Jan 31, 2008

One Little Germ

It's been a crazy hectic last couple of days. We were supposed to take a family trip out to Palo Duro Canyons this weekend but plans have gone to pot.

Yesterday we received a call from the school saying that one of my girls was vomiting and needed to be taken home. When we called the doctor, they told us not to even bother with coming in because they knew exactly what it was - there is a bad stomach flu going around.

A few hours later, we got another call from the school saying that another of my girls was vomiting and needed to be taken home.

And to top it all off, now my wife has it too!

It is a sick house with a bunch of sickos! Sick, sick, sick, sickos! = )

I've been doing what I can to help with the two remaining healthy kids and trying to take care of the sickos without getting sick myself. I make sure to wash my hands all the time, not touch the things they've touched, and certainly no body contact.

I still need to lead the session and leadership retreat in west Texas this weekend. That would make it for a very interesting presentation if I had to keep excusing myself for the bathroom.

Here's the thing that I've learned through this experience. It's just one little germ, one parasite and it's causing so much heartache in our family and it has totally disrupted our plans.

I wonder how many just one little experiences, thrills, sights, sins we've compromised in our lives. And because we are so used to being sick, we don't even know what it feels like to be healthy.

Lord, I long to be healthy. I want to be free from the sins that infect and disrupt my life.

Jan 30, 2008

Expecting Any Visitors?

Most homes have two ways of living: regular living, and "guests are coming" living.

We all know what regular living is like. That's our everyday life and everyday living. And then, when we know guests are coming over, our regular living goes through a transformation.

At least in my home it does. My wife goes on alert and she begins barking orders and the rest of us come to attention to obey her orders...
  • clean up your room
  • take out the garbage
  • vacuum the house
  • clean the floor
  • straighten the living room
  • do the dishes
  • put on the coffee maker
  • etc.
And pretty soon, the house is in shipshape order. And we're ready to receive guests.

I mention this because churches function like our homes. We get real comfortable doing things certain ways. And we forget what it's like to be a guest or a visitor. And worse, we forget that we're expecting visitors.

A church that doesn't expect visitors has some serious problems.

But a church that expects visitors and doesn't get their house in order is just plain dumb.

Getting our church house in order is much more than having a clean place. It's an attitude and an expectation that visitors are indeed coming over because our people are inviting people. And just as we go out of our way in our home, church members need to think intentionally about how best we can welcome, receive, and host visitors in our church homes.

So, you expecting any visitors this weekend?

Jan 29, 2008

Being Missional

One of the phrases we hear a lot in church circles is the word "missional."

Although I've heard this phrase used many times, I've rarely come across a clear definition of what this word means.

I would like to propose the following definition. Being missional as a Christian and a church means to think like a missionary. In order for a missionary to be fruitful in his/her mission field, they have to do at least the following things.
  • They have to learn the language of the people. That's pretty clear. In order to communicate, you have to learn the language of the target people.
  • They have to learn the cultural values of the people. Not only is language important, but understanding the values and the culture of the target people is crucial.
  • They have to develop relationships and friendships. Even after learning the language and the cultural values, if the missionary does not develop relationships and friendships, mission and ministry doesn't happen. Developing friendships and relationships is the arena where the gospel message can be communicated.
  • They have to translate the message of the gospel in a way the target audience can understand.
And the reason why this is so relevant to the modern day church is because you don't have to go to Africa or Asia to do mission. George Barna reports that if the unchurched in the US were a nation unto their own, they would represent the fifth largest nation in the world. The reality is that we are surrounded by people who do not know Christ. And, more than ever, we as a church and as Christ-follower must become missional Christians - one's who have a missionary outlook on life. And living our Christian lives this way has to be a part of who we are, a part of our DNA makeup as Christians.

To be a missional church and a missional Christ-follower means that we too will intentionally...
  • learn the language of the unchurched
  • learn the culture of the unchurched
  • develop relationships and friendships with the unchurched
  • translate the gospel message in a way that our unchurched friends and neighbors can understand and relate to
When churches do this, destinies get shaped, lives get changed, and the Kingdom grows.

