Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Reality

This Christmas has been bitter-sweet. In my last post I wrote about being in a temporary world on our way to an eternal home. At 6 am on Christmas morning Jeri’s (my wife) Grandma Raine went home to heaven.

Obviously, this was a difficult way to begin Christmas day, but something amazing had occurred. For the first time in many years the whole family was gathered in two locations. My father-in-love’s family were all together in Virginia Beach (this included our family). And, his sister’s family were all gathered in Michigan (where they live and were Grandma lived).

This provided us the chance to immediately truly be there for each other. It was hard, but we were all together! I praise God for working out these details.

Finally, these times are a little weird for me. When the person we “lose” is a believer, I have a tough time really getting overly upset. It absolutely hurts, but at the same time I rejoice because they have truly moved from the temporary life (with all its hurt and struggle) on to their eternal life (with no more tears). If anything, I’m a little jealous. I love life, I pray often that God’s mission for me will keep me hear for a long, long time, but when it’s time for me to go home – I’m ready!!

Even writing this is a bit weird because I’m really not in a hurry to get out of here, and you always here stories of people writing or saying something like this and then dying. Yet, it’s the truth, it’s how I feel, when I go home – celebrate for me!! And, I’ll look forward to seeing you there – what a party that will be!

Father, I pray that you will ease the pain we feel in our loss. You are the God of all comfort, and we lean on You in times like this. I thank you that we don’t grieve like those with no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). In Jesus’ name.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!!

One thing that's comforting to me in this year of so much worldly uncertainty in knowing all of this is just temporary.

I know if you've lost your job, seen your financial portfolio tumble, lost a loved one (the list could go on and on) it can be difficult to see these things as "temporary". And, I certainly do not want to make light of the hardships we face in this world.

Yet, the truth remains the truth - whether we "feel" it or not. Jesus explained that He is the Truth. He also told us He was the Life - real life. And, in this same statement, He set Himself apart as the Way. The Way to what?

The Way to what is real and lasting! That is why I know this world is just temporary. The Apostle Paul also gave us this description - this life and world is only temporary.

So, while we are still here in this time of "in between" - living in a temporary world on our way to an eternal home - it's important to keep things in perspective.

Love much!! Spend a lot of time with family and friends. Soak in the good things, and give a little less attention to the bad. Make new friends - with no other agenda than just to be a good friend. Re-connect with old friends - it's amazing how quickly those relationships can be rekindled to what they used to be.

And, this Christmas, spend some time just pondering why Jesus would choose to leave the place we all long for - heaven - to come and walk a while in our shoes. This wasn't just some random act - there was/is an eternal purpose for His choosing to come.

Knowing the reason makes all the difference in the world!

Much love to all of you,

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Doing Good

I had a great conversation with a friend today. It was over an hour long, so I obviously can’t hit it all on this post, but let me share one of the things that real struck me. It’s not something I haven’t thought about before, but I’m not sure I’ve thought about it this way (at least not for awhile).

It revolves around this idea of “doing good”. I often hear Christians (and others) talk about just doing the right thing – or if their talking in spiritual terms – doing what God wants them to do.

Certainly the Bible does say we should do good things. The Book of James says faith without action is dead (James 2:17). Hebrews tells us to “encourage each other towards outbursts of love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). First John teaches, “…let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18).

Yet, so many people I talk with seem to be lost when it comes to knowing what they should be doing. Here’s where I think we miss it – it’s NOT about a checklist; it’s about a relationship. Said another way, I don’t think God just wants us to come up with our own list of good things to do and then one-by-one do them and check them off and feel better about ourselves. Granted, that would probably be much easier, but it misses the whole point the Bible makes about being in relationship with God and each other.

The kicker is that relationships are more difficult (and they don’t operate on checklists). They’re very dynamic! The same is true in our relationship with God, it’s not just a list of things to do and not do, it’s about spending time with Him and getting to know Him (and the primary ways we do this is through reading the Bible and prayer).

I believe the “good things” we do are actually meant to be the by-product of our relationship with God. The closer I get to God, the more godly I become (in my thoughts, words and actions). Said another way, the more like God I become, the more “good things” I will do – naturally, not based on some checklist.

Our focus should not be on coming up with a list of good things to do. Our focus should be on spending more time with God. This allows Him to transform our hearts to be more like His heart. The result – we will do the things God would do – the good things - if He were still here in human form (which, by the way, I think He is still here on earth working through those who choose to follow Him).

So, away with the checklist, dive into the relationship. The “good things” to do will follow – naturally and relationally!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you LIKE other people?

Here’s something I was thinking about today. In the Christian world we often talk about loving each other (primarily because that’s what Jesus said we should do – “love your neighbor”).

But, do we really LIKE each other?

I’ve heard a lot of people (including myself) say things like, “Of course I love them – I have to – I’m a Christian. But I don’t have to like them.” I think this misses Jesus’ whole point! He wasn’t teaching us to SAY we love people, He was teaching us to truly love people. And if we truly love people, guess what, we’ll like them, too!

So, maybe what we should start asking ourselves is, “How much do I really LIKE other people?”

There’s no doubt that we all have those things that will annoy others. I’m not saying all that goes away. What I am saying is that we begin to really see people how God sees them – He loves them – and He likes them, too! Annoying quirks and all.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

How do we do this in real life?

Philippians 2:3-4Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

I was putting together my thoughts for some ministry work I’m doing with community leaders. This led me to this verse in Philippians (in relationship to part of the Great Commandment where Jesus tells us to love others).

The context for my notes was Marketplace Ministry – How does God want to use us in the marketplace? You could really expand this from “in the marketplace” to “in our whole life”.

As I pondered this verse, it struck me just how hard this is to really live out. Don’t you want to impress others at work? Isn’t this how we move ahead?

I don’t think this is saying to be a slacker – not at all. God calls us to give our best at work (Eph. 6:7). What I believe it is teaching is that we do not “use” people to get ahead. In fact, we go a step beyond and proactively look for ways to help those around us – we look out for their interests, too. And, we do this with a sense of humility – it’s not ploy, it’s who we really are (or are becoming as we allow God to work in our lives).

How do you see this verse in your life?
How does it challenge you?
What questions does it bring up?

You can reply through the “Comments” below. If you don’t have a Blogger account, just click on the “Anonymous” button at the bottom of the comments section.


Monday, November 10, 2008

I Agree with Satan

Did that title get your attention? I guess I should explain.

I often talk with people who tell me how whenever they feel like maybe they could really step out and be used by God, they “hear” Satan whisper in their ear all the reasons why God could never use them.

