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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Loved People

It's a profound and yet so simple principle... What we do flows out of who we believe we are.

What we do comes from what we believe about ourselves.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, -Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death -Romans 6:23

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. -1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If there is one thing Satan loves is when we read passages like these... He loves when we condemn ourselves. He loves when he can whisper those reminders that we are all sinners, unworthy, fallen short, dead, evil beings... He wants us to recall the times that we were drowning in our sin.

Satan loves calling people by their sin.

(And we do too...
...unless it's OUR sin.) 

The thing is, God doesn't call us these things anymore. He doesn't call us by our sin.

He calls us by our name.

We must believe that we are loved by God. 


Just. As. We. Are.

The Bible says that WHILE we WERE still yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I love that word WERE.
It's a past tense word. 

It is used to describe something that once was.

There's another one, WAS.
Past tense. 

Let's finish those verses we looked at earlier... Because the thing is... God never leaves us in our sinful, separated state. He won't relent.

His love knows no bounds.

He looks down and sees HIS Creation tarnished by something he came to defeat.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. -Romans 6:17-18
  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:9-11


We WERE those things... but no longer!

Do we believe, honestly believe we have been bought? We have been washed, sanctified, justified, fixed, redeemed... Do we believe we are Loved of God?

Because that changes everything.

We do what we believe we are.

If we believe we are still sinners, we will continue to struggle with sin.
If we believe we are loved and freed... sin loses it's power and grasp upon us.

If you are in Christ, You are not a sinner.

If you are in Christ, You are a redeemed child of God... who occasionally sins.

That mindset makes all the difference.

Your heavenly Father is calling you by name... Are you listening?

Be free.
Believe you are loved.
Because you are.

What we do, flows from who we believe we are.

Loved people, love people.
Loved people, love the God that loves them.

Loved people, change the world.

Your identity is not in your sin, it is in your savior.

And we have a mighty, mighty, wonderful, loving Savior...

Who has room for you too.

Your sin is not too big for him.
Your identity is not too tarnished that he can't change it.

His love moves mountains, shakes the earth, raises the dead... His love washes over us and changes us.

It's changing me... and it can change you too.

Be free, my friend... God knows your name.

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, "Mine!” -Abraham Kuyper

Thursday, July 18, 2013

From Surrendered to Fearless

     The last few years have been utterly life changing for me. God has shown and taught me so much in what seems like such a small amount of time. I look back at some of the things I wrote just a few years ago and am astounded at how much has changed. In this post I want to share some of the things God has been teaching me, and the effect it has had.

     In late 2009 I tried to join the military. I had been training hard for months and was in great physical shape. I also prepared and studied for the entrance test and actually passed it with a perfect score. On paper I looked like the perfect candidate, and my recruiter was excited. However God had other plans for me. I've had a heart murmur since birth. The doctors told me it was trivial and would never be something I needed to worry about. However, the military seemed to think that there was just too much of a risk that I would drop dead randomly on them and decided to refuse me. I have to say I was crushed. I had put in so much work to be ready(more than 3 hours a day) and had wanted it so bad, yet here I was having accomplished nothing. Again. Another failure in what was a growing list of failures in my life. It was now early 2010 and I had accomplished nothing over months of work. It was here, sitting in the pit of failure that I heard God calling me to something else. Over the years I had been feeling like I should volunteer with the youth group, help out in some way. Problem was I didn't have a car, nobody else lived near me, and I was pretty busy. The excuses piled up. Then came the military debacle and I was feeling this tug from God to take another look at my priorities. You see, the lack of a car, the busy schedule, none of that had limited my training for the military. Where I couldn't find a ride I had simply taken my bicycle. I had moved my schedule around with such fluidity to reach the goals I had in the military, why couldn't I do the same in serving at my church?

