Monday, December 24, 2012


May the joy of salvation's message through Christ fill your life this Christmas and may His goodness fill your life in the New Year.
David & Charlyn Thomasson

Monday, December 17, 2012


… On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. …For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7).

What happened last week at Sandy Hook Elementary is heart breaking.  We grieve with the families.  It was a terrible tragedy.  We ask the question, “Why did this happen?”  The answer that must be confronted, above the opinions on mental illness, gun control, or poor parental guidance, is the reality of “evil” in our world.  Jesus said, “The world ... hates me because I testify that what it does is evil” (John 7:7).  Jesus says the deeds of the self-centered Godless ways of the world are evil.  And we’re all affected in some way by the evil someone does.  Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).   

The good news is that this world doesn’t have the last word.  The Lord Jesus does.  There is hope.  There is a Light.  There is an answer to evil, and it’s found in Jesus Christ.  He is the answer to our turmoil and grief and pain.  He’s the Peace we need in our times of turbulence.  He’s the Comforter in our times of sorrow.  He is the Way to live.  He is the Truth of life.  He is Life itself.  He is our Salvation.  We grieve, we hurt, we sorrow, but we also have hope and truth and comfort in Christ. 

The Apostle Paul said it well:  “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair” (2 Cor. 4:8), (We’re) sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; (2 Cor. 6:10).  How can this be?  The answer is that Christ gives us inner peace that the world can’t give or explain.  In light of this recent tragedy we should commit ourselves all the more to the mission of Christ – to lead more people to be believers in Him.   On those living in the land of the shadow of death a Light has dawned.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Sometimes I wonder what affects us the most – getting “to the end” of the year or getting “through the end” of the year.   Schedules and “to do” lists and gift lists and year end projects and deadlines and parties and programs and illness and the list goes on… can compress our lives into small tight overloaded schedules.  Many of these things are good.  But during this season we tend to find ourselves stressed, even agitated at times. 

To stay sane during this season it helps if we can keep a few things intact so we don’t lose our moorings.  Albert Einstein said, “Out of the complexity, find simplicity.”  God’s will is not that our lives become so complicated and busy that we live stressed, anxious, and agitated lives.  This is one of the reasons Jesus said in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NCV)

I know three things God wants us to do, and if we do them we’ll keep our sanity and bring some simplicity to our lives.

1. Connect with God.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.  The first and greatest thing you and I can do is to love God.  The second greatest thing you and I can do is to love others to God.  There are two kinds of people we connect with God:  Ourselves and Others who don’t have God in their lives yet.

2. Grow spiritually.
The Apostle Paul said, Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit. 1 Timothy 4:7 (Ph). 
Emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable.  It’s not possible to be spiritually healthy while remaining emotionally unhealthy.  We must think about our emotional health just as much as we do about our spiritual health in order to grow spiritually.  Going into the holiday season knowing that your schedule will become very busy, even with events you don’t know about yet, plan margin into your schedule and leave room for emotional rest and spiritual refreshing.

3. Serve others.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28.  The way to a great life is to serve others.  If we want to be like Jesus and experience total life, then we must choose to serve others.  To serve others is to give to them.  We give our time, our abilities, our encouragement, our love, our money.  To serve God we give to Him in the same manner.  By serving God we serve people.  By serving people we serve God.

Keep your sanity this season by remembering to do three things:  Connect with God, Grow Spiritually, and Serve others.

Monday, December 3, 2012


The angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus it was an announcement of good news and great joy for everyone.  A Savior has been born, One Whom we all need.  Therefore, don’t be afraid.  When fears begin to rise in your heart because of the unknown future or the questionable economy or an illness or family difficulty or fear of being alone – remember a Savior was born for you, and the glorious and enlightening announcement from God is “Don’t be afraid!”

Later when Jesus sent His disciples to share the good news of His Kingdom, He knew they would have to deal with fears, and so He encouraged them to not be afraid.  “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows”.  Matthew 10:29-31 (NLT)

Follower of Jesus you are more valuable to God than a “whole flock of sparrows.”  He knows everything about you and your life.  And He cares more about your future than you do.  As a matter of fact He is already in your future just as He is in your present because He is the eternal God.  Therefore take courage and go forward with the purpose God has given.  Don’t be afraid.

“It is never safe to look into the future with eyes of fear.” – Edward Henry Harriman

Monday, November 26, 2012


A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”  “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  Mark 3:32-35

Jesus had a crowd sitting around Him, and His family came looking for Him.  They thought He had lost His mind and had come to take Him away with them (v. 21).  Jesus then asked the crowd who His family was, and looking around at them, He told them they were.  Then He said whoever does God’s will is His family.

The people were sitting around Jesus listening to His teaching.  From this simple scene we can see that God’s will involves: 
  • Listening to Jesus and learning from Him,
  • Being around Him and giving time to Him, and
  • Keeping Him at the center of attention. 
Since Christ had to suffer physically for you, you must fortify yourselves with the same inner attitude that he must have had. You must realize that to be dead to sin inevitably means pain, and you should not therefore spend the rest of your time here on earth indulging your physical nature, but in doing the will of God.  1 Peter 4:1-2 (Ph)

Doing God’s will means dying to our selfish ways, wants, and pursuits.  Dying to “self” is painful.  No doubt about it.  To give up comfort, convenience, and preferences for the cause of Christ can be upsetting, even heartrending.  But it’s the way to gain and reward.  It’s the way to life.  And it’s the way of God’s family.

