Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The one constant in life is change.

I want to thank everyone for reading my blog since 2009. I have enjoyed sharing my life and thoughts. The Lord has shown me many things and I have learned so much in the process.

I have started a new blog at

I would be honored if you would join me on this new adventure.

I still believe that the challenges do "come to pass" and I will continue to share in that regard and remind us of that truth. But,  I also have been challenged to think a little differently about our challenges.

I am so glad that things pass and don't remain the same but what do we do while we are in the midst of the storm? Do we sit idly by and wait hoping to endure?

There is a two part equation to life- what God does and what we do. God is the one with all the strength and power and knowledge. I am the one who is weak and powerless and ignorant. Yet, we are called upon, in scripture to "hold fast". This is our part of the equation. God does what He does as only He can and while He is at work, our role, our part is to hold fast; to be courageous in the midst of the trouble, to remember the promises of God and to not let go of them.

This idea of holding fast came as a result of reading an article on the art of manliness website Great site. This idea of holding fast refers to a nautical idea of not letting go of the rope. The rope is and symbolizes your life. Hold on to the rope you live, let go of the rope you may die.

Holding Fast will be a new place for encouragement. A place to be reminded over and over to "hold fast". The storm will pass but as it does, we must hold fast to the word of God and never let it go.

Please join me at

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I...F...two letters that make up a "big" word.

The longer we live, the more we can see behind us and sometimes that look back leads us to say "If only..." The reality is that we live in a world of "ifs". We contemplate the plethora of decisions we make or didn't make and wonder "If" I had made this decision this might of been the outcome or "if" I had made that decision, the direction of my life would have gone down that road.

The only problem with this "if" is that it is based on the past, on hindsight. We each live with the consequences of our decisions and we cannot go back. We can ask the "if" questions but they get us nowhere.

How do we avoid and deal with the "ifs"?

First, we seek to make the right decision at the front end. We must be able to see, with some degree of wisdom, the consequences of the decision we are faced with currently. We need to think through the "ifs" before we move forward. This is proactive not reactive.

Secondly, once our decision is made, its made. Whatever comes, as a result of our decision, it comes and there is nothing we can do to change it. We might be able to adjust it's course to some degree but once it is in motion, it accomplishes its duty whether good or bad.

Thirdly, if the decision led to the wrong or unintentional end, we must live with the consequences. It is futile to wonder or ask the "if only" questions. It is done and now we live with it. There ought to be a time of reflection and determine the cause of our misguided decision. Once that is
over, move on. There is nothing else to do but to move on and determine to never make that bad decision again.

Lastly, we need accountability in some of our decision making. Having a couple of other people close in our life can prove beneficial. The book of Proverbs has much to teach us about wisdom and the benefit we gain by having others around us.

"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed."
Proverbs 15:22

As we move forward in life, may our decisions be wise, may we celebrate the good and learn from our mistakes; never to repeat them and forget the "ifs".

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How our "Stuff" Speaks to What We Value

For better or for worse, I have moved a lot in my life.

In our most recent move, I began to contemplate on how my "stuff", the material possessions I own, speaks to what I value. I became concerned with what others were thinking about my stuff and if it made any difference how much or how little I had. Does our stuff reflect our values? Does it reflect who we are as followers of Jesus?

In all the moving that I have done and assisted with, this is something I had never thought about before. My stuff has just been my stuff. I have more questions than answers on this subject but here are some thoughts.

Jesus taught that our treasure reflects our hearts. He taught that God knows that we need physical things like places to live, clothes to wear and food to eat and just like He provides for the sparrow, He will provide for us.(Matt 6)

If I accumulate a considerable amount of material things, does this indicate that "stuff" is my treasure? How much stuff is too much stuff? And if I have too much or too little, does that truly indicate the focus of my heart?

Another principle that we must consider is do we love money.The Apostle Paul teaches about this in 1 Tim 6:10 "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs". The "love of money" is the problem, not money itself.

Do I love money more than God? Jesus said we cannot serve both God and money (Luke 16:13). If I love money more than God, it very well be evident in the amount and cost of my stuff. The love of money leads me to be "me" focused rather than "kingdom" focused (Matt 6:33).

Our stuff, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad. How much stuff we have may not truly reflect our heart towards God or anything else but it is good to stop and think through how our stuff may reflect to those around me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Many years ago our pastor spoke about drifting.