Jan 27, 2008

Sin of Preference

We all have preferences. There's nothing wrong with preferences.

I prefer loud music because I grew up with Van Halen and ACDC and rock and roll. So I prefer loud praise music. Some others prefer the good ol' hymns. I prefer a more relaxed worship service. Some prefer ordered and liturgical services.

There is nothing wrong with preferences.

However, when we become inflexible with our preferences so that it's either my way or the highway, our preferences becomes a sin. It impedes God’s work.

Sin of preference.

Churches fight and split over preferences – without either side caring about what is lost. And such infighting destroys the redemptive potential of a congregation.

We cannot allow that to happen.

Jan 25, 2008


The Dallas Fort Worth metroplex has grown from 2.5 million to 6 million since 1995.

In that same time, the 183 churches of Grace Presbytery managed to lose over 10,000 members in that same time frame.

While the population of the United States continues to grow, in that same time the Presbyterian Church (USA) is losing 40,000-50,000 members a year.

And the thing that boggles my mind is we are totally content doing church the same way as we have always done it and we look around wondering why our churches are not growing.

In order for things to change, things must change. And that includes our presuppositions, our modes of operation, our Book of Order, but most of all we must change.

James <><
Check out what God is up to @

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Jan 24, 2008

Prosperity Gospel? No!

I'm sure, by now, you've heard about the investigation of six well known televangelists by Senator Grassley.

Here's a short section out of an article written by Britt Towery.

Britt Towery
Back in November of last year Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters for financial information from six of the countless mega-church television preachers. The senator was widely portrayed as persecuting these millionaire preachers. The offended preachers surrounded their auditors with lawyers and let the senators, IRS and anyone interested know that they were not responding to such insolent questions.

The deadline for the televangelists to honor Sen. Grassley's request was Dec. 6. All he was seeking was any possibility of alleged donator abuse in their programs. Here it is nearly February and the game of cat and mouse goes on. Give but don't expect to know how the gift is used.

Sad story after sad story is the heritage of most of these televangelists. One single mom said she was fleeced for over 12 years by a TV preacher. "When I think of the times my electricity got turned off because I tithed and gave instead of paying my bills, I could scream. I was told to NOT pay my bills, but to tithe first and believe God for the money for my bills ... when my electricity was turned off I was told I had no faith."

Another wrote they were told: "Just send $65, and within 90 days God will turn my life around."

This just bothers me. This is so far removed from what the Bible says about what it means to follow Jesus Christ. All these promises of believe in Jesus and get rich are just sick. It is playing with the last hopes and dollars of those who desperately need help.

Am I saying that all televangelists are this way? No.

Am I saying that God is not using the televangelists to reach the hearts of people? No.

Am I saying that God will hold every single one of us accountable for our actions? Yes.

And part of the responsibility lies not only with the televangelists, but with the people who send them money. God never asks us to blindly support ministries or teachers. God expects us to be good financial stewards, and part of that means we have to know what the Bible teaches about prosperity gospel. And the only way to support prosperity gospel is if one is misreading the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jan 23, 2008

User Friendly Christ-followers

The purpose of the Bible is not to give us the minute details of who we're supposed to marry, whether we're supposed to take the new job, whether we should move to a different city, or any of the details of decision making we face in life.

The purpose of the Bible is to shape our hearts and our characters to be more like God's. And the more we download the character and the heart of God into our lives, the more capable we are to make the decisions based on God's principles.

We don't start out with our own agenda when reading the Bible. The purpose and the agenda is to discover what makes the heart of our God leap with joy.

Erwin McManus puts it succinctly when he says, "The information given us in the Bible is there for the purpose of formation. God never intended to give us a Book with every detail needed to live our lives. He gave us a Book with everything necessary to shape our lives. He was trying not to download heaven's database but to make us user-compatible. When God has our hearts, we move naturally in His will. The fuel for a life of faith is more inspiration than information."
(Erwin McManus, "Seizing Your Divine Moment," p. 143).

