Dec 30, 2008

My Dreams and Hopes for 2009

Here we are - last day of the year 2008.

Ministry wise, this has been a tough year.

I hate being a part of a church that's not growing and thriving. I don't do stagnation and not growing very well. And that's where we've been for the past two and half years.

A lot of that has to do with my leadership. I must become a better leader and pastor for our church to grow. I need to become a better preacher and communicator. I need to help our church to be more organized. But most of all, I need to pray for our church more.

So those are things that I resolve to do in the coming year. I will read and study to become a better leader for TPC and for Christ. I will read and study to become a better preacher and communicator. But most of all, I commit to praying more for our church and for God's leadership.

I don't want to go through another year like this ever again. I want to see God at work. I want to see lives get changed. I want to see God leading us in such a way that people's lives are actually being impacted and the Kingdom is growing in its influence.

I dream of being a part of a church that is sold out to seeing people get healed.

I dream of being a part of a church where the broken souls are ministered;
where the resources of the church's time, talents, and finances are committed to alleviate suffering in our local communities as well as the greater world;
where Christ-followers cannot help but weep and be broken by the hopelessness in our communities.

I dream of being a part of a church where Christ-followers are all over the business of rescuing hell-bound eternities.

I dream of being a part of a church that is sold out and committed to making this Kingdom vision a reality here on earth as it will be in heaven.

I dream of being a part of a church that is actually making a difference in the local community for the Kingdom of God.

And I am foolish enough to believe that this is not only a reality for Trinity Presbyterian Church, but that this is what Jesus had in mind when He began the entire "Follow Me" thing to begin with.

Oh how I long to be a part of a church like that.

God help me to be a leader for such a church.

Seeing Jesus

I’ve found that people see what they’ve been trained to look for.
• If you’re a dermatologist, you’re going to see people with bad skin
• If you’re a dentist, have you noticed how they’re always looking at your teeth?

Not only do we see what we’ve been trained to look for, but we see what we’re looking for.
• If you’re looking for zits, you’re going to see people with zits everywhere
• If you’re looking for cranky people, you’re going to see em’ all over the place after they’ve just spent all their money on Christmas
• If you’re looking for problems and mistakes, you’re going to see people with all kinds of problems everywhere.

We see what we’ve trained ourselves to look for, and we see what we’re looking for.

Now, here's the million dollar question: When's the last time you've seen Jesus?

And because we’ve lived so much of our lives without looking for the signs of Jesus everywhere and in everyone, we’re going to have to retrain our eyes to see Jesus.
And when we do that, you’re going to see Jesus at work everywhere.

This is so important because if you’re not looking for Jesus, you’re not going to see Jesus at work. And if you don’t see Jesus at work, you’re never going to be able to join Him in His work.

Do you see God at work in Jesus in your daily life? It's not that God has stopped working. We've got to retrain our eyes and start looking for Jesus in our daily living.

And when we do, I think we'll start seeing a lot more of Jesus.

Dec 24, 2008

Fickle God?

Read through Numbers 11-14.

I am not sure what to make of this God who seems so fickle. But the thing that I find unnerving the most is that God has to be reminded of His own words and promises by Moses. For God was going to destroy all of them because of their complaining and Moses has to remind God that He's a merciful God, and besides if God kills all the Israelites, how will that make God look before the Egyptians.

What the?

We are so quick to count on God's promises. We are so quick to rely and trust fully in His words, but here we see a God who needs to be reminded of His own promises.

More confused then ever? Me too.

But there are a few things that we can glean from this.

First, it is good to count and recall God's promises. Because God is faithful to His word. Even in Numbers God forgives the people of Israel. But I think recalling God's promises does more for us to remember who we are and what our purpose is.

Second, although God forgives, there are serious consequences to our sin and disobedience. God cannot save us from the consequences.

And it is those consequences we must live with all our lives.

God forgave Ted Haggard of his sins. I am sure of it. Because he's repented in public and I am sure he's done so in private. But he's still having to live with the consequences of his sins.

The best thing for all of us is to live right. Follow Jesus. Obey His commands. Then we don't even have to deal with the consequences of sin. Instead, we will be reaping the fruit of living for God.

