Monday, March 31, 2008


We just came out of the Easter season. It is a season that is very dramatic. From the story of Jesus sweating blood as He agonizes over whether or not to go to the cross (Luke 22:39-46), to the scene of Jesus' arrest, to His trial, flogging and then crucifixion.
Beyond that is how people responded to Jesus death as well. The disciples were scared that they would be caught up with Jesus, and so in fear they hid themselves away. Others were at the foot of the cross watching Jesus die. And still others, who did not know Jesus came to believe in Jesus (i.e. the Roman Soldier, who at Jesus' death said in Matthew 27:54, "Truly, this man was God's son!").

This whole story can be unsettling. But that is good, because when we are unsettled, when we are uncomfortable, we try to understand why, and seek to become settled again. The ONLY WAY is for us to give our lives over to God. If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord…….DO IT TODAY! If you have, then I hope this blog will help you to commit all the more to Jesus. And also, make a commitment to tell others about Jesus.

The Bible tells us in John 3:16, “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” This whole unsettling story is about God's love for us, His creation. It is a story about us being lost in our wrongdoing, and God seeking to make things right. In giving us Jesus, God's Son, God gave us one who shows us how to love, who shows us how to live, who shows us an unselfish spirit, and who ultimately is willing to give Himself up so that we might have life.
We might not understand how Jesus' death and resurrection gives us life, but if you read the Bible closely, you will soon understand that it does. As Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." How wonderful it is that Jesus is alive and in heaven, mediating for all who believe in His name. Christ can take our unsettled spirit, and settle it down, helping us understand that when we trust in Him, we not only can be at peace about our eternal destination (heaven), but we can be at peace in this life we have been given to live.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Am Thirsty

As we approach Easter Sunday, it is good to remember what Jesus went through on the days approaching Easter. Tomorrow is known as Good Friday. It is the day that Jesus was crucified on the cross. It is "good" in that what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross (the sacrifice for our sins) is good.
In the gospel of John, chapter 19, Jesus had just finished telling John to take care of His mother, Mary. He knew that He was in His last moments of life. And He utters the words, "I am thirsty," (John 19:28). But what did Jesus mean by these words? It was hot, the Bible tells us, and Jesus must have been dehydrated from the experience of being crucified. But why would Jesus worry about being thirsty when He knew He was in His last moments? The Roman soldiers thought He was physically thirsty, because they gave Him some sour wine, maybe to torment Him more.
This text is probably in answer to the prophecy found in Psalm 69:20-21, "Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst."
(vv. 20-21) The thirst was probably a spiritual thirst for the lostness of His people. He was in despair over how little faith the people had.
In this time of Lent, what do you thirst for? Money? Happiness? Material possessions? A vacation? I encourage you to thirst more for God. And as you thirst for God, find ways to seek Him more. Maybe you need to go to church more. Maybe you need to really start praying. Maybe you need to change your priorities. As you seek God to fill your thirst, you will not thirst for what is important any more. As Jesus said in the gospel of John 4:10, "Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Week

Palm Sunday starts holy week. Holy week marks the last week of Jesus' life. Many churches (including mine) have services that help us to celebrate (remember) this last week of Jesus' life. On Thursday, we will be having a service that remembers Jesus meeting with His disciples, instituting the Last Supper, washing their feet (as an example of how they should serve others), and getting arrested. Then on Friday (Good Friday) we remember Jesus being found guilty, flogged, and crucified. Jesus' death is not to be forgotten, as it is a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. Then finally, we come to Easter Sunday. While this is probably the most attended day of church, many people don't fully understand the significance of Easter. It is the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus is no longer in the tomb, but has been raised to life and now reigns in heaven.
Some people hear about all of these services, and wonder if it isn't a little much. Why all these services? My response, is that if Jesus Christ can make the commitment to go through it all, then I think we can make the sacrifice of our time to remember and honor God. I know for me, as I perform the services, I am brought into a better sense of realization of how much God loves me, and the extent He went to so that I could be free from my sin, and have eternal life.
There is a wonderful poem I read yesterday in the service that I would like to close with here; it is simply called JESUS.

He is more than a keepsake to be hidden away.

He is the Keeper of my life, keeping me each day.

He is more than an heirloom, that’s handed down to me.

He has made me an heir to His royal family.

He is more than a companion, who walks by my side.

He is the light leading before me; He is my guide.

He is more than a servant, fulfilling all my whims.

He is my Lord and my master, with me serving Him.

He is more than a man who lived and walked the earth.

He is King of the universe from a holy birth.

He is more than a stranger who comes to eat and rest.

He’s the Host of a heavenly banquet—I’m His guest.

He’s the reason for living: I in Him—He in me.

Jesus is my all in all throughout eternity.

