Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wrap me in your arms

A couple years ago a great friend of mine introduced me to this song.  Every once-in-a-while it comes back to me and really get stuck in my head.  The words are so powerful.  I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Eat Quail Much?

So I was reading my Bible again today and I came upon a story that either I overlooked before or haven't read before.  It so reminded me of God being a parent to the Israelites and how sometimes God will give us what we want even though He knows it's not the best thing for us. 

16 The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17  Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone. 18 Say to the people, ‘ Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”   Numbers 11:16-20

As I read through this I was trying to keep myself from laughing.  I know it's not really mean to be something to laugh at, but I can only imagine what God was thinking when He told Moses this.  It seems like He finally got tired of the people griping and complaining about not having meat so He was like "fine, have your meat!"  I wonder how many times in our lives He as done something like that and we don't even realize it.  We pray and pray and ask and ask for something and for a while He says no because He knows what is best for us, but then finally He says, "fine, you want it, it's yours. Eat away!"  

The story for Moses didn't end there.  Moses had the nerve to suggest God couldn't provide. (At least that's how I took what he said)

21 But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’ 22 Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?” 23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”   Numbers 11:21-23 

How often have we done that as well?  God says He is going to give us something and we question how He is going to do it.  I try to figure out what Moses was thinking.  God had already "proved" himself to Him many times.  It even says that God spoke directly to Moses in a way that He didn't with anyone else amongst the Isrealites and yet Moses questions Him.  

 To me, it shows how understanding God is with us sometimes.  He reveals Himself to us and yet we still question, we still complain, we still doubt and yet God comes back and says "Trust Me!"  Oh how hard that seems to be for us sometimes to just trust Him.  To let Him be in control.   

Both of these passages really spoke to me today about how we can I can be and so I thought I would share.  Feel free to let me know what you think.  

Still wondering about the title?  Read on at the end of Numbers 11 to find out that God provided them with Quail for a month.  

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV


Friday, July 27, 2012

Dan Cathy....Supportive of the Family

 After thinking about all that has been said about Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A recently I just had to write this post.  I want to start off by giving you the quote that has caused such an issue.

In a recent interview with the Baptist Press, Dan Cathy was asked about the opposition of some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family.

Dan Cathy said: 
“Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that ... We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” 

This statement has caused such an issue for Chick-fil-a that some cities have even made statements about not allowing them to move in or trying to get them out. Many are stating that his remarks make him Anti-gay and that the company therefore is Anti-gay and that makes the company intolerant to certain people.  Honestly, when I read what he said, and read the rest of his interview, I in no way take away that He is anti-gay.  I see that he supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but that doesn't make him anti-anything.

I can see where some might be confused.  Satan is a master of confusion.  He likes to spread lies and half truths.  That is who he is. Cathy stating that he supports the biblical definition of the family could be twisted to mean anti-gay, but that's the same perversion we use to say sex outside of marriage is OK....which it's not.

This is when I am reminded of Ephesians 6:12.  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NASB

I know I don't need to worry about arguing any point with anyone here on Earth, because it will do no good.  They either choose to believe the lies or the choose to believe the truth.  I battle is not with the person, but really a battle with Satan.  We each have our own battles with him and like I said before he is a master of lying and perversion.  God didn't ask us to shove the truth down someones throat, rather show them the truth in love.  

This is hard to do. It is hard for me.  I want to argue. I want to prove my point.  That does nothing.  Trying to win an argument will do absolutely nothing.  The heart of the person will remain unchanged.  You haven't given them a reason to haven't shown them the change in you.

Several places in the Bible it illustrates where when the church is persecuted, the true story of the gospel begins to spread, contrary to what people want to be believe.  Cathy has single handedly caused many believers and non-believers to run to the Bible and do their own research.  

Want an example: Many non-believers are saying that Christ never taught against homosexuality so it is OK now.  Dig for it.  Look for it.  Be able to understand why you believe what you believe.  I know I do. 

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV


Thursday, July 26, 2012

I want to play my guitar!