I am not into boating but I can image that drifting is nothing more than letting the wind and current take you wherever it wills. If there are no oars in the water, no sail, no rudder, then the boat will have no real intentional direction.

I imagine that drifting could lead to the boat aimlessly floating along and then without much notice there appears a dangerous waterfall. If there is nothing to power the boat away from danger then the unintentional consequence of drifting is possible death and certain destruction.

Unfortunately, if we are not purposeful and intentional, we will drift along this life being carried along by all sorts of selfish desires and carried further and further from the safety of the shore where truth and life reside.

It is often in a moment of crisis that we become painfully aware of our drifting. It exposes the reality that we have not been as intentional with our life, our spouse our career, or our children and family.

In response to this reality, we will either  think that we have gone to far and there is no hope or we will  raise the sails, put the oars in the water and do those things that we ought to have been doing all along.

Drifting will get you nowhere. It is only with intentional thought and action do we make positive progress in life. It is seeking Christ and His ways and then living in His power and strength.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dry Bones

I have come to love the story in Ezekiel 37 about his vision of the "valley of dry bones". It is a great story of God's power and work in the history of Israel. It reveals the heart of God in that He does what he does because of His great name, for the honor of His name and for His own glory. The other interesting aspect is that no where does it mention Israel as a reason for His restoration power. Israel will greatly benefit but they were not the reason. According to the "word of the LORD" Israel defamed the name of God because of their idol worship.

I am glad that I am not the center of God's world. I make myself the center of my world but it is wrong to do so and only leads to trouble. It leads me to believe that God should always do what I want and when He doesn't "come through" I'm left disappointed and frustrated at God. I also think that I have all wisdom and can do what I think is best. I make myself my own idol.

The future promise that God would raise a "exceeding great army" is a glorious thing because it is God who does it and He does it for His own glory! When God acts for His own glory and we are obedient to His words, a wonderful thing happens; we are restored and filled with the power and presence of God.

We do not know better than God. The idols we make only take us away from the truth. When we are obedient to the teaching of God, we find peace, freedom, His presence and healing. The idols leave us dumb, mute and deaf; just like they are.

If you are "dry" from following after idols, which is what sin is, then stop today and confess and repent of your sin. God will send His Spirit to revive and restore and you will be blessed and mighty in the power of God.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Value of 2nd

Our culture seems to only celebrate and focus on the 1st stringers, the A-list players. Granted, they are in that position due to great skill and leadership abilities. Whole companies and franchises are built around the 1st string quarterback, running back or wide-receiver type of people. They are the ones that everybody comes to see or the ones that everyone wants to talk to.

What happens when the 1st stringers go down and they are taken out of the game?

Here is where the value of the 2nd string players either shine or they reveal a fundamental flaw that the 2nd string players are not as prepared or equipped to play at the same level. The 2nd string players must be as good and must know the plan just like the 1st string players. The 2nd string must prepare, workout, practice and train just like the 1st string.

The value placed on the 2nd is critical to the success of the organization.

If the resources that are available to the 1st string are not available to the 2nd, then there will be trouble when the 1st is not there or out of commission.

Whatever organization you and I are a part of, there is a great need to invest in the 2nd. Moses had his Joshua, Paul had his Timothy. Leaders must invest in others so that when they are out, the work, the business, the ministry will continue with the same level of excellence.

The 2nd's of our organizations need to be in the game when the 1st are present. Those in 1st position must not dominate the entire organization, they must allow the 2nd to have some leadership and gain the experience and trust of the people supporting the organization.

The over arching goal of preparing the 2nd's like the 1st is that the organization will have continued and long-term success. If we fail to plan for the future and the "what ifs", we will find the organization at a great disadvantage when the 1st leaders are gone.

One last thought; if you are a 1st share with your 2nd. If you are a 2nd, stay prepared and ready. Don't think that you are not valuable, keep your head in the game.

Value the 2nd.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Don't Miss It

In the busyness of life during the Christmas season, we often are lured into thinking about ourselves and all the preparations that must be made for the holiday; gifts to buy and wrap, food to cook, and parties to attend.


Sorry for the cliché but if we are not careful we will miss the reason for the season. We will miss the beauty of God’s creation on a cold winter’s night when the sky is clear and the stars are clearly seen. We forget that history is His Story and that we are in need of a Savior to save us from the wrath of God, to give us eternal life and hope and purpose for the now.