Amen to that!

Jan 22, 2008

Where Have the Margins Gone?

I live in a neighborhood called, Eldorado Estates. And the neighborhood just a block away is called Eldorado Fairways because those homes are on the golf course. If you were to look at these homes and see the cars that are being driven around here, you would not be surprised to find out that the average household salary is $120k to $140k.

But here's something else you would not know by just looking at the people in this neighborhood - the majority of them are up to their eyeballs in debt and are literally living pay check to pay check. They've not been putting money away for a rainy day - not enough to cover their expenses for their beautiful shiny cars, the big houses, and the fancy flat panel television sets that adorn their homes should they get laid off or if there is a recession.

There is absolutely no margin for change. Even if one gets convinced that they should invest more in the Kingdom of God and invest more in the lives of other people by tithing and giving, they can't. There's no room. There's no margin. So we don't. Feeling guilty the whole time because we know we could be doing so much more with what we've been given.

If you were to look at the way we manage our time in these neighborhoods, here's what you would find. Monday is girl scouts day, and gymnastics, Tuesday is boy scouts and basketball, Wednesday night is for the church, Thursday is piano and voice lessons, Friday is karate and art lessons, Saturday is the games, matches, meets, and birthday parties, and Sundays is running around like crazy after church because there's the soccer game, home work, and the basketball tournament.

Even if we came to realize that there was a huge opportunity to make a difference in someone's life by volunteering, who's got the time? We've packed our lives with so much stuff that there is absolutely no margin to do anything else. So we don't. Feeling terrible about our self-absorbed manic lives because we know this is not what life is supposed to be about.

And the question of the day is - WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES???

The World Needs Men

I came across the following reading one of Chuck Swindoll's books, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity. I think it's a good reminder to all of us.

The World Needs Men...
Who cannot be bought;
Whose word is their bond;
Who put character above wealth;
Who possess opinions and a will;
Who are larger than their vocations;
Who do not hesitate to take chances;
Who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
Who will make no compromise with wrong;
Whose ambitions are not confined to their selfish desires;
Who will not say they do it "because everybody else does it";
Who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
Who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
Who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
Who can say "no" with emphasis, although the rest of the world says "yes".

Yes, the world needs such men, and I pray that this is who we're all striving to be.

Jan 19, 2008

Acts 2 Church - An Evangelizing Church

We come to the fourth trait of the Acts 2 church. These are the four traits which allowed them to experience the power of God working in their lives so that hundreds and thousands of people were being impacted by God on a daily basis. And I believe that should we put these into practice today, we would see the same God and the same Spirit doing the same miraculous work today.

Up to this point, everything is internally focused. These things - learning, fellowshipping, worshiping - are things we do in the life of the church with one another. The last focus is critical to balance the three characteristics mentioned above.

The fourth trait of the Acts chapter 2 church was that it was an evangelistic church. We are told, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
  • They weren’t so busy learning, sharing, worshipping, that they forgot about witnessing and sharing with others the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Here’s some things that God teaches us about evangelism.
o First, notice that it was the Lord who added the numbers.
+ Only God can change hearts. Only God can save. Only God can make sinners into His children.
+ Certainly the apostles preached, the teachers taught, the members gave and served, but only God can save and transform people’s hearts.
o Two, He added to their number...those who were being saved.
+ These two go together.
+ He did not add them to the church without saving them, without transforming and changing them. There is no salvation without a repentant changed life.
+ God also did not save them without adding them to the church. There is no such thing as a Christian without a church. This is an impossibility.
o Three, the Lord added people daily.
+ Evangelism was not a program or a sporadic activity.
+ The church shared the good news of Jesus with others daily.
+ This was their DNA.

These four marks propelled the Acts Chapter 2 Church to phenomenal growth. And these four marks can propel us to experience what God promised when Jesus proclaimed, “Against such a church the gates of hell shall not prevail.”

