Friday, March 26, 2010


“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
-James Arthur Baldwin

“Be still, and know that I am God”
-God (Psalm 46:10)

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
-Elijah and God (1 King 19: 11-13)

So lets unpack this a bit...'love takes off the masks'-even the ones we all love to wear on a day to day basis? Can it be true? I hope so...because love doesn't leave a person unchanged, it leaves them transformed (of course, sometimes it happens after eating a big slice of 'humble pie'). I could've choosen a number of passages-like the Prodigical Son, but decided not to. Instead, I decided to take an old testament approach. Afterall, Jesus wasn't preaching anything new-he was merely calling people out on their level of commitment and true love.
Take for example the story of the woman who was caught in adultery...the religious leaders brought a woman to Him demanding an answer concerning what the 'law of Moses' says about adultery. Of course, they knew well and good what it says and they were trying to 'trap' Jesus-confound Him to the extent He might say something that was against the law and use His own words against Him. However, their one-tracked minds forgot their true feed God's sheep. What Jesus actually says really calls them out...'let he who is without sin throw the first stone'.
I think the interesting thing here to point out is that this happens still today. Maybe not in the same dramatic fashion for all to see, but we've nipped at our friends and family members-quick to point out their mistakes, even if they're just trying to hold you accountable. I think today we have lost our focus...for many reasons, but I'll just throw this 'bone' out there to chew on: are you so unhappy with yourself that you would rather ruin or sabatoge a relationship?
In previous blogs I have mentioned the fact that we're too busy-not just for others, but for God and our relationships have suffered-especially our relationship with our creator. If we truly love God, our family, and our friends...we wouldn't wear a mask at all. We wouldn't feel the need to wear one at all-not in the work place, at school, and especially at home or when we gather for worship.
We try too hard to convince everyone we're on the 'right track' often sacrificing our own integrety to gain that which isn't really all that attainable anyway-acceptance, true acceptance. Not acceptance for who we claim to be, but for who we really are at our core without any shame or 'front'. The typical teenager is in constant denial about 'self'-pushing the envelope between what they know is right and what is cool-and what will help them attain a certain level of security.
But honestly, when was the last time you were still? When was the last time you slowed down enough to appreciate what you have and appreciate those around you? I think too many people are addicted to the 'drug' of busyness-I mean that way we don't have to deal with disappoint or failure for too long, we can sweep it under the rug and just press on. The unfortunate thing about that line of thinking is that it always manages to catch up to you.
So I ask you again...are you that unhappy? Do you know that God has your back? there a  difference between knowing and believing? I think there is and I also think it has become way too easy to say that we know God and that it has become much harder to actually say or mean that we believe in God.
I mean do you and I honestly believe that God is bigger than our struggles of acceptance concerning ourselves and others? Are we only interested in having a clear conscience-where God forgives our sin, but were not really interested in working on cutting that sin-whatever that is, out of your life? *It could be sex, alcohol, drugs, video games, pornography, and sometimes...ego.
In a book called 'A Love Worth Giving' by Max Lucado, there's a story or a 'scenerio' given about God wanting us to slow down. Max suggests that perhaps the reason you're sick at home with the flu is so that you can pick up your Bible and read or maybe even talk to Him. Perhaps God trys to get our attention through minor set backs to really help us reassess and realign our lives. I mean most people can only think about getting better so that they can go back to work, school, or practice-reconnection with our creator is usually the last thing on our minds.
I think it's possible...I mean look at Elijah. He was totally missing it-he was missing God. Most of us would think God is in the midst of the big and great things in our lives-which isn't to suggest He isn't, but I do think that most of us look for Him in the wrong places from time to time (whether it be at work, at school, or even among family). God might be in a whisper and you and I need to be careful not to miss Him.
So here's the challenge: Identify your 'false sense of securities'-are they rooted in insecurities? Once you've done that, prayerfully and honestly ask God to help you work through this. It won't be easy, you might need some help-prayerfully consider who you might ask to help you with your burden(s) or secrets that have been keeping God and other's at bay.
And consider this: Jesus said 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.' (John 10:1-21) and in Matthew He said 'For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.' (Matthew 11:30)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I thought I would share this video with you. It's really good and it really gets your wheels turning when it comes to the past, present and future of our youth and our education system. Let me know your thoughts. I plan to put this on Facebook too.