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3: 5-8 (ESV)

     The first big step in my transformation hit me there. My logic and my wisdom was going to fail me, I had a long list of great ideas gone nowhere to prove it. It was about time I took the energy I had put into trying to make my own way into what I could hear God calling me to do. I have to say the words in that Proverb didn't take long to ring clearly. I only had to ride my bike out to a youth even the first day, then I met someone who would later become one of my best friends. Turns out he lived right near me and was more than willing to give me a ride so I wouldn't have to use the bicycle. It wasn't long after that when I was approached by the youth leader and informed of a new young adult group that someone wanted to start up for people who had recently graduated from high school, whether in college or not. They were new to the church so they needed some help and wanted to know if I'd be willing to give them a hand. This time when I felt the tug at my heart I didn't hesitate. Crossroads was born, and the people that I have met through this have blessed my life in immeasurable ways.

     The rest of that year rounded out with me trying to learn my role in the ministries I was involved in, to try and figure out what God was leading me to do. The next year, 2011, was me attempting to learn to surrender to God's will for my life. This was not always easy. Even just remembering to pray regularly was a challenge at first. And I didn't always really seek God before making my choices, I would sometimes just jump at whatever opportunities seemed to be the most surrendered. It took me a long time to realize that surrendering to God didn't mean signing up for every event or project I was told about. It didn't even necessarily mean rushing into the missions field or giving my life to full times mission work. I think I was even volunteering with three different churches during this time and attending two others. Although that year I did go to India for missions and joined a missions organization in an attempt at doing missions full time. By the end of that year though I had gotten a lot better at truly listening for God's voice. My prayer life was greatly improved and God was responding in recognizable ways.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith,  with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1: 5-6 (ESV)

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."  Matthew 7: 7-8 (ESV)

     These verses were ringing so true to me. I had been desperately seeking for wisdom, council, and God to show me my path. And it was being revealed to me. I left the mission organization that I was in because I felt God calling me to keep working with the local youth, and to strive harder in working with the young adults, specifically on reaching out to the college campus' nearby. I went to the Passion conference at the end of that year/start of the next year. And God blew me away with confirmation. You see, the major theme that year was surrender. The main song was 'White Flag' and it quickly became a favorite of mine, felt like I'd been singing it my whole life. I was done fighting for where I wanted my life to go. I wanted God to teach me how to want where He wanted my life to go.

   The next step in my life was learning to trust. Its one thing to want to go where God leads, its another thing to actually do it when you can't see how. Or when what you are asked to do looks far to big to accomplish.

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1 (ESV)

"When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they had said, 'Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed?' For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.' And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled wit the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4: 23-31 (ESV)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

     These verses helped carry me through the next year(2012). And continue to carry me. In Psalms, and in Joshua we are reminded that God is right there with us in every challenge and situation. God is by our side and He is all powerful. What could we possibly have to fear? In Acts we see how we should behave when we are faced with an obstacle. We need to be bold, we need to pray, and then trust and believe that our God is who He says he is. Throughout 2012 I stove for this ideal. This boldness and fearlessness in serving God where He has sent me. I attended the Passion conference again in January of 2013. And again it felt like my year was being summarized. 'God of Angel Armies, Whom Shall I Fear' was one of the headlining songs. 'God's Great Dance Floor' was also introduced that year. And I can say that when I hear the words "I feel alive" in that song it has never rang more true than at this time in my life. These last few years have completely transformed me.

     I can say that since I have learned to surrender, to seek God, to marvel at how BIG He really is, and come to grasp (as best as it can be grasped) how small everything in this life really is in comparison that I have not had a bad day. In almost two and a half years now, and not a single bad day. That isn't to say I haven't had trials, that life has been easy, or that I haven't had moments of sadness, anger, or stress. What I am saying is that those moments couldn't take my day. For I now see that I walk with God, following His steps in a path He has set before me. I listen for the sound of His voice and push onward. None of those struggles can hold a candle to the Majesty, Glory, and Joy I find in my God. They were moments in my day, mere minutes before I was again overwhelmed by the Joy of knowing Christ, of being a son of the Most High God. I'm sure most of you have heard the saying that life is a roller coaster, it has its ups and downs. How true that really is. But let me have you think about that imagery for a moment. Where is it on a roller coaster that you experience the most joy? Is it on those heights? Or is it when it takes a dive deep into the valleys of its track, with sudden twists and turns that you never saw coming, sometimes turning everything you know completely upside down. I want to leave you with this.

