Oct 29, 2009

This is My Body Broken for You

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he gathered with his disciples and broke bread with them saying, "This is my body, broken for you." And after they had finished eating, Jesus took the cup and poured out the wine, saying, "This is the blood of the new covenant, poured out for you."

How did Jesus do it?

I don't understand. Jesus knew better than anyone who he was breaking bread with. In the matter of few hours:
  • Judas would betray Jesus for thirty silver coins
  • Peter vehemently denied ever knowing Jesus
  • all the rest of the disciples would desert Jesus
And Jesus knew all this! He knew all this and yet, still broke bread with them!

I don't know about you, but the people who betray me, deny me, and desert me are the last people I want to eat with. But Jesus did it anyways.

But more than that, Jesus ate with them knowing what the breaking of the bread would mean for him. Jesus broke bread with them knowing that it was his body that would be broken, his blood that would be shed for them!

I don't understand such love. It confounds me. It frightens me. It renews me.

All I can do is to stand in awe of Jesus. All I can do is to be challenged by the love of Jesus. Such love inspires me to desire to be more like Jesus.

Thank you Jesus!!!

Oct 22, 2009

Amen, Amen! AMEN!

Amen, Amen! AMEN!

We've recently added a time of corporate prayer in our family devotions. My wife and I have been encouraging our children to pray over specific prayer topics.

As we were praying as a family, our youngest son (4 years old) kept shouting "Amen!"

At first, I was so proud of the little guy because I thought he was participating in his own way in the family prayer time. But as the prayer time went on, it became apparent why he was shouting "Amen!"

He was telling us that prayer time was over!

He's figured out that "Amen" is what you say to end the prayer and that was his cue to tell everyone that we've prayed enough. As the prayer time dragged on longer than he thought necessary, he kept shouting louder, "amen", "Amen!", "AMEN!"


Thank God for kids!

twitter @jameskimtpc
Sent via BlackBerry

Oct 21, 2009

If the PC(USA) Shut Its Doors, Would Anyone Notice?

Rick Rusaw asks, if your church were to shut its door and cease to worship, would anyone in the community notice? Would anyone care?

This is a vital question for all churches.

But what about denominations?

In a post-denominational, post-Christian, post-modern world, what role and function do denominations have?

If the PC(USA) were to shut its doors and cease to exist would anyone in our country notice? Would anyone care?

If the truth be told, I think the only ones who would notice would be PC(USA) folk, and I am not too sure that all PC(USA) would care if the denomination did go away.
This is a sad statement, but it does speak to the reality of a post-modern and post-denominational age that we live in.

One of the key questions is "What function and purpose does the denomination play in a missional church context?"

More than ever, the questions of ecclesiology and our understanding of our connectionalism is pivotal to understanding the present future.

Connectionalism is one of our favorite words as Presbyterians. But what does connectionalism mean?

  • How do denominations further the mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ? 
  • What can the denomination provide and do that a group of churches connected through purpose and ministry can't do on their own across denominational lines?

I may be treading on some dangerous waters here, but these are the questions our generation of leaders must be able to answer.

Until we can answer some of these questions, I think we're just going to be fumbling around in the dark.

Oct 19, 2009

General Assembly Declares Bicycle Riding Dangerous to Christian Faith

The minutes of the 1896 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church note: "Sunday bicycle pleasure riding; an alarming laxity of sentiment among many who profess and call themselves Christians, in reference to the binding obligation of the Fourth Commandment...is foreign to the Scriptural standard of holy living, and subversive of true Sabbath rest."

This was the report of the Special Committee on Sabbath Observance that was received and approved by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1896.

I am all for keeping the Lord's day the Lord's way. I am all for worshiping and honoring God on the Sabbath day. But saying declaring bicycle riding a desecration of the Sabbath day?!?!?!

Now, we may look at this and chuckle, but I wonder how many traditions and cultural beliefs we hold onto today that hinders the church from being the church.

Are we willing to change the way we worship? When we worship? How loud we worship?

Or do we insist that others worship God the way we've always done church?

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Oct 18, 2009

Healthy Organizations and Fouls

Healthy relationships aren't relations devoid of conflict. When it comes to conflict, there is no difference between healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. But healthy relationships are ones where the parties are able to recognize and call fouls when fouls have occurred.

There is no such thing as a relationship without conflict.

Jesus said, "When two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in there midst." While that's certainly true, it's also true that whenever two or more are gathered, there is bound to be conflict, misunderstandings, offences, and hurt feelings. And this will always be the case until Jesus comes again.

