Friday, March 17, 2017

How's Your Faith?

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:8-15

Endurance is so important in our faith.  God’s word does NOT say, it's going to be an easy journey. Sometimes it includes suffering and chains.

I started a workout plan one time recently.  I stayed on it for three days.  I was feeling good!  I took a break on day four, I said, I pick it back up on day five.  Day five was a Sunday...I bet you can guess, I didn’t pick it back up.  I had built a little bit of endurance and then found myself giving up.

I know many people who start ministry and give up.  For numerous reason, they start out strong, but find themselves burnt out, burned by someone or just looking for a different vocation.  Ministry is tough.  We must have endurance in the word of God.

Paul is encouraging a young pastor in 2 Timothy.  He is encouraging you and me the same way.

Our goal is sharing what we already know, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Why?  So that others will obtain their salvation.  Talk about important.  That’s our call as believers in Jesus Christ.  Keep pushing forward and telling others about Jesus.  

May we encourage one another.  Present ourselves today, fresh and approved to share God’s word.  Unashamedly share the love of Christ and what He has done for you and me.  With wisdom, accurately handle God’s word, conveying His love, grace and forgiveness for all who hear it, believe it and proclaim it.

Let’s build our endurance for Him and press forward in the faith.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why We Press On

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:8-15

Endurance is so important in our faith.  God’s word does NOT say, it's going to be an easy journey. Sometimes it includes suffering and chains.

Have you started a workout plan? I started a workout plan recently.  It lasted three days.  I was feeling good!  Than I took a break on day four, I said, "I pick it back up on day five."  Day five was a Sunday...I bet you can guess, I didn’t pick it back up.  I had built a little bit of endurance and then found myself giving up.

I know many people who start ministry and give up.  For numerous reason, they start out strong, but find themselves burnt out, burned by someone or just looking for a different vocation.  Ministry is tough.  We must have endurance in the word of God.

Paul is encouraging a young pastor in 2 Timothy.  He is encouraging you and me the same way.

Our goal is sharing what we already know, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Why?  So that others will obtain their salvation.  Talk about important.  That’s our call as believers in Jesus Christ.  Keep pushing forward and telling others about Jesus.  

May we encourage one another.  Present ourselves today, fresh and approved to share God’s word.  Unashamedly share the love of Christ and what He has done for you and me.  With wisdom, accurately handle God’s word, conveying His love, grace and forgiveness for all who hear it, believe it and proclaim it.

Let’s build our endurance for Him and press forward in the faith.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wise Decisions

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:15-16‬


How are you and I walking today?  Life is busy. We might be a little sore.  We might be a little tired.  That happens when we put our walking shoes on and start walking for Him.


God has called us to walk wisely in Him.  We need to continue to walk in Him, even if we are sore and tired.  Live out His word - love Him with all of you and love others.  That is how God called us to walk wisely.  When we love Him and love others, that wise living help you and me share the Good News of Christ to those around us.


We need to focus on our words.  James‬ ‭3:10‬, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing...”  In our time here on the island, we can use it wisely or unwisely.  May we take every opportunity to speak life into someone as we go about His work today.


Consider our time we have life, some people say, “time flies when you are having fun.”  We have experienced it before.  You will likely experience it on this mission trip.  We get so busy doing this and that - life, that sometimes we forgot how valuable our time is and how little of it we really have.


We have 24 hours in a day. We spend about 8 hours sleeping. Another 8 hours working. Possibly 2 hours commuting to work. How do we spend the last 6 hours of our day?

Let us walk wisely, use our time wise and accurately share Christ love today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Looking to Jesus

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

As an athlete in track, Coach Winn helped me become a better runner.  The first part of becoming better at track included daily practice.  We would run long distances and short distances.  We would practice our hand-off’s to one another.  We would race against one another.  All of these helped us get ready and even improved our endurance.

If we would have jumped into our first track meet without training, we would have likely failed.  Following Christ is a long distance race.  We need to have the endurance to keep on keepin’ on.  It takes willingness to keep pushing forward and willingness to not give up.  Not only is this important for you and me to understand about our own walk, but it is important to understand how we can encourage others to keep pushing forward.  Getting into the word daily, fellowshipping with believers and spending time praying helps build our endurance.  It draws us closer to Him.

Another area Coach Winn encouraged me to do was pick a point at the end of the track above the finish line.  Once I picked the point, he said, “don’t take your eyes off it.”  Coach Winn wanted me to focus on that point so I might have better running form; it would keep my eyes on the goal and head in a static position.  If I didn’t pick a point focus, my head would bobble around aimlessly and decrease my running speed.