Jan 18, 2008

Acts 2 Church - A Worshipping Church

In the past week, we have been looking at the traits that allowed the Acts 2 church to experience phenomenal growth and vitality. I do not think Acts 2 Church was the aberration, but the norm of the church which Jesus proclaimed, "Against such a church the gates of hell shall not prevail."

Should our churches put to practice these four traits, I believe we too can experience the same Holy Spirit working in powerful ways in our churches.

The third trait of the Acts 2 Church was that it was a worshiping church. “They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
  • This is not referring to sharing a common meal. While sharing a meal with one another is a good thing for the community, this is not what Acts 2 is referring to.
  • The Greek has the definite article in front of both the words for bread and prayer, so that it reads, “They devoted themselves to the breaking of the bread and to the prayer.” This is in reference to both the Lord's Table and to the corporate prayer life of the church.
  • They were committed to spending the Lord’s day the Lord’s way in God’s house.
  • Because Jesus was their Lord and Savior, they worshiped God.
  • Worship is not a thing of convenience. Worship must be a non-negotiable for a Christ-follower.
  • The Acts Chapter 2 church committed themselves to the Apostle’s teaching – Bible Study, to Biblical fellowship – generous giving and genuine caring, and to worship – to spend the Lord’s day the Lord’s way.

Jan 16, 2008

Acts 2 Church - A Fellowshipping Church

We have been looking at the four characteristics that the Acts 2 Church put into practice. When they put these four characteristics into practice, the result was wonders and miracles, changed lives, and a transformed community.

These are the four traits that God would love for us to practice. The first was that they were a church devoted to learning the truths of God.

The second thing the Acts 2 Church committed themselves to is that they were a fellowshipping church. “They devoted themselves to fellowship.”
  • There's a problem with this word fellowship. Because when I hear the word fellowship, I think of casseroles, potlucks, and donuts. But this is not what this word means. There is so much more to what Biblical fellowship means than merely gathering for a meal or snack to hang out.
  • The Greek word for fellowship is κοινωνια or "koinonia". This word refers to what we share in common with one another.
  • The word has two references in terms of what Christ-followers share in common.
    o First, is our common inheritance in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is the reason why Christians refer to one another as brothers and sisters.
    o Second, what we share in common in terms of what we give as well as what we receive from one another.
  • vv.44-45, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.“
  • Run that by me again? Are you serious? Does God expect us to sell everything and give to the church?
  • Some minority groups of Christians throughout the history of the church have experimented with this without much success.
  • While Jesus may call some Christ-followers to live this out literally, that’s not what the Bible teaches. Jesus did not forbid owning private property. The New Testament church did not forbid private property.
  • What the Bible calls us to is faithful stewardship or management.
  • The point is that when Christ-followers see a need, there is an explosion of generous giving and genuine caring.
  • Because we have been touched by the heart of God, the things that break the heart of God begin breaking our hearts and we cannot help but respond with generous giving and genuine caring.
  • This was the second trait of the Acts 2 Church, and this is the second trait we need to put into action.

Jan 15, 2008

Acts 2 Church - A learning Church

I know that we covered these on Sunday. But because these are the practices which will help us to become an Acts 2 church, I encourage you to use these as both refreshers and reminders. And if you are reading this for the first time, I encourage you to commit to putting them into practice.

