Saturday, January 31, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson...

Ruth sent me this Rex Babin cartoon- I really like it.

Do you have the eyes to see God's hand in your own life?

Matthew 13:11-15
Jesus replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it. I don't want Isaiah's forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don't hear a thing. Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing. The people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won't have to listen; They screw their eyes shut so they won't have to look, so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them.

Friday, January 30, 2009

First, it's God...

First, God.
God is the subject of life.
God is foundational for living.
If we don't have a sense of the primacy of God,
we will never get it right,
get life right,
get our lives right.

Not God at the margins;
not God as an option;
not God on the weekends.
God at center and circumference;
God first and last;
God, God, God. Eugene Peterson

Philippians 3:10-11
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally,
experience his resurrection power,
be a partner in his suffering,
and go all the way with him to death itself.
If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead,
I wanted to do it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Experience trust -

Isaiah 41:10
'You're my servant, serving on my side. I've picked you. I haven't dropped you.'Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More letters & papers from prison...

Bill Dallas was a very successful real-estate entrepreneur who went to prison for five years after he embezzled funds. Not content with what he had, he wanted more. You & I are never like that right?!

Bill's life was dramatically transformed while in jail & he offers some reflections in his new book, LESSONS FROM SAN QUENTIN Everything I Needed to Know about Life I Learned in Prison

It sounds like something Paul would have understood all too well. The roots of Dallas' greatest failure became the seeds of transformation through suffering. (I think that's in the Bible somewhere too!)

Not all who suffer are in sin.

We are meant to embrace our suffering, whether it is brought on by our own choices or thrust upon us through circumstances. Choose to persevere & seek God in the midst of it.

What challenge or trial have you been avoiding, denying, running from, or covering up? What is God saying to & asking of you at this time?

What is your San Quentin?

Suffering widens our souls. Billy Graham

Hebrews 10:32-39
Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn't touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don't throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion.

It won't be long now, he's on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won't be very happy. But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Discover God's grace & mercy...

And (re)discover God's grace & mercy... A cycle we continually go through in the spiritual journey... or choose to turn bitter, angry & cynical.

Is it dark enough for you to see yet? Larry Crabb

Matthew 11:28-30
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Evaluate this...

Yesterday for our service we were quite a small lot- about 35 adults and 15 kids. That coupled with the fact that our technology melted down overnight leaving us with no lyrics to songs certainly created a challenging atmosphere. Thankfully our worship team of Frank, Caroline & Linda had a beautiful spirit about them that drew us into the presence of God.

On the plus side of small numbers is that counting the offering was easy, on the down side some people were discouraged.

As I drove home I felt God's peace about what took place in the hearts of many before, during & after the service, & in the meal we shared. We certinly didn't look like a 'successful church', yet I can't help but think we didn't fail in God's eyes.

I was reminded of a pastor friend of mine who recently wrote that since he was now just attending a church & not on staff he was slipping into a mindset of evaluating everything that went on & he didn't like it!

It's way too easy to be critical. I have a graphic that always makes me laugh, it's a 'Worship comment card' that has space for your name & demographic info & then continues on for about a hundred lines because we're all really eager to evaluate & criticize what went on.

Beenderdundat way too many times myself. Sorry God...

Yesterday afternoon I read Bob Beltz's post 'Normal evaluation of church experience proves to be twisted' & realized why I had a sense of peace from God about our time together, even though we were small & disjointed at times.

Bob wrote that the three key questions we ought to ask ourselves as we leave the services are:

Did I give God heart-felt worship? Yes- Chris's story & prayer highlighted that fact!

Did I faithfully give of my resources? Yes- our offering per person attending was probably better than normal.

Did I hear what God was saying to me? Yes- a number of people shared their struggles with each other & what God was saying in our midst to them - real community.

Look at what Paul wrote during one particularly stressful time of serving God,

2 Corinthians 1:8-11; 2:14-16
We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
The Father's 'perpetual victory parade' usually looks & feels different than the vistory parade in the world. We'll just keep marching on...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Your last lecture...