We need to maintain our focus on Christ on our journey.  As I mentioned before, it requires endurance and it as requires focus.  This focus on Christ, our Savior, helps you and me push forward in our faith.  If we aren’t focused on Christ, we might find ourself aimless in our faith.  Christ wants you and me to remain focused on Him; fixing our eyes on Him.  He is Lord and sits at the right hand of the Father.

We need to build our own endurance.  We need to help build other people’s endurance. We need to focus on Christ.  We need to encourage others to focus on Christ.  

May we press on in our faith and fix our eyes on Christ today.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ambassador for Christ

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

Have you considered yourself to be an ambassador for Christ? We are called to be His ambassadors.  An ambassador represents someone.  The United States has ambassadors all over the world.  While in country, their job as ambassadors is to speak for the nation.

Because of what Christ has done for the world:  born a virgin birth, lived a sinless life, taught you and me how to live, died on the cross for the whole world, but didn’t stay dead, and now sits at the right hand of the Father; we are called to be Christ’s ambassador or representative wherever we go.

God has called His people, who believe in Him and proclaim it, to go.

In John 20:21, “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Wherever we are: home, work, local store, an international airport, or wherever; our job as believers is to represent Him on all fronts.  Words, actions, countenance, and love should all reflect Christ to anyone we come in contact with. Galatians 5:22-23 comes to mind, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

May we begin by understand that it is a high calling to be Christ’s ambassador - wherever and whenever we go.  Reflecting Him to a world that desperately needs His grace and love, should be our primary objective.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Not My Astros, but Our Astros

I don't remember my first Major League Baseball game, but it was the Houston Astros at Enron Field (remember Enron?). I will never forget Landon and Logan's first MLB game at Minute Maid Park. The Astros earned their way into the playoffs after a free-fall in September from first to second to the Texas Rangers. Early Sunday morning before Game 3, I found 3 tickets for Game 4 and it was decided we would be headed to see the Houston Astros host the Kansas City Royals.

Due to traffic, Landon vomiting and parking issues (apparently parking gets rough when it's a playoff game), we arrived a little late, but it didn't matter - the boys and I were at our first playoff game! We grabbed cotton candy, popcorn and a drink and we found our sits.

The stadium was electric: chants, people on their feets, towels waving - it was awesome. The boys reacted at various times during the game, cheering, jumping to their feet and throwing their arms in the air - it was awesome to watch them enjoy the game.

I'm so thankful for these two boys. They didn't stop smiling and even though I didn't see he opening pitch or every play - it didn't matter because it was really about spending time with Landon and Logan. The Astros lost, but I think next season we will be headed to Houston to watch our Astros fight toward the World Series...and maybe win!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Andy Stanley's Enemies of the Heart Book Review

Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You by Andy Stanley is a helpful book when it comes to the many hangups in life that many of us face.  When reading Stanley, like many of his other books, he is able to take complex and important truths and explain them in simple terms.  Personally, I enjoy listening and reading Andy Stanley material

Centered on Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life," Stanley focuses on four enemies we may face:
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Greed
  • Jealousy
This book is broken into four parts, addressing these enemies and than how we can begin to rely on God to overcome these issues.  I would recommend this book to anyone who may need a bit of encouragement and for those who may struggle with some of the following issue.  I know many of us struggle with them, but some more than others.  Pick you Stanley's Enemies of the Heart and be blessed.

I received this book free from Multnomah Books as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Day I Faced the 30' Zip Line

As I stood at the edge of the platform 30' in the air with my six year old son next to me, I realized there was no time for me to be scared.  I said quick prayer, I mean we were are at church camp, maybe I should have prayed a little sooner.

"Landon, do you want to do this?" I asked him in the calmest voice I could muster.

"Yes, dad," he timidly replied.

On that affirmation I told him we go on three, "1...2...3!" and I jumped from the 30' platform.

Seven months ago Landon and I stood in line waiting for him to go off a 12' zip line at Camp Tejas.  With his gear on he looked up to me and asked, "Dad, did you do this at my age?" 

With hesitation, I replied, "Son, dad has never done the zip line."  He went on to zip several times and loved it.

Fear.  I noticed in 2009 a small amount of fear crept into my life. Maybe it was upcoming fatherhood or maybe it was age, for some reason fear was real to me.  Fear prevents many people from doing many things: zip line, talking to others, dark rooms - the list is probably endless. In my case, heights was the fear.

As I watched my six year old son climb up the 30' ladder at Trinity Pines Conference Center, I knew I had to choose life over fear.  To be there beside him, comfort him and experience something with him; fear needed to be expelled. 