When we keep Christ at the center of our way of thinking, feeling, actions, words, and relationships – we find ourselves doing the will of God.  And we’re family.  Doing God’s will is a family matter in God’s family.

Give your mind to Him.  Give your time to Him.  Give your attention to Him.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God during the month of Abib, because it was during Abib that he brought you out of Egypt at night. …celebrate the Feast of Weeks for the Lord your God.  Bring an offering as a special gift to him, …Celebrate the Feast of Shelters for seven days, after you have gathered your harvest from the threshing floor and winepress.  Everybody should rejoice at your Feast, …No man should come before the Lord without a gift.  Each of you must bring a gift that will show how much the Lord your God has blessed you.  Deuteronomy 16:1, 10, 13-14, 16-17 (NCV)

The Israelites celebrated these festivals to remember how God had delivered them from Egypt.  The Lord God was their Savior and they celebrated Him and the salvation He gave them.  The Lord was their Provider and they celebrated Him for His blessings in their lives.  As they celebrated and gave thanks, God told them to give back to Him as He had blessed them.

I can think of three ways we can apply this to our lives:

1. As God delivers and provides for you, give back to Him with joy and remembrance of Him.

2. Choose to celebrate what God has done and is doing in your life.  And do it joyfully.

3. Schedule anniversaries and events that bring to mind what God has done for you.  And give Him praise and thanks. 

Obviously we will celebrate with family and friends this Thursday.  It will be one of those opportunities to give praise and thanks to God for His blessings.  And there are many more events you can celebrate:  birthdays, wedding anniversaries, spiritual birthdays … As a church we will celebrate Christmas and Easter as two great events which have changed the future of mankind and have given us hope and purpose, and they remind us of the real story that is unfolding which dwarfs all others, and one in which our personal stories are a part.  Give thanks and praise to our Savior and God this Thanksgiving because of His blessings and His promises.

Monday, October 29, 2012


“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” Eph. 1:18-23 (NLT)

Is your life filled with Christ?  Does He have authority in your private life, public life, family, marriage, relationships, finances, giving, serving, your time, answers to your questions, plans, and dreams?  Only when we give the authority of our lives completely to Christ do we come to know fullness of life.  Only when we really believe God with our lives, families, material possessions, money, our actions, our words… will we know His power flowing through us.  Are you believing what God says?  That’s the key.  Jesus stated a lasting truth that recognizes God as the source of our lives.  This is worship of God:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt. 6:33.

A.W. Tozer wrote:  “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God… The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us.”

Oh that we would turn completely to the Lord God, re-direct our lives to Him, and truly worship Him as our God.

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”. John 17:3.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:10-13 (NAS)

Paul expresses his joy in how the Philippian church gave to him.  They took the opportunity to give, and Paul rejoices in the fact that they showed their concern and care for him and his ministry.

Paul did not speak from lacking anything, because he had learned to be content in all circumstances.  He learned the secret of getting along in very circumstance, with much or with little.  There were times when he was filled and times when he was hungry; times when he had an abundance and times when he suffered need.  He learned how to get along with all of it with the strength of Christ.

The strength of Christ is what brings contentment.  Being content doesn’t mean the absence of suffering or the absence of hunger.  Contentment is being able to deal with every circumstance in the strength of Christ, even when the circumstance doesn’t change.  Paul was chained to a Roman guard 24/7 when he wrote these words of encouragement to the Christians at Philippi.  And throughout his letter he continually expressed his joy in Christ.  Contentment is an inner strength that Christ gives.

How can you have the strength of Christ in order to be content in every circumstance?

1. Rejoice in the Lord.
Find your joy in growing your relationship with the Lord.  Lasting joy is not found in circumstances because they change.  You have circumstances where you work, with your co-workers, where you live, with your family, where you go, with the equipment you use, with your health, … and the list goes on.  Circumstances are constantly changing, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  And that’s why we can’t depend on them to “feed” us contentment.

2. Learn to be content.
Life is a classroom in which we are constantly learning.  School is never out.  Therefore, take the opportunity to learn what you can about contentment.  Learn the truth about it – it comes from Christ.  And keep learning.

3. Know how to.
The way we learn “how to” is to exercise contentment in every situation.  That’s the way to know how to experience it.  Put it into the equation.  Practice it and refine it.

4. Say “I can with Christ”.
It’s not “I can’t.”  It’s “I can.”  Take a step of faith.

5. Obey Christ.
Do what He teaches.  Stay in His Word.  Act according to His will.  He will deliver on His promises and He will strengthen you.

Monday, October 1, 2012


As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.  While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”  On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:9-13

Jesus quotes from the prophet Hosea:  “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”  Hosea 6:6

To begin with, God is not diminishing the importance of sacrifice, for anyone who has sacrificed, God has sacrificed more.  He chose to love a sinful world.  He chose to give up His only Son to suffer and die for the whole world.  God knows sacrifice.  And He expects His followers to love and sacrifice in their serving. 

The true essence of sacrifice is not the issue here.  The issue is the motive, the heart, the inner person, because that’s where the real sacrifice is made, before outward action is taken.  “Self” is sacrificed in order to give “life” to others.  The problem with the Pharisees is that they were not sacrificing “self”.  Their motives were all about looking good, their reputation, doing all the “religious” things, and patting themselves on the back for all their external actions from empty hearts – empty of God’s sacrificial love.  And Jesus says it doesn’t count.  It’s worthless in God’s eyes. 