Dr. Randy Pausch gave an amazing 'last lecture' when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. It is inspirational to watch and challenging to think,

'If I were facing my own end, what would I want my last lecture to be?'

The apostle Paul gave several last lectures if you will, his letters from prison while he was under house arrest in Rome. Philippians, Colossians, Philemon & perhaps the most powerful of all, Ephesians give us a glimpse of what Paul saw as most important to pass along.

What would your last lecture be?
What letters & papers would you leave behind that tell of life's most important lessons for you?

Where were you going in life before?
Where are you going in life now?
Why are you going there?

Ephesians 2:1-6,16-22
It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah...

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

That's plain enough, isn't it? You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Is giving in your spiritual DNA?

If everyone in my church gave like I do, would that be a good thing for the Kingdom?

Takers guard and protect themselves.
Givers risk and seize opportunity.

Takers do the bare minimum.
Givers go the second mile.

Takers see life as scarce.
Givers see life as abundant.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2
Regarding the relief offering for poor Christians that is being collected, you get the same instructions I gave the churches in Galatia. Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Potluck Sunday after the service...

...bring whatever you can rustle up & we'll share life together!

Ephesians 2:7-10
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No longer an orphan...

Ephesians 1:4-8
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Feeling like an orphan can be debilitating. It has to do with sensing in your heart that you have no inheritance, no real heritage, no sense of security in feeling protected and that no one really cares about your destiny. Most people affected with feeling like an orphan also feel and fear abandonment. Ras Robinson

Say goodbye to your past and open yourself up to the Father's love...

Father, you have made me your son,
You have given me my inheritance for nothing,
You have surrounded my life
with goodness and mercy,
You have made love the very nature of my being.
Now make me deeply desire these things that I already have,
Then this prodigal son will have come home. For I was born to desire.
Richard Rohr

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beyond the "Evolution" vs. "Creation" Debate

Date: Thursday 22 Jan 09
Time: 5:00 to 6:20 PM
Place: Lecture Theater DP-2022 (Dentistry-Pharmacy Centre) University of Alberta

Are there only two positions on origins: either "evolution" or "creation"?

This lecture is an introduction to professional terminology, science-religion dialogue, and various views on origins (young earth creation, progressive creation, evolutionary creation, deistic evolution, and atheistic evolution). Lecturer Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux also shares his personal voyage in this debate.

Denis is a friend of mine, a triple doctorate, a very good teacher & a sincere follower of Christ. Come out & have your horizons stretched.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be blessed...

On Sunday we talked about the idea of blessing, especially since Paul wrote,

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

The Michael Card is a song about blessing, & the Lord really does offer us all blessings! Even at the very moment I posting this I received the following blessing from a friend via email,

You are Loved by Jesus!
He has called you to service!
You have done what is right – in spite of the consequences!
I am praying for you!

What an amazing God!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Amos 5:14-15, 24
Seek good and not evil— and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being our best friend. Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen.

Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, will notice your remnant and be gracious.

Do you know what I want?

I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Letters & papers from prison...

Today we continue with our study of Ephesians & Paul's "Letters From Prison."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer while he was interred in a Nazi prison wrote to his friend Eberhard Bethge that he was neither a pessimist who expected things to get worse or an optimist who expected things to get better. He was rather choosing to live by hope.

One cannot read Ephesians without catching some of Paul's own hope despite the fact that he too was in prison & going to die as Bonhoeffer did so many years later.

What kind of life do you think God has?

He invites us into that life as a living hope.

'We will never be pushed around by fear, never tempted by greed, never slowed down by selfishness never dragged around by others opinions, never paralyzed by self-doubt, and never dependent on our current circumstances.' Neil Livingstone

Ephesians 1:19-23
I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. The church is Christ's body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

are you out for yourself...

Or for others?

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What are your 'anger' buttons?
What are your 'fear' buttons?

John 14:18
I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Embrace the risk!

Lately I've been reading Ben Carson's book, 'Take the Risk'. He opens it up with the idea that we, as (North) Americans, 'are obsessed with security'. That could be said of Christians & churches too!

