Posts tagged ‘Jesu’

Simply put, God’s Love is EVERYTHING!!!

I have been reading Christian Athiest, by Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life The reading has been slow for me, but I think that is purposeful. There are so many good nuggets of thinking and meditating material in it, that to read it faster might be more bad than good. The most recent chapter that I read talked about people who believe in God, but also believe that He could never love them, for one reason ot another. Maybe it’s because of the shame that we carry about our past sins before becoming Christians. Maybe it is because we feel that we are so insignificant. So many times, we attribute human characteristics to God. Think about your childhood and your relationships with your parents, or whatever caregiver you had. Now, think about how you see, view, and approach God. I remember growing up, and even as a teenager, quietly knocking on my dad’s door when I wanted to ask him something.  I didn’t want to bother him, because he was a busy man. Even today, I sometimes fine myself quietly knocking on God’s door, even though we are told to approach Him with courage and boldness. No matter how good or bad your relationship with your parents, I can promise you that there are some aspects of them that have been transferred to how you interact with God. Only the ministry of the Holy Spirit can free us of those chains.


I love the way God can cause things to interact though, because in our Wednesday Bible Studies we have been doing Forgotten God, by Frances Chan. Last night’s study dealt with how much God desires us to have a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Him, one that goes further than us calling Him by his formal name. he wants a relationship with us that involves us knowing Him the way a child knows his or her loving father, can calling Him as such. It’s the Holy Spirit that calls out through us to Him as Abba, or Daddy. As we were talking about all of this last night, and how the Holy Spirit shows us in our lives and ministers to us through every instance to show us how much God loves us, I had a hard time holding back tears. To think that God, Elohim, Yahweh, this same God who is above all, yet IN all…that He loves me renders me speechless. And yes, I have had real issues in believing the depth of God’s love for me in the past, because I couldn’t see how God could love someone who sinned as deeply as I have in the past, and sometimes still today. Why would I ever be worthy of God’s love? How could I ever be worthy?


And Craig Groeschel and Frances Chan both talk about how we think that we can earn God’s good graces by going cold turkey from our sin for a time, then thinking that we can approach God for a relationship after we have been “clean” for a particular amount of time. But see, that doesn’t work, because we always fall right back into that sin or more sin. Furthermore, our sin is not the point. God does not focus on our sin. He focuses on US. His love is so much greater than wanting to condemn us for every wrong thing that we do in life. His love is so much stronger than the weakness we exude in our times of falling away.


The story of the prodigal son really moves me like nothing else as I get older. The image of the father running out to meet the wayward son as he returns to ask if he can merely be a slave- how is that not us at some point? We sin and come back to God as a last resort, expecting God to treat us with contempt and scorn, to shackle us and make us to menial labor around His house. Yet when we lift our heads, tears staining out face, our shame causing our shoulders to buckle and lean; we look up and see not merely God, but ABBA running as fast as He can to meet us and lift us up! We feel His arms around us, squeezing us tightly and spinning us around over and over again. This is the love of our Daddy! Just typing this gives me goose bumps.  We can never truly comprehend the love of God, but He just asks us to accept it and believe in it!


There is something incredibly freeing about accepting God’s love. It frees us from the weight of expectation and the fear of failure. How many of us would have better lives if we weren’t consumed by wanting to make our parent’s proud? The fear of failing people drives us to do the most insane things, which are often to our detriment. And God presents His love to us in the form of Christ, who died for us while we were yet sinners. Do you understand the magnitude of these words? While we were yet sinners, while we ARE yet sinners, Christ died back them for each and every instance of sin and shame in our lives. Christ died way back then so that we would be covered for the rest of our lives. The Bible says that Love covers a multitude of sins. Guess what, that love is spelled out clearly in the blood of Christ. Every drop cleansed every sin, every detracting thought of doubt and self- image. Everything that Satan and our flesh would use to pull us away from HIM, Christ tethered Himself to us, refusing to let us go! He loves us! He loves us! He LOVES US!!!