What then does God really want from us?  Jesus is saying at least two things to us in these verses.  One, God wants your life and my life to be changed from the inside out by His mercy, compassion, and sacrificial love.  True transformation doesn’t happen by going through external religious rituals, regardless of how noble they appear.  God blesses the person whose heart has been transformed by His mercy and love because that person will have a loving heart toward God.  And a right heart toward God produces right actions for God’s glory.

Secondly, it takes a compassionate heart, more than religious activity to bring people to Jesus.  God is more concerned about changing a person’s heart and life through love and compassion than with a lot of religious activity.  Certainly we must take action to go and love and introduce others to Christ, but the prerequisite is mercy.  Therefore take the initiative from a merciful heart to express compassion and mercy to those who haven’t yet become followers of Jesus.  Don’t put on a “religious” front for them.  Just love them and introduce them to Jesus’ love for them.  When you do, that’s when you know you really have a merciful heart.  Mercy is not stagnant. Mercy by its nature reaches out to bring God’s merciful Good News to others.  Become immersed in God’s mercy and be a messenger of God’s mercy to others.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

Several things could be learned from this one verse, but what I’d like to point out is that “Jesus saw their faith.”  God honors the “action” of faith.  It’s after we act in faith that He rewards our faith.  Therefore if you know something is God’s will, don’t sit around and wait for God to do something.  Don’t just pray about it.  Don’t just agree with it – act on it.

We can apply this in two ways:

1. Stay in tune with God’s will. 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

2. Let God see your faith by going into action.
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. … I will show you my faith by what I do.  James 2:17-18

Brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1

Monday, August 27, 2012


We live in a world which makes it very easy for us to “chameleonize” our lives.  It’s acceptable and we’re even expected to be inconsistent and uncommitted and masked.  And when we don’t get our way or we disagree, it’s understood that we become combative and opposite.  And this spills over into our relationship with God.  Sometimes we simply don’t follow through with what He says to do in His Word.  Dare I use the word “disobey”?  The downside of disobedience, whether it’s through passivity or rebellion, is that we consequently don’t receive all that God wants to give us – such as His counsel, provision, inner strength, motivation, His affirmation, the warmth of His love, joy, peace, patience, etc.  So I say let’s get DREAMIE!  And I don’t mean sleepy.  I’m thinking just the opposite.

Here’s what I mean:
57 You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:57-64

Verses 57-58 express our desire to be obedient and to experience God’s promises fulfilled in our lives.  The following verses express what we can do about it.

Let’s use “DREAMIE” as an acronym based on these verses in order to follow through with God’s Word in our lives.

D – Dictate your feelings.
v. 62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
Who feels like getting up at midnight to give thanks to the Lord for His righteous laws?  The point is that we command our feelings to give thanks and obey God’s Word even when our feelings don’t feel like it – any time of the day.

R – Relate to other obedient Christians.
v. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
Build friendships as a support team with those who are committed to following Jesus and growing more in their relationship with Him.

E – Evaluate your ways.
v. 59a I have considered my ways...

A – Activate the process of spiritual transformation by making appropriate choices.
v. 59b … and (I) have turned my steps to your statutes.

M – Meditate on God’s truth.
v. 61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
Put God’s Word in your mind and heart in order to remember it when the heat is on.

I – Intake God’s Word by being teachable.
v. 64 The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.
Keep learning God’s truths.

E – Expedite the transformation of your life by acting promptly.
v. 60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.


Monday, August 20, 2012


Church hopping was the subject of an article that was carried nationally recently (Rose French, “Spirit moves 'church hoppers,'” Star Tribune, July 14, 2012).

What is “church hopping?”  It’s going from one church to another without committing to any one church for any significant period of time.  This makes it different than legitimate “church shopping.”

James Emery White reflects on what Betsy Hart writes saying that hoppers reflect a growing tendency to decide, after they have officially joined a particular church, that “Oh, that pastor down the street is a little more high-energy than mine,” or “Gee, the music here isn’t really meeting my needs right now,” or “I really am not crazy about that new singles director.”

So they hop from church to church.

The hard-core hopper never even makes an initial commitment. They perpetually float between churches, pursuing a Beth Moore study at First Baptist, youth group at First Methodist, weekend services at Hope, Grace, or Community Church, marriage enrichment events at…well, you get the picture.

What’s driving this?

For some, it’s simply the consumer mindset of our culture at work.
As Hart writes, “Church ‘hopping’ is the ultimate ‘all about me’ experience.” They take from various churches whatever it is they perceive to be of value without committing to any one church either to serve or support.

For some, it’s insecurity.
They have to be wherever they think it’s “happening” in the Christian world.  Some Christians constantly church-hop to the “next” thing in church life.  They move from one church to another, looking for the next hot singles group, the next hot church plant, the next hot speaker, the next hot youth group.   Sometimes they end up full circle where they began, because their original church suddenly became “next.”

For some, it’s spiritual gluttony.
They want nothing more than to be “fed”, and when they feel they’ve eaten all a church has to offer, they move on where there is the potential for more food – as if that is what constitutes growing in Christ or being connected to Christ.

For some, it’s refusing accountability.
A pattern of sin is pursued, or a choice made, and they leave for a place where no one knows, and no one asks.

For some, it’s avoiding stewardship.
If they aren’t committed to any one church, there is no obligation to give or serve at any one church. They can float above sacrifice without guilt.

For some, it’s emotional immaturity.
A decision is made they don’t agree with, a building campaign is initiated they didn’t vote for, a staff change is made they didn’t like, so they take their marbles and go play somewhere else.