I never recall Jesus saying 'Follow me & I'll give you a happy & comfortable life.' (I know he says that in Health & Wealth 3:16)

On Monday night Ginger & Maryanne get home from their adventures in a Moroccan orphanage where they came face to face with risk & fears of old. I can't wait to hear some of Ginger's stories in person of how the Lord met her fears & led her faithfully on the journey (even though she's kept us up with facebook updates!)

We don't get access to the kingdom sitting in our comfortable easy chair.

Where is God asking you to step out?!

Psalm 56:1-4
Take my side, God—I'm getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up.

When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I'm proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More six-word maxims for life...

We are starting a series on Ephesians & in chapter 1 Paul mentions grace many times. Over the next few weeks we'll look at several different analogies of grace in order to fully unpack what made Paul & the other early followers of Christ bend their entire life around it.

One of my favorite ways of learning to live in grace is to fully embrace the "Life of the Beloved" idea from Henri Nouwen.

Several six-word maxims for us at Community of Hope come from what Henri writes about his own life in the book,

Much struggle, much pain, much joy!

To speak a word of Hope!

You are safe where I am.

You are chosen, blessed, broken, given.

Matthew 3:17
This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

During Sunday's service Glen shared the following six-word memoir that he received while he was working in Grande Cache in September. I love it-

Unconditional love, Complete forgiveness, No fear!

What is God teaching you about who He is & where you are headed?

Joshua 1
I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Last night we watched Prince Caspian as a family. I was struck by Lucy's talk with Aslan when they met after a prolonged absence:

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."

"That is because you are older, little one," answered Aslan.

"Not because you are?"

"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

As we get older our view, vision & experience of God ought to get bigger. The clip above is from S. M. Lockridge sermon - he sure gets going about who Jesus is!!

Listen to how Paul gets carried away in a simialr fashion as he writes to the Ephesians of this great God. Keep in mind Paul as getting on in years & facing an uncertain future but that doesn't seem to concern him:

Ephesians 1
I, Paul, am under God's plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

People don't care what you know until they know you care...

Philippians 1:3-8
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2:8
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Fourteen new songs to change the world! CompassionArt is a charity that joins the dots between art and poverty. It raises money to help breathe life into the poorest communities, restoring hope and igniting justice- Creating freedom from poverty.

Buy the book or CD at Amazon or book at Chapters

The Art of Compassion excerpt

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn,To care for the needs of all who mourn.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The human can of Red Bull...

Thanks to a Herculean effort by their quarterback Tim Tebow, the University of Florida Gators are today the #1 team in US college football. Tebow was simply unstoppable last night in the Bowl Championship Final between Florida & Oklahoma.

Tebow gives every play maximum effort & simply would not go down without a fight. He is tireless in his efforts to spur his teammates on & to get everyone focused on the task at hand. He reminds me of Paul in that regard.

Even though Paul was under house arrest while in Rome for two years we are told in Acts 28:31 that, 'He announced the kingdom of God, and taught the things about the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, with all boldness, and with no one stopping him.'

While in prison in Rome Paul penned some of the most powerful writings in human history including Colossians, Philippians & Ephesians. We will be looking at the book of Ephesians in the coming months.

Imagine what it was like for Paul while in prison writing praises to God for setting us free & allowing us in on His glorious grace?!

Pray for those, yourself included who long for that type of experience to be your own reality.

May that be the fuel that sends you out into the game of life that you're playing right now...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pascal's experience of 'Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy'...

In 1654 French philosopher Blaise Pascal had a dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. He wrote it down, but as far as we know he never spoke about it with another person (they didn't have Evangelism Explosion back then!).

The only reason we know that it happened is that he had stitched the note into his jacket & after his death it was discovered. It clearly had become the guiding force in his life.

GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob,
Not of the philosophers and of the wise.
Security, security. Feeling, joy, peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ
Thy God shall be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and everything else, except GOD.
He can be found only in the ways taught in the Gospel.
Greatness of the human soul.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

If he had been asked to do a 'six word memoir' it likely would have been:

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9
You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Not Quite What I Was Planning

Not Quite What I Was Planning is a book about 'Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure'. It got me thinking about what we would title for our 2008 or envision in 2009 for our life.