Keep your ear to the voice of our Savior. Trust with all your heart in the teachings of our God. Move with boldness against the obstacles that the world throws at you, and have no fear because our God is right there with us. My friends. Ride this roller coaster of life, both the view from the top when all is well, and the rush of those valleys where every twist and turn brings something new and unexpected into your life. Find joy in those valleys, and praise our wonderful God for every moment and opportunity we have to share his love.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Burning Coals

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:19-21 (ESV)

This passage has always stood out to me. Doing good for your enemy is so counter cultural, it flies in the face of everything we feel is just. And that is the point.

This one piece of scripture contains references to two others. the first deals with the very nature of our just and righteous God.

"Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.' For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free. Then he will say. 'Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection! See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever, if I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand takes hold on judgment, and will repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh-- with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy.' Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people's land."  Deuteronomy 32:35-43 (ESV)

Paul quotes only the first part, but any Jew of the day would have recognized it for what it was. This paints a very clear picture of God delivering judgment where it is needed, in the case of this passage, upon His own people. He is the one true God, there are no others. When we are told not to avenge ourselves, and are then directed to this scripture we can see the intent is to teach us to trust and rely on the power and sovereignty of God. I tis not our place to judge, but His, and not our place to execute a sentence. That is the role of our Almighty God.

The second quote gives us an alternative to passing judgment,

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22

This passage is at once both challenging, and confusing, Providing for these who have attempted to cause you harm, and possibly succeeded, is no easy task. We are forced to swallow our pride, push away how we feel, and do what they would never expect. And in just that act we see so much of the Gospel. We see humility, forgiveness, and service. We see Christ, who did no less, and certainly much more, for us. But then, what is the part about burning coals? Is that to say our kindness is painful for them? Confusing? IN some way causes them to suffer? Would that not be a contradiction when paired with the last verse? Yet this is how it was taught to me. This part always left me wondering, because that meaning didn't fit. Not in Romans 12, and not in Proverbs, I didn't get it. Something had to be wrong. What was the meaning of the coals? Then one day I was in Isaiah and I found another reference to burning coals.

"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."  Isaiah 6:6-7

This was it! My missing puzzle piece. The seraphim cleansed Isaiah of all sin by simply touching him with one coal from the Altar. So now when we look back at the passages in Proverbs and Romans with this new understanding of the coals the glorious grace of God is revealed. Our kindness is a show of forgiveness. One that shows our enemy the grace of God. It is the first step in leading someone to Christ. Pulling them from the camp of the enemy and making them family. It is the Great Commission, the Lord's work. Something we should all strive for.

Friday, July 12, 2013


And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” -Revelation 5:5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Comfort, Comfort My People

If you’ve been following God long enough, you know that there are times when everything we believe in can be shaken. There are times on this side of eternity where you just can’t see God’s hand involved at all. It usually in times of pain or suffering that we sense this, for others it may just be silence. And we don’t understand why. We need some help, some wind to blow in our sails to get our boat moving again. We want to ask, hey God are you paying attention? Do you see what’s going on here?

I’ve been there. For the purpose of today’s message I want begin by asking a different question though: When has the comfort of God been most meaningful to you?

I think many of us would say that grace shines the brightest in our lives when we’re most aware of how little we deserve it. I think about times when I have been most emotionally affected during worship and inevitably it’s in those times that I come before God and I’m so aware of my mistakes and my failures and my sin and yet I’m confronted with the love of God that will not let me go. Aren’t those the moments when you feel you know the reality of grace and the fact that you have not earned it, that you have not deserved it and yet God loves you.