So, what does this mean? It simply means that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It doesn’t matter what was in your past. Embrace the fact that God can make you a new creation. Embrace the fact that he WANTS to make you a new creation. This life changing message of love via the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the sacrifice of Christ has to be internalized and accepted as true within us. Our minds can not comprehend this, but it will bear such powerful witness in our hearts if we allow it to sink in.  So I would like to ask anyone who reads this blog today to do 2 things. I normally don’t do this, but I just feel lead.


  1. Share this blog posting with at least one person. If you feel lead to do more, bless you. It’s not about getting my reader counts up. It’s about getting the truth out. The world would have us believe that we are insignificant, unimportant, nothing special, because of one reason or another. God is screaming from the heavens that we are SIGNIFICANT and WORTH EVERYTHING! This is the truth that we need to be shouting as well.
  2. Stop and pray that God’s love becomes real in your life, and the lives of those whom you share this with. Pray for a relationship that goes beyond formalities. Pray for a relationship where you develop your own intimate time with Abba. Even if it ends with you calling God Provider, Healer, etc, this needs to be a personal relationship. As big as God is, He desperately wants to know everything about you and become your ALL.


Thank you for reading today. I’m so excited about God’s love, and I’m so excited about what He will do in our lives as we live in His love.



I Know..I’m Late.

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving holiday break. I know I’m late, as most bloggers to the cursory “What I’m Thankful For” blog before or on Thanksgiving. In a prior blog, I did the same thing. This year though, I didn’t want to be cursory. I really wanted to think about what I was thankful for. I mean, yes. I’m thankful for my wife and children. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my church. Those things are a given. But it really hounded me that so many times we give thanks for things, yet we have no real reason WHY we give thanks for them. And yes, we should give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God through Christ Jesus for us. I believe that. But it hit me yesterday what I’m thankful for.


When we have worship services, I am usually on stage singing with the worship team. While I have no qualms whatsoever about going after God and closing my eyes to focus properly, there are many Sundays where I don’t close them. I look around the service to gauge the temperature of the people worshiping. This is what I saw yesterday. I saw people who had not gone up for prayer being prayed for by people close to them. I saw people at the altar, totally abandoning themselves to God. I heard people shouting out and crying out to God. As worship continued, our Pastor came up and instead of calming things down so that the Associate Pastor could begin his message, he ramped things up higher and higher. He pushed for more worship, more adoration, more honor for God. And I watched all of this with open eyes, well, tear stained opened eyes.  People were jumping up and down. Hands were stretched, pushing into the air, reaching out for God to touch. It was pandemonium, chaos. Yet, it was beautiful. And it hit me.


I’m thankful that I go to Destiny Church. Why? Because at my church, the people, the Pastors, don’t care. Yes, they care that people engage in worship. They care that people grow in grace. But they don’t care how you express yourself in your worship to God. We have had a young man rap on stage. Yesterday, one of our guitarists shredded his guitar in offering praises to God. They don’t care. We jump. We leap. We dance. We shout. We cry. On stage, our Worship Pastor allows us the freedom to prostrate ourselves as we sing. Even people who lead songs have fallen to their knees during their leading. Instrumentalists have stopped playing and just lifted their hands. It’s bedlam. But it’s all for God! We don’t care how we express ourselves to God. We just give what we have to Him, and trust Him to receive it in the spirit in which we offer it. Now, don’t get me wrong. When I say that we don’t care, we understand that there are appropriate ways in the Holy Spirit to express that adoration. We understand that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. We’ve been taught. We have been trained. But anything beyond that, they trust us to go forth in the Spirit. It is this freedom that allows God to completely wreck us in our services, and this is why I believe that so many lives are being changed each week. People are growing, expanding, stretching, and running after God.


I’m thankful that the Spirit manifests Himself differently in every life. It shows me that God has such an artistic flair. Services where so much is going on, yet there is harmony gives me a picture of God painting a beautiful picture of what heavenly worship will be like. I’m so thankful for a congregation that is moving towards autonomous worship, a response that just pours forth from their lives when in the presence of God. It is encouraging and empowering. I love it so much.