The first thing that the Acts 2 church put into practice was that they were a learning church. We are told, “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching” v.42.
  • Although they just experienced the most spiritual experience in their lives as they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were not seeking more spiritual and mystical experiences. They did not go into the "let's package this awesome emotional experience" business. But because they had been touched by the God who changed their world, they devoted themselves to discover more about this God. They were devoted to the truths that would liberate them from the life of slavery.
  • Because they were committed to the things that God was committed, they devoted themselves to the teachings of the Apostles.
  • If God is going to make a difference in this community, God will first have to make a difference in us.
  • And the way God will impact us is through our commitment to the Apostle’s teaching.
  • Trinity currently provides 11 Bible Studies and 4 adult Bible Studies on Sunday mornings. If you are not part of one of these studies, I challenge you to commit to growing in the truth about Jesus Christ.
  • If you are a Christ-follower, you must grow in the knowledge of the truth. You’ve got to be in a Bible study.
  • Let’s make 10:30 every Sunday our Bible Study hour where every member is committed to learning the truths of God.
  • Acts chapter 2 tells us when a community devotes themselves to the Apostle’s teaching. And as a result, we are told that many wonders and miraculous signs were witnessed.
  • That’s what happens when a community commits to the Apostle’s teaching.
The first characteristic that needs to become a part of our DNA and who we are is that we must be a church who is committed to studying the Bible. So, get into a study group and let's start discovering the truths which has the power to set us all free!

Jan 14, 2008

Becoming a Great church

I believe God desires for every single church that bears His name to not only be good, but great. I believe that nothing would delight the heart of God more than to see every single church that bears His name shining the light of Jesus Christ, shattering the darkness, and making a difference for the Kingdom of God.

And because this is God’s desire for His church, God has given to us a road map of how to be a great church. We find this road map to being the church that God intends for us in the Book of Acts. We find in Acts Chapter 2 an amazing church.
• A church that comes out of nowhere to start kicking butt all over the kingdom of darkness.
• A church that is growing by leaps and bounds where numbers are being added daily.
• A church that takes part in impacting the eternal destinies of thousands and thousands of people.
• A church that is pushing the darkness back, shining the light of Christ, growing new Christians, and growing faithful disciples.
• A church where the gates of hell have no chance.

Is such a church possible today in the year 2008? Could we be a part of a dynamic and kingdom impacting church today?

God’s answer is a resounding “Yes!”

And God shows us how to be such a church in Acts Chapter 2:42-47.

In this passage, we come across four things that the Acts Chapter 2 church practiced that propelled them to experience the Kingdom of God exploding into their world.. And these are the four attributes which must become a part of our DNA and who we’re about if we are going to be such a church.

First, they were a learning church.
Second, they were a fellowshipping church.
Third, they were a worshiping church.
And fourth, they were an evangelizing church.

In the next four days, we will look at these four traits in detail.

Jan 11, 2008

Holiness and Judgment of God

We love talking and singing about a God of love and a God of grace. And God is love and full of grace. But that is only half the equation. God is absolutely holy and because He is holy He is also a God of judgment. God will judge all people - including Christ-followers on how we live our lives.

While God is certainly full of love and grace, we cannot separate love and grace apart from holiness and judgment. You see love and grace apart from holiness and judgment is pointless. Without holiness and judgment, you would end up with a god who has no expectations, no boundaries, no purpose. Without holiness and judgment anything goes.

Look at the following passage from Jeremiah 5:1-4:
1Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.
2And it shall be, if they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you shall tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“Such as are for death, to death;
And such as are for the sword, to the sword;
And such as are for the famine, to the famine;
And such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.”’
3“And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,” says the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
4I will hand them over to trouble, to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.

I am the first to confess that such a picture of God makes me uncomfortable. Talking about a God of grace and love is so much easier, so much more pleasant. But if we are to be faithful to the God of scripture, we cannot separate holiness and judgment from love and grace.

Yes, God does forgive us all sins (with the exception of blasphemy - we can talk about that another time). God is the One of second chances. But that's exactly it - because God has expectations of His followers, and because there is a call to repentance, we must change. And unless we repent and change, what we ought to expect is judgment - and that includes Christ-followers.

You cannot have a Christian who is also committed to the things that God is committed to. A changed life is assumed in a repentant changed life. And this is the life God has called us to.

I am a sinner. And because I am a sinner, I am in need of forgiveness and grace. And when anyone repents, God's grace and love is there to cover us. But that's just it. We must confess and repent. We must acknowledge our sin and repent and commit to a changed life. That is the life of discipleship. That is what being a Christ-follower means.

