Friday, August 15, 2014

Simple Prayer

It's so funny how sometimes it can become so hard to do little things... Sometimes even a little thing like "write a blog". Even though it has been hard for me to keep up with it I still want to continue to post to it when I'm able. So today, I was thinking about this idea of prayer. Below are some of my thoughts. May God Bless your day in ways you weren't expecting...

Sometimes we forget that our prayers don’t have to be elaborate and wildly creative. In a day where the normative structure of life is all about looking for the next “big thing” and trying to “out imagine” the next person in our respective professions; we can come to our Heavenly Father at any time without having to worry about impressing Him. As I was reading Psalm 12 this morning, I was struck by the simplicity of how it begins; “Help, Lord.” David was worried about the fact that there seemed to be no one who was faithful anymore. Doesn’t sound all that different to the world we live in today. As we consider all the things we could be praying for, or should be praying for, would our prayers begin with a simple “Help, Lord.” Let me remind us that our ‘true’ help comes from the Lord and it begins with our weakness. When we pray we must remember our own need for help. We need the Lord’s help as much as others need it. Read the whole of Psalm 12 when you get a moment this week. It is only 8 verses and reminds me of the words in Ecclesiastes when the writer says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Indeed, it seems David dealt with some of the same issues we deal with today…albeit with different technology. 

Lord, we thank you that “You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.” (Ps 12:7-8)

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Socrates In The City

I was recently turned on to a website called Socrates in the City. It was started by a guy named Eric Metaxas... (many of you...if you read this blog may know who he is)... for the sole purpose of creating "a forum that might encourage busy and successful professionals in thinking about the bigger questions in life." Socrates famously said that "the unexamined life in not worth living." If you're into this type of thing you go check out the website. I like thinking about "stuff"so I enjoy these types of conversations.

Check it out!

To Live for Christ...

Last Tuesday I was struck by the notion that to live for Christ is a dying to my own self. Was this anything new to me? No, not by any means. But what a reminder it is! The example we've been given to us by Jesus of the types of people we should be; ie:  those who are willing to be servants and those willing to lay down their 'lives' (we could use pride and entitlement there as well), for the betterment of others and the advancement of the Gospel. God doesn't want us to serve Him with reserve but with a vigor and abandon. That is the example that has been handed down to us by Jesus and by generation after generation of His followers. I love the way Oswald Chambers says it, "Paul focuses Jesus Christ's idea of a New Testament saint in his life viz., not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives." 

Would we be that type of person...willing to give all of our lives to others for the sake of the Gospel without expecting something from other people in return; save the word from Jesus that says, "Well done good and faithful servant."

May the grace, blessing, and love of Christ permeate from all of us in a new and rich way by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us; making us new with each and every passing moment.

"I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me." 

2 Corinthians 12:15 (NLT)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Law of Love

There is a call in our lives to be salt and light in this world. We have the bible to scrutinize our life and it is important that we let God search our hearts frequently. When sin is there to be found (when is there not) we must confess. As we give up our right to ourselves we are able to fully be disciples of Jesus. We can fully love God with our whole lives and be the salt and light that we are commanded to be.

To live for someone else, rather than myself, is difficult because it forces me to open my eyes and recognize that I am not perfect; to recognize that everything isn't about me. It's funny how children can bring that out in us. As I watch my son struggle to share anything (because those things are his...or the word he would use "mine"), I see myself. I see, reflected in him, all the things that I have a hard time sharing. Thank God for children (or other people) to remind me of my need for a Savior.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may we continue to abandon our agendas for God's and may we be a people who are God centered rather than self-centered.

Live under the higher law as a citizen of heaven: the law of love.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."  Matthew 5:23-24


Sunday, September 29, 2013

When I'm Gone

Sometimes, as a youth Pastor, I have to leave my family for days and even weeks at at a time for retreats, winter camps, summer camps, conventions, mission trips, all-nighters, and so on. Those of you who have to leave often on business trips understand the feeling. It pains me to be away from my family. This weekend I had to be gone for our Student Leadership Retreat. It has been a fruitful, team bonding time for these students. I'm thankful for what God has been doing in these students over the  years and the small part that I've gotten to play in their growth...

However, it's hard (after speaking to my family on the phone this morning following multiple failed Facetime attempts and seeing other families together in the lobby of my hotel) to hear the things that I missed out on even after one day. I miss my family like crazy and can't wait to see them this afternoon. 