So, this is what I’m most thankful for this year. I count myself blessed. Thank you, Abba.


Until next time, be blessed.




“Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, that is of the heart.” 2 Cor. 3:3


Something that I have never really been able to wrap my mind around is the idea of paparazzi. They trail celebrities, snapping pictures at a mind numbing rate. They invade privacy, interjecting themselves into even personal moments, just for the purpose of grabbing the next big picture. Many times, these photographers are depending on this picture to get money to pay rent or other things. The kicker in this entire situation is that we as a culture have become so invested in the lives of actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians, that we crave knowing every aspect of their lives. We infringe in ways that we would cray bloody murder on, if it were us in that same way. Magazines and other publications make waves with salacious details of lives that are not meant to be lived out for our display. Then again, I suppose that is the price of fame. Still though, I feel bad that paparazzi have earned and been given the name that they have. In truth, we all have paparazzi, especially if we choose to live out our public lives according to the will of Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul is talking to the church at Corinth about humility. In verse one he begins by asking if they were beginning to praise themselves again, while asking others to write letters of recommendation about them. Isn’t that a curious discussion? Why is it that we, and I wholeheartedly include myself, want to be recognized for what we do? Many times, it’s not even an expressed thing from our mouths, but more an inward yearning for attention. Perhaps we desire a prophet to give us a word from God for our lives. We pressure our Pastors and Teachers for guidance from the same voice who speaks to all of us indiscriminately. This is a quirk of human kind that I laugh at when I see it manifesting in myself. It’s real. We want to be noticed, when in the end, the only noticing that we need is from Christ. The only stamp of approval has already been given in blood when he died on the cross. And Paul goes on to say just that. In verse 2, he talks about how no letters are needed. But verse 3 is the kicker, because Paul basically says that the same letters of recommendation that they are looking to send are found in their own lives. THEY are the letters. Living epistles set before men.
Think about that. We are living epistles. So many times, we read the letters from Paul and the other apostles with a detached feeling. Little do we realize that every day of our lives, there is ink being written along the pages of our lives. So when we go out, people see us and see the words inscribed on our hearts. There is a saying that we may be the only God that some people see. In truth, we may also be the only Bible that some people ever read. And if we think that nobody is watching us, we are sadly mistaken. You can comb the internet and YouTube to find clips of people outing those who profess to be Christians. The paparazzi is out there watching us. They are snapping mental pictures, not looking to cash them in, but they are looking to see who this Christ is that we claim. Who are we showing the world? What do our lives say about God?

See, we aren’t just epistles, but we are also dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias. We are living reference materials. We define what Christianity is. We define what the resurrection is. Before most people even set foot in a church, they see the pages of our lives and read. If they like what we have to say, they perhaps, without any words on our part, they might come to Christ one day. Inversely, if our pages are rife with public malfunctions in the name of God, then these are people who may never find Him.
And I don’t write these words as an indictment. I write them in love, because this is something that we need to be cognizant of. Our lives are not our own. The mark we wear as children of God is one that we must guard.
The world is our paparrazo. It watches and judges based on the pictures that they snap of us. Don’t be fooled. Don’t take it lightly.

Until next time, be blessed.

Psalm 37

Don’t worry about the wicked

or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
8 Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
9 For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear.
Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land
and will live in peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the godly;
they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
for he sees their day of judgment coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords
and string their bows
to kill the poor and the oppressed,
to slaughter those who do right.
15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
but the LORD takes care of the godly.
18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough.
20 But the wicked will die.
The LORD’s enemies are like flowers in a field—
they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never repay,
but the godly are generous givers.
22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land,
but those he curses will die.
23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.
29 The godly will possess the land
and will live there forever.
30 The godly offer good counsel;
they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God’s law their own,
so they will never slip from his path.
32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed
or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
34 Put your hope in the LORD.
Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
You will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people
flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
37 Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;
they have no future.
39 The LORD rescues the godly;
he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them,
rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
and they find shelter in him.
You may be asking yourself why I posted this entire psalm here this evening. It’s rich with God’s promises, promises that we need to continually remind ourselves about. So, I would challenge you to find a few in here, write them down, and keep them close enough to you this week that you can read them whenever you feel discouragement begin to creep up on you. We serve a faithful God, and it’s our responsibility to remember that. ALWAYS!
Until next time, be blessed.