While it’s not an audible voice, it’s just that reminder of past failures – bad decisions, sinful actions, abusive words, whatever it is that make them feel… well… useless and unworthy.

Here’s my advice – agree with Satan. Your “conversation” may go something like this…

After Satan mentions something from your past – simply say, “You know what, you’re right! I did do that. No doubt about it that was a really stupid decision.”

But, if you’ve made the decision to follow Christ, that’s not the end of the dialogue. Because then you can also point Satan’s attention to the Cross of Jesus Christ and remind him that all those past failures are why you praise God for the Cross! Remember, the Cross is payment in full for those stupid and sinful things we have all done.

You should see the look on Satan’s face when you remind him of the rest of the story!!

Okay, you can’t really see his face, but it would be great if you could!

Never allow Satan to steal the power of the Cross in your life. Because he really can’t steal it, he can only hope you forget about it.

So, next time Satan attempts to pull you down with your own past – simply agree, point him to the Cross, and step out and allow God to do all He wants to do in your life!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

How do we learn to love?

One of the things my cirlce of friends have been talking a lot about lately is how do we get back to the foundational teaching of Jesus - love God, love people? This post encompasses both of these principles.

Whether you would consider yourself a Christ follower, Christian, religious or none of the above - most people believe the principles found in the Bible are good.

Let’s take some time, to look at the process Peter writes about that leads to loving all people:

2 Peter 1:5-7 ~
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

Peter writes, “make every effort”. This is not some ho hum attempt at getting along, this is full blown commitment to grow in this way. And what’s the growth process (which, by the way, often overlap each other)?

Supplement your…

->Faith (Do I truly trust Jesus?)

-> Moral Excellence (Am I becoming more pure in my thoughts, words and actions?)

-> Knowledge (Am I gaining God’s wisdom to make better decisions?)

-> Self-control (Do I exhibit control over how I interact with others and issues?)

-> Patient Endurance (Am I more patient with people and circumstances?)

-> Godliness (Is my character becoming more like God’s character?)

-> Brotherly Affection (Am I laying my life down for my friends?)

-> Love for everyone (Do I truly love my neighbor?)

Here’s how I view this teaching: As I practice Moral Excellence by trusting Jesus (in Faith), it leads to gaining Knowledge. This Knowledge allows me to gain Moral Wisdom leading to Self-control. By not always just reacting to things around me, I learn to be more Patient; it enables me to Endure difficult times and people. As I Endure, my character becomes more Godly and my reverence/respect for God’s work in my life grows. Since God is Love – my Love begins to grow - first, for other Believers; then for all people. This is the essence of the Great Commandment – to love God and love people. In fact, my love for all people reveals my love for God.

The key to all of this is actually found in verse 3 of 2 Peter 1 - By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

We get to know God through reading the Bible, prayer, and interaction with His church – the people of God.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Back to Blogging

I know it's been a while since I blogged here. I've been working on another project (which I'm still working on), but decided I wanted to resume posting my thoughts here.

So, welcome back!

I'm currently reading a book called The Shack by Wm Paul Young. This book will make you think. If you've read it, send me a comment on what you think about it.

Did you like it?
Did it confuse you?
Did it answer some of your questions about God?
Do you think it's an accurate view of God?

Whatever your thoughts are, I'd like to read them.


New Poll Question

The New Poll Question is up - How do you view God?

Let me know how you see God.


Last Poll Results

What's your favorite thing about Summer? (It was possible to pick more than one response)

20% - Warm / Hot Weather
40% - Travel / Vacation
40% - No School
60% - Lighter Schedule
0% - Swimming

Monday, July 21, 2008

Church Buildings

Okay, I've decided to get your help with a part of my new project.

I’m trying to make a list of the pros and cons of having a church building. What I’d like for you to do is provide a list of the pros and cons you see in having a church building. Tell me your personal views and, if you attend a church, I’d love to hear what success or struggles your church has been through related to buildings.

You can reply anonymously through the comment botton below (but if your comfortable using your name, it makes the conversation a bit more personal - your choice).


Taking Time for a New Project

Hello All!

Thanks for all of your support for this blog. I will continue to make personal posts here, and I do hope to continue the "Question Jesus Asked" series.

I am spending a great deal of time on another project (which I hope to share more details about with you soon). Because of this, my posts may be sporadic for a while.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Last Poll Results - New Poll Up

Which of these best describes your life?

0% - Too Busy

50% - Very Busy

40% - Busy

10% - Very Calm

0% - Too Calm

While we seem to be busy, no one thinks they are too busy - hummm. So, are we all getting everything we want to do done?


Monday, July 07, 2008

Family Reunions

During the last week of June, my family and I enjoyed a family reunion at my parent’s house.

It was great!

Seeing so many of our family members (all of us growing up – well, physically anyway). There’s something about coming together with family. We have different interests, different views on some things, and even different spiritual beliefs, but we are still family – and we enjoy being together!

I realize not everyone has an earthly family like this – and that makes me sad.

The same can be true for our spiritual families – some get along, others don’t – but we are still family.

However, there’s one huge difference when it’s all said and done – when we have our final (and eternal) family reunion with the Father – all that divides us will be no more. That reunion will be incredible! If you can attempt to picture a family reunion with no “under-currents,” no “issues,” just a time of celebration and authentic love, then you’ll begin to see just a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

I’ve heard heaven described as sitting around all day on clouds playing harps, and frankly, that really doesn’t interest me at all. But I’ve also heard it described as a place where we are able to enjoy a real life free from all of the sin and hate that occupies our relationships here on earth.

Now, that’s exciting!

Thankfully, I do enjoy my earthly family reunions, but I can’t wait to be a part of the eternal reunion because of my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Family Reunion

My family and I just got back from our Family Reunion. We had a great time!

Now, my schedule should be returning to "normal" (whatever that is) and I plan to resume more regular postings. Thanks for hanging in there with me through these past couple of months!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Long Class

Hello All,

Thanks for hanging in there while I was taking my last class. It really was much tougher than all of my previous classes. I finish up this week and hope to be back on schedule.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Two more weeks

I have two more weeks of my current class. This one has really taken a lot of time so my blogging has been nonexistent.

I will blog as much as possible in the next couple of weeks, and will certainly return to my two per week schedule at the conclusion of this class.

Thanks for hanging on!


Thursday, May 22, 2008


I apologize for not posting last week. My current seminar class’ workload is higher than usual, but something I read yesterday struck me and I thought I’d share it with you.

There’s a church joke that says, “Don’t make me go Old Testament on you!” The implication is that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath. In contrast to this we read in the New Testament that God is a God of love.