It was an encouraging reminder I was given this morning, as I read scripture, of the power of prayer. Although I am not near my family I can pray for them no matter where I am and they will feel the power of those prayers in some way. As a husband and father it is my duty to constantly be covering my family in prayer. Wherever you find yourself in life; child, parent, sister, brother, cousin, etc (you get it), you have the incredible opportunity and privilege to pray for those you love...and even those you don't love. Don't miss out on it. God allows us to partner with Him. Let's be a people who take advantage of that. 

May we go forward in the strength and assurance that The Lord Jesus Christ goes with us no matter where we go. Amen.

"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you  O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me;..." Psalm 86:11-13


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Life Just Isn't Perfect

Wouldn't it be great if we were just perfect people who did perfect things, treated others perfectly, living perfect lives for the Glory of our Perfect God? There definitely wouldn't be any hardship and I would ALWAYS live up to other people's expectations of me. Even as I read back through those last couple of sentences it makes me laugh because unfortunately that does not describe my life...PERIOD. We have all experienced our sin nature blow up in our faces in very ugly ways. For me personally, I saw my sin nature blow up in my face just this morning in the way I dealt with my beautiful wife. She desires for our place to be neat, tidy, clean, and enjoyable to live in. I desire the same thing. Getting to the end goal, however, is where things get messy. We have a different path in each of our minds of how to get to the same end...

Isn't that how life is though? People with their own thoughts and feelings bumping into other people with their own different thoughts and feelings. I was reminded today of the importance of good communication. Not just communication but good communication.

Our relationships with others should abound with love. Is it easy? No. Is it attainable? Yes. We have a God who gives grace and mercy to us immeasurably. He has an endless supply of it and wants to give it to us so that we can give it (grace, mercy, love) to others out of his endless supply. I love this prayer that Paul has for the believers of Philippi.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11 (niv)

May we be known by the love of Christ which dwells in us richly...even when things get tough. If you have any prayer requests, my wife and I would love to spend time praying for you. Leave them in the comments section. Pray for us as we seek to love and serve the Lord with our lives. Until next time...


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life, Kids, God...

For those of you with children, you totally get the chaos of life; wondering how you fit God and ministry into the midst of responsibilities as a parent. All the while, desiring to be a faithful follower of Jesus and a good parent at the same time. I know for me, there are so many moments when I have to stop and show myself...really put into my field of vision, my selfishness. Here I am wondering how I'm supposed to fit God and ministry into my life when all the while I'm suppose to be allowing God to be the center of my life and let everything else fit in accordingly. To top it all off I know, intellectually, that if I put God at the center of my life I will be able to be a better person in my dealings with every other person I come into contact with. So I find, that intellectually, I truly know the mindset I'm to have but practically speaking, it doesn't always flesh itself out in my life. Thank God for his grace, his mercy, and his reminders.

Ya...I took a picture of a picture...
First time out to eat!
For those of you who don't know, my son Malakai has a condition called Microtia/Atresia. Long story short, he doesn't have a right ear as well as no opening to the inner ear and no ear canal. Yesterday (monday) we had one of his regularly scheduled appointments to check how his hearing is progressing, have his bone conducting hearing aid tested to make sure it's still working properly, and to let us know how the audiologists think he's doing. While there, I was reminded of God's faithfulness. We were living in India for half of Malakai's pregnancy. There was never any hint that he would have a birth defect. In fact, we didn't find out until he was born. The months after he was born were foggy at best but one of the biggest ways we saw God's faithfulness was how he provided the hearing aid. We're talking a $6,000 hearing aid that we received at no cost to us. God has been faithful to us in so many ways. It's amazing that Malakai is actually ahead of his peers. He gets to go to a special pre-preschool program for hearing impaired and he's leading his 3 year old peers (he just turned 2 last august) in class. John 9:1-3 is the verse we've claimed over his life. It ends by saying, "neither this man nor his parents sinned...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (Jesus' words)

The reminder for me as a husband, father, and pastor...revolve my whole being around God, the Scriptures, and His glory being revealed through my life. "He works all things for the good (His idea of good), of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Would we be encouraged as followers of Jesus; that as we simply put God at the center of our lives, we will find ourselves radically displaying God through the ministry of our lives.