None of these reflect well on the person leaving, which implies that anyone who leaves a church is somehow in the wrong, and that is not fair.  Truthfully there may be times to not simply hop, but leap. If there is scandal that is simply not addressed, doctrinal heresy, or patterns of abuse, you should leave. 

But for the typical hopper, it’s not time for self-justification, but loving admonition.

First, church isn’t about you. Sorry, but it’s not. It isn’t one of many stores in a mall that exists to serve your spiritual shopping list. Church is a gathered community of believers who are pooling together their time, talent and resources to further the Great Commission.  Find one and start investing your life.

Second, the very nature of authentic community is found in the “one anothers.” Love one another, serve one another, encourage one another.”  This cannot happen apart from doing life with people.  You need community.

Third, the absence of a ministry you desire may be God’s call on your life to start it, rather than leave to find a church that has it. Remember, every member is a minister, and has been given at least one spiritual gift for service in the life and mission of the church.

Fourth, you aren’t going to agree with every decision the leadership of any church makes, regardless of its structure or decision-making process. You either feel you can trust the character of the leadership, or you can’t.  And being able to trust that leadership doesn’t mean they will always do things the way you think they should. In other words, don’t hop every time you disagree. That’s immature.

And on the other hand, don’t stay and pout or politic, either. Either get on board once the decision is made, if it was one that didn’t breach doctrine or ethics, or find a place where you can.

Fifth, don’t worry about being fed as much as learning to feed yourself. Even more, concern yourself with taking what you already know and applying it to your life, and then helping to feed others who are new to the faith.

Finally, spiritual depth isn’t attained by gratifying your sense of felt needs. It’s receiving a balanced diet of teaching and challenge, investing in service and mission, engaging in worship and giving, living in community and diversity that you probably would not select for yourself. If we simply go to where we are drawn, we will miss out on addressing those areas of life where we are blind.

Monday, August 13, 2012


… giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. Col. 1:12

Giving thanks to the Lord should always be a part of our way of living.  Why?  Because God has qualified us through Christ to share in the future inheritance of the saints.  Look forward to what God has in store for you, your inheritance as a believer in Christ, all because of what Christ has done.

We give thanks as we pray consistently and fervently for His present work in our lives, which includes spiritual/emotional growth, bearing fruit, increasing in knowing God, strengthened with His power, and transforming to become more like Christ.  In the verses prior to verse 12, Paul says, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, … Col. 1:9-12a

Consistent praying leads us to give thanks because of the results of the praying.  The powerful productive work of prayer is emphasized.  If we want a heart full of thanksgiving, then we must live in Christ with consistent fervent praying.

Monday, August 6, 2012


If we ignore the emotional components of discipleship in our lives, we will not mature spiritually.  Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Matt. 22:37).  He also said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NLT). 

As we grow closer to God, learning and applying more of His truths, faithfully following Jesus – we will most likely come to realize that whole emotional layers of our lives exist that God has not yet touched.  And those emotional layers, unless dealt with, prevent further spiritual maturity. 

Emotional health and spiritual health are inseparable.  Emotional maturity and spiritual maturity are inseparable.  The emotional stability of homes in America is at an all-time low.  According to George Barna the divorce rate for people who describe themselves as Christians is even higher than for the public as a whole.  It’s impossible for a Christian to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.  To say it another way:  If we’re not maturing emotionally we’re not maturing spiritually. 

God is at work transforming you as a whole person.  We are more than spiritual beings.  God made us whole people in His image.  That includes the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and relational dimensions of who are and who we’re becoming.  And one day our physical image will be transformed into glorified supernatural bodies like that of Jesus. God made a promise to every Christian:  God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. (Rom. 8:29 Mes). 

In The Cry of the Soul, Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III speak to the importance of listening to and dealing with our emotions:  “Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality; listening to our emotions ushers us into reality.  And reality is where we meet God… Emotions are the language of the soul.  They are the cry that gives the heart a voice… However, we often turn a deaf ear – through emotional denial, distortion, or disengagement.  We strain out anything disturbing in order to gain tenuous control of our inner world.  We are frightened and ashamed of what leaks into our consciousness.  In neglecting our intense emotions, we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God.  We forget that change comes through brutal honesty and vulnerability before God.”

As believers in Christ our inner world is to be in sync with our outer behavior.  Many people are unaware they are living with a dichotomy between their inner and outer worlds.  The Bible says “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9 NAS). 

For us to really love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we must know not only God but also our inner selves – the nature of our own heart, soul, and mind.  And we must give time to this. 

Recall what characterized Adam and Eve in their sin:  shame, loneliness, hiding, self-protection, lying, emotional pain.  These also characterize every one of us who has lived ever since. 

It requires a lot of work, energy, inconvenience, time, courage, solitude, and a firm understanding of God’s grace and love to grow in Christ-likeness.  We remain emotional infants until the emotional component of God’s image in us is exposed and transformed through Jesus Christ.  And it’s then that we discover on an entirely new level the love and grace of God, and our spiritual life with Christ flourishes.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I want to give credit to Dr. James White, pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, for his insight on the recent news about Chick-fil-A. 

Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, gave an interview to Baptist Press.  Correctly saying that there is no such thing as a “Christian business,” he did offer that organizations such as his can operate on biblical principles “asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have.”

Then came the match that lit the fire.  When asked about the company’s support of the traditional family, Cathy simply said, “Well, guilty as charged.”  He then went on to say, “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit.  We are a family-owned business, a family-led business…our restaurants are typically led by families…We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families.”

