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)

 

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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)

Look at your own bubbles


Today I was blowing bubbles for both my girls in our backyard. They absolutely love it! I will shower each  of them one at a time in a barrage of bubbles as they try to pop them before they hit the ground. As the fun went on both of my daughters kept starring off at the bubbles that I blew for the other. Because they kept looking at their sister’s bubbles they would miss their own. 

I couldn’t help but to catch the picture of what was happening and think of how most people, no matter the age, can be guilty of the very same thing. As we get older we look at things a lot different than bubbles but the problem is the same. We can so easily miss the great things right in front of us because we are too busy looking at what others have. 

Today I’m going to take the time to be thankful for all the people and things in my life. Most of all, I’m going to be thankful no matter the bubbles that others have because I have Jesus and nothing could ever beat that! God bless my brothers and sisters and may you see all the beautiful bubbles in your life.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain,”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Punished NOT Abandoned 


I’ve had to punished my girls and I can tell you that it is one of my least favorite things to do in life. It may be necessary and right to do, but it is so hard sometimes. And even when I punish them, I have no intentions of ever leaving them. When correction is needed in their lives, and they have to face the realities of consequences, I want them to know that my love for them will never diminish. I imagine God looks at us in the same way only with greater intensity.

In the middle of pain, especially the self induced kind, it’s easy to assume God is nowhere to be found. After all, it’s my own fault i’m in this mess so why would He be here? I sinned and disobeyed Him so why would He want to be with me? I’ve committed this same old offense once more so now He really must have given up on me. How could I blame Him if He was absent in my consequences? 

The life of Moses is a captivating one to say the least. He narrowly escaped being murdered by Egyptians when he was a baby, he was raised by both his mother and pharaoh’s household, he killed an Egyptian while standing up for a fellow Hebrew, he fled into exile for 40 years, then he’s called by God (out of a burning bush!) to tell the most powerful nation in the world to release its slave labor force, he’s put in charge of a nation of people while on an exodus over hundreds of miles, and constantly has to mediate between a Holy God and an ungrateful people. No doubt that he must have been an amazing man. But even as incredible as Moses was, he still suffered from the same ailment as all of humanity: sin. One such sin caused a major consequence. In the book of Numbers, chapter 20, Moses and Aaron have to deal with a bit of a water shortage. To sum it up, Moses and Aaron don’t follow God’s instructions and end up taking the glory for bringing water from a rock rather than giving God the glory for it. The effect from that would be denied entry into the promised land. Ouch! But that’s not the point of this story. Moses screwed up and so do we. No need to remind everyone of that. What I want to point out came at the end of all this, when Moses is facing up to the consequences, at what would be the end of his life.

“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land…And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭34:1,4-6‬ ‭

Moses had to miss out on walking in the promise land but he got something so much better. The Lord went up the mountain with him. The Lord showed him a glimpse out of grace. The Lord buried him where only He knows. Despite Moses’ disobedience the Lord never left him. Once chosen by God, Moses was His forever. That didn’t exclude Moses from the consequences of his sin but it did keep him in grace. And that is no consolation prize.

I heard a story once of a little boy who was placed in timeout by his mom. He begged and begged to be let out but his mom stayed firm. Along came grandpa and the little boy pleaded with him to take him out even though his mom had said no. Instead of taking the boy out, the grandpa sat with the boy in time out until his time had been served. God is much like the grandpa. He may not excuse us from the hurt and pain that our actions create, but He’ll be right there with us. Keep in mind that God is no stranger to punishment. He chose the most excruciating crucifixion for our sake and He didn’t deserve it. If He’ll hang on a cross out of love for us and you can be sure He’ll be with us in our time outs, our pain, our breakups, our divorces, our failing health, and all our sufferings. 

Believer, our sin will reap consequences in this life, for us and others. There may be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but that does not exclude us from pain. On the other hand it also does not forfeit us from God’s grace. Where we have to be concerned is if there is no desire to repent of sin. Moses repented and continued to pursue God all the way to the end. If God has chosen you then He’ll be right there with you even as you battle your way through the wake of your sin. 

Our mistakes are not the end of our story just like it wasn’t for Moses. After all, Moses did enter the promise land one day. And who took him there? It was the Lord.

“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The desperate heart has only one place to look, and that’s up. Think God has left you? Not a chance. Screwed up royally? God is still at the door knocking. Whether you’re a Believer or not, God is in pursuit of you. Our ugliness doesn’t drive Him away. If it did, He never would’ve gone to the cross for us in the first place.