Who’s Keeping Time?

I’ve been a little AWOL the last week or so, and I must apologize. Thing is, last week was life changing. Along with the other members of our Destiny Church Worship team, I spent 3 glorious days basking in the presence of God. It was an experience the likes of which I have NEVER been privy to before, and when it was over, I felt sad. I understand that we were in a bubble for that period of time, and the things that were spoken, prophesied, and declared were to strengthen us for when we left that bubble. Now I am truly strengthened, knowing what God told me about the future, and resting in what He reaffirmed as a calling and direction for my life. It’s exciting times, family. Which leads me to another thing, the issue of timing.


See, if I learned anything from my dad, it is that timing is everything. My dad was the kind of man who would be early for everything. Being late made him absolutely livid! I find that I am the same way. When my wife and I were dating, if I told her that I would pick her up at 6:45, I would always be pulling up at around 6:20. It wasn’t that I was hoping that she would be ready sooner. To me, it was just the principle of showing her that I value her time so much, I wanted to be early just to make sure that everything was in place. Even in marriage, nothing chaps my hide more than being late. It’s been a source of a few disagreements over the 9 years that we have been wed. So to say that my sense of timing is hardwired, well, that would be a major understatement.


And while I sometimes think that is a bad thing, I also believe that God created me like this, with some kind of innate sense of the timing of things. I also understand though, that due to my own human leanings and agendas, I take this to far, and seek to dictate to God what timing should be, and how it should work. But when God says that His timing is not my timing, I have experienced enough of this to know that it is true. I go back to Ecclesiastes 3:1 which simply says that there is an opportune time for everything in the earth. That time is God’s to decide.


I was recently having a discussion with a good friend of mine about this very thing. God has shown this person a very powerful vision for what will be in the future, and it has left this person a little dissatisfied with the present. In my opinion, this is a natural reaction. I would liken it to someone who died and went to heaven, and experienced all of the goodness of being directly in the presence of God, only to be told by Jesus that it wasn’t their time yet, and that they had to go back. I would think  that being back among the “lesser” things would create a deep sense of depression, and a realization of the true lack of the earth.  But what happens in those situations is often completely the opposite of what God intends. When God shows us a vision or a dream of what is to come, it is to strengthen us. It is to give us resolve to fight tooth and nail to obtain what God has shown us. In my opinion, there is nothing more frightening to the Devil than a Christian who knows what lies ahead, and is willing to plow over him repeatedly in order to get it. That kind of dogged determination is often missing in our lives, so God helps us refocus sometimes.


Here is the other part of it though. We have to expect Satan to try and steal that vision away from us. We have to know that he will try and disrupt the word that was placed in our hearts, that very word that causes us to burn with desire for God’s will. It’s just like the “Parable of the Sower” in Luke 8. Some seeds were planted, but were immediately taken up by birds and carried away. This signifies how Satan will try and steal God’s best for our lives by distorting our sense of timing, sending hardships to cause us to lose focus on the vision, and ultimately killing us spiritually because our faith and hope both fall by the wayside. This is something that I have to be cautious of. As I said before, God showed my wife and I something that is really exciting. It is something that was totally unexpected, and while it would be easy to dwell on that day in and out, it would diminish the present-day work that God is doing in my life to hopelessly pine away for the future.