Listen to the words of the Lord in Jeremiah 5:19.
19Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return,
Then I will bring you back;
You shall stand before Me;
If you take out the precious from the vile,
You shall be as My mouth.
Let them return to you,
But you must not return to them.

Jan 10, 2008

Buttprints in the Sand

Almost every pastor I know has been given the "Footprints in the Sand" frame as a gift.

It's a beautiful poem. It has a wonderful message. It's very inspiring.

Here's a little poem I received that has a slight variation to "Footprints in the Sand."

It goes like this.

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there were seen,
the footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But them some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."

"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
and there I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life, there comes a time,
when one must fight, and one must climb,
when one must risk and take a stand,
or leave their buttprints in the sand."

Jan 9, 2008

Discipleship - Who Is Jesus to You?

People relate with Jesus in one of these three ways:
1) Jesus as guest - He owns nothing and He is expected to leave.
  • There is no Lordship. We still own and control everything.
  • Jesus is welcomed in to our lives sporadically. He is expected to leave after the pleasantries.
  • Relationship with Jesus is one of convenience.
2) Jesus as roommate - There are clear boundaries.
  • Issues with Lordship.
  • Jesus is viewed as friend, but not as Lord.
  • Jesus is Savior, but not Lord.
  • There are areas of life that is still off-limits for Jesus.
3) Jesus as King, Lord, and Savior - He owns everything.
  • Jesus is Lord and Savior.
  • Jesus owns everything.
  • We commit ourselves, our time, talents, and finances to the things that God is committed to.
So which best describes you?

Jan 8, 2008

The Death of Someone Else

Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, someone else.

Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, someone did far more than a normal person's share of the work. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one man was on everyone's list, "Let Someone Else do it."

Whenever leadership was mentioned this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results, "Someone Else can work with that group."

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers of the church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.

Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing super human. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else.

Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we're going to do.

Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things that Someone Else did?

When you are asked to help this year, remember - we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.

Jan 7, 2008

What if TPC Tithed?

What if TPC tithed? What would that look like? What could God do with a church that trust God and tithed?

If our church tithed – gave 10% of time, talents, and finances, here's what it would mean for the life of Trinity Presbyterian Church.
• We would release as a church 171,600 hours for Christian service and ministry
• We would unleash all the talents of our membership.
• The average income of the 10 mile radius of the church is $70,000. If our members tithed, that would mean unleashing $910,000 for ministry and mission.

Let me ask you. Do you think God could make a difference in The Colony, Little Elm and Frisco with a church that would commit such resources of time, talents, and finances to building up God's Kingdom?

Against such a church the gates of hell shall not prevail.

The kingdom of God would explode into this community like never before.

James <><
Check out what God is up to @

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Jan 6, 2008

Top Ten Predictions for 2008

I received this from the Mallory's and I'd like to share it with you.

God is doing some awesome things in the life of the church. I thank God for allowing me to be the pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

God bless!


1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

Jan 5, 2008

Be Anxious for Nothing

This coming Sunday and the month of January will be a defining moment for my ministry at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

We will see if we are going to continue moving forward with God's vision to do everything we can to Grow new Christians and to do whatever it takes to Grow faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, or whether we will become a church that plateaus at the 300 member mark.

The things we decide as a church in this Defining moment will determine whether we stay a pretty good church, or whether we will do whatever it takes to become the great church that God desires not only for Trinity but all His churches.

As I've been wrestling with this and praying over this thing, I've had very little peace. I've been unable to sleep and I've been unnerved this entire time.

Until now. I was reminded of what Paul wrote in Philippians. "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7).

Did you catch that? Paul had to remind people to rejoice twice! He did that for me.

Why are we to rejoice? Because the Lord is near.

And because the Lord is near there's no reason to be anxious about anything because when we pray and lift our requests to God, God will bring to completion that which He has started.

