The Right Path

•February 24, 2015 • 1 Comment

FullSizeRenderThis morning I had the privilege of taking my margin time on the beach. It was low tide and as I walked along the edge of the ocean I saw all sorts of broken shells and sand dollars. It didn’t look like there was much hope of finding one intact. But then not far from where I first started walking I stumbled upon what appeared to be a sand dollar nestled in the sand. All I could see was the very top of it. I thought for sure the sand was covering up it’s brokenness, but as I pulled it out I discovered it was indeed a whole sand dollar.

For the next 40 minutes I must have covered over two miles of beach looking for another one, but I only saw pieces of ones. I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I was to find the one. If I had been a few feet to the left or the right I probably would have missed this little treasure.

As I pondered these thoughts I realized how important our path in life is. Just a few feet off a specific path could keep us from experiencing the treasures God has for us. How many of us have missed those precious things that God wants us to discover because we’ve gotten off the path.

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is why have we gotten off the path. Often times it’s fear or doubts or challenges that cause us to go a different direction. Maybe the path God has for us is too hard or too painful, so we look for an easier path, but in doing so we miss out on His treasures. It’s in these times that we have to trust in the Lord and His will for our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” In those times that are difficult and challenging we have to trust in the Lord, because He is the on that will keep us on the right path. As we trust in Him and press on, it’s then that we will discover the wonderful treasures he has for us along the way!

Be An Everyday Prophet

•January 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Isaiah_(Bible_Card)This morning as I was doing my devotions, I was reading 1 Corinthians 14. In this scripture Paul is talking about seeking spiritual gifts and he starts in verse 1 by saying, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”

Prophecy—it’s one of those words that can often scare people a little. When we think of it, we think of people who foretell the future or have visions of things yet to come. Often times those known or professed to be “prophets” in todays world can be a little out there. Many non-believers might even call them crazy!

Is this what Paul was talking about when he told the church in Corinth to seek the gift of prophesy? I highly doubt it. As it is with many things, our human nature often takes things to places God never intended us to take them. We make something that pure and right and make it freaky and weird.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there are times where God does give visions and words to people of things yet to come, and that is the gift of prophecy. But those kind of prophecies aren’t as common as what Paul is talking about here. I believe the prophecy that Paul is talking about is an everyday kind of prophecy. Where we’re simply operating in the power of the Holy Spirit in a way that speaks encouraging words to others or recalls scriptures that help others through challenges and difficulties they may be facing.

I actually believe we operate in the prophetic at times and don’t even realize it. Those times when we encourage someone or speak words of wisdom to someone and afterwards think to ourselves, “where in the world did that come from?” As much as we’d like to take credit for it, the truth is, it was the Holy Spirit giving us the words to say, it was us operating in the prophetic.

It’s these kind of moments that Paul is telling us to desire. The kind of moments that lift others up and encourage them in the Lord.  This is why Paul tells us that we should all eagerly desire these gifts.

We shouldn’t be afraid of prophecy, we should seek it. Let God use you to encourage others, let him use you to lift up those you come in contact with each day. Keep seeking him and seeking His spiritual gifts so that you can be the light that He’s called you to be. Because when it’s done right… it isn’t freaky or weird, it’s life-giving!

Faith

•August 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

leapoffaithThis morning I was reading in Genesis 12 where Abraham was called by the Lord. In verse 2 and 3 God says to Abraham, “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” What an amazing word from the Lord.

You would think that if God told you something like that, you wouldn’t be afraid of anything. But then later in the chapter when they go to Egypt, Abraham is afraid that because his wife is so beautiful the Egyptians might kill him, and take her for themselves. So he devises this little lie which ends up causing problems for the people of Egypt.

Now today Abraham is known as a great man of faith, but it’s obvious he wasn’t always as faithful as he should have been. It’s a reminder that our faith is built over time. The more and more we put our trust in the Lord, the greater our faith becomes.

I know sometimes I can get frustrated with people’s lack of faith, but I forget that this is something that was modeled for me time and time again by my earthly father. And it has taken years for me to grow in my faith. I have to remember that I still have a long way to go and so do a lot of people. Many are still young in their faith just like Abraham was in these scriptures.

Over time Abraham became an amazing man of faith and over time we can too. We will have those times where we try to take things into our own hands, but sooner or later will realize that everything is in God’s hands and when we do, that’s when we truly understand what it means to walk in faith.

Pleasing Aroma

•August 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

pure-coffee-aromaOnce again I had the pleasure of doing devotions with my entire family, which brought me back into Genesis 8. If you aren’t familiar with this scripture it is where Noah and his family finally get out of the Ark.

As I read, there were a few scriptures in particular that seemed to stick out to me. Genesis 8:20-21aThen Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma…

The first thing Noah did when he got off the ark was build an altar to the Lord. This is a great reminder that praising God should always be our first priority. Am I giving God the glory in all that I do? Am I making sure the first thing I’m doing is praising him?