Before there was time, God determined the plan for and the way he would provide, for us, to have a relationship with him. The scriptures state in Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”


Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. May we be reminded of why we have this season and may we truly celebrate the birth of Jesus. May we never forget that what started in the heart of God and the prophecy spoken throughout the OT has come through a birth that began a life that ultimately was given to die on a cross and was resurrected on the third day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Til Death Do Us Part

The wedding vows are sacred and no one should enter into them lightly

After 30 years of marriage, those vows have been tested and to God's glory have stood those test.

I am married to a really great woman.

She is funny, talented, creative, a good cook and baker. She has been a good mom to our three kids and a wonderful grandmother to our three grandkids. I love her laugh and her smile. She can flare her nostrils on demand and she packs a punch.

Our 30 years together has gone by so fast. I can only imagine what the next 30 years might bring.

I love her more today than I did 30 years ago and I thought I loved her greatly then.

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Getting the Horse before the Cart

I am sure we have all heard the phrase "getting the cart before the horse". It refers to doing things backwards or doing the second thing first rather than the first thing first. We understand how silly and foolish (preposterous) it would be to try and get anywhere in such a configuration. First things first and then second things second.

The same foolishness might be said of our lives if we put doing ahead of being. Who we are, our identity, is not not what we do - our jobs, careers or activity - but rather our identity should be based on who's we are.

As followers of Jesus, our identity is based on Christ and His life. Paul states in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

When I base my identity on my doing rather than my being, I run the risk of being foolish and greatly disappointed when the doing ceases.

When I focus on being with Christ and letting Him live His life through me, the doing will come natural. The Spirit of God will manifest Himself in and through my life to bring God glory and to do good to others.

Be whom God has created and called you to be and then the doing will following.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Here I Go Again

Everything I once held dear and thought was right has been blown away by our kind, gracious, patient, loving Savior. The belief that I was the center of the universe, had all knowledge and wisdom, understood all mysteries and was always right has been completely exposed as idolatry and sin.

Though I never meant to exalt myself above God or to think of myself more highly than I ought, I look back and see that I drifted toward allowing those feelings into my mind and I couldn't recognize it at the time.

A few years removed and I see more clearly than ever before. The reality is that I have nothing to offer, nothing to boast in and lack in all areas of my life without Christ. Jesus Christ must be the center of our lives or we will begin to believe the lies that we can make it without Him or we may think that we have enough knowledge and wisdom to make it on our own.

When I started this blog I was serving on staff as a full-time associate pastor and wrote from that perspective and understanding. Now that I am in the market place and serving as a "volunteer" worship leader, my perspective on life and ministry has been adjusted.

My plan going forward is to write and share my life in the "real world". To be honest and real (not that I wasn't before) in sharing my life and understanding of what the Lord is doing in and around me.

Here I go again...

Blessings and Peace


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On Being a Hero

We often look at athletes as heroes when they overcome great odds and pressure to accomplish the miraculous field goal, winning basket or last minute touchdown. They are cheered for, lifted up on shoulders and talked about in various media outlets. I will never know what it feels like to be a part of such exuberance or accomplishment. The reality is that the vast majority of people won't either.

Merriam-Webster defines a hero as "a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities"

Being a hero is not limited to winning championships and world titles. Being a hero in the lives of those around you may be more important than anything. When we face challenges with bravery and courage we become a hero. Heroes don't shrink back at adversity. Heroes strive for positive outcomes and excellence in what they encounter. Heroes don't wait for someone else to show up and do the hard thing. Heroes step up and do right and great things.

Be the hero for your family. Be the hero for those you lead. Be the hero in your community.

Be a hero!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Everyone has faced disappointment at one time or another. It might have been in a relationship, not being picked for a sports team, not getting the promotion or the job of your dreams. Maybe the disappointment has come by making mistakes or using bad judgement and now the consequences are being felt and so you are disappointed in yourself for not being more wise or not being more discerning.

There are two directions we can go when we are disappointed; we can either keep moving forward and look to the future and how God may use these disappointments or we can become discouraged and focus on the negative side of disappointments and believe the lie that we are worthless or that life is a complete waste of time.