So the key to healthy relationships, organizations, and churches is not that they are devoid of conflict, but that the community is able to recognize and call fouls when they occur.

When an organization does not deal with fouls in a healthy way dysfunction, disunity, and low morale is the result. This is also the case when fouls are not clearly defined in organizations and in relationships.

While it is true that each organization has its own culture and its way of doing things, there are some universal truths about all human beings.
- everyone wants to be valued
- everyone wants to be treated with respect
- everyone wants to contribute to something greater than themselves

When these universal needs are violated, a foul has occurred.

And when those fouls are not recognized and addressed in healthy ways, that organization and relationships will become unhealthy.

So how healthy are your relationships, organizations, and churches?

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Oct 17, 2009

Worship - It's Not About You

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3).

Genuine worship begins with God, is all about God, and ends with God.

Worship is all about God.

It's so simple. It sounds so benign. But this is huge.

Because America's worship has become too much about my pains, my shortcomings, my failures, my limitations, my dysfunctions, my needs. And because we've centered so much on "me", we've become a culture that worships "me".

And because our worship is "me" focused, we are stuck with "me".

The tragedy of this is only worshiping God - his character, his nature, his power, his love, his mercy, his grace, his omnipotence, his faithfulness, etc. - will free us and change us.

You've got pains, hurts, needs, shortcomings, failures, etc.? God can change that. God can make a difference. God can make you new.

But in order for that to happen, we've got to get God focused.

Get your focus off you and start focusing on God.

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty!!!"

Oct 16, 2009

Live with PASSION

Been in blah week.

That's coming to a stop right now. Hate going through the motions of life. God has kept me alive for a reason. I'm going to LIVE for Christ!

I allowed myself to be in a funk. And now I am choosing to get out. No more going through the motions.

Doing everything for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Going to live the rest of today passionately. And then going repeat that process daily.

God is in control and that's good enough for me!!!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Oct 13, 2009

Just Be - The Holding Pattern

No doubt that God is at work.

No doubt that God knows what He's doing.

Just wish He'd clue me in.

Until things are crystal clear about what He's up to, I'm in a holding pattern.

Note to self - I don't do holding pattern very well. I'm much more at ease doing than being.

But there are times when God calls us to be - be trusting, be patient, be my child, just be and wait.

And so I wait. I just be.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Oct 12, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

I love this picture.

That's JFK Jr playing in the Whitehouse.

Time magazine says that JFK Jr was 2 years old when this picture was taken.

The only thing that this 2 year-old boy knows and cares about is that this is his daddy, and this is his daddy's office. And because this is his daddy, he has every right to be right where he is.

The child has no idea of the significance of the place which he is playing on, that his daddy happens to be the president of the most powerful nation on earth, or that the some of the most important decisions ever made for America were made right where he's playing.

But that's the thing I love about this picture. It reminds me of who my Daddy is. It reminds me that there are too many days when I allow myself to become so overwhelmed and impressed by the things that is happening around me that I forget who my Daddy is. And when I get overwhelmed and impressed by my problems, I get depressed because I don't see any way out. But that's because I forget who my Daddy is.

We are loved by a God who is limitless in power and ability. Our God is more than able to do more that we could ever imagine or hope for. And if this God is for us, friends, who or what can stand against us?

We sometimes hear people joking when they ask, "Who's your daddy?"

Well, actually, I think that's one of the best questions I've heard in a while.

So friends, who's your Daddy?

Ice Age 3 for Fifty Cents

I took the kids to see Ice Age 3 tonight at the dollar theater in Plano. To my surprise, the tickets at the dollar theater weren't a dollar - they were 50 cents!!! 50 cents!!!

How in the world do they make money showing movies for 50 cents???

I suppose if I were to have purchased popcorn, drinks, and candy for the kids they would have made bundles off me today - because all those things are normal price, but because we were running late to the show, I just bought the tickets and we all rushed into the theater.

This is the best movie deal of the world!!!

Obviously, the theater is not nice as the ones that are charging $10 a ticket and showing the newest movies, but this theater was clean and the movies they are showing are still not available on dvd.

I loved it. A family of six at the movies for $3!!! And the movie Ice Age 3 was a hoot!

The story is all about loyalty and sticking together as a family/herd, supporting one another, being there for one another, not giving up on each other. My 4 year old to my teenagers loved the movie.

If you've never been there before, check out Cinemark 10 in Plano. Their normal prices are $1.50 and $.75 on Tuesdays. I have no idea why the tickets were only fifty cents today but this daddy ain't complaining. What have you got to lose?