God’s timing is perfect. I told my friend that the vision God showed Him will happen, but while we wait on the fulfillment of it, God will show us ways to become better, so that when the vision becomes a reality, we are better prepared to nourish it and care for it, and grow it out to it’s full potential. It’s hard to wait. I know for sure that it is, but when we place our faith in God’s timing, things have a definite way of working out in a way far better than we could ever have imagined.


We have to remember that God is not slack concerning His promises. If He said it, if He showed you the vision, it’s gonna happen. The true outcome rests with our faith in His perfect sense of when.


Until next time, be blessed!

Being “In Christ” by John Piper

Happy Saturday, peeps. I was reading my devotional for today from a John Piper reading plan that I use on my YouVersion Bible app. It is some pretty hardcore, in your face truth, so I wanted to share it with you all. I  hope you all are blessed by it.


Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ”, listen to what it means.

1. In Christ Jesus, you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Tim 1:9- “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

2. In Christ Jesus, you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4- “God chose us before the foundation of the world.”

3. In Christ Jesus, you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38-39- “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

4. In Christ Jesus, you were redeemed and forgiven for all your skins. Ephesians 1:7-” In Christ, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”

5. In Christ Jesus, you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Cor.5:21- “For our sake, God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

6. In Christ Jesus, you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Cor. 5:17- “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Gal. 3:26-“In Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith.”

7. In Christ Jesus, you have been seated in the heavenly places even while He lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6-“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

8. In Christ Jesus, all the promises of God are YES for you. 2 Cor. 1:20-” All the promises of God find their YES in Christ.”

9. In Christ Jesus, you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Cor. 1:2-“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

10. In Christ Jesus, everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19-” My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

11. In Christ Jesus, the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Phil. 4:7-“The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

12. In Christ Jesus, you have eternal life. Romans 6:23-“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

13. And in Christ Jesus, you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:22-” For as in Adam all dies, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity shall die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again.

How do we get into Christ?

At the unconscious and decisive level, it is God’s sovereign work: “From God you are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Cor. 1:30.

But at the conscious level of our own action, it is through faith. “Christ dwells in our hearts “through faith.”‘ Eph. 3:17. “The life we live in union with His death and life ‘we live by faith in the Son of God‘” Gal 2:20.

This is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ is the ground of everlasting joy, and it is free!
Take some time, read these verses and let it all soak in! These are wonderful truths to store away in our hearts! Until next time, be blessed!

A Process of Perfecting

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.: Phil 1:3-6 (MSG)

This will be just a shorty today. I’ve been under the weather, hence no blogs. I’m feeling a little better, and saw this verse this morning on my phone. I had to jot down just a few thoughts on it. I hope it blesses you.

Here’s the thing, we often wonder if God is really doing anything in our lives, if God is really perfecting us, and if so, why don’t we really see a difference? Sound familiar? For me, I spent the longest time praying to God for His purpose to be revealed. I mean, even as the years passed by and nothing happened on the preaching front, even as I became angry with God for seemingly not doing anything on my behalf, even as I sang on stage harboring doubts about God. I felt like God wasn’t doing anything in me, or for me. And I’m just being honest here. I think if we all look in the mirror, we all have those times where we feel like God is against us, yet Paul fully and completely discounts that thinking. And these verses also tell us that there is never a time when God is NOT working through us, in us, or for us.

Our perfecting, which begins by us being made into a new creation at salvation, continues until the day that Christ returns. This means that everyday, God’s faithfulness wakes us with an intent to continue growing things within us that will transform us daily into more and more of a direct reflection of His Son. And Paul says that he has no doubt! Faith is a really funny thing. We feel it so strongly when we are worshipping with fellow believers in a church service, and this is important. It’s a recharging. But I would argue, that the faith that we muster when we are alone is the faith that really sustains us towards doing the greatest work that God has for us. It’s why digesting and ingesting the Bible is so important. Even if it’s just finding a verse and meditating on it, it gives the further fuel for God to continue His working in our lives. The fact that we are being perfected day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, should be an exciting thing for all of us. To me it means that as long as I have breath in my lungs, God is working in me for His glory. The work that He begun at salvation is daily becoming more and more tangible. Please remember that Hebrews tell us that what is seen was made from that which is unseen. So the results of God’s working within us will often be invisible to us, until a singular moment when we see the results of that God has been doing. Think of it as a seed. Beneath the soil, roots are growing, sinking deeper and deeper into the soil. The seed is absorbing crucial nutrients. We often don’t concern ourselves with this part, but when we see that first bud shooting from the ground, our hearts rejoice.