Friday, March 5, 2010


'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.' -John Quincy Adams

'Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.' -The Message (1st Timothy 4:12-14)

Did you know that you have a ministry? As a Christian you do. And did you know that by what you do and what you don't do you are 'labled' here on by those around you? *No, you're not back in Jr. High-it's just how it is. Whether you like it or not, people take notice of you. Even your friends notice the good and the bad days.
Now, I know I have good and bad days and that there are times when my lips don't bring honor to God. I also know that I fall short in following through sometimes-my actions don't back up my words. I also know that I'm not alone and that sometimes I still choose to go it alone-even making more of a mess while I'm at it. What about you? How often do you find yourself doing that?
I think the biggest thing here the distinction between knowing and believing. There's a difference you know. Take for example the leaders of Jesus' time: the Pharisees knew God's commandments like the back of their hand and could easily resite scripture, but they didn't really believe. Instead, they let pride and their egos  take over-they did more condemning and judging than anything else. Does any of this sound familiar? Yeah, I's not a shocker, but it should be.
In today's culture egos rule, it's not about what you believe, it's about what you can prove-what you can control, something tangable and more believable. *Which kind of makes this whole 'faith' thing kind of crazy really and even harder to believe. I mean is it even shocking find that living the life is harder than just saying it? It is too easy. And there isn't any great mystery behind why those on the outside looking in think we are hypocrites.
So...what does a Chrstian look like? Or better yet...what should a Christian look like? What are the things that come to mind when you think about the attributes and qualities of a Christian? Do you think of someone who doesn't swear or gossip about or at others? Take a moment and think about that...
Check out this passage from the book of Galatians 3:2-5 'I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?'
I would venture to guess that like me, you struggle with doing things on your own-trying to 'attain your goal by human effort'. And I would go further and say that nearly 9 times out of 10 trying 'our way' resulted in suffering for little or nothing. Now, my next question might take sometime on your part...are you who you want to be and ought to be or are you someone who everyone else expects or wants you to be? Paul gives us a challenge in Romans: 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.'
This blog isn't to make you feel bad, it's to get the wheels turning in your spiritual life. It's about reflecting on Christ and His ministry. Lent is a special time for Christians not because we give up something, but because we change something in our lives for the betterment of our faith journey. Last month during the Ash Wednesday service my message was more of a challenge...urging others not to let Lent-traditionally a 40 day period in which we are to 'refocus' ourselves spiritually, become simply another 'New Year's Resolution'.
So here's the challenge and this goes for me as well...let us focus on being a better ambassador for Christ-not just in what we say, but in what we do. And I leave you with this from James 1:22-'...don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.'

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



"You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
-Jesus of Nazareth

Forgiveness is a hard subject to write on and even talk about...but should it? I mean if we are all followers of Christ then we are a 'new creation'...right? I know this isn't the first time that I've written on the subject, but I really do think that pride is the real reason behind many of our struggles. Pride often prevents us from admitting we were wrong, pride projects the fault unto others and gives a false sense of security to the person who's projecting and not admitting. Pride also makes it hard to reach out for help...I mean once we realize we have done wrong, we don't like to speak of it.
I personally think that this whole 'new creation' thing is hard. I mean forgiveness is letting go of the past, the burden of lies we have built up to protect ourselves, and letting the healing begin. It truly is a process. But I think there's another truth we dare not speak of: a dark truth about ourselves-that God can't possibly fix our mistakes. It's a recognition or thought that God isn't bigger than our issues and that we're all alone. I think that's our ball and chain in life...the thing we struggle with. I mean isn't it true? Society pushes this on us-this independent way of thinking that we can do it on our own. I mean, it's the attitude we gave our parents every time we wanted to assert our independence-I don't need you anymore, I can do it on my own! We have truly become stubborn.
The irony is that we end up surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who only think of self and very little of others. This group is considered a 'click' in the 90's and early 00's and it still exists today. But we have been warned about this before. Paul, in his letter to the people of Corinth warns that we shouldn't be decieved. In Romans, Paul also writes about how we aren't supposed to be like others and that we are to seek God.
It shouldn't be surprising that we struggle. Not only do we not read much, but we don't listen very well either. Isn't it interesting that God gave us one mouth and two ears? I think we overlook that too much-we're too quick to speak
In closing, I'd like to just say that you're not alone in your struggle to forgive or seek forgiveness. It takes a lot of 'unlearning' to give up and let God in. My hope is that you will enjoy the video below...listen to the words and let it speak to your heart. Don't let the great 'influence peddler' (Satan) keep you separated from God, friends and family.