Have a blessed Christmas Eve. Make it to one of God's churches and worship the Son who has been given to us.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2008

Most Unpleasant Lunch

Okay. I just got back from lunch and I tell you I had one of the most unpleasant lunches I have in a long time.

No, the food was fine.

The service was good.

Nothing wrong with the lunch itself.

Then what was so unpleasant about the lunch?

There was a large table with five senior citizens. I didn't notice at first that there was one lady sitting at one end and four others sitting at the other end. The lady sitting by herself never stopped talking. It wasn't that she was overtly obnoxiously loud, but she was loud enough that all the people at our end of the restaurant could hear her every word.

I could tell you all kinds of things about her husband, her children, grandchildren, their illnesses and health issues and what medications they are taking to combat that. I can tell you how much her medications cost. I could tell you lots of stuff.

She never stopped talking. The entire time I was there for lunch. It wasn't as if the others were having a conversation with her. She just never stopped talking. They barely got in a word or two. I've never seen anything like it.

The other ladies were looking at their watches - (hint, hint), and when this lady didn't get the hint, the other four ladies put on their coats (HINT!, HINT!), but the lady just kept chattering away.

As if that wasn't annoying enough, she was extremely rude to the Hispanic waitress, saying things in everyone's - including the waitress - hearing, "I'm not going to tip. She doesn't deserve it!"

I didn't see anything that the waitress said or did. She was a fine waitress with everyone else.

And to top it all off - she's a Christian. She said so very proudly. She talked about her church, her Bible Study group, her senior citizen's small group, about how difficult it is to read the announcements on the screen, how things are not the way they used to be, etc.

She was still talking when I left.

Her friends were still sitting there with their coats on looking at their watch.

Man, that makes me sad. Why did she have to be a Christian? What does that say about our God?

I know. I'm a pastor and I shouldn't think things like that. But when I saw the look on her friend's faces, the look of the waitress, it just breaks my heart.

Dec 22, 2008

Strange and the Hilarious in Leviticus

I just finished reading Leviticus.

Sections that make me go - Huh? What does that mean?
- Leviticus 21:16-21 "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord's offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God."

I don't get this. Some things - like a broken hand or foot might be an accident or even an injury one causes, but things like being blind, lame, having a limb too long, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, etc. are conditions people are born with. Why would God prevent such people from serving Him? He's the one who made them that way?

I don't get it.

Sections that just crack me up.
- Leviticus 22:4 No one of Aaron's offspring who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen...

How in the world were these guys to know if a man had an emission of semen? Were they supposed to ask?

That just cracks me up.

Dec 16, 2008

Thank God for the Church

For the first time in days, I feel like I can breath again.

There is still much to be done, but I finally feel ready to work on the Christmas sermon.

It has been humbling to see the church family step up to minister and care for each other.

We will carry on. Ministry will continue. There are many who are still hurting in this world.

More than ever, this is the world that needs the Advent of the coming King.

More than ever, we need Christ to visit us afresh again.

Thank you all for your prayers and ministry through these difficult days!

Dec 15, 2008

Sermon from Sunday

I normally don't post sermons on my blogs, but I have had a few request it so here it is.

Now What?
Romans 8:28

As many of you know by now, David Brown took his own life on Thursday evening.

As a church, we have gone through deaths and funerals before. That’s part of the ministry. But somehow, this one feels different. There’s just something not quite right about this one.

When someone dies due to illness, old age, or even by a tragic accident, we hurt because we miss the individual but we don’t hurt because we feel hurt by the actions of the one who died. But that’s what this one feels like – suicides do that. It not only ends a life, but it injures everyone around. Suicide is devastating to everyone. There is no closure. No one got a chance to say goodbye. There is no explanation. It’s just pain all the way around.

And those who are left to pick up the pieces can’t help but wonder if there was anything we could have done to prevent this from happening, that somehow we could have done something, said something to prevent this.

And suicide makes a victim of all those left behind.

I have no idea why David did what he did.
I want to make sure that we all understand this – he did not do this to hurt any of us.

David is one of the most caring, loving, and giving persons I know.

He did not do this to hurt you – his friends, his church, his family.

We will never understand, on this side of eternity, why he did this? And even if we did know why, it still would not ever bring David back, and it wouldn’t change anything.