I can look back on 2008 as, "God's kingdom - another day, another riot."

Perhaps a song lyric sneaks into our consciousness & becomes our hope for 2009, "I sing of His love forever," or "Let the healer set me free."

Leave a legacy, not an estate!

Happiness is only real when shared.
Not all who wander are lost.
Jesus is Lord of my life.

What might be a recap of your past year? What do you desire to see in 2009?

‘Lord I need to know what you want me to remember from 2008 & what to seek in 2009, and I’m listening. Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines & blogs that I read, and through circumstances.’

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The last few days have been full of intense back pain. I had back surgery nearly 20 years ago & have spells of back pain now & then, but this was over the top. Yesterday I passed some time at Superstore waiting for my prescription of T3's to be filled by walking around like a very elderly man. My steps were about 2 inches long, each one filled with agony. I wasn't sure if I would make it back to my car, let alone be able to climb back in. At one point I was reminded of the fact that I at least could still walk & that sense of gratitude kept me going.

The various deaths of our lives as written by Ron Rolheiser were going through my mind these past few days as I passed the time in pain.

The death of our youth
The death of our wholeness
The death of our dreams
The death of our honeymoons
The death of a certain idea of God and Church

My physical pain & the inability to do anything because of it made me acutely aware of the first four deaths. Much of my identity has been & still is based on being active, competitive, strong & self-sufficient. I don't realize exactly how much until experiences such as my back pain illuminate it.

Something released in my back around lunchtime today & I have been returning to the land of the functioning. The time spent reflecting has been good- very good indeed as it brought a sense of full reliance on God.

The care my kids showed to me was oozing with grace, and offers flowed in for practical help & prayers from friends. While I was hurting I certainly felt cared for & loved. Times of pain & grief can be good for our soul!

What death are you grieving? What is God saying in the midst of that?

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the Florida Gators wears 'Phil' & '4:13' underneath his eyes as a tribute & testimony of where he gets his power & purpose as a football player.

At 6' 3'' & 235 lbs Tebow is alot bigger & younger than Paul was when he penned those words while a prisoner in Rome nearing the end of his life. Regardless of what stage of life we find ourselves in- whether older & more decrepit than we once were, or younger and feeling invincible, may you & I know the truth of Philippians 4:13 in our very core.

Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

You can’t see what you never look for-

Acts 28:25-27
"I have just one more thing to say to you. The Holy Spirit sure knew what he was talking about when he addressed our ancestors through Isaiah the prophet: Go to this people and tell them this:

"You're going to listen with your ears, but you won't hear a word; You're going to stare with your eyes, but you won't see a thing. These people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won't have to listen; They screw their eyes shut so they won't have to look, so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them."

Don't be a blockhead!! Listen for the Spirit...

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Pete Carroll, the head football coach for the University of Southern California Trojans, gave his team a t-shirt with the words, "FINISH" emblazoned on it as a motivator for this season. After dismantling Penn State in the Rose Bowl, 38-24 I think you could say, "Mission accomplished."

It got me thinking that the apostle Paul could have had a similar t-shirt back in his day. He had such a life-changing experience with the Lord Jesus Christ there was nothing that was going to get between him & the mission that Jesus had given. Give some time to think about what he wrote while he was in chains & nearing the end of his life...

Philippians 3:10-19
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Don't be a castaway!

Psalm 116:1-8
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A year committed to breathing...

What if one of our desires in the next year was to connect more with God through talking to & listening for Him at any moment of the day?

Prayer is not something we pull out of the web of revelation and incarnation and then sign on to be “prayer warriors”. It is more along the analogy of breathing: if we are to live, we all have to do it. Although there are illnesses connected with breathing, there are no excellences. We don’t single out individuals and say, “She or he is a great breather.” Eugene Peterson

Psalm 27:13
I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God.

Philippians 1:3-6
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.