Finding Faith

31Wci55k5UL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

-Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)

Faith has become somewhat of an obscure word. If you were to ask ten people what it means, you may get nearly ten varying answers as to what the specifics of the word are. Even so, one common thread that you may see in those responses is the notion of trust. Another key element to defining faith has to be belief. In fact, belief must precede trust for this system of faith to work itself out. A third partner in the faith family is often the most forgotten. That element is action. Faith is one of the most important aspects of human life. Because it’s so important, we need desperately to know what it means. Chapter two of the book takes a deep look at the meaning of the word faith from multiple sources and how it plays out in the people of the bible as well as our own lives.

How we meet circumstances in life will depend on who we believe Jesus to be and whether we believe He cares for us or not. Have you ever uttered variations of these statements:

“God has bigger things to worry about than what I’m dealing with.”

“Why should God help me through this?”

“Where was God when  __(fill in the blank)__ happened?”

I read a blog post one time that said (my paraphrase) that doubt is what leads us to God and that we should embrace our doubt. It went on to propose that our doubt deepens our relationship with Christ. I had to read and reread their statements a few times because I thought that I might have made a mistake because these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. Doubt is the exact 180 degree opposite of faith. Doubt is the result of disavowing the Lordship of Christ. Doubt says that Christ is powerless and indifferent. Doubt drives us deeper into our own insecurities and further from the freedom that an intimate relationship with Jesus produces. Doubt cripples and paralyzes while faith heals and moves us.

Not only do we need faith that Christ is with us in all circumstances, we also need to believe and trust in His caring nature towards us. To find assurance of that we need not look beyond the cross, where Christ’s great love for humanity was at its greatest. We have an amazing savior who loves us way more than we can imagine and more than we ever give Him credit for. That truth was not yet fully realized by His disciples as they crossed the sea with Him. And perhaps His love hasn’t been fully realized by so many of us today.

You need not every doubt Jesus’ goodness towards you.

Peace and blessings to you all in Christ Jesus our Lord

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

-Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

 

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How’s your reflection?

We are all made in God’s image. What we believe and how we live our lives will determine whether we reflect that or not. It has nothing to do with race or nationality, income or occupation. It has everything to do with Jesus.

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. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:1-11 (ESV)

 

America is missing the point about Charlottesville

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I have heard a lot the last several days about Donald Trump, neo-Nazis, alt-right, alt-left, and Black lives matter. None of them are the big problem behind what happened. The news has been full of finger-pointing, blaming, and dividing rhetoric. None of that will bring healing and unity in the wake of this tragedy.

The problem is we fought a physical war over 150 years ago, to bring an end to confederate ideals that destroyed human dignity, but we didn’t offer a solution to the much greater need of a broken human nature. The problem is that we marched for civil rights over 60 years ago but still didn’t address the broken human nature that led to the formation of the violent KKK and black panther groups. The problem is that we banned to disgraceful institution of segregation but we didn’t lay the ground work to actually unite a people.

The human nature is broken. Humanity is fallen. Humanity needs saving. That’s not a new thing. It’s been that way since the garden. Charlottesville is a manifestation of humanities brokenness. Donald Trump is not dividing our nation. Neo-Nazis are not dividing our nation. Black lives matter is not dividing our nation. Our broken, sinful nature is dividing our nation. It’s a shared responsibility. It’s not just the brokenness of the protesters in Charlottesville. It’s the brokenness of you and me who refuse to speak the truth to everyone we meet and know. It’s the brokenness of every human who lives a life apart from Jesus Christ. It’s the brokenness of everyone who is meeting hate with more hate. It’s the brokenness of every person who would not wash the feet of their enemy like Jesus did but would rather publicly defame, ridicule, and verbally terrorize those who believe differently than them.

Nothing about what happened in Charlottesville was good. No matter the side you look at. Nothing. Let’s stop wasting time pointing fingers and start spreading the saving message of Jesus Christ who is the ONLY hope for our nation. He is the only one that can heal our human nature. He is the only one that can break apart the ideologies that promote any race because we are all God’s creation. No race is better or more important than another because we are all one in Jesus Christ. Love and truth are the remedies to our sickness. And that love and truth can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Jesus went to the cross out of love for all of those neo-Nazis. He went to the cross for every slave owner in world history. He went to the cross for Donald Trump. He went to the cross for you. He went to the cross for me. He went to the cross for the Black lives matter protesters. Alt-right or Alt-left, Jesus died for all them both. Marches don’t heal us. Protests don’t heal us. The media can’t heal us. Presidents can’t heal us. Only Jesus can do that. Only coming to the cross of Christ with our brokenness can heal us.