I was reminded of and I try to keep Romans 8:28 in the front of my mind regularly. This promise is that God works all things (good, bad, positive, negative, disappointment, joy, heartache, etc) for the good of those who love him (his children, those who follow him out of love and faith). The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. God uses everything to mold us, shape us, humble us and work in us for His glory and the good of us and others.

Take the disappointment and view it through the eyes of God and trust Him to use it for your good. Realize that God sees the whole and we only see in part.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight"
Proverbs 3

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Makes Music Ministry?

Music is ministry when God is worshiped, exalted, adored and glorified and not music or instrumentation

Music is ministry when relationships are more important than musical performance

Music is ministry when we lead our brothers and sisters in Christ to sing about the gospel - the cross, salvation, the blood, Jesus' life, death, burial and resurrection, our sin and our need to be saved

Music is ministry when in our singing and playing we do it skillfully with joy, no distractions

Music is ministry when style of music is not the focus or point

Music is ministry when we love God and others

For further thought, read Psalms 147:1-11

Please feel free to add to my list...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Embrace the Moment

On the way to the office this morning, I was reflecting on life and the thought occurred to me that the past is exactly that...the past. What I've accomplished and experienced has had an incredible effect on my life today but I cannot live off the fumes of those things. Today is today and if continue to live in the past, I miss out on what God is doing today.

I have spent the past two years adjusting from full-time local church ministry. It has been a very difficult process for me. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that there have been some dark days. I have gone on a roller coaster ride with my emotions which served to expose some false ideas about life and identity.

So, today I am seeking to live in the moment; not live in the past and all it's stuff and embrace what God is giving me to do today. I do not want to miss what the Lord is doing around me because I'm not "where" I think I should be.

There may still be some days that I will struggle with issues or feelings but for today, I am finding contentment in the day to day life of being a follower of Jesus.

"It's not where you've been that matters as much as where you now; embrace the moment"

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Father's Love

I had the opportunity this past Sunday to preach. The text for the message was Luke 15 where Jesus confronts the Pharisees and Scribes for their grumbling that Jesus was not only receiving sinners and tax collectors but he was also eating with them.

Jesus confronts them with three parables about something lost, the ensuing search, finding the lost item and the great rejoicing that takes place. The first story is about a lost sheep, the second is about a lost coin and the last one, the one that was specifically aimed at the religious, self-righteous hypocrites was about a lost son.

This last story is not only about the prodigal (sinners and tax collectors) or his older brother (Pharisees and Scribes) but more importantly it is about the father and his love for both the sinner and religious. Both of these sons did not love the father. The prodigal wished him dead and the other brother was in bondage to rules and self-serving obedience. Neither were healthy relationships and yet the father is loving, patient, kind and forgiving towards both.

There have been times when I have been the prodigal; not wanting to be controlled or be under the authority of my heavenly Father. There have been times when I played the legalistic religious person and obeyed out of duty or to gain some selfish end or only those who met my standard were "approved". Both extremes are lifeless, sad, lonely, and disobedient ways of living. What is best is to realize how much we are loved by God and live in His presence, eating His bread, being protected by His power and enjoying His great love for us.

No matter if you are the prodigal or the legalist, God loves you both; you just can't stay there. Repent and turn to God and you will find Him right there; full of compassion, forgiveness and restoration.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When "Life" Hands You Lemons..."

Most of us have heard the saying "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade". We understand, in part, that whatever comes our way, that we are to make the best of the situation.

I suppose this is true. We often cannot control the external forces that are at work around us. We cannot control the repressive boss or the annoying co-worker nor can we make people around us do the "right" thing. Of course the "right" thing is the way I do it or say it. So how do we best deal with the "lemons" in our life or avoid them all together?

First of all, I believe we have to be humble. It is easier said than done but necessary none the least. It is in humility that we are able to deal with whatever comes our way. In humility, we are not focused on us or our rights or our comforts. Humility is empty of self.

Secondly, we must control what it is that we can control. The two things I can control is my reaction and attitude. I believe this comes from humility and it is it's outward manifestation. How I react emotionally and verbally to any situation is important to me and those around me. So, whatever the situation, let humility be evident in our actions and words.

Lastly, it is imperative that we exercise wisdom on the front end. Our wisdom will be evident in our discernment of opportunities that are presented to us. Whether it is a new job, relationship or some other life decision, we need to be wise as we move forward. If there are warning signs or red flags, pay attention and don't proceed blindly or with rose colored glasses.