Oct 11, 2009

The church - We are Such Lovely Ugly People

I have never met such lovely ugly people as I have in the church of Jesus Christ.

On the one hand we are the loveliest bunch of people I know. Who else can love and dispense grace and understanding as the church of Jesus Christ? Who else can love on people, feed people, and help people as the church of Jesus Christ? There are few things more glorious than to see the church in action.

At the same time, the same churches and often the same people can be so ugly. Who else can gossip, judge, and slander people as the church? Who else can disparage, discouraging, discriminate, and hate as the church of Jesus Christ? There are few things uglier than seeing the church seething with gossip and negativity.

And I so wish it were not the case.

But the problem is me. Because this is me.

And it is the me's who make up the church.

God, help us to be less of me, and more of You. Because that's the only hope that we have of moving away from being so much like me and becoming so much like You.

God, help your church from me.

Oct 10, 2009

In Real Life Daniels Get Eaten by the Lions

I've always loved action stories in the Bible.
  • David and Goliath
  • Samson and the Philistines
  • Jonah and the whale
  • and of course, Daniel in the Lion's Den
I loved these stories as a boy because they were cool, fun, and because the good guy always won.

And the lesson that was taught was that if you do what's right, things are going to work out.

That's always the lesson.

But the problem is that's not always how things work out.

In real life, the guy in the lion's den gets eaten by the lions, the giant slays the boy, and the whale swallows up and digests the guy eaten.

Not only is this how it works in the real world, it works that way in the Biblical world too. Just take a look at Hebrews chapter 11 or consider what happened to all the disciples of Jesus Christ. Oh, and don't forget what happened to Jesus.

The problem with stories like Daniel in the lion's den is that Daniel's experience in the lion's den is the exception and not the rule.

And if that's the case, why is it in the Bible? What am I supposed to take from that? Because the reality is that very few, if any, of us are going to ever be the exception. So if none of us are ever going to be the exception, what are we supposed to learn from these stories? That we suck? That life hurts? What's the point?

The lesson God wants to teach me through Daniel is still an important lesson for all of us to learn.

All of Daniel's actions were driven by his intense understanding of an eternal God. Daniel couldn't help but see everything through the lens of eternity. That's why he was more than willing to face a certain death because he was even more certain of His eternal God.

And that's a great lesson no matter what we're facing and when we're living because that's the same God who loves you and me!

Oct 8, 2009

Praising God in Anxious Times

I'm finding myself at a terribly confusing point in my life.
  • I know that God is on control
  • I know that all things will work out for the good for those who love Jesus. I have no doubts about that. 
  • I have no idea how God's going to make it all work out. I have NO IDEA.
In fact, everything around me is telling me that it's not going to work. And it's the disconnect between what I'm seeing and what I believe that's the source of the anxiety.

Shouldn't knowing that God is in control be enough?

Well, yes. That should be enough. But, the truth is I don't feel much peace or certainty. In fact I'm feeling a lot of the opposites - anxiety, confusion, fear.

Two things about this:

First, I think God is quite okay with this. This is one of the things that makes us human. This is what makes faith, faith. The Psalmist knew God was God, and yet there were plenty of moments in the Psalmist's life when he cried out to God in total desperation.

Second, I am quite okay with this. This is what it means to trust God with all my heart.

So here's the deal. I'm not going to pretend as though I'm not anxious. There's no point to that. It is what it is.

But more importantly, I am not going to allow my anxiety to imprison me. I am going to live by faith. I am going to live as though the faith reality is the reality and live into to that faith reality until God makes it happen - anxiety and all.

And I am going to praise God in the midst of my anxiety.

James <><
Check out what God is doing @

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Oct 3, 2009

The Lion's Den - It's Not so Fun When You're the One in There

One of the most well known stories of the Bible is Daniel in the Lion's Den. I learned it as a little boy going to Sunday school. I always thought this was such a cool story - Daniel got to hang out with a bunch of lions and he didn't even get hurt or anything. What boy wouldn't like a story like that?

I never gave much thought to what it must have really been like for Daniel - a great man of God or not - to be in a den full of hungry man eating lions must have been absolutely horrifying and terrible. Did he ever sit? Did he ever sleep? Or was he in prayer and in peace as all the Sunday School pictures used to show him. I always just kind of figured that Daniel was a cool cucumber because he knew that God would take care of him.

The picture that I would love to see is Daniel sleeping like a baby in the lion's den because he felt so protected.