In fact, I believe we can replace the word “of” in my above description with the word “is” – God is wrath; God is love. Does that statement cause tension for you?

Here’s how William Yount describes this truth – “God is love and God is wrath. How can He be both? The answer is found in synthesis. The fire that warms is also the fire that burns. The difference is in our relationship to it. Those who are rightly related to God are warmed by His love. Those who refuse His love, who reject His offer of grace, are left to be burned by His wrath. He is not love or wrath. He is love-wrath, which exists like a two-sided coin.”

If this messes with your head a little, it should – synthesis is level 5 thinking (there are 6 levels, but those details aren’t really my point). My point is that there are many things about God that I struggle to understand, but that does not make them untrue.

This morning, I just learned about the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s five year old daughter. Anytime something like this happens it creates a tension in my soul. I know God is Sovereign, but I cannot help but struggle with the “why questions.” God why would you allow this to happen?

Here’s where I land with this right now (and I’d love to hear your thoughts), God wants to have a relationship with us, He does truly love us, AND there are things (and circumstances) I simply cannot fully understand. Am I talking about blind faith? No, blind faith would require no basis whatsoever. I’m talking about faith that is able to understand enough to accept it all.

What about you – what do you struggle to understand and how do you choose to deal with your confusion?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hello all!

Just a quick note - I have a massive amount to do for seminary this week, so I may not get a new post up.

Thanks for your patience!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

If Only...

I was watching an incredible talk by Louie Giglio. Click here if you want to watch it, too.

Louie is one of my favorite speakers and the message he gives is powerful and moving. I can be a bit emotional and I found my eyes watering as I listened to him. (Okay, I’ll admit it, I was outright crying by the end). But, as I listened, another thought struck me…

…if only I could communicate like he does…

As I captured this thought I was reminded that God has gifted him in this way. More importantly, God has gifted you and I in incredible ways, as well. In fact, I believe that if we are able to discover just how incredibly gifted we are, the things we could do using those gifts would be just as powerful and as moving as a message by Louie. If we have surrendered our hearts and lives to Christ to follow Him, we have the same power within us. The key is finding this incredible gift (or gifts) God has given you and using it how He desires for you to use it.

The obvious next question is – How, how do I do this?

If you have a relationship with God through Christ the power to discover your gift is already within you. You simply need to ask God to reveal it to you. Here’s what I think. I think many of us already know what God has given us and even how He wants us to use it, but we’re too scared to trust Him and go for it! So, we keep walking around like we’re clueless. Maybe I’m wrong, you can write a comment and tell me what you think, but I know for me there are things I believe God has gifted me to do and I know what He wants me to do – but it’s scary. It requires me to lean into my faith in Him full tilt.

How about you?

By the way, if you haven’t listened to Louie’s clip yet, go back to the top and click the link – you’ll be glad you did.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Fear (6)

Our next question is found in verse 26 of Mathew chapter eight. Jesus asks, “Why are you afraid?” I believe this question gets to the heart of a true relationship with God. If we truly trust God, we really shouldn’t fear anything.

The disciples were afraid they were going to die, and if I’m honest, there are lots of things about death that still scare me

- The death of another one of my children or my wife
- The wellbeing of my family if I were to die
- I’m somewhat prepared for losing my parents some day (that’s the order of life), but I still don’t want that to ever happen

I’m afraid of all of these things happening - and many more. What about you?

So, is it fair for Jesus to ask us why were afraid? Do I hear a resounding “Duh”?

I think there are many things we could be scared about, but Jesus’ point is not that there are scary things that can happen to us, but that there is an antidote to this poison called fear. We learn in Jesus' next words that the antidote is faith.

Faith is a funny thing – it’s intangible, yet very real. It’s hard to describe, but incredible to experience. The writer of Hebrews tells us faith “is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” How cool is that!?

Where does this confident assurance come from? It comes from a relationship that is based on trusting God. And we learned from the last set of questions that God will provide everything we truly need [read Questions Jesus Asked – Prayer (5)].

So, what are you afraid of? Will you learn to trust God with that fear? It probably won’t happen over night – no real relationships are formed that way. But let me encourage you to take another step closer to trusting God each time you feel scared – that’s what I’m doing and it gets a little easier with every step I take. [Great, now I hear a Police song playing in my head].


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Speaking My Opinion in Semi-Love

I often quote the verse in Ephesians four that says we are to “speak the truth in love.” I quote it because I have a tendency to avoid doing this in one of two ways.

One way is I avoid a potential conflict altogether. This usually is not healthy because I don’t grow through avoidance and the issues rarely resolve themselves (they just become more difficult to deal with).

My second (and equally bad) way of dealing with issues is to attempt to sneak in through the side door – better known as passive-aggressive.

The reality is conflict is a necessary part of life. If we always agreed about everything there wouldn’t be challenges, learning and growth. We just need to handle conflict in healthy ways – which is why the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love.

But, here’s what I realized last week – I often speak my opinion in semi-love, under the guise of speaking the truth in love. What’s the difference? Well, there are many, but here are two:

1. My opinion really doesn’t matter unless it lines up with the truth;

2. I used the term “semi-love” because there’s usually something in it for me (selfishness).

If I am to speak the truth, I first must know the truth. As a Christ-follower, I believe the Bible is the basis for truth. So, unless what I am saying is in line with what the Bible teaches, it’s not truth.

The “in love” means my primary reason for speaking is to build the other person up. If I’m attempting to get my way or build myself up, then I’m not truly speaking in love.

So, how about you? Do you speak the truth in love? How do you think we can all get better at truly building others up?


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To The Old Man I Know

Today, my buddy Brian turns


I had to write that big so he could read it!

Post him a Happy Birthday wish in the comments -- he'll read it!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Prayer (5)

This next set of questions is intriguing to me. It’s Matthew 7:9-10 when Jesus asks, “You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Of if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?”

A quick reminder: in Jesus’ day these were primary staples of food. So, the question really is, if your kids ask for basic necessities, would you give them something worthless (a stone) or harmful (a snake)?

Jesus gives us the obvious answer at the end of verse 10 – “Of course not!” And then He makes the connection for us. Just before this Jesus is encouraging the people to be persistent in prayer – keep asking, keep looking, keep knocking. The connection is when we ask God for things we need, He’s not going to give us worthless or harmful things. Verse 11 confirms this – “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Now, there are a number of ways, in my opinion, to abuse this teaching. We get fussy when God doesn’t show up and give us everything we think we need right away. I don’t think that’s what Jesus is teaching here (that God is just a fast food clerk waiting to fill our every order) – I believe he’s telling us to recognize that God is the One who provides everything we need, and what He provides is always good for us.

There have certainly been times when I’ve begged God for something and it has not happened. At those times I can either assume God doesn’t love me and doesn’t care, or I can remember that God takes care of me better than I take care of my own kids.

This is getting a bit long, but there’s one more thing I want to mention here. The effects of sin continue to corrupt our world and those of us living in it. It’s not hard to find many examples of really bad parents. The news loves to exploit all of the abuses they find (and these days abuse is not hard to find). But I think there’s another way to look at this teaching. Instead of thinking about the worst case scenario, think about the best ones you know. Think about those parents who truly love their kids; those who have solid healthy relationships with their children. Then reconsider this teaching from that perspective – God loves us even more, and will treat us even better than the best parents we know!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Reluctant "Pastor"

I remember going to a “Christian leader’s conference” shortly after I resigned from a paid position as a Youth Pastor. I resigned because I felt God was calling me to plant a church and I was at this conference to be “inspired”. I was with a friend who was also part of the new church plant. He knew one of the key guys at this conference and we ran into him in the common area between sessions.

My friend introduced us and we talked a little about what was going on with the new church. I remember the conference guy clearly asking me, “So, you’re the pastor of the new church?” I hesitated in my answer and he gave me a strange look, as if to say, you’re not a very fired up pastor.

The hesitation took me by surprise, but I knew why. I do believe God has gifted me to be a leader, I also believe He has called me to be a pastor. But not the typical pastor I’ve always experienced in my life, but more like the Ephesians 4 pastor. I want to equip people, not just talk at them. I want to share life with people; not just counsel them.

But there was another reason for my hesitation – I battle pride just about every day of my life. And too often the role of pastor is seen as the “power-seat” in the church. I just don’t agree with that. I look at Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. I think about His instruction to them not to “Lord over” people. Then I look in the mirror and I know I am capable of doing it all wrong. I can move a crowd by creating an emotional environment, picking my words well, and know just when to pause and when to get loud. But none of that is what pastor-ing is really all about. It’s not a show; it’s a position of service.

That encounter at the conference was about two years ago and my feelings have grown stronger and stronger. The body of Christ already as it’s Head – that’s Jesus position. My role as a pastor is simply to do life with people, to learn from them and to share what I’ve learned. But more important than the learning is the loving. Jesus boiled it down for all of us – love God with everything you are, and love the people around you as much as you love yourself.

At times, people will call me “Pastor Dave”, and while understand this is normal within church world, I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with it. So, am I a pastor? Yes, but that’s not my title, it’s my role within the Body. You, too, have a role within the Body. And It would be weird if your role was caring for orphans and I always referred to you as Orphan Helper so-and-so. I think when we label some (i.e., pastors) and not others, we create a division or hierarchy that I don’t see in the Bible.

My role is to help you find your role and give you ways to express it for the benefit of the Body (and in the world); and to help you understand that every role (including yours) is critical. So, you can just call me "Dave", and I’ll call you by your name and we’ll all work towards loving God and loving people – together!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked - Judging Others (4)

Here’s one for you – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

One thing you can say about Jesus, he didn’t sugarcoat it. We find this question in Matthew 7, verse 3. I’m not sure this one needs a lot of explanation. Jesus is pointing out how hypocritical we can be when we go around pointing out everyone else’s faults. He’s holding up a mirror and asking us to take a look – what do you see?

One misconception of this teaching would be to say that we should never point out other people’s problems to them. That’s not what Jesus says. In verse 5, He tells us to first remove the plank from our own eye, and then we will be able to see clearly enough to help our friend remove the speck from their eye. You’ve heard the saying, “It takes one to know one.” When it comes to seeing other people’s issues, the reason we can so quickly recognize them is because we live with the same issues in our own lives every day. So, Jesus simple tells us to remember we’re probably worse off than our friends, so we need to deal with our stuff and then help others.

I think the process of dealing with our own junk also provides the humility we need to truly help someone else. If we truly recognize the plank in our own eye, then we can help our friends remove the speck. Knowing we’re really in no position to judge them – we can simply help them.

So, take a peak in the mirror – what planks are you struggling to see around? Why not let others help you with those issues and in turn you’ll be able to help others – in humility and love.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Greek or Hebrew Thinking?

Okay, so this book I’m reading for seminary has some really interesting stuff (and I’ve only read the first two chapters).

Here’s something I’ve thought about before, but never seen it explained this clearly – I hope I can do it justice in a relatively few words. The overall concept is how we view life. There is the Greek Mind-set (compartmental thinking) and the Hebrew Mind-set (whole living).

Our North American mindset is derived from the Greek mind-set which essentially puts things into “boxes” (compartments). We have our “home life”, “work/school life”, “recreational life”, “church life”, etc. We tend to keep these compartments separated. The problem is life doesn’t fit well into “boxes” and this creates conflict. As an example, if we are asked to work over time, our compartmental thinking immediately gets defensive because if our “work box” takes more time, that gives us less time for all of our other boxes. The more we try to keep everything in a box the more frustrated and stressed out we become. This also explains how an evangelist can get up and preach about immorality and then go hire a prostitute (it’s two separate boxes).

If we are going to grow spiritually, we must tear the sides of our boxes out and move toward the Hebrew mind-set which emphasizes a whole life centered on Christ. All of the areas of our lives (work, home, church, etc.) all flow from a desire to put Christ first. Interestingly, all of the men God used to write the Bible were Hebrews (except for Luke). So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that the Bible is all about applying principles to our lives – our whole lives, not just certain parts (or “boxes”).

Here’s how William Yount describes the difference:
The compartmentalization of the Greek mind-set leads to personal anarchy. Each compartment takes on a life of its own. Various compartments compete for attention; compete for the limited amount of available energy. Live this way very long, and you begin to experience burnout and depression. This is not how God intended for life to be.

The Hebrew mind-set provides a basis whereby the components of our lives exist in harmony, centered in a whole personality, guided by the Lord. This “united kingdom” produces emotional and psychological health, energy for facing life’s problems, and a positive direction for living.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Worry & Faith (3)

This next set of questions (found in Matthew 6) that Jesus asked are some of the most difficult for me. I know what He’s saying, but “doing” what He’s teaching is pretty tough. See for yourself…

Jesus asks a couple of questions about why do we worry about food and clothes, but the main question is verse 27 - Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

I don’t know about you, but I understand that worrying is like a rocking chair – it gives me something to do, but it doesn’t get me anywhere. I know that. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stop worrying – it just comes to us so naturally… and I’m pretty good at it!

