it and compare my pile of ashes to your pile of ashes."

How do we get so focused on the things that are so worthless?  How do the toys of this world enthrall us so easily?  We skip over the precious things and desire ashes.  What is wrong with us?  How are we so blind that we prefer the things that won't last rather than the eternal things?

We are like children who open all the gifts under the Christmas tree and then play with the boxes.

Around us are eternal precious things and we crave the ash heap.  A sad race, aren't we?  

Lord, help us see what you see.  Help us hunger and thirst for the eternal things, the things that you care about.  And help us to see the ashes of the world for what they really are.  We have been people of the ash for far too long.  Help us to see.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Big enough?

How big is your God?

Most people have a very small God.

It shows in their prayers.  It shows in their fears.

How big is your God?  

Is he big enough for your needs, your problems, your fears?  

Can he help you?  

The prayers you pray are woven into the size of your God.  If you worship a small God then your prayers will be small and you will expect little, but if you worship a big God you will pray boldly, expect much and trust him for the impossible things. 

Here's a picture painted over and over of the God of the Bible. It describes the God men and women prayed to. 

The size of their God shows in the size of their prayers.

Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth.

Our help is in the name of the LordWho made heaven and earth.

May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever;

“O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

“It is I who made the earthand created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host.

For thus says the Lordwho created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lordand there is none else.

When you look up in the night sky and see the stars, the trillions of stars and billions of galaxies, do you realize that's your God who made all of those stars, the God you pray to?

Nothing is too hard for him!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Little things

This afternoon I got a call from a man looking for help.  

He just got out of prison and is trying to get home.  

It's so easy to miss a "God encounter" 

and so easy to experience one.

I went to meet Michael.  That's his name.

He warned me that he's 6'8" and black.

He told me that when he tells people he just got out of prison 

they turn away,

but look what they would miss by never meeting Michael.

"To help people"

A few weeks ago a couple came up to me in church with their young son.  They explained that he had been saving his money to help others, but didn't know how to get it to them.  The parents suggested he give it to the church to help others.  I humbly took his envelop addressed, "TO HELP PEOPLE" and told him I would let him know how it was used to help others.  What a great lesson for us mark an envelope with these words, "TO HELP PEOPLE" and then to do something with it.  May his tribe increase!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


In just a few minutes I begin a class on prayer.  I am least qualified to teach this class, but soon it will begin.  As I read about so many prayer warriors, men and women who gave their lives to prayer I feel so inadequate, so unworthy of even talking about the topic at all.  

But, and how wonderful this is, but God hears even my feeble prayers, my desires to speak to him, to ask for help, to seek him.  In prayer we create thin places where creator and creature touch and they are most holy places.

This morning I pray that the great majesty of talking with the creator of the universe comes through and this group of students capture a passion for God.  Lord, let us seek you!

Friday, January 22, 2016



It's so rare

So hard to find

All around us is noise

Noise to occupy our days

Noise to keep us from thinking

But it's in the silence that I hear God

He doesn't scream at me

He waits

He waits for me to be still

To be quiet

So he can speak

It's in the silence when I hear

the most important sound ever...

the voice of God.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Let me begin by admitting that I am not a political animal.  It doesn't interest me in the least.  Now, I know there are those who would ask, "Don't you care who is elected, who runs our country?"  

Can I be honest?  No, I don't care.  I see a different hand ruling the events of man, a hand who made the heavens.  
For me to waste a lot of time or energy on who rules my little country seems like time I could be doing something praying!

All of the politicians in the battle for our country seem like small men and women, liars and scoundrels, when you compare them with the God who made them.  And, really, what are they going to do? 

They will make promises they won't keep.

They will ultimately fail to meet our expectations....all of them.

I think this truth is revealed best as I read the stories of the kings of Israel.  Whether good or bad they all failed because they aren't really the rightful king of the earth.

One day soon he will set up his kingdom, in fact he has already begun doing that, and when he rules all his promises will be true, all his power will be genuine.  I look forward to that day. 

In the meantime I yawn as men promise things they never plan to deliver and if they do we will be the ones who have to pay for them.  

Don't get too excited about politics....they are only men, tiny men, fallen men ruling over a fallen planet.  Instead, get excited about the one king who can do all we have ever dreamed of a leader doing.  He will bring peace, life and joy to a weary planet.

Monday, January 18, 2016

One thing

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,"  -Phil. 3:13

Paul was the model of a man on a quest to know God, to follow him, to obey him.  He held nothing back.  He was a man who gave all he had, all he was to know this Christ who had sought him out and saved him.

He was on a quest....a quest to know Christ.  

There is a lot to distract us these days.  The world around us captivates and captures our attentions.  We wander from this pleasure to that desire.  We are easily distracted by a world that wants us to enjoy every moment, live to the full.....but you know all that.  As I write it seems I'm just stating the obvious.

So let me be direct, specific, honest.  How focused am I?  Do I have one thing that is most important or 20 that have me spinning to capture and attain them all?  Do I know where I'm going?  Why?  Do I have that "one thing" Paul described? 