A while back I wrote a post called Why I don't play my guitar.  It became so popular amongst my few readers it even made the top 5 posts of all time for me.  Well, after some time has past and I have spent a period of time not playing I am ready to start playing again.

Honestly, I have missed it. I have missed the beauty of creating music.  I have missed the challenging myself to learn a new song.  I have missed playing music with my wife. Most of all however, I have missed being able to worship God with my music.

Playing guitar has been a part of my life for the last 12 years.  I have spent countless hours learning to play classically, learning to play with others in a worship band, learning to lead a worship band, and learning how to be free to play by myself.  It has been a big part of my life until the last year. 

I think God has been working in me for a while in a new way.  He has began a restoration process in me that has allowed Him to draw me closer to Himself and away from the brokenness.  He has began to give me opportunities to again serve people and be open to showing me where He is at work.  Then again, maybe He has been showing me, I was just too blind to see.

None-the-less, I am ready to play again.  I am ready to sing again.  I am ready to enjoy being in His presence and being open and vulnerable.  Music can  put each person in a vulnerable spot. Their mistakes and flaws are  amplified for people to see and not easily covered up.  It's not an easy place to be, but then again neither is being a follower of Christ.  In Christ our mistakes and flaws are shown only to be covered by Christ. 

So here I am, ready to play.  I guess now its time to find people who are willing and wanting to worship in a way they may not have before. 

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV


God's Control

Today I want to give you a few thoughts I have been wrestling with.  I am trying to figure out how they really go together and what they mean for us. 

Thought 1: God is in Control and leaves nothing to chance.  We were talking about this Sunday morning in our connection class and were given several illustrations and scriptures to back it up. For most of us, we say we believe God is in control, but then I can see where many times we believe things just "happen" to us rather than believing that all things happen for a reason.  This thought is perplexing and can really make you look at your life differently if really internalize it. 

Thought 2: Sometimes in our lives things happen to us that seem terrible.  Part of the assignment from Sunday was to read the story of Job and I can only imagine being in his shoes.  I've never had near that happen to me, but I do remember times in the not-so-distant past that God where I didn't fully believe God was in the issues I was dealing with and I thought things were just happening to me that were out of my control.  Sure I tried to look for ways for God could be using them, but I didn't really think of it as Him having control over it. 

Thought 3: If God is in control why does what we do really matter?  The end result is going to be the same either way, right? The Bible tells us how it all ends.

Thought 4: Our heart and our actions have to matter.  God wouldn't send His son to die for our sins if what we did or didn't do didn't matter.  I believe it was the way to reconcile us to Himself, but I also believe He leaves the choice up to us if we want the relationship or not.  Does that mean God limits His control over us?

Now I know what I believe in regards to all these thoughts, but processing through them really makes me think about what I have been taught or thought vs what the truth really is.  I did a lot of a reading yesterday and it seems the more I read the less I understand.  I know the overall story is so simple, but I also believe the more you let God have control of your life the more He will reveal to you about Himself and His plan.  I also believe that sometimes He reveals to us part of who He is but leaves room for us to try and understand something that really goes against who we are as humans. 

Anyway, like I said, I have been wrestling with these thoughts and trying to understand more of who God is.

Thanks for reading

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mercy and Grace

Mercy and forgiveness have to be given freely and unmerited to the wrong doer.  If the wrong doer has to do something to merit it, then it isn't mercy.    In the same fashion, forgiveness will always cost the person giving the forgiveness.

I pulled this from a book I am currently reading, (althought I have read it 2 other times) called The Prodigal God. As I thought about what it meant, I was hit with what felt like a ton of bricks.  It challenged me.

Why I know it is true, its amazing how easy it is to not really internalize it. It is easier to  believe that we have to earn forgivness for our sins.  I am constantly having to check myself and my actions to see if I am trying to earn forgiveness or if my actions are out of my love for who God is.  Unfortunately, this also means that other times I find myself making someone else earn  forgiveness and show them very little mercy. 