The reality is worry really doesn’t help anything. In fact, most of us would admit worry has a pretty negative affect on our lives. So, how do we stop worrying?

You may not like this answer, but I’ve found it’s the only one that works. The answer can be found in Jesus’ last question of chapter 6 – Why do you have so little faith?

See, even if you are a spiritual person – this question has a little sting to it. I mean if I do believe in God and the Bible and all that…well…I should be able to rely on my faith instead of worrying. But if you’re not a spiritual person – then – I guess you’re kinda stuck with your worry – I don’t have a “next best answer” for you.

But I do have some good news – you can become a spiritual person – and it really does help you move from worry to faith. Not all at once, and sometimes you’ll still get blindsided. But one thing I’m learning about my faith is that it’s still there when I get myself calmed back down - because my faith is not based on my efforts, but on the Person of Jesus (the guy asking all the tough questions here). You see, even when I “lose” faith, He remains faithful. If you want to more info. on how you can begin to find faith you can e-mail me at

Well, let me wrap this up – how do I lean more on my faith and decrease my worry? I hop over several short books to the right in my Bible to Philippians 4:6-7 which says –

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but when I want to worry about something what I’m really looking for is peace. And there’s no better peace than the peace God is able to give to us. Our worries come from our hearts and our minds, so when we take these worries to God, that is what He promises to guard – our hearts and minds.

I wish I could tell you that I do this perfectly every time. I don’t! But when I do…well…I guess you’ll have to experience it for yourself – because the Bible’s right – I can’t really explain it – you just have to live it.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Does The Bible Mean? (Discussion)

I was going to make a new post here, but the conversation I'm enjoying through the "Comments" of the original "What Does The Bible Mean?" post is really worth pointing you all towards.

So, go back to that post and check out the Comments - and feel free to jump in!


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What does the Bible mean?

I’m starting a new seminary class in a couple of weeks, and because I’m a slow reader, I often get my books early and begin reading them before the class starts. My book for this class made a point that really struck me and I want to share it with you. Here’s what the author wrote:

Is there a difference between what the Bible says and what the Bible means? Or do you believe that “the Bible says what it means, and means what it says!”? There is a difference between “words” and “concepts.” Knowing words and understanding concepts are two different things. Let’s take “Love your enemies” as an example. Anyone who has been in Sunday school or church for even a short time knows that Jesus said “Love your enemies.” But how many understand what He meant when He said this?

What do I do when I love enemies? And who are my enemies? Must I like my enemies? How will “loving enemies” change the way I live day by day? Jesus define His own words in the passage as He said, “Love your enemies, bless then that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44, KJV). Agape [the word translated “love”] means blessing and doing good and praying for. Nothing here about how I feel about them. “My enemy” means those who curse me, and hate me, and use and hurt me. My enemy can be my best friend, my colleague, my wife, or a fellow church member. When people close to me hurt me, I do not feel like loving them. But I am commanded to love. Not to feel, but to act.

It is far easier to know the words “Love your enemies” than it is to understand their meaning. But until learners clearly understand what Jesus meant, they will not be able to “love their enemies” in the way He intended. Unless Bible teaching can move learners from isolated words to biblical concepts, we will see little spiritual growth in our learners. Without clear biblical understanding, learners tend to read their own meanings into Bible words.

Source: Created to Learn by William R. Yount


Monday, April 07, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Love & Kindness (2)

We find Jesus’ next questions at the end of Matthew 5 in verses 46 and 47:

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

Okay, Jesus is going right to the “heart” of the matter here. One of the things that bothers me is the reputation the church has as being full of hypocrites. I think it bothers me because I know I’m part of the church – and I know I can be hypocritical – so I know they’re right.

I’ve often used the reply – but there are hypocrites everywhere. But, I think this is the response that Jesus knew we “Christians” would have and He points out that we are supposed to be DIFFERENT!

Sure, I know that most Christians admit that we know we’re not perfect and we don’t attempt to take on the perfection label. But is that it? Does that make our hypocrisy okay?

Another typical Christian response is – well not all of the people in the church are really Christians. I agree, but I’ve also spent enough time in churches to know that those I would strongly suspect are Christians are just as bad as the others. In fact, why do non-Christians at church continue to act like they have always acted? Because the “Christians” in the church continue to act like they’ve always acted.

Before I move into a full-on rant, let me express to all of you who maybe have the “been-there-done-that-don’t-need-that-anymore” view of the church, I would like to say (and encourage you to consider) that churches are also filled with people who DO “get it” and who do truly care about others – not just their friends, but everyone with whom they come in contact. And, the truth is, the closer any one of us is willing to come to Christ the more we learn how to see others differently. To love and be kind to all people, not just our friends.

Do we do this perfectly? No, far from it, and we need to be willing to throw our hand up in their air and admit when we blow it. But if all of us would consider Jesus’ questions here at the end of Matthew, I think we would find a challenge worth taking. How do we learn to care about those we don’t click with? How do we find ourselves looking to put other’s needs before our own?

Well, it does not come easily. In fact, unless we are first willing to surrender our agendas over to Christ, I’m not sure this is really possible at all. But as we learn that we do not naturally care about others who are not close to us (and sometimes even those who are close to us), we can also discover that we have been created for relationships and that while it’s true there’s risk involved with loving – the alternative is to be love-less – and that’s just a miserable existence, not the life we were created to live!

So, why not take a look in the mirror. How do these questions from Jesus hit you? Can you find ways to see people differently? Can you learn to love… everyone?

I’ve got the paddle next to you in the same boat – but I always love a challenge :-).


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Poll Results - How often do you read the Bible?

My last poll asked: How often do you read the Bible?

Here's what you said:

Daily - 50%
Once a week - 16%
A couple of times a month - 34%
Once a month - 0%
Rarely - 0%
Never - 0%

Interesting. So, it would appear that we have "spiritual" people (in some form or fashion) who read this blog (or at least the ones who answer the poll).

In a previous poll I asked who you would turn to for help - 0% said you would turn to a church leader. I'm curious how many of you attend church. I know the definition of church may differ. So, the new poll question is up (How often do you attend church?), but I'd also like to hear how you define church, so you can respond to this post with your thoughts on that.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked - Salt (1)

[Note: I want to pick up on a series I began in January 2007 called Questions Jesus Asked. I only made four posts back then, so, to get going again, I'm going to repost those posts and then continue the series /D]

As I begin this series of questions Jesus asked, I want to be clear that this does not make up the full teachings of Christ. However, I do think we can learn a lot from His questions & I’m really curious to see where this takes us.

I just started in Matthew – and the first questions Jesus asks is recorded in Matthew 5:13 where He asks – “What good is salt if it has lost its saltiness? Can you make it salty again?”

Okay, I could totally understand a, “Yeah, that’s helpful – what in the world is He talking about” thought to this question. And while I don’t want to make this a book – I think a little background would be real helpful.

A good starting point is to remember the culture and time frame in which Jesus was teaching – they did not have freezers and microwaves. They had not figured out how to stuff food with so many preservatives that their shelf life is longer than our average life span. So, one use for salt was to preserve foods. Part of what we can learn from this question is Jesus was talking to His followers saying, I want you to do good things and preserve goodness. I want you to be a positive influence on those around you.

Another use for salt was for cleaning. Have you ever rubbed salt in a wound? I don’t recommend it – but the truth is it will clean out a wound. So, another potential teaching here is – bring healing to those you come in contact with. While sometimes the truth stings a little, the cleansing is worth it and will bring healing – and that’s a good thing.

I’m sure there are more analogies we could make, but I’ll make just one more. Have you ever heard, “That guy or girl is worth their salt”? It’s kind of an old saying, but it came from the fact that soldiers use to be paid in salt. So, someone who was doing well was, “worth their salt.” Today, our society has changed, so a similar statement we may hear is, “That girl is worth her weight in gold.” Same idea. So, what could we learn from this aspect of being “salt”? I think its fair to say that Jesus would want His followers to make a positive difference. To have relationships that others say, “I’m glad you’re my friend. We don’t always see eye to eye, but your friendship is worth it.”

So, a couple of things from this first question that we can learn – Jesus wants us to be a positive influence, a healer, and be someone worth having a relationship with. Cool stuff! But if we really look at the way He asked the question – He’s saying if were not all of these things – what good are we?

I think I need to look at how I interact with those around me and make sure I’m “worth my salt.” How about you?


Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Reflection

What a great day! It’s Monday, the day after Easter, and I’ve been thinking about the time I got to spend with the church that gathered at our house yesterday. Many friends we don’t get to worship with every week were able to join us for Easter dinner, and we had a great time just sharing life together.

Dinner was awesome, followed by the Lord’s Supper, and then many of us stayed for a couple more hours just talking and catching up.

To me, this is an element of worship we often miss when we just come together in a large group for “Easter Service”. We miss the “church family” element. The personal time together, catching up on the things that really matter to the people we gather with for worship.

Shifting gears a bit, there’s a song I’ve heard often, but when I heard it on the radio Easter morning it really struck me. You can listen to it at this link. It’s Fee’s “It’s All Because of Jesus”. The resurrection of Jesus (His returning to life) is what has truly given me life! I hope you also have this “real life”!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New House

So, we moved into a new house a couple of months ago. It’s weird how I’m always assuming the worst whenever I hear a strange sound. I want this place to be so awesome, but if I hear something, I immediately begin to fear that a pipe is leaking, or the siding is coming loose, or whatever. It’s like I cannot fully enjoy the place because I keep thinking something really bad is going to happen.

Do you ever feel this way about things?

I think we often approach our spiritual lives this way, too - especially when it’s all new to us. We keep thinking, “I want this to be really great,” but we also keep thinking we’re going to do something (or something is just going to happen) and mess the whole deal up. You know, it can’t really be this good – can it?

Unfortunately, when something does happen, we quickly revert back to the I-knew-it-was-too-good-to-be-true attitude. I want you to know that it’s actually the times when we blow it that can help strengthen our faith the most. Face it, if we were perfect we wouldn’t need God. It’s because we’re not perfect that makes what God offers sooo perfect. Our relationship with God is based on His unfailing love for us – not on how well we perform. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches that we cannot work our way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-10) and we cannot work our way into a better relationship with God (Galatians 3:3). It’s already pegged the “awesome!” meter – and when we mess up – God’s love for us doesn’t change a bit.

I hope you’ll allow the tough times (whether you created them or not) to mature your relationship with God. Don’t worry, He’s not gonna pull a fast one on you and leave you hangin’.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Poll Results - Who do you trust most?

Who do you trust most?

70% said - A Friend
30% said - A Parent
0% said - A Grown Child
0% said - A Church Leader

I did receive some scolding for not having "Spouse" as an option. [Get ready for the brownie they come...] Since my spouse is my best friend, my answer was Friend. :-)

I'm not sure I can make an accurate inference from what people did not say, but I'm surprised "Church Leader" got 0%. What (if anyting) does that reveal?


Friday, March 14, 2008

Church Structure

I'm currently doing a lot of study on "the church". Specifically, on church structure (or organization). I'm sorting and praying through a great deal of information on this topic and don't have any specific points to make just yet. The reason for this post is to get your input.

How do you feel about church structure (I'd also be interested to know your church background)?

What do you believe the Bible teaches about church structure (specific verses would be great)?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

[Note: You can leave a comment without having a Blogger account. Simply use the "Anonymous" option in the comments section. Of course, you can still put your name directly into your comments if you like.]


Monday, March 10, 2008

Theology of the Gas Pump

Why do so many gas stations strip out that little do-hickey that will let you pump gas without having to squeeze the handle the whole time? You know, that little metal piece that you can lock down that holds the handle up. I’m sure there’s some safety reason, but I always get annoyed when I have to stand there and squeeze the handle (see I’m just another lazy American :-0).

Anyway, yesterday I was getting gas and I just automatically reached down and pushed down that top metal piece down that will hold the handle in place. It “locked” and I let go of the pump. As I was waiting for the tank to fill I looked down and noticed that this pump had also been stripped of that bottom piece that is supposed to hold the handle up – yet, the top piece had in fact found a little notch in the plastic and was staying in place.

I don’t know why my brain goes to places like this, but my thought was – huh, that’s just like my life. So, many times I never even attempt things because they “look” like they won’t work. If I had looked at the pump handle I would have never even tried to see if the top piece would still hold the handle in place. I would have assumed it was another stripped pump and I would just have to stand there and hold the handle – without ever trying.

I do this in life, too. I allow the circumstances to keep me from even trying things sometimes. Now, I’m not encouraging reckless abandon and foolishness (okay, maybe I am). It’s just when it comes to doing things in this life, I think we often make assumptions about what will or won’t work and that keeps us just going along with the crowd. Sometimes, we just need to step out and try something we think we should be doing without worrying about what the circumstances look like.