We will not be able to control every situation. We are where we are and God can use us in any situation regardless of it's condition. If we can learn early on how to handle difficult situations the better we will be prepared when they come.

I have to confess that there have been situations in my life that I handled poorly. I cannot go back and undo anything but I can learn,grow and move on from these experiences and benefit from them now and in the future.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Living Tucked-in in an Un-Tucked World: The Callenge to Change

For most of my adult life I have always tucked my shirt in. Even when wearing shorts and a T-Shirt, I would tuck my shirt in. I am not certain as to why I would always do that but that is how I rolled.

In the recent past, I have begun to wear my shirt un-tucked. It has been a journey for me. It took a change in me to allow myself to relax and not concern myself with having things "perfect" as the tucked in shirt would indicate for me.

This all sounds silly but there is a point to be made.

We may find ourselves doing things out of habit or because we were taught a specific way or ideals were put upon us without instruction or reasoning. We do what we do because that is the way we do it. This would be my situation. Always tucking in my shirt was a habit and was based on ideals that were put upon me by those who always tucked there shirts in.

So, I decided to change.

Change can be a challenge. It often goes against what we have been doing or believed for some time. So, as I began this change, it took me awhile to get comfortable wearing my shirt un-tucked but once I had for awhile and no one was offended or shocked at my un-tuckedness, I realized that in most situations, wearing my shirt un-tucked is OK.

Change is never easy or comfortable but when change is needed, it must have purpose and be based on what is true. External forces can make me do things but in my heart I may not really buy into the process.

God is at work changing me and conforming me to the likeness of Christ. It is not always easy but in the end it is good, beneficial and I pray, brings glory to God. My shirt being tucked in or un-tucked is really not the issue. The point is, that we need to be willing to change and do the things we do with purpose and in truth.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It has been awhile since my last post and I hope to be writing more this year. The Lord has been faithful and is at work in my life.
I hope to begin to share my recent journey soon and be more consistant in my post. So, until then, please keep checking for updated post.

Also, I would really like to hear from you. If I write something that benefits you, please let me know.

I will have a new post soon.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Getting Past Regrets

I suspect that most of us have regrets. Whether it is related to a job, college choice, relationship or life issue, we probably have a regret or two. The regret may be a distant memory or a recent occurrence; but either way, what do we do with our regrets? How do we turn the regret into something good.

I am sure every biblical character, except Jesus, has regrets. Abraham probably regretted trying to help God with His plan, Jonah may have regretted disobeying God's word to him. David regretted his affair with Bathsheba. Peter regretted his denial of Jesus and Paul regretted his persecution of the Church.

As I look to the Word of God and the examples of men and women before me, I consider their regrets or sins and then look at how the moved beyond them. Each one moved past the failure and did great things in faith. Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, as the Lord instructed, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness. David taught us how to repent and teach transgressors God's way. Peter went on to preach at the Day of Pentecost, being used by God to write Scripture and Paul went on to be a great missionary and wrote most of the New Testament.

Romans 8:28 states "God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose". I firmly believe that nothing is wasted in the economy of God. God uses our failures to create humility and dependency upon Himself. In our failure, our need for God, His power and strength are intensified and more easily recognized.

I have plenty of regrets. The scheme of the devil is to keep me focused on regrets, those things that are behind; things I cannot change. The proper response to regrets is to repent of any sin that I have committed and then move on. Keep looking to Jesus, who is the "Author and Perfecter of my faith", who loves me and has a greater plan for my life than I can imagine. Regrets, if not properly dealt with, cause me to look at myself and then I waller like a pig in my feelings, feeling sorry for myself. What I must continually do is look to Jesus. I must keep looking forward.

If you are dealing with regret, look to Jesus, repent and then move on and let Christ finish His work in you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Don't Be a Ted Baxter

You may remember a TV show from the 1970's called "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". It was about a young single women living in Minneapolis, Minnisota who works for a local TV statation, WJM. One characters on the show was Ted Baxter. He was the anchorman who reported all the major news stories.

In one episode, Ted and Mary are up for awards in their respective areas. As they are waiting to hear the results, Ted realizes that if Mary wins they probably won't give the same station two awards so he confesses that he hopes she loses so that he can win. In the end he wins and Mary does not.