If David could speak to us now, I think what David would say is how sorry he is to have hurt the very people who he loves. I think David would say, that what happened on Thursday evening was a rash act and an act that he sorely regrets.

This morning, I would like to speak to you as frankly and directly I can. There’s no point in beating around the bush. We all know what happened. And the question before all of us is, “Now what?”

I would like to answer this question, “Now what?” by answering three sets of questions David’s death presents us with.
1. Where is David now? What is the relationship between suicide and salvation? Could a real genuine Christ-follower commit suicide? Don’t people who commit suicide commit the ultimate sin and go to hell?
2. Did God know that David would take his own life? Why didn’t God stop him? How could God let this happen?
3. What does this mean for us now? Where do we go from here?

Where is David now? Could a real Christian commit suicide? Don’t people who commit suicide go to hell?

There are some terrible myths and misunderstandings about suicide and salvation.

In the fifth century, Saint Augustine taught that suicide was a violation of the sixth commandment - "You shall not kill."

And later Thomas Aquinas, taught that suicide was the most fatal of all sins because the victim could not repent of it.

So some Christians have taught over the years that those who commit suicide go to hell because they never have the opportunity to repent of their sin.

Let’s get some things straight.

Suicide is a terrible sin against God for only God has the power and authority over life. While suicide is a terrible sin, it is not an unpardonable sin. There is only one sin that Jesus says cannot be forgiven.
Jesus says in Matthew 12:31-32, “Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
• Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – to deny the works of God by taking God’s works and attributing it to the work of the devil.
• While suicide is a sin, it is not a sin that God cannot forgive.

But how can God forgive a sin that a person doesn’t have an opportunity to repent for?

This line of question is a misreading of scripture because it doesn’t take seriously the completeness and the totality of the work of God for salvation on the cross of Jesus Christ.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

I want to take each of those phrases one at a time.

Salvation is by grace alone.

God tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Salvation is always God’s doing. Only God can save. And God saves because He is a gracious God. There is nothing that we can ever do, or not do, or say, or not say, that will merit being saved. It is totally God’s grace. It is totally God’s love that saves.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith,” we are told. While God’s work of salvation is total and complete, it is only through accepting God’s gift of salvation that we are saved.

God tells us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have everlasting life.”

While God offers salvation to all, we must receive God’s gift of life through faith.

God tells us in John 1:12, “But to all who received him, who believed in His name, He gave the power to become children of God.”

God offers the gift of salvation to all, but only those who receive God’s plan for salvation are saved.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

God tells us in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

And in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

It is only Jesus who can save. There is no other way to salvation apart from Jesus Christ.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

So where is David right now?

God’s word tells us that David is in the presence of His Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. David accepted and received Jesus as His Lord and Savior. Therefore God has forgiven David for all his sins – past, present, and future.

And that is the incredible good news of Jesus Christ. To those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior God has forgiven us of all our sins.

In the course of any normal day, we sin many times – thoughts of lust, anger, jealousy, acts of unkindness, etc. And it’s not like God says, I will only forgive you of the sins that you repent of. It’s not like God’s going to say on the day of judgment, “You know James, you lived a pretty decent life, and you asked for forgiveness of all your sins, except for that one time when you lusted after that woman on August 10, 1995. So, sorry dude, you’re outta here!”

God’s work on the cross is complete. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

You can rest assure that David is with God Himself right now.

Did God know that David would take his life on Thursday night? Why didn’t God stop him? How could God let this happen?

Did God know that David would take his own life? Yes. God knows all things. What happened on that night did not take God by surprise. God knows all things.

If God knows all things why didn’t God stop him? How could God let this happen?

God didn’t want this to happen. God was pleading with David to the last moment, “Don’t do this son. This is not the answer. You have a bright future. Don’t’ do this.”

God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.”

And God was with David to the very moment urging David to trust God and not do this terrible thing.

But God will not and cannot force any one to choose Him, because by doing so God would be unloving. Love necessarily requires a choice – love requires freedom.

When we obey God and follow His ways, the result is a blessed abundant life. But God will never force nor coerce us to obey Him. We must choose to do that.