It’s the same thing in our lives. Behind the scenes, God is growing our roots, increasing our capacity to receive His presence and understand the new life within our veins. But we go about our lives not feeling any differently, focused more on the mire of everyday life. At the appropriate time, God will force the bud to the surface, and we will see the results of all of the quiet time with God. We will see the results of all of the crying out to God in private. We will see the results of all of the time spent prostrate before God on Sunday mornings. Simply put, if nothing else produces results in our lives, God does! His results are the lasting kind that can take us from periods of lack to periods of plenty; and I’m not merely talking about financial plenty.

This work that Paul is talking about, this perfecting, when you finally see the results, it will astound you. For me, it happened on a Sunday morning, when despite my mind furiously working on what I lacked, my spirit man was rejoicing in God for all that He has provided, and every thought to the contrary was immediately silenced. Growth! A bud! Progress! Hallelujah! And while this growth will look different in the lives of each one of us. we will see it! And then when Jesus finally comes back, He will see Christians who look just like Him, as a result of a lifetime of perfecting, blooming, pruning, and more blooming. God is a constant gardener, and our lives are merely the soil for His seeds.

So, there we are. Until next time, be blessed!

Yeah, I’m a Hedonist!

John A. Piper has written a book entitled Desiring God that I started reading a while back, but put down. I’m probably going to pick it back up again here soon, because I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit lately. The whole idea of a Christian Hedonist intrigues me. When I first picked up the book, I guess I wasn’t really in a thinking mode, because a lot of it went directly over my head. The part that sticks out to me though, is the idea that I’m about to share with you. I welcome y our thoughts as well, because I’m going on my own derivative of his definition. So bring on your comments. 


According to Mr. Piper, a Christian Hedonist is one who takes his full pleasure or delight in the Lord. This is a person who is not mainly concerned with what God can do, but merely one who is so caught up and enraptured by the bigness of God, his immaculate nature, His unfailing love,His eternal faithfulness and devotion to His creation, that their time is spent reveling in those facts rather than constantly begging and pleading with God to do this, that, or other.  Now, we usually think of a hedonist in worldly terms as one who is hell bent on obtaining and pursuing pleasure in whatever form the world provides it; be it drugs, sex, or alcohol.  The world provides a lot of these avenues. Whatever it is that we think we need to have pleasure, we can find it on television, on the Internet, or on the countless liquor stores that fill our cities. We can find it on street corners, growing in yards illegally, and elsewhere. That’s what the world specializes in. But,that’s also what God specializes in. I mean, think about it, all of these vain pursuits lead to destruction. Furthermore, they are only horrible substitutes for the ultimate delight- God!


We were created to have communion with Him, and as a result of sin, we have spent the entirety of our existence trying to make up for the intense need that sin leaves in our lives.  So we fill it with more sin. Or, we fill it with cable tv.Or, we fill it with education or professional successes. But at our core, we want God. We need God. Anything else goes against our wiring. We were created to delight in the Lord.


The verse “delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” used to stump me. I wondered how to “delight” in anything! I mean, there’s not really a blueprint, or any recommended actions that go along with that edict. Delight in the Lord. Ok…how do I do that? Over the last few days, it has really hit home.  When I delight in the Lord, I am actively worshiping Him with my whole heart and soul. I am recognizing my need and addiction to Him. I am recognizing that apart form Him, I have no being or existence. When I delight in God, I am striving to see His beauty in everything, to notice His workings across all of creation. And because of this, my lips and my soul sing a constant hymn of praise and awe to Him. I run after God, because He is my pleasure. Being in His presence is my pleasure. And in that way, I become a Christian Hedonist!