For the rest of the episode Ted is running around interrupting conversations to talk about his award that he carries with him everywhere he goes. In general terms, Ted Baxter is a selfish, self centered person.

This made me think "Don't be a Ted Baxter". If you were to be a Ted Baxter you would have TBS - Ted Baxter Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by the following:
  • Making yourself the center of attention
  • Crying or whining when things don't go your way
  • Being the epitome of arrogance and pride
  • Interrupting the conversations of others to talk about yourself

We all struggle with this syndrome because in reality, this "TBS" is our sin nature. Because of sin, we always think about ourselves and what we can get or gain from everything or everyone

around us. In Christ there is a change that happens. It is new birth; it is to become a new creation; the old has passed and the new has come. (2 Cor 5:17)

Philippians 2 is one passage that teaches us about this change He makes in our lives to rid us of this "TBS". Here is what it states:
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Don't Be a Ted Baxter - Have the mind of Christ.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Embrace the Wind

For the past number of years I have been cycling. It started as a way to lose weight that my doctor said I needed to lose but wouldn't lose ( he tried a little "reverse psychology" and it worked). Then it became a way of life to keep the weight off. After riding some 4,000+ miles or so I stopped riding. I lost interest and become lazy.

Well, this year has begun a resurgence of intentionality towards riding. I have a new willingness to put on the gear, air up the tires and ride. The major problem I most often face riding in Kansas is not so much the hills (yes there are hills in Kansas) but the wind. Because of the rich farmland we enjoy in Kansas, there is a noticeable lack of trees to block the wind. A beautiful, sunny day of 83 degrees with a 21 mph wind is great for sailboats and wind surfers but not so much for cyclist.

With the windy conditions we have in Kansas you have to embrace the wind. If you wait for a calm day to ride you might ride 5 times a year. So, I am learning to embrace the wind. It is hard to ride against it. You have a sense that you are going nowhere slow. The sound of the rushing wind and the 9 mph on your speedometer can really cause to wonder why, why are you out here riding.

You struggle and struggle to make your way against the wind and you finally arrive at the turn around spot. It is then that you remember why you fight the wind, why you put up with legs that burn. It's because you have a tail wind all the way back. At one point a turtle could beat you and the next you are flying. But in order to fly with the wind you must first fight it. It is the struggle that makes you strong. It is the perseverance that rewards you with an almost effortless ride home.

There is a spiritual lesson to for us to learn. I call it "Embrace the Flame (trial)". Much like riding against the wind, life is sometimes a challenge; finances, health, relationships, etc. all seem to battle against us and make the ride difficult. We don't always understand why the trials come but James calls us to "count it all joy when you face various trials" (my paraphrase of James 1:2) So, it is in the midst of the trial that "faith is tested" so "that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:3-4 NIV) If we wish the trial away or we do not facing it, we lose the benefit of it. The benefit of the trial, if we count it joy, is perseverance or the result of genuine faith, maturity and completeness.

When we don't give up, when we become mature and complete there is reward. A life well lived and a eternal home with Jesus. No matter how strong the wind or the trial, keep pedaling and count it all joy. The turn around point is just ahead.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Where is the hope?

We live in a time that seems to be different than other generations. News that would take days even weeks to reach us is now almost immediate. The decay of morals and the corruption of governments seems to be getting worse. We seem to devalue life and care more for personal agendas or personal rights.

Yet, with all of the badness of our world, its not new. When you look back at history, we see the same evil, selfish acts of terrorism and the murdering of innocent lives. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes states in chapter 1 verse 9 "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

In the midst of all that is happening in our world there is hope. Our hope is Jesus Christ. He alone is the source of true hope for now and for all of eternity. But we often lose sight of this reality. We take our focus off of the Lord and put it on things around us. If we are not careful, we will put our hope in the political process. We will strive to legislate morality. We will fight for personal rights, when the reality for followers of Jesus is that we are slaves to Christ.

The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sin, was buried and arose on the third day. We need to share this good news. We know the world is corrupt, we know that people are sinful and selfish; what is right is called wrong and what is wrong is called right. What we all need is a change of heart. Only God through Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit can this change happen and this message of good news is ours to share.