And so for the first time in a couple of months, I am totally anxiety free. I know that God is in control and that God will take care of everything. God calls me to be faithful and then the results are in God's hands and those are some great hands to put our lives in.

God is awesome like that. God always comes through. God is good.

Jan 4, 2008


Every person is born with potential.
  • potential to be great
  • potential for significant impact
  • potential to impact others for good
  • potential to be used for God's Kingdom
  • potential to make a difference
  • potential to allow God to change the world
You're not supposed to die with potential.

Potential is supposed to be used all up while we breathe here on earth.

Potential only becomes potent when we use it.


Jan 3, 2008

God's Will

I get asked quite often about how we can discern God's will for our lives.

And often times, when I get asked this question, the person has a specific and particular situation in mind - should I marry her? should I take this job? should I divorce him? does God want me to quit this job? etc.

I am certain that God has a plan for each and every one of our lives. I am certain that God wants what is best for us.

And in order to discover God's best for us, what I've found is that when we do those things which we know to be God's will, then the questions regarding the particular situations get answered. So what do we know to be God's will?
  • Regular worship - keeping the Lord's day the Lord's way. Make sure you are in God's house to worship God on Sundays.
  • Reading the Bible every day. I know that this is God's will. Make sure you've carved out some time every day to read His word. How else do we expect God to tell us His will? Are we expecting to hear an audible voice? Most often, God will speak through His word, and if we are not regularly studying God's word, we won't know what God wants for us.
  • Praying everyday. I know that this is God's will. Again, how are we supposed to hear from God if we don't pray? Prayer is our connection with God. You have to set aside time to pray every day.
  • Set aside time to serve and give. God never gives us new knowledge and revelation just to make us smarter. Whenever God gives us something new, it's for transformation. And faith is put to work when we serve and give. So, make sure you are serving and giving.
  • Increase your commitment to the things that God is committed to. Increase your commitment of time, talents, and finances to the things that God is committed to.
  • Be the best you (dad, mom, co-worker, friend, son, daughter, etc). God wants us to use our words to edify, use our time to make an impact, and use our actions to glorify God. Work on those things.
And when we do these things, you will find that the particulars will take care of themselves.

We already know what we ought to be doing. And should we be doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will be plenty busy enough. And to top it all off, we will see how God answers the particulars when we're doing things we know to be God's will.

Jan 2, 2008

The Punching Dummy

Happy New Year everyone!

I trust that you all had a wonderful and safe New Year's day.

I hung out with my family all day long - eating, laughing, napping, watching football, and eating some more. That's as close to heaven as you can get here on earth.

One of my favorite toys as a kid was the punching dummy - you know the blow up toy that is weighted at the bottom so that when you punch it, it falls down but gets right back up?

It is January 2, and I trust that we've not had too many opportunities to mess up the new year. I hope that your new year's resolution still remain intact and on goal.

But because we are human, we are bound to fail. We're gonna mess up. We're going to say and do some stupid things and we're not going say and do some things that we should do.

Does this mean that 2008 won't be any different than 2007? That we are going to make the same mistakes and be the same person?

I hope not. I pray that we will all grow and mature and be a better person in 2008 than we were in 2007.

What's going to make the difference? It won't be that we will be more perfect - that's just not going to happen. But we will be better if we choose to be like the punching dummy.

No - the point is not to be punched. The point is that we're going to mess up and we're going to get tripped up. But, just like the punching dummy, when we do mess up we're going to get right back up again. And then we're going to do it better the next time. And we're going to get better at this being a Christ-follower thing.

Spiritual maturity is not about messing up and and getting tripped up. Tripping up and messing up is what all human beings do. But spiritual maturity has more to do with getting up and and doing it again and doing it better the next time around.

So as we look at 2008, I pray that we would all be like the punching dummy - no not that we get punched, but that we get right back up and do it better the next time.

And should we make this our practice and goal for 2008, we will find that ourselves in a better place in 2009. God bless you and a Godly New Year!