So if we delight ourselves in God, He will give us our desires, right? Here is the cool thing. When God becomes our addiction, our primary source of pleasure; when delighting in God becomes our soul purpose and activity on a daily basis, our heart’s desires become HIS heart’s desires. We become molded into the image of Jesus and are now completely one with the Father. The things that we think we need to be happy all melt away in the glorious light of the Trinity.


Would you dare become a Christian Hedonist? I would. When is the last time that you took time OUTSIDE of worship during church to recognize all that God is, all that He does, and how perfect His love and creation is? I challenge you to chase after Him with a fiery passion, and delight yourself in Him. The pleasure that He provides is worth more than anything that the world can ever offer.




Until next time, be blessed!

Would You?

Acts 20:22-24 “But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started; the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone Imeet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God. (MSG)”
Would you still go? I guess that’s the question. Would you still go? In the sermon yesterday, we were challenged to do whatever for the Kingdom. We were challenged to quit thinking so much, and praying so much, and just do whatever. When I say this verse from YouVersion for today, I immediately wondered if I would still go. 
As Christians, we know that we should not value our lives above the Gospel. We know that dying for the Gospel is an honor and a privilege.We read the stories about missionaries in dire situations, facing certain death, singing praises to God as they are herded towards the chopping block.Would you still go? If the Holy Spirit told you to go to the town just next to yours, and as you’re packing He comes back to you and tells you that when you return, you’ll be minus a limb, would you still go?
When did we become so comfortable? Gosh. Taking stock of my own life, I have played it so safe that it sickens me. I’m a thinker. I ponder every possible outcome of a situation and then decide which aspect is the safer route. It’s a trait that I have had my entire life. It’s why I allow my son the freedom to be impulsive, because I admire that spark in him. My reluctance toseize the moment has lead to me never trying out for American Idol, or anything like that. It’s paralyzed me with fear of failure, when I know in my heart thatthe only failure I could ever encounter is to never try. But as my Pastor spoke yesterday. I realized that the types of things that I desire from God will never come to me unless I can find a way to throw caution to the wind and put my mouth where I claim my faith to be. At some point, our actions must line up with what we confess! God has not called us to live lives that read like cautionary tales. The Christian life should be one of excitement, daring, risk.It is in those things that God really shows himself, and provides the resources to complete the mission. I believe that God will never allow a Christian who acts in faith, to fail. Even if we aren’t doing the exact thing that God wants for us, as long as we are doing SOMETHING to further His Kingdom, He will uphold that faith and provide the results HE desires.
I always believed that God will reveal His will if we wait.I’m beginning to see the error in that. My philosophy is changing. I nowbelieve that God will reveal His will if we act. Get out there and see what we can do to change the world. Get out there and see how we can change our household. See how well we interact inside of a ministry. See how well we workin a church department. Cultivate our skills and talents for God and then wait for Him to show specifically how He wants to use us in that arena or another,because He will shepherd us into His will. But we first have to get up and go! Paul understood this intricately.
As a Pharisee, Paul was a learned man. He had the benefit of the best teaching that money could buy. He was a brilliant thinker, and already had a penchant for being impulsive. God simply took these traits and put themto work in building the Kingdom. Paul was always willing to go, do, preach, and model. Even when he got it wrong, he was still ready to go, do, preach, and model.  Read Acts 16:6-11 to see what I mean. God had to put this brother to sleep in order to get through to him! But I’m sure that the entire time, God was laughing and proud of Paul’s insistence on spreading the Gospel. He lived with urgency, yet his own public ministry was longer than 3.5 years.
So, would you go? Would I go? I can tell you this. Jesus came. Jesus went. He knew what the outcome would be. He knew that He would not just suffer hardship. He knew that he would pay a price that only He could pay.Yet, He didn’t flinch.  He wanted to finish what His Father had started. He wanted to the world to know about the incredible extravagance of God’s grace! He only had 3.5 years to accomplish His mission.  How many of us spend 3.5years wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt? I can only say this because I have done the same at times. We wait on the assurance that God is with us before acting, when God has already said that He will never leave us or forsake us.When we read the Bible, what are we really understanding about God? Is He a charlatan? Is He not truth? Has He not sent us out to go and be a light and to preserve a dying world? Do we really believe Him? If we really did, I suspect that our world would be completely different. If we really believed God, we would never be comfortable, and at the ends of our lives the pages of our epistles would be littered with tears, rips, blots, and stains, because we lived our lives without regard for our lives in order to ensure that His name was made great among all nations.
In my heart of hearts, I want to do the same thing. I pray that I can get out of my own way, and God’s way, and just do whatever. I pray that I will allow the Holy Spirit to direct me, but that I would take advantage of every opportunity to spread the word about the Savior of the world. Whether this takes me into situations where I may be harmed, who cares? Jesus poured his life out for my sins. That is a debt that I can never pay, but I can be willing to give of myself in whatever way I can, to prevent this generation from seeing hellfire and brimstone.
So, would YOU go?
Until next time, be blessed.