The Psalmist states "Why are you downcast, O my Soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5

We can look around us and become hopeless and defeated or we can put our hope in God and praise Him and "... be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have". (1 Peter 3:15)

Saturday, March 30, 2013


 Perfect : 1a: being entirely without fault or defect ...b: satisfying all requirements...
                                                                                                      Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Please allow me to state the obvious...we are imperfect people living in a imperfect world. Yet, it seems, we are under pressure to be perfect. But is this idea of being perfect something we impose on ourselves or does it come from outside of us? I think both. We see all around us imperfection; baseball players striking out, baseball pitchers throwing balls, basketball players missing free-throws, politicians mis-speaking, etc. We see corruption and harshness in governments and selfishness abounds in all of us. If we make to many mistakes...not enough hits, strikes, free-throw, etc we may find ourselves without employment.
To realize that we are not perfect is helpful but not an excuse to willfully be disobedient to God's word or the law of the land. Mistakes will be made, we will sin but in Christ, God has called us to perfection, which is completeness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect". (ESV) This comes at the end of Jesus speaking about loving our enemies in the Sermon on the Mount and is a command. God the Father is our true example of perfection and therefore we are commanded to follow His example. While Jesus was on the earth, He was perfect, without sin, fault or defect and satisfied all requirements; was obedient to the Father.
Is being perfect even a possibility? Not in the sense of sinless perfection but in the sense of completeness; in a progressive way. We ought to be progressing in our holiness, godliness, righteousness and faithfulness. This is not accomplished on our own. It is completed in us when we are totally and completely in Christ. Paul states in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (ESV)
Again, Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-ff "And he gave the Apostles, the Prophets, the Evangelist, the Shepherds and Teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unit of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood (italics mine) or a perfect man (KJV) the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (ESV)
The point is not striving to be "perfect" by our standards but rather to die to self and let Jesus Christ live His life through you and be diligent to know His word, to pray, to give, to serve, to completely surrender everyday and live for His glory and honor.
I in no way have come to completeness in Christ. I struggle with my flesh like all of mankind but the words of Scripture are true. Therefore may we seek to be perfect/complete in Christ and not give up or give in to our misconception of perfection but rather rest in Christ and keep our eyes on Him.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Eternal and Great God

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23

The love and mercy and faithfulness of God are important attributes of God. All of them are important but Jeremiah points to these three as continual and new and great. I am thankful for God's attributes being the same. I am glad that he does not change like shadows and is not one way today and another tomorrow.

He is merciful and gracious towards us because He knows that we are weak and frail and made of dust. He is the One who made us, created us, knit us together in our mother's womb. He knows the trials we face and He knows how to "work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28)

I am prone to focus on my mistakes, failures and troubles. The things I should have done or could have done seem to flood my mind. But when I think of verses like Lamentations 3:22-23, the LORD reminds me of Who He is. When I truly realize how great and awesome He is and that He created everything that is, that nothing is hide from His eyes, that He rewards those who love and fear Him (fear as in reverence and awe and love and adoration) , how can I for one second worry about tomorrow or what I am going to wear or what I am going to eat or what job will I have.

God loves me. His mercies will never end and He is faithful. Oh, that I would love Him with my whole heart, mind, spirit and body and love others as He has loved me; that my life would bring Him glory now and forever more.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Never Long Enough

Last night a good friend passed away unexpectedly. Death, when it comes, always comes unexpectedly. No matter how "prepared" we may feel, when it happens it is always a shock.
Death is a reminder that life is never long enough. There is more family time to be spent, more birthday parties to attend, more grand babies to be born, more holidays to be celebrated; there is just more life to be lived.

Death brings an end to what we had known as normal. Our loved one had always been there. For some, life has always been lived with their presence. Now life will be lived with that void. Scriptures reminds us that life is but a breath. A vapor that appears for a little while and then is gone. We are like the grass that is here today and then is burned up with the heat of the sun.

We know these things to be true. Most of us have experienced the death of a close relative or friend. So, what do we do now? It often seems that life won't or can't go on but day by day we make it through. For the follower of Christ, our strength is not our own. It comes through His Holy Spirit that resides in us. It comes from friends who express their sympathy and support. It comes from God's Holy Word and it's teaches that death, for the follower of Christ, is not the end; it is a continuation of the promised eternal life that Jesus promises for those who are called by His name.

Knowing that life is never long enough, live today to the fullest. Love and obey Christ, love your family and seek to do all that the Lord has for you.