Those are the times when we realize that God is merciful and gracious and we’ve not purchased that mercy or that grace by our good deeds and our good works. Those are the moments when God’s Holy Spirit speaks so tenderly to our souls of his redeeming love. Aren’t those the moments when the cross is so precious to us?

Our text today is found in Isaiah chapter 40. The prophet is writing words of comfort to God’s people, but I don’t think we can grasp the significance of these words of comfort until we understand the reason he was writing them. The people of Judah felt they were beyond the reach of God’s kindness. We can’t comprehend the significance of these words of tenderness and comfort until we understand the circumstances that they were facing. They felt they were beyond the reach of God’s love. Beyond the reach of God’s grace. They felt like their lives had been ruined by sin. And I know that some of us have been at that same place, we’ve faced those moments when we look around and all we can see are the consequences of our wrong choices. And we look to our future and it feels like there is nothing but pain, there’s nothing but the reminder of our failures. And it stretches out in front of us. And those are the moments when we feel like, it’s too late for me.

More trouble, more hardship awaits us.

Isaiah was a prophet who lived and ministered over 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and he lived during a time of great social, political, and spiritual decline. It was a time where things were going downhill for the people of God, and God had called Isaiah to a very unique task, he was called to deliver a message of both judgment and comfort.

Two polar opposites, I can’t imagine the struggle Isaiah must have felt having to say all these things… to his family, to his friends, to his neighbors…

If you’ve ever read Isaiah before you can almost feel like you get whiplash as it goes back and forth between the two messages. These messages of doom, these messages of judgment, and then followed by these messages of salvation and restoration and comfort and you want to stop and just say, ‘Isaiah which one is it!?’ What is God saying?

And the answer is: it’s both. We serve a God who judges sin and wickedness, but he’s also a God of mercy who forgives and restores those who turn back to him in faith and repentance. The message of judgment that God brought through Isaiah was judgment over the people’s wickedness and rebellion. The interesting thing though is that people in Isaiah’s day, the people of Judah, they were very, very religious.
They engaged in a lot of religious practice. They made sacrifices and went to the temple, but God saw past it all and saw their hearts. Their hearts were far from him. They said all the right things with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. In very beginning of the book, God basically says, ‘I’m sick of all your incense and special ceremonies, because I look at the way you are living and you don’t care about the poor, you don’t care about the weakest members of society, you don’t care about justice.” He promised that judgment would come if they didn’t turn away from their wickedness. And we can take that as a warning even for us today… God doesn’t care if we’re in church every week if our hearts are far from him.

Isaiah 1:16 shows this, the promise of judgment and yet the promise of comfort said side by side.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;

It’s an invitation to repentance.

cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow's cause.

God is concerned with the content and quality of our lives.

He cares about us. About you.
We can come and we can worship on Sunday, but God cares more than just your Sunday… he cares about your pain on Monday. He cares about your suffering on Tuesday. He cares about your weakness on Wednesday… He cares, he sees all the good things we do throughout the week… but he also cares, he sees the hidden, secret sin we enslave ourselves to as well. Some of us may need reminded of that. God isn’t a God of only wrath watching us, waiting til we slip, but he also isn’t a God who doesn’t care about the stuff in our lives. He cares about all of it. God is in the process of making us his people. God is concerned with the content and quality of our lives.

But Isaiah doesn’t end there, he communicates this gospel centered promise in verses 18-19:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.

If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the sword;
     for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

We want to stop at verse 18. We want to just soak in the promise of our sins being forgiven, and reasoning together. And that’s wonderful, it is the gospel message. The promise has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, his blood shed on the cross washes us clean, his resurrection gives us the hope of our salvation. He makes us white as snow, as the hymn states as well. But the rest of this passage is a calling for sinners to repent… all of us, being called to be faithful to him that turns away from wickedness and evil. It’s a promise of judgment, but there’s also comfort in there side by side. And that really is the message of the gospel to us isn’t it? God is a god of holiness… he punishes evil, and yet he has made a way for us to be forgiven if we will turn and trust in Christ. The question is only what will we do in reaction to that?