Gasp!   How dare he say that when it comes to families, his support goes with the historic, traditional understanding of millennia that reflects his Judeo-Christian values.  At least that seemed to be the response from much of the media.

The Baptist Press interview was picked up by the Huffington Post, Associated Press, USAToday,  Los Angeles Times and more – most with the phrase “anti-gay” in the headline – fueled by the “revelation” that the privately-owned business donated to Christian groups that opposed homosexuality.

 Of course, overlooked were the millions of dollars Chick-fil-A gives each year to other charitable causes.  For example, they fund foster care programs, schools of higher learning, and children’s camps.  They provide scholarships for the employees to attend college, and this past Friday, they provided free meals for the police force in Aurora, Colorado.

Many on twitter and in the blogosphere immediately labeled them a hate group. Yes, a hate group.  Then the mayor of Boston vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city because it is a business “that discriminates against a population.”

The Jim Henson Company of Kermit and Miss Piggy fame said they will stop providing toys for the fast food chain’s kids’ meals because the company won’t endorse same-sex marriage.  They plan on donating money already received from Chick-fil-A to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  Ed Helms, star of the sitcom The Office, publicly promised a personal boycott.

 Okay, let’s put our big-boy pants on for a minute.
Cathy never uttered the words “anti-gay” in the interview.  All he did was state, when pointedly asked, his support for the traditional family as outlined in the Bible.

Further, the company made it clear following Cathy’s comments that they had no intention of entering the policy debate over same-sex marriage, and that the Chick-fil-A “culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

And indeed, there has never even been a hint of discrimination in Chick-fil-A’s history.

So Chick-fil-A is not a hate group, does not discriminate, and is not actively working in the realm of public policy.  It just has personal core values.

But what a mirror this has provided, and the reflection is worth noting.
Fifty years ago, any support of homosexual practice would have ended your business.  Now, the threat to your business is support of the traditional family.

This is what has taken place in American culture.
First, classical Christian orthodoxy was marginalized.
Second, it became ostracized.
Third, it became demonized.
Fourth, it became penalized.
And now the move would seem to be to have it criminalized.

Defining discrimination as disagreement, and then disagreement as a hate crime, is one of the more frightening developments of our time.  But developed it has.

As the Baptist Press reporter has since said of the tempest over Cathy’s remarks, “I don’t understand why that’s a bad thing all of a sudden.  It was not an anti-gay statement.  It was a pro-family statement.”

But that’s the point.  That’s the world in which we now find ourselves.

Monday, July 23, 2012


When you get discouraged or feel down and begin to entertain negative thoughts, take the time to be reminded of God’s presence and direction in your life.   The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8.  The Lord is already on the road ahead of you and He’ll be there when you get there.  He already is where you’re going to be.  Not only is He already where you’re going to be, He is always with you on the journey there. 

He is preparing the way ahead of you.  That means He is leading you if you’re surrendered to Him and obeying what you know He says to do.  And as you are living surrendered to His leadership, He is going ahead of you working in your relationships, your circumstances, and your life purpose for your good. 

God says He will never abandon you.  He will never leave.  He will always be with you through everything.  When others leave or disappoint you, the Lord stays with you and remains reliable and loving. 

What God wants us to do is take courage and believe in Him.  He wants us to not be afraid or discouraged or anxious.  He has you surrounded and He is leading you.  Go forward and trust that He will be there because He already is.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:  “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matt. 4:5-7

Jesus was tempted by the devil to jump from the top of the temple and trust God to catch Him and protect Him.  Instead of giving in, Jesus responded by saying that “testing” the Lord God was wrong.
When you face temptation or you go through a difficult time or if it seems you’re treading water and your dreams are not being realized, or your prayers aren’t being answered immediately or the way you thought they would be, don’t be impatient with God and rebel against Him.  That only displeases Him and delays His blessings in your life.
Take to heart some of the things God tells us about how to trust Him through whatever it is you’re going through:

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God.  … Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:1, 5-6 (NLT)

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. Psalm 40: 1-2 (NLT)

O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.  Save me, for you do what is right.  … Love the Lord, all you godly ones!  For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant.  So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord! Psalm 31:1, 23-24 (NLT)

The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?  Wait patiently for the Lord. … Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:1, 14 (NLT)

God will answer you in His time.  His blessings will come.  You’ll know His strengthening.  When it seems you’re not getting a lot of response from God, be persistent in trusting Him.  Accept the fact that God doesn’t do everything on our time table.  Anticipate and rejoice in the future deliverance He will bring.  Rejoice in the past blessings God has given you.  Keep honoring God, keep learning from Him, and keep dreaming of how God can work in and through your life.  And one day you’ll stop and look and see all the great things He has done in your life.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Titus 1:15-16 (NLT) Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.  Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

Those with pure hearts will honor God in their decisions and actions.  The heart gets more consideration than the action because the heart influences the action.  “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.  When your mind and conscience are right and pure toward the Lord, the right action will follow.  Paul says in Romans 14:22-23 Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves…and everything that does not come from faith is sin.  Another way to say it is if your mind and conscience under the leadership of God’s Word and God’s Spirit don’t condemn you regarding a particular action, and it doesn’t weaken someone else’s faith in God, then it’s okay to do it.

The responsibility we each have is to keep our minds and consciences pure before God.  One surefire way to do this is to consistently read and apply God’s truths to our minds and confess our sins to one another.  The Bible says that God’s Word refines us like fire refines precious metals.  “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, Jeremiah 23:29.  James says in James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  A mind true to God’s Word.  A conscience true to one another.  This is the way to gain the right and true perspective to make those decisions that seem to be in the gray area of right and wrong.