I confess, I did ask the ropes course certified facilitators to check Landon and my own gear at least 15 times, just to reassure myself.  Of course, once would have been enough, but 15 times is acceptable too.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Whether it's a 30' zip line or telling someone about Jesus, we need to put fear away and begin to live in the power of Jesus.  Love others, control ourselves and let Jesus rule. These are just a few things God reminded me about at our week at camp.

Thank you, son, for being fearless when your dad was not.  An encouragement to me in a huge way.  And I loved the zip line!  I think we are all looking forward to our next adventure.

In Christ, live without fear, otherwise you are not living.

Blessings.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ROMSN 828

You ever have one of those moments when you cry out to God and He speaks to you in the least expected way?

As I prayed this evening, I found myself arranging some paperwork on the dining room table.  Among the papers I found this promise from God: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

For various reasons, I have taught Landon (and attempting to teach Logan) to spell the following scripture reference.  I have heard him say it out loud, but this was the first time I had seen it written.  Upon puling the paper out from the stack, I was reminded that God has a purpose for you and me.  Whatever we are facing, His promise is still relevant.

"All things," reminds me that God is in the details.  Nothing is a surprise to Him: what we say, think, do or ignore to do, God knows all.  Of these things, God knows what will happen.  Within knowing this, there is grace.  Due to my human nature, I am going to make mistakes or poor decisions from time to time.

The gift of grace, according to God's plan, covers you and me. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me,"  it states in 2 Corinthians 12:9.  As we trust and follow Jesus, it is His grace that washing away our sins - past, present and future.  All these things we face: good, bad, tough, painstaking, whatever they may be have a purpose.

That purpose is to make you and me look more like Christ.  As we experience all these things in our time, He is using all the experiences to chip away anything that does not look like Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me tonight that those who follow you, who love God are experiencing many things that He will use to further His Kingdom and will ultimately make His name known greater among the nations.

Blessings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Greatest Birth Announcement

I remember sitting in the hospital room in Round Rock when Landon and Logan were born. At each birth we made the birth announcement via text message and Facebook. We reported all the important details: name, weight, length and the health status of mother and baby.  Family and friends came to hold our boys, love on us and shower us with gifts.  Those are joyous memories.

These memories remind me of the greatest birth announcement in history:
"And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
The angel is heralding the good news for all mankind. Verse ten is comforting because we reminded not to fear.  In Star Wars Episode One, Jedi Yoda states, "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering."  Fear grabs us and holds us hostage.   We can respond emotionally a few ways: stress, anger, and spite.  We should not fear because according to God's plan, Jesus' blood will end our suffering.
"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart Where? Down in my heart! Where?Down in my heart! I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart Down in my heart to stay."
Jesus brings you and I joy.  Joy can be defined as, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” He is the greatest gift and the angel wanted those who heard this proclamation to know we can find our joy in Jesus Christ.  Many things can bring you and I temporary happiness: a new car, the latest CD, a brand new TV show, a girlfriend or boyfriend, but only the true joy comes from Jesus.  The amazing thing about this proclamation is this joy is not exclusive - it is a joy that all people have access to.  When we believe in Jesus, we become recipients of the joy from Jesus, we also get the opportunity to share the greatest birth announcement through our lives to all those who have not heard.

The birth announcement includes Jesus humble beginning.  Scripture tells you and I the, “baby [was] wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  He wasn’t born in a ornate palace or to a wealthy family, but a righteous woman, Mary.  Considering humility, you and I can become humble in our walk with Christ and more effectively serve our neighbors - not for reward or self gain, but for His glory.

During this time of Advent, may we reflect upon the greatest birth announcement in history - the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He offers you and I the greatest gift we could receive, salvation from our sins.  Have you heard the news?  Have you shared the news?  Tell someone this season about Jesus and what He has done for you.  Blessings and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Making a Mess or Following Jesus

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 29:19-20
On the mountain Jesus with all authority in heaven and on earth He charged the disciples to go.  The above passage is known as the Great Commission.  This passage of scripture is the call to you and I to do something.  

We are not allowed to attend church each Sunday in order to put a check mark by our list, sit in our reserved pew and than get home in time to make sure we do not burn the roast.  Jesus words are the same than, today and in the future, but we sometimes need to be reminded that this charge is not optional. 

Have you ever left a toddler in the bathroom by themselves for a few moments?  Typically the outcome of this choice will be a toddler playing in the toilet water or playing with the toilet paper - basically a mess!  Sometimes, we get stuck in the bathroom all alone and start to make a mess with our thoughts, words and actions.  

Laziness and complacency creep into our lives when things get messy.  Proverbs 16:27-29 states, "A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.  A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.  A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good."  Scripture tells you and I laziness and complacency can cause us problems.  I think sometimes we can get lost in just being Christian only by name - and that's where Proverbs 16:27-29 reveals what happens.  Conniving thoughts, harsh words, undermining others, leading others down a path of fleshly life - messy.