And there you have it – my theology of the gas pump.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

In Christ

The author of the book I’m currently reading made a really interesting point. As Christ followers we often talk about having a “relationship with” Jesus. Antonucci (the author) points out that Jesus wants much more than this. He gives the example of having a best friend who moves away – we miss them, we wish they were still close by but all in all their leaving doesn’t really change our lives in a significant way.

The same can be true in our relationship with Jesus. When we don’t spend time in prayer or in the Bible – we miss him, we may wish we were closer to him, but all in all our time away doesn’t really change our lives – if all we have is a relationship with Jesus.

What Jesus describes in John 15 is much deeper than just a relationship. He talks about us being “in him”. Antonucci uses the analogy of a baby still in his/her mother’s womb. You could say they have a “relationship”, but it’s really much more. That baby is fully dependent on mom for everything.

This is how Jesus wants us to be - in him – fully dependent on him for life itself.

I’m far from living this way, but it’s a great encouragement to know that that is where Jesus wants me and each day I learn a little better how to rely on God for real life.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Poll Results

The results from our last poll:

Is church relevant in you life?

54% - Oh yeah - a lot
34% - A littel - sometimes
9% - Nope - not at all

My new poll question is now up on the right sidebar.

Friday, February 29, 2008

American Idol

An interesting thing hit me the other night as my wife and kids were watching American Idol. I do catch bits and pieces (especially if I like the song they’re singing), but I cannot say I’m an avid fan.

Anyway, what I was thinking about is which of the “judges” is the most credible?

While Randy can be pretty up front, he usually sugar coats his critique a bit. I’m convinced Paula’s up there just to make everyone feel better (even those who can’t sing at all). And the man everyone loves to hate – Simon – is probably also the one whose opinion matters the most. Why?

Because he tells it like it is. I think he can be over the top and doesn’t always know when enough is enough, but the bottom line is, what Simon says (ha, that’s punny) really does carry the most weight.

So, what’s my point? Those who just lay it out there will usually have the most influence. As per my last post, I think we can “lay it out there” in a loving way, but lay it out there we must (if we want people to truly hear us).

I’d much rather deal with a few barbs from someone who I know will shoot straight with me, then be with someone who I never really know what they’re thinking (that gets really frustrating). Personally, I need to find the courage to just speak the truth and make sure my motives are pure so I can do it in love.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

So, what does it mean to speak the truth in love? I thought I knew what this meant, but now I’m not so sure. We use terms like “tough love” to explain when we have to say or do difficult things that we know others won’t like. Of course, we do them because we truly care. If we didn’t care, we certainly wouldn’t do things to cause “trouble” (at least people like me who avoid conflict wouldn’t do it).

But what happens when we’re struck with a realization that something’s wrong? Do we stand up and say so? Do we beat around the bush and hope others figure out what we really mean? Do we only say the nice things in hopes the errors will correct themselves?

Or does real love call us to point out what we see and let the chips fall where they may? Who knows, we may come to realize we misunderstood or did not have the full picture – and then we can correct our view. Or, we may be the catalyst that was needed to really get things going in the right direction.

Okay, people, let me hear from you! [Post your thoughts by clicking the comments area below - you can use the Anonymous options to post without a Blogger account]


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Did God Create His Own Religion - Discussion

Well, we only got one comment on the “Did God Create His Own Religion” question – I was hoping for a little more interaction. Here are my thoughts…

God gave us the 10 Commandments, so if “religion” is following a set of rules and/or beliefs, then God did provide us with a religion.

We also recognized that none of us has kept the 10 Commandments; so, their purpose must be more than just God giving us rules to follow. These rules reveal to us that we are not perfect (darn!).

So, let’s jump to the New Testament to see how we should apply God’s “religion” to our lives. I’m reminded of three things:

One, 1 John 4 tells us that God is love.

Two, James 1:27 tells us the religion that is good in God’s sight is the one that takes care of the widows and orphans (note how these are people who have lost a personal relationship in their lives and God wants us to help restore relationships in their lives).

And, three, in Matthew 22 Jesus boils it all down to love God with everything you are and love others.

So, did God create His own religion? Yes! His religion is LOVE (love we return to Him and show to others).

Critical question: How well are you loving God and others? If you’re not feeling too good about that answer – what will you do about it this week?

For me, it seems so simple – just love the God who has provided everything in my life and love the others He has created. But, it’s not that simple. I do love God, but I often take Him for granted. I need to work on spending quality time with Him where I slow down enough to allow Him to “speak” to me. I had been blocking out a day a week for this (call it a Sabbath if you like), but I’ve become very inconsistent with this and I know my relationship with God has suffered. And, the whole loving people part… well, that will have to wait for another day. Let’s just say, for me, that’s the tougher of the two.

Pray for me that I will take time this week to just be with God.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Say what you mean and mean what you say

I have a friend who likes that saying “say what you mean and mean what you say,” but what if the words we use have two opposite meanings? A couple of years ago a friend corrected me when I stated that I perused something quickly. He told me the word means to study thoroughly; therefore, I could not peruse something quickly. I’ve shared that with others since then and was about to do this with my seminary professor when I decided I would confirm this definition. Here’s what I found in the Encarta Dictionary: English (North American) – this is the one that comes with Microsoft Word so you can look it up for yourself:

Peruse [pe·ruse]

1. Read something carefully - to read or examine something, usually in a careful and thorough way or taking time to do it

2. Read something quickly - to read through or scan something quickly

What?? Is this like eating your cake and having it to?

So, next time someone tells you to mean what you say and say what you mean – you can now have a meaningful discussion about the nuances of (read “how messed up is”) the English language.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Holy crap! [said in Jeff Dunham's Dead Terrorist voice]

My profile says I'm 40. This was always a great song by U2, but I never thought I'd be it. Okay, I guess I thought I'd be it, I just didn't think about it often.

Wow, this was random, but it shocked me when I saw it in print :-).

By the way, check out the lyrics to that U2 song -


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Living in the "Now"

A friend gave me the movie The Peaceful Warrior to watch. It’s a good movie. Whenever people start talking about finding the truth “inside you” I always get leery of New Age thinking. And while there is a hint of this, for the most part there is a lot of truth in the movie’s point.
Essentially, the focus is on living in the “now”. The Bible confirms this thinking. Two verses jump out at me:

Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 – “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”

Jesus says in Matthew 6:43 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There you have it! Yesterday is done – learn what you need to learn and move on. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – so deal with what you have to deal with today and don’t worry about the future. Of course, this is much easier said then done, but I believe we spend way too much time and energy thinking about things that are totally out of our control. This has no benefit to our lives whatsoever.