A little boy was overheard praying once, “God, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it I’m having a real good time like I am.”

The sad news of the story is that like the little boy, the people didn’t want to change, they didn’t listen to Isaiah’s message, they didn’t turn away from their sin, they didn’t turn away from their injustice, and their oppression. Instead of trusting in God, they chose to trust foreign nations. They put their hope in political alliances with other countries, so ultimately God did bring judgment, and he brought that judgment in the form of the nation of Babylon who came and invaded their land and exiled the people. The people of Judah were taken away from the land, away from their heritage.

But here in Isaiah 40 something incredible is taking place. Isaiah is writing to a future generation, he is no longer writing to his contemporaries, he’s not writing to the people living in the city at that time. He is writing prophetically to the people who will one day be living in exile, and you just see the incredible faith of this man. He begins to write to the people who will have to live through this judgment. That is how confident he is in the word of God and the fulfillment of God’s decrees.

He knows that these people are going to believe that God has forgotten them that God has somehow passed them over and so God gives them this word of prophecy, and it’s a word of comfort… it’s amazing. An amazing picture of the grace of God, after judging these people he comes to speak tenderly to them to call them back to himself. He has a simple message, your warfare has ended and your iniquities have been pardoned. Beginning in Isaiah 40 verse 1,

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
    double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
     make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
     for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This is God’s salvation for his people, what a powerful proclamation. He is going to make a highway in the desert! He meets us right in the place of our barrenness, of our deepest need. He will make a way where there is no way, where there never seems to be a way. You see valleys, and you see hills… well I’m going to make it flat and plain. He will smooth things out and bring salvation when you least expect it.
There’s a reason John the Baptist spoke these exact words about himself in the New Testament.
He was the final preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, he is the one crying out, ‘Get ready, God’s coming!’
Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of this great promise of salvation, announced all the way back in Isaiah chapter 40.
He’s speaking to the people exiled in Babylon, people feeling all alone, people in the midst of chaos, they don’t know what their future holds, they don’t know what’s waiting for them around the corner, they are stressed on how they are going to continue to provide for their families, they are confused as to how God could let this happen to them, they are distraught over the possibility of never seeing home again.
Isaiah is offering them this promise, that they will receive back to them the Promised Land, but more than that, there is a great savior on his way. Jesus is going to be revealed to the entire world on that final day… All the world is going to see the glory of God in King Jesus. The one that will make things right in this world that are so wrong.
In verse 6 he continues:

A voice says, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.

Sometimes the promises of God can seem very small in comparison to the power and the might of man. Sometimes the promises of God can seem minute in comparison to the trouble we face on a daily, on a weekly basis. And it must have felt that way to these people. God is speaking a word of comfort to them, a word of salvation to them and they must have been tempted to look around and ask, ‘Are you kidding? God do you not see what we’re going through?’

How many of us have asked that question in our lives? I know I have.

We just want an answer, God who’s going to deal with Babylon? Who is going to intervene and fix the problems in our lives?

God tells Isaiah to cry to the people, "God what do I cry?"

Remind them that man is grass compared to me.

Remind them Isaiah; remind them, I am mighty to save.

The promises of God will stand forever. It’s the same truth today church, the word of the Lord will stand forever.

And it might be in our lives that man is looming above us, the problems of this world seem too harsh, too strong, but we can take comfort… God is larger. God is mightier.
It might be your boss at work, it might be your spouse, it might be your kids and it feels like this person and their choices and their decisions have a control on you and on your future. It feels like someone else has power over us, some leader, some politician, President Obama, John Boehner, it feels like we have lost control, that they are directing our futures. And God’s word says no. They are grass. There’s no human being that has ultimate power over you, but let me tell you this, the word of the Lord will never fail it will stand forever. It will be fulfilled. It will not return to God empty but it will accomplish the task for which he sent it. Church, can we stand in that comfort today?