Monday, May 14, 2012


The Apostle Paul said, “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you”. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NLT)

God wants us to keep the pattern of teaching the wholesome truth of His Word that Paul exemplified for us through faith and love in Christ.  We are to guard the treasure of God’s truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

For example in light of the hottest social topic in politics right now – same sex marriage – believers in Christ are to keep teaching and exemplifying the truth in God’s Word with faith and love.  God’s truth is a precious treasure entrusted to you.  Don’t let it be taken from you.  Don’t believe the lies that are aimed at God’s truth.  Know the truth and guard it and keep it.  It’s a great treasure that brings fullness of life to you.  Instead of blinding and binding us, God’s truth gives us eyes to see the truth which sets us free.  Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NLT)

Jesus also said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored?” Matthew 5:13 (Amp).  It’s the responsibility of believers in Christ to be salt and light in a fallen world, and this includes politics.  We should use our freedom to vote in any way possible to bring the Kingdom of God to greater reality.  And yes, the Kingdom of God  includes the Biblical teachings of marriage and family.

It’s not about attempting to impose things through power, but through influence.  There is a difference.  In Jesus' day, salt was one of the most useful and important elements you could possess, but not for the purpose of adding flavor to food.  The main use of salt was as a preservative to keep food from rotting.  Without refrigerators or freezers, canned goods or packaging, salt was used to keep food from spoiling.  If you had a piece of meat that you couldn’t eat right away, you would take some salt and rub it into the meat, which would prevent the meat from going bad. 

John Stott wrote, “The notion is not that the world is tasteless and that Christians can make it less insipid...but that it is putrefying.  It cannot stop itself from going bad.  Only salt introduced from outside can do this.  The set in the salt to arrest – or at least to hinder – the process of social decay...God intends the most powerful of all restraints within sinful society to be his own redeemed, regenerate and righteous people.” 

Stott also added this influence is conditional.  For salt to be effective, it must retain its ‘saltness.’  “For effectiveness the Christian must retain his Christ-likeness, as salt must retain its saltiness.  The influence of Christians in and on society depends on their being distinct, not identical.”  Unless the salt penetrates the culture, the decay cannot be arrested.

Refraining to speak out on a particular issue for Christ in the love of Christ because you fear alienating someone is the same as being untruthful.  The gospel is offensive.  Jesus offended the Pharisees (Mt. 15:12), He offended those in His hometown (Mt. 13:55-57), He offended His family members (Mk. 3:21, 31-35).  He offended His closest followers (John 6:60-61, 66) and closest friends (John 11:6).   As Peter wrote, Jesus as the living Stone is precious to those who believe, but to those who do not believe, He is the “stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (1 Peter 2:8, NIV).  You can’t escape that word: offense.

Jesus ended up on a cross to jeers, not a stage to cheers.  It is one thing for people to leave the church for an unloving attitude toward those who are gay; it is another for them to leave because they consider the church’s moral stance regarding homosexuality culturally unpopular.

Our goal is not to be offensive just to be offensive.  But we are not trying to make the gospel politically correct or socially agreeable to the populace.  If my stance on homosexuality offends a practicing homosexual – despite the fact that my stance was forged on biblical conviction and expressed with love and compassion – then I cannot help that offense.  The fact is I cannot escape it, nor should I try.

Our goal is to remove every barrier that exists between people and their acceptance of the scandal of the cross, except the scandal of the cross.  And that of course, calls for repentance.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Life is complicated.  It’s complex.  It’s difficult and challenging at times.  It can be confusing.  That’s why Albert Einstein’s words about complexity speak so timely to us today.  He said, “Out of the complexity, find simplicity.” 

God has not called us to live lives that are complicated or confused or too busy that we live unfulfilled, defeated, and overly stressed lives.  Colossians 2:6 (Ph) says, Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so go on living in him—in simple faith.  In light of living in Christ with a “simple faith”, we have reformed our church’s purpose statement this year around three simple yet profound actions: 


This is who we are and what we are to be about.  These three dynamics are at the heart of what a church does.  And it is the church’s responsibility to follow through with them. 
Jesus said,“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.  The first and greatest thing I can do is to love God.  The second greatest thing I can do is to love others to God.

When we think about “connecting with God” there are two kinds of people we connect with God:  Ourselves, and Others who don’t have God in their lives yet.  Jesus said in Mathew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples…”  The way it works here at Clay Community to “connect people with God” is like this:  We invite them to church so they can have the opportunity to experience God.  The Sunday morning worship is the primary “entry point.”

Our theme this year is: “Purpose that is processed produces excellence.”  We can have purpose, but unless we work it, we’ll not excel.  Another way of saying it is that “nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific.”  There is “no energy” in it until we specifically do something about it.

Therefore we need a specific activity for “Connecting People with God.”  I’ve asked our church to covenant together to do this:  To work at connecting people with God by bringing them to church.  We know we need to be doing this.  So let’s motivate one another forward on this.  And I don’t mean that we compete.  What I mean is that we “help” one another to do this.

Call it “ONE-2-ONE”.  The objective is that we each bring one person to church to become a regular attender by the end of the year.

It’s each of us reaching out to one other person and bringing them to church such that they become regular attenders, and hopefully in time commit to Christ and join the church.  Here’s the latest statistic from Lifeway in Christianity Today:  The percentage of Americans who never attend worship services is 67%.