Live in the “now”. Enjoy the journey – or as another friend’s t-shirt for a white-water rafting company says – “The journey is the destination!”

By the way, we have one comment on the last post regarding God's religion. I'm waiting for a couple more before I respond, so post your thoughts.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Did God create His own religion?

That was the question that came up at our house church this weekend. I have some thoughts, but I'd like to read your thoughts first. So, reply on the "Comments" below.

Remember you can use the Anonymous button to reply without having a Blogger account.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone. I’m not nearly as political as I used to be. I do care and I am thankful that I live in a country that allows us to pick our leaders. I do believe that everyone who is allowed to vote has a responsibility to do so – it’s a privilege that many do not enjoy.

Yet, I do not believe we can legislate morality. I get a bit annoyed with those who believe if we just elect the right candidate our country will be saved. I just don’t see that in the Bible. In fact, throughout the Bible I see many political leaders creating more problems than good. And yet, God’s truth and love marches on.

So, should we vote? Of course. Should we expect our country to be “saved” by a candidate? That’s crazy. If we want to see real change, towards good and caring, the answer is very simple (and yet apparently very difficult to accomplish). We simply need to follow the Golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. It starts with each of us choosing to put other’s needs above our own.

Too simplistic? Maybe, but why not give it a try and see what happens? After all, it is what Jesus said the whole Bible was about.

Let’s make every day super – by finding ways to improve someone else’s day.


Monday, February 04, 2008

How About those Giants?!

As a Cowboys fan, I have to admit rooting for the Giants was like kissing my sister (I don't have a sister, but let's not let details get in the way of a good cliché), but I had to pull for the NFC East.

It really was a great game. What I found interesting was how many people were not so much cheering for the Giants, but against the Patriots (I must admit I felt a bit of this). Why?

Is it that we don’t like to see others reach "perfection" because we know we are so far from it? Do we not like to see others succeed? Or was it that we did not like some of the personalities on that team – the coaches or some of the players?

I’m not sure why I felt this way. I’m not a big fan of their coach – he seems gruff and short with people – not a real “people person”. But it does bother me that I had this negative reason to cheer for someone else. Of course, I feel this every time the Redskins play, but as a Cowboys fan that just comes with the territory. :-)


Saturday, February 02, 2008

True Friends?

I was reading Proverbs and verse 18 in chapter 18 caught my attention; it reads “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city.”

The first thing that popped into my mind was some strained relationships I have in my life and I thought, “Yeah, that’s true.” I think the reason it’s hard is because with friends we develop a bond, a closeness – trust. And when things fall apart, well, we have that much farther to fall and feel the hurt that much deeper.

But then I had another thought; “Wait a minute; if we’re friends shouldn’t we be able to work through the difficult times? Shouldn’t the closeness and the trust be an asset to resolving our differences?”

As I think about the times I have failed others I now must wonder; were we really friends or were we just going through the motions?

If you’ve been hurt by a friend (and maybe that friend was me) may I encourage you to NOT be a “fortified city”. Relationships are so fragile; and they take so much effort to form to begin with; let’s not just throw them away like yesterdays trash. After all – aren’t we supposed to be loving God and loving people?


Great Thoughts

While I've been blogging for a while, these latest posts seem to have finally generated some "conversations". I invite you all to take some time and go back to the old posts and read the additional comments & join the conversations.

Remember, if you type your comments and then click on the "Anonymous" cirlce below where you put your comments you do not have to have a Blogger account to comment. And, you're welcome to put your name in the post (or not) - don't you just love choices!


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Define "Church"

Okay – here’s a question for all of you – what’s “church”?

Over the past year my definition of church has changed significantly. I think most people’s definition of church would include some or all of the following elements:

1) A building where people meet;
2) There must be a decent number of people;
3) Some music, a sermon and a passing of the plate.

Honestly, I don’t think any of these things are bad, but I also don’t think any of these are “church.” I believe all you need for church is two or three people and Jesus. Isn’t that what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20?

The church is believers (those who believe Jesus came to restore our relationship with God) gathered together. No mention of buildings, crowds, music, sermons or offerings. Again, none of these things are bad – UNLESS they get in the way of people helping people and people spending time with Jesus together.

In fact, Jesus told the church leaders they needed to figure out what God meant when He said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13 & 12:7). Mercy is what we show towards each other; Sacrifice is a ritual we perform. Another time Jesus taught that if we are bringing our offering to God and remember that someone has something against us we are to leave the offering and go work thing out with the other person. Then come back and worship God (Matthew 5:23-24).

It appears God values relationships over rituals.

Okay, that’s enough stirring of the pot for one day. Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love to hear your thoughts

I love to get your responses and read your thoughts. You can post comments by clicking the word "Comment" in the bottom border of each post. You do not have to have a blogger account to post - you can just click the "Anonymous" choice. Of course, you can always put your name in your post or stay completely anonymous - your choice!

I do read all comments posted and they will not appear on the blog until I have read them.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too many stories?

I’m filtering through the seemingly endless e-mails I get from all of the spiritual leadership gurus. These are the people who have “succeeded” in church-world and are willing to share their “how I did it” stories so we can all attempt to copy them.

Of course, most of the podcasts, articles, blogs, etc. start with the typical “Don’t copy us” statement. So, why do we copy them? And why print or post their stories? I think we all like to hear the “good news” stories regarding churches and ministries and that’s great. But, really, why do we chase these “formulas”?

Here’s my take (and why I’ve done it so long myself) – our personal connection with God is weak (I was going to say “sucks” but my wife hates that word). Yet, it’s true. We’re living based on someone else’s connection with God (at least we assume they’re connected).

Here’s an idea – read the stories for a “pump me up” and then get into the Bible and find a quiet place to ask God, “Father, what do You want to do that You can only do through me?” If we believe God has uniquely created each of us, then we must believe He has a unique plan tailored specifically for us.

I gotta go – I’ve gotta ask God something! :-)


Monday, January 28, 2008

Too long

Wow, almost two months since my last post - I'm such a slacker!

It's been a busy two months - holidays, a new seminar class started Jan. 2nd, and still working on starting a church (oh, yeah, and it's tax season). Some cool news on the church-front - we will begin having meetings in our home this coming Sunday.

We did have some meetings at the Park this past summer (and may do that again this coming summer), but it's been a while since we've had a "public" gathering. So, I'm looking forward to spending time with these guys again this coming weekend.

We've also started some new ideas - we're calling it Project Relevant and I'll be posting more on this in the near future. You can also check it out (though there's not much there yet) at