I can't say that I have ever really thought about how me forgiving someone is going to actually cost me something.  Most of the time its our pride and our "entitlement," but it will cost something.

I think about Christ and what He gave up so that we could be forgiven.  It wasn't His fault that we are creatures of sin.  It wasn't His fault that we kept failing and missing the point.  However, He was willing to give up everything...His kingdom, His power, His that He could become Human and sacrifice everything so that we could be forgiven. 

I am pretty certain He probably suffered far more than I ever will have to, and yet we so often hold on to something so small when it comes to forgiving people.  Think about it, Christ asked God to forgive the people who were beating, torchering, abusing, taunting, and killing Him and yet someone is mean to us or does something to offend us and we want nothing to do with them?  I know I am guilty.

Anyway, there is so much more than can be learned from that quote if we could just grasp a hold of what it really means.  It's a challenge to wrestle with this week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am new

So today I sit here thinking about quite a few things, but can't really gather my thoughts on what to say.  Well, I probably have things I could say, but nothing worth opening my mouth (so-to-speak) blogging about. I was trying to find something inspirational to listen to, and came across this song.  I thought it was a good reminder.  I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joyeux anniversaire!

Seven years ago today, I married my best friend.  I know people say stuff like that all the time, but I think that is part of a great marriage.  I couldn't imagine my marriage without her being my best friend. 

Over the past seven years we have had a series of ups and downs, good times and bad times. I think any strong marriage is going to have these times though.  I am pretty certain that without some of the not-so-fun times our relationship wouldn't be as strong as it is. I think that is how God works. 

I have learned so much being married the last 7 years.  When Christ speaks of the relationship He has with the church as a bride and groom, I can see it now.  I have learned how important that relationship has to be.  If the relationship between a husband and wife isn't right, nothing else is right, which I think is part of what Christ was talking about.  I think He was also giving us a great example of what it looks like to be a husband and lay down everything for the sake of the bride.  Again, I believe we are called to do that for our wives as well. 

I love my wife and enjoy getting to spend time with her.  She helps me to see things I haven't seen before and I know she has been used by God to shape me into the man I am today.  I am so thankful for her.  I am so thankful I get to be in her life and get to know her.

I know today's post doesn't flow really well, and that is mostly because I have so much I want to say, but just can't figure out how to say it. What I do know is that God put us together.  He orchestrated our lives so that we would be a part of each others lives.  I believe that about most marriages. 

If there is one lesson I would want to share with anyone who is in a marriage that is struggling or someone who is thinking about getting married, it would be this:  Bad things are going to happen in your marriage, but God allows them so that He can bring you closer to Himself and it will pass. 

I love you Marcey! I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.  Thank you for loving me.  You truly are a great example of Christ in my life and I couldn't imagine life without you. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Last night I had the privilege to talk to a friend about what God has been laying on my heart lately.  It was in the midst of that conversation that I began to remember something another friend of mine had taught me a few years ago. 

God wants us to be servants and to serve each other.

The concept actually came into play at the time because of the music program.  We had a lot of good instrumentalists and even more vocalists.  There were so many that we had to have a rotation of who played, but the goal was to always offer excellence to those who were coming to meet God and to God himself.

While to some a rotation might not always sound like a lot of fun because you don't get to "be on stage," I learned that it is a very humbling experience.  As we were being presented this though, he made sure to explain that what he needed was people willing to serve.  People who understood that sometimes the best way we could serve would be to not play or not sing on stage for a couple weeks. 

I admit for many it can be a challenging concept.

He went on to explain how just because we weren't on stage didn't mean that we didn't still have a vital role and that our role was to continue to be worship leaders while we are in our seat.  Genuine worship is contagious.  (Unfortunately, many of us fall in the trap of worshiping ourselves and that too, is contagious, only rather than others worshiping you, the int-urn worship themselves.)

Anyway, as I was thinking about all of that last night and then even into this morning, I began to wonder if there are other parts of our lives that we really suffer from not being willing to serve one another.  I wonder if we are often too busy worshiping something, someone, or ourselves that we forget what we are asked to do and what following Christ really looks like.

Learning to lead by serving is probably one of the best lessons I have ever been taught. 

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Loved by You!

So I was sitting there this morning with my wife eating breakfast when this song came on.  I admit I have listened to the CD numerous times, but I don't know that I ever really listened to this song. 

The key phrase in the song is I was made to be loved by you.  I truly believe that, but I don't know that I ever internalized it.  So often we talk about our response to God and what He has done for us, but seldom to do we actually talk about the real reason we were created.  God wanted to spread His love, so He created us to love. 

Anyway, it was just a powerful moment for me this morning and a great reminder.  I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What is a disciple anyway?

I have been talking lately about we were called to make disciples.  After writing about it, I figured if I truly believed that I had better make sure I really understood what that meant.  I understood the concept, but could I be missing something important.

I searched our local library and found a book called DiSSIDENT DISCIPLeSHIP.  While I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book (for two reasons, I haven't finished it, and its rather a complicated read...lots of big so far I have really had to stop and think about some of the stuff Augsburger has said.

Today, I am just going to leave you with a few thoughts and hopefully next week I will dig a little more into them as to really what they mean in my life.

The first thing I found interesting is that Augsburger says that being a disciple means that you don't stop at believing in Christ, but rather you believe Christ.  Simply put, you believe the same things Christ believed.

The second thing I found interesting was his definition of agape love. Agape love is a radical commitment to the welfare of the other that sees the other with an equal regard in spite of the other's response; that seeks to be understanding without need to understand or to be understood; that risks, cares, gives, and shares with no need for reciprocity, no need to be respected, no need to be appreciated, no need to be thanked, and no need to enjoy the process.  Agape love is love of neighbor given because the neighbor is also a creature, a precious creation of God.  It is uncalculated, impartial, unmerited, disinterested goodwill given to each as a precious person.  Agape love is non-conditional acceptance.  Agape loves is at first imitative love, then participative love as Christ is formed within the lover. ....All I can say is wow....if that is what we are called to, how easily we have failed.

Lastly and probably the biggest topic is being a disciple means imitating Christ.  Several times Christ gave us a command to do as He does.  Look for them. Most of them (if not all) will say As-So.  In other words, He says, as I have done, So you should do.

Anyway, I am sure I will probably come up with some more interesting thoughts.  I will probably have to reread each chapter a couple times.  (Remember I'm not a theologian) I just wanted to leave you with something to think about as this book has really got me thinking.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

King of Heaven

I really this song so I thought I would share.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Could it be so simple...

In somewhat of a continuation of what I wrote yesterday, I just wanted to point something out that I think is so easy to forget.

The story of Christ is simple.  The theology of Christ is simple.  What God asks of us is simple.

As I read through Paul's letters and read back through Christ's sermons I can't help but think how simple the message really is.

To me, the message is this. God created man to be united with Him.  He gave us anything we could have ever wanted, with one stipulation.  That stipulation was only governed by free will and unfortunately we broke our relationship with God so we could have what we wanted.  Sin entered the world.  Sin entered us.

Over the years God saw how we continued to choose not to have a relationship with Him.  His heart was saddened because He knew what more we could be if only we could have a real relationship again.  He still loved us.  He loved us like a father loves a child.  He wanted nothing other than the best for us, yet we chose time and time again to go our own way.

In God's love, He sent His son.  He was born of a virgin so there was no doubt He was God's son.  He gave Him humble beginnings as to relate and show His love for even the least of these.  Life was hard for Christ.  He had given up all He had to become human to be like us.  He gave up all his power and authority so that He could die for us.

Satan owned us.  Yes we were God's creation, but choosing to go our own way allowed sin in our lives and made us slaves to ourselves.  Nothing we could do could restore that relationship.  God sent Jesus to die to be our payment for what we had done.  He bought us at the price of His own son.  He gave His son for no other reason than to have a restored relationship with us.

Christ was brutally beaten and crucified.  We chose to beat Him. We chose to crucify Him.  We wanted our free will. We knew what was "best."

Christ died and was buried. 

Three days later after defeating the gates of Hell and paying for our sin, He was alive again.  He was alive again to show that He paid for our sins yet God was still in control.

He left us on earth with the great Comforter.  The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be God's presence inside us.  He was the connection piece that allowed us to again have a true relationship with God.  It enables us to have a life beyond ourselves.  To have a full life.  A life that is focused on what we were created for.

Sure there is more to the story than this, but for me this is a reminder of how simple the story really is.  It is a story of love.

Ultimately the story is so simple that even a child could understand.  Children have a way of knowing things and comprehending things that we as adults make so complicated.  I think if we could just realize how simple the story really is and learn to truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and likewise love our neighbor as we love ourselves....we would see clearly God's will for our lives.

The story is for everyone.  No one is excluded, no one is forgotten.  It is a story that can truly change lives if it is internalized.   We have a tendency to complicate things. We make things harder than they have to be.  Why is that?

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His  only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Theologian

Today I want to share something I have been dealing with from time to time over the past year or so. 

A couple years ago, I took the job of being a youth pastor.  I felt God had called me to be a youth pastor, I had worked with teens at the church we were currently going to, but other than that I had very little training when it came to leading teens.  I loved developing the relationships.  I loved the relationship I was building with God.  

Upon beginning my ministry I quickly learned that I was not near as well versed as many of the members of the church. Many of them were either seminary students or had been at one time.  It was somewhat intimidating, but I could trust that God had put me there for a reason. 

I have this habit of learning how thing "work" and then removing the beauty of it.  I love music and I love making music.  It is very easy for me, however, to go back to my training in music and convert music to math.  I know that doesn't make a whole lot sense to most of you, but really that is all it is.  Music is just a sequence of rules that says these notes go with those notes and it is just a lot of math once you get down to it.  In fact, many music majors that I went to school with either transferred to or from computer science, which again is just a lot of math.  It is very easy for me to remove the beauty and creativity from music just because I get so focused on the "math" of it.

I say all this, because during my time as a youth pastor I was asked many times if I were ever going to go to seminary.  I was honest with them and said I would really struggle with going to seminary for two reasons.  First reason was that my family could not afford for me to go to school for another 2 to 4 years.  I am the one that works for a paycheck so we can live and I want my wife at home with our kids.  Secondly, I don't want to lose the love I have for God's story and replace it with a list of rules and theology that shapes how I read the Bible.

Since that time I have left being a youth pastor for the time being, but often think about if I am missing education that would make me a better teacher and leader for Christ.  I think about if I should spend more time studying or going to school to learn the "truths" that theology is supposed to teach us.  I admit sometimes I doubt if I could ever really be an effective pastor because I don't know as much as many of the pastors out there.  I don't have those extra degrees that give them the head knowledge to lead.

Today I was listening to a pastor on the radio talk about the differences between Paul and Peter.  He mentioned all of Paul's credentials and how he was this great theologian.  He listed off all Paul's accomplishments and all that made Paul who he was in Christ.  Rather impressive if you ask me.  The guy knew his stuff.  He was a great theologian and a mighty witness for Christ.

On the other hand, you have Peter.  He wasn't picked by a rabbi to continue his education so he became a fisherman.  He knew all there was to know about fishing.  Then came Jesus who asked him to come and follow Him.  He spent a lot of time with Jesus, but it wasn't many years.  It was short compared to our education systems today. 

The interesting part for me is that Jesus said Peter would be the rock of the church, and he became every bit of that.  God used him in mighty ways to build the church and really shape what it became in that time.  He wasn't a great theologin, but he had a heart for God and he KNEW God.

This gives me hope.  I don't believe it is a pass to not continue to learn, and I don't think Peter took it as such either, but it also means I don't have to know everything to make a difference.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Looking for Disciples

If you read my last post, you might be wondering where to look for disciples.  After thinking about this all weekend and talking with my wife I have come up with a couple great starting points. 

Disciples are people that you really spend time with.  You invest in them, teach them, walk with them, eat with them, spend time with them.  They are not just another person you see occasionally and is considered one of your "friends."

As I thought about it, I believe family is a great place to start.  My wife and kids should be considered people that I disciple.  I can't possibly expect to pick 12 other people to spend quality time with and still believe I have time left for my family.  I have to make them part of my ministry.  They need me.  I think all too often we forget our influence we have over our family.  They move down the ladder of importance and we forget that they really should be at the top of our ministry.  I can say from experience that it is really easy to forget.

The next place to look would be for someone or someones that you have a great deal of influence over.  If you find that someone is constantly coming to you for advice or talking to you about their life, their is a good chance that they could be a possibility.  These typically are people that are willing and wanting guidance or a close friend.  They want someone who is willing to be real with them and care about them. 

Certainly the best place to look is in your heart.  I believe God brings people into our lives and places them on our heart.  When He does, most often He wants us to be invest in those people.  I can think of several people in the recent months that God has placed on my heart and they aren't always easy people to know where to begin with.  God asks us to be Christ to those who could cause us to be changed as well.  We have all heard it, but I can't help but use it.  God doesn't give patience, He gives us the opportunity to be patience.  God will bring people into our lives that He can use to mold and shape us as well. 

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts on where you could look for people to disciple as well.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Friday, July 13, 2012

12 People

What if we each had twelve people we regularly poured ourselves into?

That is a question I have been chewing on for a little while.

Jesus had his twelve disciples and as He ascended into heaven He left them with the command to go and make disciples.  Did He mean for each of them to go and make twelve disciples who they could pour into as Christ had poured into them?

I don't know that He meant we had to have twelve like He did or that we couldn't have a few more or a couple less, but I wonder if we actually took this thought to heart if things wouldn't be a bit different.

So often we either get in this mode of thinking we have to change the world so we strive to do something big, or on the other hand we see the world as so big "we can't possibly make a difference," so we don't even try.  What if all it took was investing in the lives of twelve people.

Typically when I think of a disciple I think of someone who is following a leader who is teaching them.  While I don't believe everyone is a natural leader or should be leading, I think God created us so that we could be in spite of our flaws and inhibitions.  Take Moses for example.  He didn't think he would be a good leader and he sure made his share of mistakes but God still used him.

I think throughout life we have the opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives.  Some people we make small differences while other we have a chance to make a large difference. What I am talking about is actually looking for people who we are willing to invest our lives in.  You spend time with them, get to know them, challenge them, develop deep relationships with them.  Then you teach them to look for twelve that they can invest in, spend time with, challenge, and develop deem relationships with.  Before long, you are reaching a lot more people that you ever thought you could.  Peoples lives will be changed because they know someone is actually willing to invest in them.

In somewhat goes back into what I was talking about yesterday and how so many are searching for relationship and someone to care about them.  What if we actually tried to live a lifestyle that nurtured that desire and attempted to make a difference.

I don't know that we have to find them all at one time or that from time to time the twelve don't change.  I just think we need to be intentional about investing in people more than just doing a little thing here and there for them and never really doing life with them.  It also doesn't give us the right to ignore others in need, rather it gives us people we can pull along side us to help make the difference.

I guess to a certain extent it goes back to a small group type situation, but I think it is more than that.  I think it may even may go deeper than that.

I believe Christ set a perfect example of how to make an impact.  While it is hard to imagine, He left telling us that WE would do even greater things than He did. What if that is because He knew what He started would multiply.  Could it be that He wanted us to actually develop disciples like He said?  Could it be that through these disciples we really could do greater things than He did because there would be more being like Him?  Have we put our lives in the way of doing these greater things?

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Open Table

As I was sitting in a meeting today one of the ladies was talking about a retired executive.  She mentioned how a lot of people tell her they miss him because of how social he was.  He would roam the building from time to time getting to know people.  Not just getting to know their names, but getting to know who they are.  He would even make an appoint to ask them about it the next time he saw them or had time to socialize some with them.

As I listened to her talk it made me realize even more how people desire to be known.  People desire relationships, yet for one reason or another we tend to isolate ourselves. 
I would not by any means call myself a socialite.  In fact, I probably tend to isolate myself more than I should.  I do enjoy being around people who I can actually talk to, but sometimes its hard to find that point of interest that actually gets a conversation started.  

I have a couple friends who I love to be around.  The more I think about why, the more I realize it is because they are always asking questions about me and act as if they genuinely care.  It's not that we don't talk about other things and that I don't ask about them, but they want to know me.

I also know a few people that no matter what the situation, they have something to say.  They enjoy talking about themselves and their lives so much that it sometimes comes across on dominating or self centered.

The more I think about these different situations and circumstances the more I am reminded that God designed us to live in community.  He designed us to need each other.  Each situation lends itself to prove that need.  I know I need it.

These last few months I have been talking to my wife about starting a small group to really get to know people.  As I look at the desire God has for us to be of one mind as Christians I can't help but think that it would mean gathering together more than just on Sundays.  I think living a life as a community means being in the community, getting to know people in the community, inviting people over to get to know who they are.
I found this study that I really want to try.  It's called The Open Table by Donald Miller.  If you have been reading long you will know that he has become one of my favorite authors, if for no other reason than he challenges me to look at life differently.  He is different.  His friends are different.  He isn't "doing church" the same way its always been done.  Instead he spends a lot of time really getting to know people.  I admire that.

What I find interesting about The Open Table is that anyone can join.  You don't have to be a Christian. People from all walks of life can sit down and talk about who God is or isn't to them.  It's a starting point for a friendship and a relationship.  It gives you a non-threatening opportunity to just really talk to people.  Better yet, he has people on video who give their views to even start the discussion.

Anyway, I would really like to purchase the series just to see what it is like, but I haven't done so yet.  I don't really know what I am waiting on other than I want to make sure others are interested.....but I know people are interested, so really I don't know why I am waiting.

Maybe it's because I am nervous for the commitment it takes to spend time with people and really get to know them.  Maybe it's the thought of being rejected.  Maybe its because I don't know if I am ready to take on extra work.  I love people, I really do.  Maybe it's just time to take that first step.


Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

I want Destiny, not a desert.

After I wrote my other blogs yesterday, I ran across this by Jon Acuff.  Its worth the read.

We tend to romanticize the idea of “being called” by God.

We imagine an adventure involving a machete, a rope bridge and a country with a lot of vowels in the name. It will be tough, but at the end of the day we’ll be so firmly planted in God’s will that even the hardest parts of the journey will be kind of magical.

And then you answer a call from God and it doesn’t go that way.

In fact, it goes the opposite of that way.

You find yourself not in the middle of a destiny, but in the middle of a desert.

Continue Reading....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A different reality

Over the past several years I have had the reoccurring thought that comes to my mind.  What if I am actually abnormal and don't know it.  I am not just talking about being odd, but rather what if I have a disability and don't even know it, because I can only see my reality.  If you think about it, our reality is only our perceived reality and we can only know true reality when someone is actually honest with us.  Unfortunately, a lot of times people aren't honest with those who are "different."  They want them to feel special and just like everyone else so they "shape" the truth to fit the situation.

The more I think about this, the more I can relate that to human existence.  As humans we were created in God's image. We were perfectly designed without flaw to live in commune with God.  Then sin entered the world.  It distorted...perverted....what God had created so we are now abnormal.  We aren't the beings we were created to be because our reality is only our perceived reality. 

Graciously God has continued to offer truth to us so that we can have the opportunity to learn truth.  We have the opportunity to see what the true reality is and can learn how to view things the way God's see them.  It is a beautiful thing.