It then talks about the pleasing aroma this sacrifice was to the Lord. Now my first thought after reading this was how good do burnt animals really smell and what did it smell like to God? Why was it so pleasing? As I pondered these questions, the thing that was impressed upon my heart is that it isn’t the act itself, meaning the burning animals, the voice singing praises, the person serving someone else, that is pleasing to God. It’s the heart behind these actions.

Both Cane and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord, but only one of them was pleasing to him. What truly pleases the Lord is the heart behind our worship. Is our heart fully engaged in Him? Is our heart truly seeking to praise Him or are we just going through the motions? I hope that my worship and sacrifice is truly a pleasing aroma to the Lord!

Unity in Christ

•July 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

unity-handsThis morning I was reading 1 Corinthians 3. If you’re not familiar with this scripture, Paul is talking about how childish the Christians of this time were being as they quarreled amongst each other saying things like, “I follow Paul.” While others would say, “I follow Appollos.”

Now Paul has some pretty strong words here as he tells them he can’t even address them spiritually because they are still so worldly. Ouch! As you read through these verses, it seems like a ridiculous thing for them to be arguing about. In reality, who they are in Christ has nothing to do with Paul or Appollos.

The question is… are we any different? We see these same quarrels happening among Christians still today. Instead of it being Paul or Appollos though, it’s Foursquare or Baptists or Presbyterian or you fill in the blank. We act as if a denomination makes a difference of who we are in Christ, as if one is better than the other.

The reality is, there is one thing that’s true about every denomination or movement in this world. Their theology is off. I can’t tell you how or where, but it’s off in one way or another. No one denomination or movement is perfect in their theology. Now I know some may disagree with this, but if no person is perfect, than no denomination is perfect. Yet we put our trust in denominations. I’m guessing if Paul was addressing the church of today, he would probably be saying these same things to many of us.

God is the only one that’s perfect and He is the only one we should put our trust in. Yes, I believe there are great things about the many denominations we see in our communities today. But we aren’t called to follow denominations, we’re called to follow Jesus.

And if we’re letting the lines of denomination keep us from joining arms and uniting together to see His Kingdom extended, then we aren’t being the church he’s called us to be. John 13:35 tells us that they will know we are his disciples by our love for one another. Gods desire for us is that we love one another. Unity in the body of Christ is what will change our world.

Listen to the final verses from Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 put into today’s language: 21 So then, no more boasting about denominations! All things are yours, 22 whether Foursquare or Baptist or Presbyterian or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

We are all of Christ. Let’s come together as GOD’S CHURCH and truly be the united force that he’s called us to be in this world!

We Are The Church

•July 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

WeAreTheChurch-hi-resYesterday we had an amazing day at church. We had a special family service followed by a common meal. Which is really just a new name for a potluck. It was so awesome to be together as a family worshipping, experiencing the Word and breaking bread together. It felt a like the early church we read about in Acts where the followers of Jesus did life together.

The whole day was full of laughter, full of rejoicing and full of authentic fellowship. I know that every aspect of it brought glory to the Lord. Seeing His people come together to love Him and to love one another. This is everything I imagine that “Church” was meant to be, because after all we are the church.

The exciting thing is, just because Sunday is over, doesn’t mean church is over. Today we get to take the excitement and blessings of yesterday out into the market place. The love that we experienced together, we get to share with others, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, and wherever we go.

God gives us these amazing times as we come together, so we can be encouraged and filled up to go out into the world and share it with others. We’re called to let our light shine wherever we go, taking His grace and love to the people that need it most. We never know the impact a smile or a kind word can have on someones life.

You may dread Mondays and believe me as a pastor I understand, but remember this is a day that the Lord has made so don’t miss out on the opportunities He puts before you to let your light shine. Seek to Love God and to Love People today in a way that draws others to Him. We are the “Church” and we need to be the church everyday, not just Sundays.

No Shame

•July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

tumblr_m960c0YU6g1rvhqlvo1_1280Yesterday was my day off and I had the pleasure of doing devotions with my whole family. I took a break from my normal reading plan and read what my kids were reading. We all read Genesis 2. As I was reading verse 25, the very last verse seemed to jump out at me. It’s the verse that says, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

It’s crazy to think of experiencing life before the fall, before sin, before death, before shame. How many of us go through life struggling with the shame of failures or the shame of our past. How awesome would it be to feel no shame? I think a lot of times we feel like this can’t happen as long as we live on this earth, as long as sin is in the world. But the truth is Jesus came to take away our sin.

Psalm 103:12, tells us that he has thrown our sins as far as the east is from the west. In other words he has gotten rid of them, COMPLETELY! Which means there is no reason for us to walk in shame. 1 John 1:9 also tells us, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. His cleansing means we no longer have to walk in shame.

The reality is God forgives and forgets. We’re the ones who seem to have trouble forgetting. We allow the struggles and failures of our past to continue to shame us, when God has already forgotten them. He has clothed us in righteousness and has given us the ability to live a life without shame. Let’s seek to walk in HIS righteousness and live a life free of shame.