What we’ll experience is that some will respond, others will not.  Some will come a Sunday or two and then stop.  You will feel disappointment and frustration sometimes.  Therefore, in your search for ONE, you must invite SEVERAL.  We must develop a “pool” of people.  We need to have several relationships from which we can invite and encourage them to come to church.

Think about it this way:

Build a pool of friends.

Associate with your friends.  Spend time with them.  Get to know them and let them get to know you.

Bring them to Christ.  How?  Either bring them to church or share with them Who Jesus really is and the difference He makes in your life.

Visualize what can happen.  If by the end of the year we really did this, we would have a significant increase in our attendance,  And don’t you think there would be a fresh excitement with the new faces and new friends?  ONE-2-ONE.  Let’s do this.

Monday, April 30, 2012


The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.  Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?  If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! … which remains forever!  Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.  2 Corinthians 3:7-13 (NLT)

As a believer in Christ, you have a new life, generated and empowered by the Holy Spirit in you.  The old way of living, the old life, lived according to the Law of Moses, which included the Ten Commandments, only led to death for us.  We found ourselves condemned for breaking the Law.  It’s glory has faded. 
Now that we have Christ living in us in the Person of His Spirit, we have a new way to live, a new life.  Look at the advantages of this new life: 
-        It doesn’t fade away. 
-        It’s forever. 
-        The Holy Spirit keeps on giving us “liveliness”.  He keeps giving us a continual flow of energy, encouragement, and refreshment. 
-        The new life has made us right with God. 
-        We are growing more and more righteous in our everyday living, so that our way of life becomes more right with God.
With these advantages Paul says we have great confidence and courage.  We’re not like Moses who veiled his face and God’s glory because he didn’t want the people to see that it was fading from his face.  Instead we have the glory of God in us – the Spirit and the life - and we should therefore live confidently and courageously the new Christ-like life we have. 
Take courage and live confidently in front of others with an unveiled faith, reflecting the glory of Christ.

Monday, April 23, 2012


When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.  They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”  There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance.  So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”  “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.  The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.  Matthew 8:28-34 (NLT)

The town’s people and the herdsmen were more concerned about their own things, such as their pigs, than about the lives of others being changed for the better.  And though the herd of pigs may have been the livelihood of the herdsmen, if they had let Jesus replace the pigs with something better for their provision, they would have had a better life.  Instead they begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone.
Some people are so self-absorbed and concerned about their own interests that they will actually resist the good Jesus would do in their lives.  When you try to help others move toward Jesus, to welcome Him into their lives and discover the change He can make in their lives and the good He would do, they sometimes resist.  And that can be discouraging to you.  But don’t let their resistance stop you from going to others to give them the good news of what Christ can do.  Instead direct your attention toward someone else who may be receptive to the good God wants to do in his or her life.
Sometimes God directs us to those who are willing to hear by directing us away from those who aren’t willing.  The point is that we keep going to people so that God can steer us to the ones who are ready to hear the good news of Christ.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NLT)
Paul gives a very brief testimony of His conversion experience.  He was considered faithful to be put into service for the Lord.  God was wiling to entrust a ministry to him.  Paul had formerly acted wrongly toward God and people because he didn’t believe God.  He didn’t have spiritual sight before his salvation.
God strengthened him to believe, called him to serve Him, and showed him mercy.  Through Christ he experienced the generosity and grace of God.  And God gave him faith to trust God and love with which to love Him. 
According to the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) God expects us to manage well what He has entrusted to us.  Jesus concludes the lesson of the parable by saying in verse 29: “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”  
God has entrusted a “ministry” to you.  He’s given you natural and spiritual abilities to be used in service for Him.  He gives you the strength to do what He’s given you to do.  You’ve been appointed to serve.  He’s given you grace and He continually give you the grace for each day to serve Him.  He even gives us the faith we need to trust Him and the love we need to love Him.  He is generous beyond all comparison. 
The response on our part to God’s generosity is faith.  Now we must be faithful to Him because He was willing to entrust something of His to our management. 
Use the abilities and opportunities He’s given you for the cause of Christ.  And He will strengthen you and be merciful to you all along the way.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I will sing of your love and justice, LORD. I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life—when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. Psalm 101:1-4 (NLT)

Have you ever asked the question – “Where are you God?” Particularly in difficult times we start looking around for God. We need Him. We need His help. We need His wisdom. We need His love. We need His grace. God gives us some parameters that when followed tell God that we believe in Him. And it’s when we believe in Him that He expresses His power and provision for what we need. So sing to the Lord about His love and justice. Sing songs of praise to Him. Lead a blameless life in public. Lead a life of integrity in private in your own home. Refuse to view anything that is empty, vulgar, obscene, dishonorable, or false. Detach yourself from anyone or anything that goes against God. The New American Standard translation says that anything that would pull me away from loving God “shall not fasten its grip on me.” Reject the perverse and reroute your life away from every sin. When we follow these parameters we are saying to God that we respect Him and revere Him. We’re saying that we really trust Him with our lives. It’s then that He expresses His grace, His power in our lives. Jesus said, “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 (HCSB)

Monday, February 20, 2012


God wants us to live trusting Him. He wants us to be faithful to Him. He wants us to know what it’s like to have Him fulfill our lives and give us all that we need. He wants to bless us. When you become a believer in Jesus Christ He wants you to live in such a way that honors Him, and that way of living will certainly be different than a lot of the people around you. Not that God wants you to be odd, but instead of adapting to the ways of the world that are all about serving self, He wants us to live with His values that serve Him and honor Him. When we do, God uses us to point others to Him. He gets the attention. He gets the glory. And the people around you are either drawn to Him through you or they may keep their distance.