What I find interesting, however, is how many people are willing and wanting to live in this perceived reality and have no desire to search for truth.  I know God has put something inside of me that makes me want to know more about Him and to see things differently.  I believe God created everyone with this desire to know know the Truth.

In essence that is why I blog.  It gives me a way to track what God has been showing me and the places in my life He wants me to see truth rather than the perverted truth we as humans see.  It's an opportunity I have to share with others the struggles, thoughts, and experiences I have in my life that shape the way my reality is changing.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV


I heard this song on the radio the other day and it really spoke to me.  It really challenged me to evaluate my attitude on a few things.


Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Rest... I needed rest...

Last week my family and I took our first real vacation in almost 2 years.  I say real, because we were actually gone more than just a couple days and I wasn't dealing with a lot of stress. It was great.  I didn't realize exactly how much I needed it till today.

Today I have been thinking a lot about how I have been feeling over the last year.  While I moved from a time that was incredibly draining physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I still feel like I am in a state of discontent.

I am content with where I am in my job. I am content with how we are growing as a family and for the first time in a long time really living as a family.  My relationship with my wife is consistently getting closer, just as God designed it to be.  I am content with a lot of things in my life. I enjoy a lot of things in my life.  However, there is still something that I feel is not right.

I know life is not all about feelings, but I also know that God created us with an intuition to know when something is wrong.  He creates a stirring in our soul, mind, and heart that makes us yearn for something more. 

I didn't feel this while on vacation.  I felt refreshed.  I felt relieved.  I felt free. 

As I look at it, I can see how God  used our vacation to show me a few things and to give me what I needed, even when I didn't know I needed it.  It is amazing at how He takes care of us and how unfortunately we often don't see it till after it is over. 

So here I am today, back to the same ol' thing that I was doing before vacation.  Feeling the same way.  Knowing that God has something for me and that He doesn't want me to be too comfortable in the place that I am.  I can have peace in that. 

While God doesn't have to prove Himself ever to us, He does time and time again.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chapter 4 - Go for it.

As I mentioned before, every once in a while I learn something from one of my kids.  They help me see something that seems so simple, yet we miss it because we over think or over analyze situations. 

While I was away in Wisconsin, my brother-in-law and I watching my daughter Lilly and his son Carson. They are close in age and working on a lot of the same developmental skills.  Both of them were trying to get toys they wanted, and we began "coaching" them, that if they wanted the toy they could just get.  They could do it!

Lilly was sitting there wanting to play with the toy that was just out of her reach.  She is pretty mobile to a certain extent, but she doesn't crawl, but rather scoots, rolls, squirms, etc, to whatever she is wanting.  This particular time, it was just out of her reach and if she could crawl would have had it in a second.

I know she could crawl if she wanted to. She does everything that it takes to crawl, just hasn't put the coordination together to do it yet.  She has the power to do it, the strength to do it, the skills needed to do it, but just hasn't done it yet.

As I sat there watching here, it occurred to me that God was trying to teach me something.  That sometimes in our lives He gives us all the strength we need, all the skills we need, all the power we need, to complete a task, but we see it as just out of our reach so we don't try.  Often times it would be doing something that is uncomfortable for us at first, because we have never done that before.  It's a stretch for us.

As I thought about that, I wonder how many opportunities or blessings I have missed in my life because I didn't use what God had given me.  I have heard it said that all we have to do is take the first step to meet God and He will do the rest.  I wonder though if it stops there.  Don't we have to continually take steps?  Aren't we children of God who in order to be adults have to learn to crawl, walk, and even run?  I wonder how many of us are still laying on the floor scared to crawl, scared to grow up, scared to try.

On a side note, Lilly still isn't crawling, but she will be any day.  She moves all over our living room like it is nothing, just not really in a forward motion or in a direct path.  It's a blast watching kids learn new things.  If its a blast for me, I can only imagine what it is like for God to watch us as we finally grasp concepts that seem so simple.