Happy, Happy? or Joy, Joy?

I saw a question posed on Facebook today and it really made me start thinking. Here is the question:

“Are Christians supposed to be happy people? Is that something we should be known for?”
I don’t know why, but this question really caught my thoughts. I’ve actually spent the rest of the day thinking about that very thing.
Here is my first response. I don’t believe that Christians are always happy people. To me, happiness denotes something external. For example, ice cream makes me happy. A nice, cheesy pizza makes me happy. I have the thought that happiness is dependent on something external happening to me; something which I choose to allow to make me happy. Happiness can be physically seen through smiles and such. That is what I think happiness is. Some people may think otherwise, but to me, Christianity is not defined by being happy. Sure, we have many reasons to be happy, but I believe the words that should more define us are joy and love.

Joy is something internal. It is a guarded thing. The Bible speaks of joy over a thousand times from beginning to end. Happy or happiness only appears around 30-40 times, depending on the translation. In every instance, I look at the verses and happy does not feel right as a substitute for the word joy. For example, peep this:

John 16:21-23 (MSG)

The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you.”
In this passage, we see that there is a joy that is ours if we will have it. For me, happiness does not fit accurately here. It feels a little more fickle, or superficial, and comes short of the full indication of what Christ was speaking about. Joy is what the Christian has to give him and her strength when everything around seems to be falling to pieces. It’s the joy of the Lord that upholds us. And in those moments, we may not be able to smile. We may not be able to dance, but that doesn’t mean that we are despairing or sad. The world can not understand our joy, because true joy is only found in Christ Jesus.

SO, I can see why the world would mistake our joy for simple happiness. We try to find ways to explain that which we don’t understand. But we are assured time and time again that joy is a gift from God, one which we can never fully understand, but one which makes our hearts glad and causes us to continually rejoice in the God of our salvation.

Should we be known by our joy? Sure! But the trademark of any true Christian is known in the way we love. Christ even says this, that the mark of a Christian is found in love. The reasoning is simple. God is Love. So, if we are in Christ, then we are in tune with the greatest love in the world. Whitney Houston sang about the greatest love, but her song didn’t even scratch the surface of Christian love. It is because of this love that we can have peace and joy. It is the linchpin of our entire existence in Christ Jesus. Simply put, the world should look at us and think, “Man, that dude has some serious love in his heart! I want some!!”
So, that’s my answer to that facebook question. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here, and I suspect that I am. But to me, it’s important that we not get caught up in finding connections that might minimize the work of Christ in our hearts. Now, the person who asked the question is full of the joy of the Lord. This manifests itself in his being perpetually happy, but that is the outward manifestation of the inner joy that is working within him. I know this for sure.

What are your thoughts? Am I crazy? Does any of this make an ounce of sense to you? Am I crazy (again)?

Until next time, be blessed!