I fear not. 

The world distracts me, the devil confuses me, my desires betray me and I miss the most important thing of all....knowing Christ.

Lord, help me set aside all the distractions and pursue you alone.  Help me not be distracted by all the things around us that want our time, attention and money.  Help me, like Paul, live for one thing...knowing Christ.

Friday, January 15, 2016


We have a little "in house" dialogue that always follows the question, "Shall we pray about that?"

And, without fail, someone will reply, "Has it come to that??"

It's a funny way of reminding ourselves that prayer is often our last resort when we have exhausted all our other options.

I'm reading a number of books on prayer right now in preparation to teach a class on prayer, but more than that and a bit selfishly, I'm reading them for me!  Prayer has always been an enigma for me, difficult to do, hard to understand and frustrating. 

Often, as a pastor, I would take time to pray in the church when no one was there.  I would begin on my knees at the front of the church in prayer and then discover, to my surprise, that I had fallen asleep with carpet impressions on my forehead.  My intentions were good, but I couldn't stay with it.

After going to the house on one of these days my wife asked, "You been praying again?"  It was evident....not because of a heavenly glow, but because of carpet impressions on my face.

So, how do we encounter this wonderful invisible amazing God and communicate with him?  It's called prayer, but it's probably the hardest part of any believer's life.  It challenges our need for imput, because often he is silent. It frustrates our desire for answers, because he makes us wait.  It makes us question his love, because he doesn't seem to meet the needs we think we have.

Prayer is, without a doubt, my most difficult conquest.  

I think, at some point in my life, when I finally begin to feel I'm doing it well, it will be at the very end of my journey....but I'm working on it.  I'm trying....I want to really discover and experience what this thing called prayer is all about.

It begins with "ask."  An invitation to approach the creator and ask. In fact, he's the one who invited us to this encounter.  Jesus said, "Ask...!"  Ask what?  Anything, but it's not the getting that is the goal, it's the dependence...a dependence on God for the very essence of life.

Ask.  It means for me I must admit I have a need, admit I can't do it myself, admit it's bigger than I am and ask for help.  It's humbling.  Like a child I come to Father and ask for his help.  Jesus began this invitation with that word because there are some things we have to  deal with,

1. I can't do this myself.  I need help.
2. I need help from someone bigger than me.  My needs and problems are more than I can conquer.
3. I need to admit that the one who made me is the only one who can help me.
4. and, when I come, when I ask, like a child I'm putting myself in his care, believing he will answer.

Ask.  It's the foundation of prayer.  It's the starting point.  Some will say we have to worship first....praise, adoration, etc., but asking is worship!  It's bowing all of me to someone higher than I and saying very simply, "help."

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Do you ever doubt?
Do you have questions?
Do you wonder if God is real?

You're on the right path.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Years ago a song written by John Lennon captivated the imaginations of young people world wide.  It was titled "Imagine."

Here are part of the lyrics to this dream that could never be,

Imagine there's no heaven 
It's easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people living for today 

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people living life in peace 

"Imagine" was the dream of a culture hoping for utopia without God, but the only thing that comes when God departs is dystopia, disaster, death, destruction.  When God leaves the stage our dreams become nightmares.

But let me re-imagine these lyrics as they really will be one day, and yes, there will be a day when much of what Lennon hoped for will happen, but it will happen because God brings it about and not because he's absent.

Imagine a day when death is no more. A day when tears are forgotten, pain is no more, fears evaporate, hated is a distant memory, wars never thought of, depression gone, resentment turned to joy, anger turned to love, rivalries exchanged for celebration for one another.

Imagine peace, real peace.  You won't have to lock your doors, you won't fear what awaits you, no one will need to carry a gun, no police will be needed, no hospitals filled with sick and hurting...imagine...can you see it?  Or is it such a dream that you think there is no way this could ever happen.

But it will...and it will happen because of God's great love and it will last forever.  Imagine all your dreams come true.  That's the kingdom that is coming, that's the utopia we dream of....are you part of it?

Are you "signed up?"  Have you made your reservations for the utopia ahead?  It won't be open to everyone, but only to those who say yes to the invitation that's been sent to everyone....come, be part of God's great kingdom.  All you imagine will finally be true.

Here's your invitation,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Yesterday I found myself in a God orchestrated encounter.  

A homeless man reached out to us for help.

I said yes.

I went to where he was staying, 
picked him up and then began the encounter.

He was a vet,
a Christian,
an author
and he was homeless.

We went to the store, 
got him some clothes,
some food cards
then stopped to get a meal.

We talked, 
had fun, 
got to know each other.

But for all I gave him
the most important
thing I gave him

He told me
the hardest part
being homeless

My greatest gift to him was not
clothing, food, shoes or even a coat... was time.

Do you realize how inexpensive 
the really important things are?

A smile,
a hug,
time to listen.

My new friend came back to life....
simply because I spent time with him,
listened to him, and cared.

It's so easy. 
It made his day,
it made mine as well!