And just as God was pleading with David to follow Him, God is telling us all the time, follow Me. Choose life. Follow Me. Don’t do this. Don’t do these things that will cause you harm. Don’t do these destructive things. Follow Me. Do life My way. Do marriage My way. Do dating My way. Do life My way.

But only we can do that. Love is only love when there is a choice to love. Love cannot be forced or imposed.

God gives each of us the ability to choose. When we choose to live life God’s way, we will reap the blessings God promises. But we must choose to live God’s way.

While the death of David did not catch God by surprise, God is deeply saddened that a life of such promise and potential was cut short by a terrible decision.

In a moment of excruciating pain and confusion, our friend committed a grave and serious error and sin. But this does not negate the awesome grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. David lives on for eternity.

On a cold dreary night some five years ago, a hurting and confused young man walked into our church because the sign outside said, “Lost? Come on in for direction.”

I was sitting in my office working when I heard a knock on the door and someone said, “There’s a young man who wants to talk with you.”

David walked into our church because he was hurting and was having suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to do that. He had nothing to lose. He had everything to gain.

I shared with David how God loved him and sent His Son to die for his sins so that he can truly start living.

That night, David accepted Christ in to his life and became a child of God.

Through the ministry of you and through church David Brown accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior. David gave his life to Jesus, served in our short-term mission trips to Uganda three times, taught Sunday School with our little ones, and committed to serving God as a minister as a chaplain in the military and was scheduled to attend seminary at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in the fall of this year.

Many lives were touched and changed through David.

Through a terrible and painful choice, this promising life was cut short. And we here are reeling because of it.

We are going to miss David very much.

So now what are we to do?

If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, today is your day. Secure your place in eternity and allow heaven to enter your life today.

The same Jesus who spoke heaven into David’s life five years ago is here right now. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”

He is speaking to you. You did not come here by accident. God wanted you here. God sent His Son to a manger 2,000 years ago so that you can have this opportunity today. You too can have heaven enter into your present by accepting and receiving Jesus into your life.

For those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and for those of us who are hurting and in pain because of this, we must claim the promise of God in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.”

Even as tragic and terrible as the death of David is, God will make it good. God will continue to save souls. God will continue to change lives. God will continue to bring healing. And God will do all this through you and me.

For every time you offer your life, your hands to those who are hurting, your lips to those who haven’t heard the good news, your ears to those who need to be heard, your shoulders for folks to cry on, every time we say “Yes” to Jesus Christ, God is ministering.

So love on each other church. Hug on each other. Cry and laugh with each other. And show and tell the world of the incredible news of God sending His only Son so that heaven can enter our present.

We all have some reflecting to do. We all have some decisions to make today.

Dec 13, 2008

Need Your Prayers

I covet your prayers.

I am emotionally and physically drained.

Spiritually I am doing good, but I am tired.

When I think about what the next two weeks look like it looks impossible. but I know that with God it will not only be fine, but it will all turn out for the glory of God.
- a new sermon for Sunday because of the suicide on Thursday evening of one of our young men.
- ministering to two families who've lost a loved one
- to a church who is grieving over the death these two people
- eulogy for the Hall funeral
- eulogy for the Brown funeral
- sermon for Sunday the 21st
- sermon for Christmas Eve
- sermon for wedding on 27th
- sermon for 28th
- oh, yeah. Celebrating Christmas with my family.

If I can make it through this stretch then it's back to a somewhat normal schedule.

I know that God is in control. God will use all this for His glory. I can do all things through Christ. But these next few weeks are going to be something. I still covet your prayers.

Thanks for letting me just rant for a while.

Dec 12, 2008

Suicide - What Happens to People who Commit Suicide?

I've been getting a lot of questions about suicide and a person's salvation today.

Suicide is never God's will.

Suicide is a grave sin before God.

However suicide is not an unpardonable sin.

The Bible is crystal clear that there is only one unpardonable sin - blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32).

While suicide is a terrible sin against God, for only God has the power and authority over life, suicide is not the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. In the context of Matthew 12, it is crystal clear that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is denying the work of God through the Holy Spirit and attributing it to the work of the devil.

When Jesus died on the cross, Jesus died for ALL our sins (John 10:28).

Salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12), in Jesus alone (John 14:6).