We have the words of healing and of hope. Let’s go spread the message!

Love and peace to you brothers and sisters.

Who is this?

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Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

                                              -Matthew 16:13-18 (ESV)

Chapter one of the book targets the most fundamental question for every human being: who is Jesus? It is so important because it will literally influences everything about a person’s life, both now and after they are gone. I spoke a lot on this topic in a post back in April of 2016 during the time I was beginning the writing process on the book.

The book is meant to engage the reader into a conversation with the living Christ. Sounds heavy right? It is! But how can anyone have a conversation with someone they don’t know? In order to have a conversation with anyone, it is important to know who it is you’re talking with and that’s what this first chapter is all about.

Much of what people initially form their opinions on is what those around them have expressed. Our understanding of who Jesus is, in most cases, originate in what we were taught by others whether they were our parents, friends, movies, stories, a missionary, etc…It’s decision time for all of us. Who is Jesus? Most people in the world, despite their beliefs, have good things to say about Him. But good isn’t good enough. Jesus had a lot to say about His own identity. We have to decide who Jesus is, not based on what people say, but on what Jesus Christ Himself said. Our life experience can’t dictate who He is, He does. Instead, our life experiences are meant to be dictated by who He is.

Labeling Jesus with any less of an identity than who He truly is, would strip Him of His credibility. If He was lying, then He cannot be good. If He was telling the truth, then He has to be God. When we view Jesus as the bible teaches, as God has shown, and as Jesus taught and demonstrated, we will turn our attention to living for godly things. Our purpose becomes about pleasing God and not ourselves. Our decisions get weighed against the truths that Jesus taught and lived out during His stay on planet Earth. We start to live our lives as though Jesus is our everything and we owe everything to Him.

Do you know the real Jesus?

God bless brothers and sisters! Come explore more with me if you’d like.

 

 

My new book is out!

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Book cover by Matt Scofield, Copyright 14k Media

Today is the release date for a project that has been underway for nearly two years. A huge thanks to all the encouragement from my wife, family, and friends who helped me along this journey. The book is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as an e-version on Kindle and Nooks.

Here’s a basic synopsis of the book if you’d like to have a read:

Asking questions was central to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus used questioning so much that sometimes He even preferred answering questions with a question of His own. In context, these questions are directed to the religious leaders of the time, His disciples, and the on-looking crowds. On a much grander scale, Jesus asks these questions as if He is having a one-on-one conversation with you and me thousands of years later. This book is going to help you get face-to-face with the Savior of World. He has asked questions that cut to the heart of our fears, our hopes, and our imaginations. Throughout this book you will be met with ten of Christ’s questions. They will act as a mirror into your motives, your wounds, your relationships, and your deepest desires. Keep a bible handy. You’ll be needing it a lot!

“My [Jesus] sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

I would love for you to pick up a copy and to hear your feedback. I hope that it blesses you as much as the Lord has blessed me through the process of writing it. The whole purpose behind this project is to reach the world with the Gospel message which is so way beyond good news! God bless you in Christ, my brothers and sisters!

Spend your life dancing

My wife told me of a story she heard in a bible study of a man who danced whenever he worshipped. He couldn't contain it. Come to find out, this man had deserved a life sentence for a crime he had committed as a youth while mixed up in the gang lifestyle. But God gave him a second chance at life when the grandmother of his victim asked for leniency to be shown him. Instead of his life being over, he was granted parole. He gave his life to Christ and said that he would spend the rest of his life dancing in praise.

As amazing as that story is his condition was far less severe than humanity's spiritual state apart from salvation in Christ. Life in prison cannot come close to comparing to eternity in hell. For those who have given their life to Jesus, they have been paroled from a much greater peril. For someone who has been redeemed from spiritual death and adopted by the Creator of the universe, worship should be a constant in their life. Because we too cannot contain our gratitude.

But how do you worship your savior regularly when you have a job, multiple jobs, a marriage, a child, multiple kids, a nonstop life? We worship through distraction, not just in the absence of it.

One morning on the way to church, in a car with two chatty and noisy little girls in the back, I found myself lost in deep meaningful worship. I was getting emotional. Song after song hit me with a new piece to a powerful message. I was interacting with the Holy Spirit that morning! And it's not like I was tuning my kids out or ignoring them either. Which is exactly my point. We can have meaningful worship in the middle of life's craziness. We can worship at work. We can worship with the kids. We can worship all day long no matter what that day looks like.

Don't just find the time to praise God for His over the top goodness, make it the business of your day to do so. We have so much to praise Him for. Each breath is a gift. Come what may, just worship and let your heart dance within!

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:4 (NIV)