Though the world is crashing down upon us, our culture is demanding more and more of our time, of our money, they seem to be taking our children one by one. Sin is rampant. Satan is shaking the very fabric of the church in America, but we can stand on the promises of God.

God has made a way for man to be reconciled to himself through Jesus Christ. He is the way in the wilderness, he flattens the mountains and the valleys, he is coming to us.

This is the good news of salvation. This is what we can take comfort in, and I pray that the words of the psalmist will ring true to us today

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD works righteousness
   and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
   his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
   he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
   and remember to obey his precepts.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
   and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the LORD, you his angels,
   you mighty ones who do his bidding,
   who obey his word.
Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
   you his servants who do his will.
Praise the LORD, all his works
   everywhere in his dominion.

   Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


He made the night, He made the day, Spread the earth upon the water, Made the heavens and the rain. Look at the sky, see its design, the sun set and all it's brilliant colors, the numerous flyspecks of light that shine in the vast blackness. That very same creator is the one who gave us life. All of creation is shouting, praising, all of creation, except the ones who are made in His image.
I want to know Him, praise Him the same way as those stars, the same way as the ocean's roar. In Him there's hope, in Him there's life.
The world cries for a savior that's right before their eyes, creation makes one move and it is awe inspiring if we just take the time to listen.

What is man that He takes us in as His children to be His own
And what are we that He wants to be our Father?
What is man that He's mindful of us?
We're merely clay in his hands, even clay worships Him better than us sometimes.
What am I that He loves me so much He would die, even more What am I that He loves me so much that He would live in, through and around me. Truly it is not about us at all.

And what I have come to believe is that us making it about ourselves is the crux of why our faith remains stagnant.
Just as every human has a brain, a soul, a conscience... we are all wired to worship.
Inside us all there is a void, all mankind is searching for something or someone to fill the soul, we fill it with pleasure, with books, with TV, with music, even the best of us do this.
I used to look for whatever it is that would satisfy my immediate craving for whatever it was ( in fact I still struggle with this).

When I feel distant from God I pray, I read books, I listen to Christian music, I listen to a sermon or watch one.

We can feel as if we need a bridge to get back to God. But even in the midst of me searching the Bible for a verse to help me out it sometimes just doesn't help, doesn't fix the way I am feeling... and that's just it, a feeling.

I am worshiping myself, my feelings.

Or I would worship music, or my favorite book, speaker, whatever.
I would worship creation rather than the created, and it's not that I was falling on my knees and bowing down to it, it was the fact that I wasn't filling my thoughts, my heart, with the splendor of God. Instead of saying, "God, why are you making me feel this way? Why are you putting me through this?" I begin saying,

God, Thank you for giving me feelings, for allowing me to grow, I know you will get me out of this situation. I know YOU are sovereign over even the little things. This world doesn't need me, you don't need me. But you choose to keep me, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am more beautiful than those stars, I am more powerful than those volcanoes, I am stronger than the hurricanes, I am made in YOUR image, you. You surround me. Nothing is about me. If I don't like my circumstance, I'll worship you. When I am tempted to sin, I'll stop worshiping the created and turn and worship you. Surely my worship is more glorious than the comets, and planets that shout your majesty.

When I don't like the song, or the style of the music in church, it doesn't matter, it's not about me, it never was. I will sing and fall in love with you through anything.
The attitude doesn't come overnight, and surely I haven't gotten this, no one has nailed it, no one has kept this attitude, no one will ever be able to keep this attitude toward life, only Jesus has, only Jesus will. But that's the glory of it, when this perspective I lose, He gives His life in return. When this life I lose, He already gave His in return.
We must worship in spirit and in truth.

What do we worship instead of God?
God gives us, shows us, His splendor throughout creation, to point us back to Him.
Are we seeking Him or ourselves?