Then why do so many people believe that people who commit suicide will go to hell?

In the fifth century, Augustine argued that suicide was a violation of the sixth commandment - "You shall not kill." And later Thomas Aquinas, taught that suicide was the most fatal of all sins because the victim could not repent of it.

So some Christians have taught that those who commit suicide go to hell.

This is a misunderstanding about the work of the cross.

While suicide is a grave sin, it is not a sin that cannot be forgiven. And because Jesus died for all our sins, and since suicide is not blaspheming the Holy Spirit, even suicide can be forgiven.

Suicide is never the answer and suicide is never God's will.

So where is the young man who committed suicide last night?

He is in the presence of His Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. God has always loved this young man, and this young man gave his life over to Jesus Christ and committed to serving God with his life.

In a moment of excruciating pain and confusion, our friend committed a grave and serious error and sin. But this does not negate the awesome grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now what is left is for Christ-followers to minister to one another.

He who promised, "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus," (Romans 8:37-39) is true to His word.

The death of our friend is tragic and terrible. We, who have been loved by this young man, and we who loved him, will never be the same again. And as terrible as this time may be for our church, we boldly claim the promise of God "That all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28).

Dec 11, 2008


Why? I will never understand.

Why? When there was such a promising future ahead of you.

Why? This can't be the answer.

A young man took his own life tonight.

I will never understand why.

You will be missed so much. I miss you already.


My heart aches. I have no more tears to cry.

I miss you. Oh, how I wish you were still here.


This has caused so much devastation to all who love you and who have been loved by you.

You were going to serve the Lord with your life as a chaplain in the military. The entire future was ahead of you. God was going to use your life to impact so many people.

You will be missed. You are missed.

May God have mercy on your soul and may God have mercy on all of us who are here missing you.

Dec 9, 2008

Radical Missional Focus Killed by Decently and In Order

One of the most common phrases we hear from Presbyterians is that we Presbyterians do things decently and in order. And for the most part that's, how the Book of Order prescribes Presbyterians to live out their faith - decently and in order.

Quick question - as you read the book of Acts and the emerging church in the ancient world, does decently and in order come into your mind? In the midst of a chaotic world, where the Christians were in the minority, and where they consistently found themselves at odds with the world, do you see "decently and in order?"

Maybe that's the problem. We've become too decent, so all that we can do is decent ministry instead of a ministry that's rocking the world. We've become so orderly that we've essentially ruled out the possibility of the Holy Spirit moving the church to respond to real life circumstances with grace and openness.

One of my absolute favorite sections of the Book of Order - believe it or not there are sections there I absolutely love - is chapter 3 of the Book of Order and in particular G-3.0400. It reads, "The church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, and sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ."

I love this passage! The church is to undertake the mission of Jesus Christ to bring new Christians into the fold, and to enable every believer to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. And we are to do this above and beyond anything else, even to the point of risking the very existence of our very selves and certainly the institutional church.

But the huge disconnect with the rest of the Book of Order is that the entire thing reeks of "decently and in order!" Where did the radical missional focus go?

It got killed by "decently and in order"!

Fully Devoted Followers of Jesus Christ

I've been wondering, what could God do through a church with fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Just imagine - a church full of people who will do anything that God asks of them, who have declared and determined that there is nothing worth living for more than the cause of Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine what such a church would be like?

Can you imagine what God could do through a church like that?

Our understanding of following Jesus is so lukewarm and pathetic. For most churches, if more than half their membership show up for Sunday worship they would be delighted. No wonder our churches are struggling the way they are.

Fully devoted followers of Jesus - Yes, Jesus - whatever it takes, whatever you ask Jesus - fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

What an awesome church that would be.

Jesus told the church - Go, go into the world who is hurting and searching. Do whatever it takes to help them know that God loves them. And teach them everything that God has taught us through Jesus Christ. Baptize new Christians, and build up fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. That's what our calling is.

God, grant your church leaders the wisdom and discernment to know how to do that.

Dec 8, 2008

Oh, the Things We Do

I shouldn't be amazed or shocked.

I've been doing this pastor thing for about 20 years, and in that time have seen and heard about some crazy stupid stuff.

So I shouldn't be amazed or shocked.