When supervising a toddler in the bathroom, we can correct and direct the child.  We need to get back to what God has called us to do.  It is in these times when we need to be reminded of the Great Commission.

Jesus invited you and I to follow Him.  When you and I follow Him we cannot ignore the Great Commission.  As individuals and churches if we are not fulfilling the Great Commission, Jesus' invitation to help share the good news, than we become like the toddler in the bathroom - just making a mess of things.

Our job as followers of Christ is to make disciples.  It is not the sole job of clergy, staff or deacons, but all those who follow Christ.  If you and I aren't living the Great Commission, than what are we doing?  I want to encourage myself and others who follow Christ to begin to live the Great Commission.  Talk about Christ with others.  Share your story.  Show people who you know scripture that will point them to Jesus.  Talk about the football game, but talk about Jesus too.  We need to be about the verb go - go into our homes, neighborhoods, commerces, jobs and living it out.

Are you a toddler stuck in the bathroom making a mess?  Or are you out telling others about Jesus?  Let us get back to the Great Commission and do what Jesus tells us to do.

Blessings.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Past 4 Months

A few nights ago I sat beside Logan and watched his chest fall up and down as he lay asleep in bed.  I stayed by his side just to watch him.  Half his face was buried in the pillow and the other have exposed.  It had taken him longer than usually to fall asleep, but I think that is because he is enjoying the company of his daddy by his side.  Since the boys have been born, as a family we pray and sing together.  Typically I would lead the prayer and all four of us would sing Jesus Loves Me.  Now sometimes Landon leads the prayer, praying for immediate family, extended family and friends (and now friends from school).  Logan enjoys sining by himself Jesus Love Me, sometimes in a funny voice and sometimes really fast.  If Logan is interrupted by anyone, he will begin the song again with a small amount of frustration and rebuke us all (or the offender, mostly Landon).  Due to growing pains, for a couple months now I have rubbed Logan's legs until he falls asleep.

It is such a joy to watch this two boys grow up.  They say silly things.  They love to play and pretend.  They love to learn.  On that particular night, I sat there and attempted to imagine what Landon and Logan would look like when they were 16 or 25 years old, but stopped my frivolous thoughts.  "Just live now," I reminded myself.  As a kid we couldn't wait to be teenagers and as teenagers would could not wait till we were adults.  I am glad to say, I am satisfied right where we are.

God has allowed me the opportunity to stretch in ways I did not foresee.  Due to some circumstances within the church God moved my family and I to, I was called upon to preach Sunday mornings and Sunday nights.  This period would run from June through September.  I was able to preach through the book of Colossians in the summer and adapt a series based on one of my favorite books.  As I sit and reflect, I am asking myself, "What did I learn?*"


  • Always be ready, in and out of season.  God tells you and I to do this.  It is important to identify what our faith is grounded in, what our story is and how we can share it.  Out of these thoughts, we ready ourselves for conversations inside and outside the church.
  • Listening is important.  Many have more experience than I and many have lots of stories to tell.  If you are always talking, you will miss out on something.  We must learn how to listen to others.
  • During the listening we need to be sensing weather the Holy Spirit is among us or if the flesh is talking.  Sometimes, people just like to talk, but its in those conversation that someone shares what is on their heart that God delights.  We can learn and grow from one another, if He is apart of our conversations.
  • Take time to slow down and spend time with your family - now.  Ministry 101, as Martin says, is within the walls of our own homes.  Is my electronic device in my hands?  Is the TV on?  Or am I spending the precious moments with my wife and two children.
  • Some of our best experience comes by doing.  Being able to lead in such a way allowed my to serve in such a role that God has called me to.  Maybe I am not there just yet, but in His time, God has called me to pastor - And I plan to keep doing that, loving the sheep and loving those who need to see Jesus.  That's what we are called to do, right?  Love God and Love Others.
What does this have to do with my kids?  Everything.  As they watch Kari and I serve God in and outside the church, they are first hand witnesses to God at work through us.  Do we always get it right?  Nope.  Do we sometimes get it right?  Sometimes.  But God uses all these experiences to teach us about His love, grace, mercy, provision and how we can treat others how He treats us.  My prayer is Kari and I look like Jesus to Landon and Logan every day.  That these two boys will grow up, know who created them, God, and begin to understand that Jesus was sent to be our atoning sacrifice -not just Landon and Logan, but for everyone - all of our sins, past, present and future - washed away.  
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so."
He loves us that much! So simple, yet so true.  Blessings.

*Not an extensive list.