When the people of Israel entered the land promised to them by God, He wanted them to live trusting Him and serving Him. He wanted them to live pure lives, separate from the ways of the other nations. In so doing God would use them to testify of Himself, and the other nations would have a visual of God’s reality through Israel. They would have the opportunity, after hearing about Israel and the one true God, to turn to Him in belief. So God tells His people: “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, never learn the disgusting practices of those nations. …You must have integrity in dealing with the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 18:9,13 (GW). The people of Israel were set apart to God for His purposes, and they were to live according to His purposes which would in turn invite His blessings on them. This would be a witness to the other nations.

Here are four things we can do to live like God is our God:

1. Grow.
“In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matt. 5:48 (Mes)

2. Purify.
Let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. 2 Cor. 7:1 (Mes)

3. Go forward.
Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. Phil. 3:12 (Ph)

4. Live the new you.
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! … Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God. Rom. 6:6-7, 13-14 (Mes)

Monday, February 13, 2012


“I will pour water upon him who is thirsty”, Isaiah 44:3 (Amp)

God chooses to bless people. He provides for them. He satisfies them. But there is a prerequisite in order to receive His blessings and inner satisfaction. He says He will “pour water on him who is thirsty.” Those who are thirsty for Him and His truth are the ones who are satisfied. He doesn’t satisfy everyone; only those who recognize their own spiritual drought. And they thirst for God.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6. We must be thirsty for righteousness before we are satisfied. That means thirsty for what God says are the “right things and the right way of living.” In other words God provides a way for us to live that pleases Him and satisfies us. And we discover that we thirst for that kind of life, and it can only be found in Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14. Drink from the “Living Water” and you experience the fullness of life welling up in you.

If you want to know heart-felt complete satisfaction, thirst for the ways and truths of God. He will supply everything you need and fill you with His grace.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. Psalm 119:73

God made you and formed you. You’re handmade by God. He continues to form you and shape you. He’s more concerned with what’s inside than what’s outside. He looks at the inner you. He is shaping and making your character. He is more concerned with your character than your convenience and comfort. Job said “Your hands shaped me and made me,”…“Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” Job 10:8; 31:15.

As a believer in the Lord, you belong to Him. You are not your own. You are His. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3.

The Lord already has plans for you. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; Psalm 138:8. He has a purpose for you and He will work it out for your life. After all, He made you and He made you on purpose for a purpose.

The Lord has recorded the exact number of days you will live. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 (NLT). God has given you an exact number of years and days, down to the hour and minute of life. He has recorded your starting time and your stopping time.

God sent you with instructions in order to accomplish your purpose in a specified amount of time. He personally handmade each of us for a unique purpose. Be who God created you to be because you’re the only one who can do what God created you to do.

Monday, January 23, 2012


The Apostle Paul said, “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one”. Romans 12:3 (HCSB)

Every Christian does not have the same measure of faith. Every Christian does not have the same spiritual gifts. Every Christian doesn’t have the same abilities. Every Christian doesn’t have the same opportunities. Your measure of faith is from God. It’s what He gave you. He gave each of us a certain amount of capacity to believe. And that’s what we’re responsible for.

Don’t compare yourself with others and their faith. They have a different measure of faith, and they are responsible to God for their measure of faith. It may be more. It may be less. It may be with many opportunities. It may be with few opportunities. It’s useless and counterproductive to compare. You can only be who God gave you the faith to be. Your influence for Christ will look different than someone else's and their influence will look different than yours.

What’s important is that we develop to the fullest the gifts, abilities, opportunities, and measures of faith God has given each of us, while at the same time accepting the limits of our measures of faith. This helps us to accept who God made us to be.

The Bible teaches that as you exercise the amount of faith you have, the opportunities to use it will increase. Then your opportunities to trust God will increase. This is what Jesus teaches in the Parable of the Talents, and He concludes by saying, “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” Matthew 25:29 (HCSB)

God measures out the opportunities for you, and He’s give you a measure of faith for those opportunities. Use them to the fullest and take joy in becoming who God created you to be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The prophet Isaiah said, In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return; yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant of them will return. Isaiah 10:20-22a (NLT).

The Lord delivered a remnant from Assyria and from the judgment Israel deserved because of their unfaithfulness to the Lord. The Lord called them to completely trust Him and return to Him as their God. They would be spared complete destruction.

Today the church is being called out of the world. In a sense it is a remnant delivered from the destruction of God’s final judgment. One of the purposes of the members of this remnant as the church is to be used of the Lord to call other “believers-to-be” out from the world. The Apostle Paul elaborates on this in his letter to the Christians in Ephesus… God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. … He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. … Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. Ephesians 1:5-13 (NLT).

Everyone in this world will not be forgiven and saved and go to Heaven. And as much as you would like to, you can’t save the world, and neither can I. But that’s not our job. Our job is to use every opportunity to work at leading people to become followers of Christ. We don’t know who will become a believer in Christ and who will not. Some will accept and some will reject. Some will say “no” now and later decide to welcome Jesus into their lives. Fruit doesn’t ripen all at the same time. Your responsibility and mine is to keep going, keep fishing, keeping looking for the fruit that’s ripe, and lead those we find ready to Christ. And God is glorified by His church.