But, I am.

I don't know amazed or shocked is the best description - dewildered, dumbfounded, WHAT? - is probably a better description.

We do the dumbest things. We say and do things knowing that we will be caught. That we will have to answer for those things. That the consequences of those actions will be devastating to every they love. And we still do it! Why? What makes us do stuff like that?

How can we do stuff knowing that it will hurt the people we love?

And that's what sin does.

I shouldn't be shocked. I should know better. I've been doing this pastor thing for over twenty years. But I am still dumbfounded.


Why do we do the things we do?


Dec 6, 2008

What Am I Afraid Of?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

God pursues us with His love and is constantly asking us "Do you trust me with your life? Do you trust that I am more than enough?"

Of course I know what the answer should be. Of course I should say, "Yes, God you are all I need. You are more than enough. I trust you with my life.".

But it's not that easy - at least if I take my words seriously.

Sure it's easy to say such things. We do it every Sunday with the songs we sing and the prayers we say. We sing songs about how, "You're all I need," "I give you my all," "I surrender all," without even blinking an eye.

But what would it really mean to trust God with everything? What would it mean to surrender all? How many of us actually do that?

For goodness sake - most people have trouble giving up watching the Cowboys on Sundays. I don't think we even have a concept of what it would mean to give God everything.

And the craziest thing about this is if we understand who God is, why so few of us actually make this commitment. If God is a God who loves us, wants what is best for us, and knows better than us, then why wouldn't we trust God with everything?

What am I afraid of?

To be honest, I don't trust God to manage my life and make me as successful as I think I can. I really think I can do a better job of making me successful.

There I said it.

And that's the whole crux of it. Our life is an the proof that we don't have a clue how to manage our lives, and yet because of sin and pride, we insist on doing things our way rather than trusting God fully with our lives.

That's the battle my friends. For me, for you, and for all Christ-followers.

And that battle will be won as we take it one day at a time. Today, I will give God my best. I will do the same tomorrow. And I am going to put together as many of these days possible.

Dec 3, 2008

Why Is the Church so Pathetic?

Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

That's awesome!

I want to see that.

But the church doesn't seem to come close to kicking butt over the gates of hell.

So what's the problem?

Does the problem lie with the promise itself or is the problem the way churches have been going about the ministry and the mission of God?

Is the problem the promise itself? Was Jesus just pulling our leg? Is Christianity really nothing more than nice folks getting together on a Sundays to sing the words of songs that we know aren’t true, to mouth the words of prayers we know are empty, knowing full well that what we do on Sundays has absolutely no connection to the rest of the week? Is that what Christianity boils down to?

That as long as you can say that Jesus died for your sins and believe that He rose again from the dead, you can live any ol’ life and remain the nasty ol’ you and keep doing the selfish destructive things we’ve always done because you know you’re still going to be good when it comes to the end just because you at some point said a formulaic prayer and believe that Jesus rose again from the dead? Is that all there is to Christianity? Just show up once a week and pay your dues and you’re good?

Is that why Jesus came to die on the cross to descend into hell to rise again, just so we can be the same ol’ selfish nasty me and you, so that just because we uttered some words the same ol’ selfish nasty me and you can live in eternity?

Come on. You know that can’t be right.

Or does the problem of impotence of Christianity lie with how the modern day church has been practicing our faith?

I'll just let Jesus tell you.

"The the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

"Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and you did not look after me...I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one fo the least of these, you did not do for me.

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
(Matthew 26:34-46).


Dec 2, 2008

The Problem with God - Is God Enough?

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness...

You shall have no other gods before me...

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might...

That's the problem with God - this whole first thing.

We like to think that we give God our best but I don't think that's true.

When God asks me, "Am I enough?" I want to answer that God is more than enough.

But when I am being honest with myself and with God, the real answer is that God + ______ is enough.

For me, it's God + "things going my way" is enough. Because when I find that things aren't going my way, I'm not very happy with God. It's not enough to know that God loves me, I want God to love me and for that to manifest itself in things going my way. That's the brutal honest truth.

I know that's selfish and childish. But that's the ugly truth. And that is the ugly truth that I want to get rid of by confessing it to God. I want to surrender all to God and I want God to be enough.