What could you give to God this week to show your thanks? How are you going to remember Jesus' last week of His life? May you have a blessed Holy week.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Attitude and Action 2

C. S. Lewis, writing to an American friend, said this about reflective exercises: “We all go through periods of dryness in our prayers, don’t we? I doubt…whether they are necessarily a bad symptom. I sometimes suspect that what we feel to be our best prayers are really our worst; that what we are enjoying is the satisfaction of apparent success, as in executing a dance or reciting a poem. Do our prayers sometimes go wrong because we insist on trying to talk to God when He wants to talk with us. Joy tells me that once, years ago, she was haunted one morning by a feeling that God wanted something of her, a persistent pressure like the nag of a neglected duty. And till mid-morning she kept on wondering what it was. But the moment she stopped worrying, the answer came through as plain as a spoken voice. It was, “I don’t want you to do anything. I want to give you something”; and immediately her heart was peace and delight. St. Augustine says, ‘God gives where He finds empty hands.’ A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift. Perhaps these parcels are not always sins or earthly cares, but sometimes our own fussy attempts to worship Him in our way. Incidentally, what most often interrupts my own prayers is not great distractions but tiny ones—things one will have to do or avoid in the course of the next hour."
What great words reminding us that God speaks to us. When we listen the message of God can enter our hearts. We absorb the verse or the story of scripture, and it affects us, touches us, changes us.
But we cannot come to God with a selfish attitude. In fact, we cannot come to God with any attitude at all. We need to humble ourselves before God if we want to receive anything from God.
How can God challenge you in regards to your attitude this Lenten season? Give yourself over to God, and receive all that God has for you, then you will act the way God desires You to act; the way God created you to act!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Attitude and Action

The christian faith can be challenging. It isn’t just about believing. If you believe, but it doesn’t make a difference in your life, then your belief is in vain. For our faith to be real, we must be able to see change in our lives. Our faith will be evident in our attitudes and our actions.

As the apostle James tells us in James 2:14-18, “What good is it my brothers and sisters, if you say that you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill;’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So, faith by itself, if it has no works is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

When our inner garden is right with God, when our spirit is being tended to and is healthy, we will see fruit in our lives; the fruit that the apostle Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22 when he talks about the fruit of the Spirit. He says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control…” Now this doesn’t mean that these characteristics are perfectly at use in your life at all times. But it does mean that you should be growing in each of these areas, and that you should be working to better yourself in each of these areas!

Isn’t this why Jesus was frustrated with the disciples at the garden of Gethsemene. Jesus expected the disciples at this point in their training to be able to support Him with prayer and encouragement. Jesus expected them to be willing to sacrifice some for Him. But instead they kept falling asleep. Did this mean the disciples were failures? No, it meant that they still had a lot of growing to do. But they did have the right attitude, even if they didn’t have the right actions at the time.

Attitude and action go hand in hand. When we read God’s word, it affects our attitude. Because we begin to have a new attitude, we then seek to put our actions in line with the teaching of God. From exercises like this, we can come to new and wonderful conclusions because the word of God is now entering our private world and not just our mind. And because we have fixed our attention upon God’s word, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will guide our reflective and meditative thoughts.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


About 2 1/2 years ago my church and I had an opportunity to connect with a group called Church Resource Ministries. With them, we enrolled in a program called "Focused Living." The first year of the program is to become focused on our lives and what God is calling us to do. The second year is to bring our gifts to the church and help the church become focused in what God is calling her to do.
At the end of the first year, the individuals are challenged to continue in their growth by being mentored. As a pastor, I was excited to be able to be mentored, and mentor others. I contacted 2 people who might be willing to be a mentor to me (one is a friend of mine who is an elder at another church. I wanted him to keep me on track in regards to my personal calling statement. The second is a minister colleague, who helps me to keep on track ministry wise).
On top of my mentors, I have been regularly mentoring 6-8 people. This is a great opportunity, because the mentoring sessions are about me helping them to stay focused on the call God has given to them. Because it is easy to get sidetracked in life, I am able to meet with them every 2-3 weeks, and remind them of the goals, and help them to move forward. I also am able to encourage them in who they are, and challenge them with who God has made them to be, and continuing to make them.
If you do not have a mentor, then I encourage you to think about someone who can mentor you. It could be someone who could serve as your spiritual guide, coach, counselor, model, or even teacher. We all need to be mentored, because without it, we stray off course and keep ourselves from bearing the fruit God has for us.
You might also consider how you could mentor someone else. What a joy this is in my life. If you have any comments, or any questions, e-mail me at

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I was thinking today about how people like to be in control. That is why remote control's are so popular, because we like to be able to be in control of what we watch (that and we're lazy!). In life, we want to know what is happening from day to day, week to week, month to month. Although not all people like to be in control, we all want to have some control over our lives.
However, being in control keeps us from letting God lead us. When we are in control, then God can't be. Somehow we have to learn to let go of our lives, and give God control. This is where trust comes in. If we trust God, then we should be able to give up control. If we don't trust God, then we think that God won't do what is best for our lives.
Part of this area of trust and control is what Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." When we treasure something that is different than what God wants for us, then we will wrest back control from God. We begin to worry about our lives, and that we aren't getting what we think we need. But then a little later in Matthew 6 Jesus talks to us about worry...Matthew 6:25-27, 34- "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
God really does know what we need, and God is in the business of providing for us. Where is it you don't trust God? Where is it in your life you need to give God more control? Trust God today, and let God take away the worry of life.