But a picture like that wouldn't ever fly. Because a picture like that doesn't jive with reality. And the reality is that it sucks to be in a den full of lions!

We've all gone through nights and periods of our lives where it felt like we were trapped in a den full of man-eating lions. And although we knew that God was in control and all the right stuff about how all things work together for the good for those trust in Jesus, those nights and periods in our lives were terrifying and dreadful.

That's the thing about faith isn't it? In hindsight, it's always so simple and easy. Of course that was God speaking. Of course God was leading in that direction.

But in the heat of the lion's den - when your very survival and sanity and peace are at stake - it's nerve wracking and terrifying.

It's not that you don't believe that God will act. It's just that you have no idea how it's all going to work itself out and who have no control over when and how God will act. You're totally at God's mercy for that. And, I don't know about you, but I hate the waiting and not knowing part.

But, that's exactly what faith is. It is trusting and absolutely knowing that God is indeed in control and that God will work all things for the good for those who trust in Him, even in the midst of impossibly difficult situations where everything seems to be lost. That's what faith is. That's when faith is required. If faith was a sure thing, faith would not be necessary.

All that we need to know when we're going through periods of time with the lions is that God is leading and God is in control. And as long as you're holding onto His hand, you're going to end up right where you want to be - in God's presence.

So friends in the lion's den, don't lose hope. Have a great day because God is in control. Just remember to never let go of His hand.

Getting Out of the Funk - Lessons Learned from Washing Dishes

Ever have those days where you feel like you're in a daze. Where you get up and you're just not motivated to do anything. Where you don't want to do the things you know you have to do, and you avoid doing the things that will be the very thing that will help you get out of the fog.

Well, I've had a week like that.

It's been tough.

Here's what I learned from washing the dishes.

One of the my duties around the house besides taking out the garbage, cleaning the toilets and the tubs, etc., is loading up the dish washer.

I found myself a few days ago in the middle of this funk. It wasn't that I had a nasty attitude. I didn't have an attitude at all. There was no passion, no hatred, no emotion. I was in a funk.

And I found myself going through the motions of preparing for the sermon, doing the dishes, and going through the activities of the week - doing everything half-hearted. And doing everything half-hearted was killing me. I don't do half-hearted very well. In fact, I don't think any one does half-hearted very well.

Half-hearted endeavors kill passion sucks the life out of everything and every one.

I hate half-hearted.

While loading up the dishes, I made the conscious decision - "I am tired of doing everything half-hearted. I am going to give my absolute best to everything I am doing. I don't want to do anything again half-hearted. Whatever I am doing, I want to give my best."

And you know what? The fog has lifted. I'm out of the funk.

And I think that's the way we all get out of the funk - we've got to live life whole-hearted. So whatever it is that you are doing right now, do it with everything you've got.

Oct 1, 2009

Is the Way We're Doing God's Work Destroying the Work God is Doing in Us?

Evangelical Christianity has got it right. We believe all the right things about who God is, who Jesus is, and what the Bible teaches.

That's not the problem.

The problem is in the way so many of us evangelical Christians go about doing God's work.

Where is the grace?

Where is the mercy?

Where is the tact?

Where is the wisdom?

There is so much venom and vitriol hatred toward the very people needing grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

Now, granted, not all evangelical Christianity nor all evangelical Christians are that way. And thank God for that.

But the problem is that the very things that the unchurched and the non-Christians are saying why they don't like the institutional church is the very way in which so many evangelical Christians and churches behave.

The way we are doing God's work is destroying the work that God is trying to do in and through us.

Friends, we've got to get better at proclaiming the truths we hold so dear in a way and a manner that does not betray Jesus Christ.

Our attitudes, our behaviors, our prejudices say so much more than the utterances of right theology.

I long for the day when our churches can both live and speak the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that is received by the very people who need Jesus Christ as good news.
James <><
Check out what God is doing @

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

I Have Never Been Jealous...of a Ballerina

I can categorically say with a 100% certainty that I have never ever, not even once been jealous .......................... of a ballerina.

For that matter, I've never been jealous of a florist, a plumber, an accountant, a pianist, or a host of other professionals who do their jobs excellently.

However, when I hear and see another pastor doing their job better than me, the green eyed monster of jealousy creeps up real fast.

Isn't that the way it works for all of us? We are only jealous of folks who are most like us and folks who are closest to us.

So when the green eyed monster of jealousy creeps up into your heart, squash it before it gets the best of you and your closest relationships. Jealousy is always ugly and we are all better off without the green eyed monster.
James <><
Check out what God is doing @

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile