Thursday, April 30, 2009

What temptation is following you?!

Luke 4:1-13
Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: "Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread."

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to really live."

For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they're yours, the whole works."

Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness."

For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, "If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it, that 'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?"

"Yes," said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'"

That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God can heal a broken heart but He has to have all the pieces...

Dear Jesus, help me to tell the truth about my journey, which shame and sadness once held captive. Give me the courage to speak, however traumatic the effort, however halting the words. Grant me the trembling grace to get through it, however many tears it takes to punctuate it.

Thank You for the community that forms around the sharing of each of our stories. Transform the teller in the telling and the listener in the listening. Create community, Lord, one story at a time, and mature our community into the fullness of the body of Christ. Make my life and my story nothing more than or less than a testimony of God’s transforming love. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LORD God, change me however you must, so that I will be ready for any assignment you have for me.

At the edge of expectation - might as well jump!!

Ephesians 1:18-19
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Armor of God revisited...

These were just too good not to share since we'd just gone through Ephesians 6 a month ago! It takes less than six-minutes to watch them all & it's worth it.

The gang down at Living Spring obviously love God, love people & have a lot of fun doing it!

Is your strength coming from your own efforts? Or is it coming from the one & only true Source? Let go. Be authentic.

You have nothing to prove and no one to impress.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Who would have believed this wild ride we've been on?!

What was that all about?
When we just don’t know what God is up to… cling to faith like a child.

In the words of Bryan Adams,

The closer it gets the further it seems
It's always one step out of reach
On the edge of a dream
The harder it gets the harder it feels

It never turns out like it seems
We've been waitin' for this chance to be free

We’re out there- dream on...

Romans 8:15-17
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From ashes to flames...

Matthew 12:20
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

1 Corinthians 1:7-9
Just think—you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

When we just don’t know what God is up to… we need to learn to rest in His Spirit so the flow of love & grace will impact us. The more we strive in our power, the more we seek to remain self-sufficient, the more we try to light our own fire- the worse our predicament will become. Return to the King.

In His rest is strength...power....FIRE!

Joel 2:3, 11-12
Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— Nothing escapes them.

The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Untended fires soon become just a pile of ashes

Even our legendary raging Men's Retreat fire goes out throughout the cold dark night unless some brave soul keeps it stoked.

Is there a relationship you need to rekindle?

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ.

Each of us is as close to God as we choose to be. Oswald Sanders

Thursday, April 23, 2009

finding the beauty in the broken

Do you want to know God? Then learn to understand the weaknesses and imperfections of others. But how can you understand the weaknesses of others unless you understand your own? And how can you see the meaning of your own limitations until you have received mercy from God, by which you know yourself and Him? It is not sufficient to forgive others: we must forgive them with humility and compassion. If we forgive them without humility, our forgiveness is a mockery: it presupposes that we are better than they...

We overcome the evil in the world by the charity and compassion of God, and in so doing we drive all evil out of our own hearts. Thomas Merton

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How would you complete this sentence:

The Christian life is about __?

We were not created to be successful [even spiritually successful!] but to be obedient. Mother Teresa

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who are we?

We are a band of brothers and sisters — a motley crew of the shattered and battered, the bruised and broken, the downtrodden yet somehow hopeful, the wounded yet healed, wandering but not lost, pressured on all sides yet able to bounce back, patiently waiting on the Lord & thanking Him for holding us tightly through it all. He is CENTRAL to all our lives...

'You guys don’t know what you’re doing but I’m going to give you a little blessing here.' says the Father.

Psalm 13:5-6
I've thrown myself headlong into your arms— I'm celebrating your rescue. I'm singing at the top of my lungs, I'm so full of answered prayers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What really and truly matters to you?


John 14.27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Drop all your own agendas and make Jesus the only cause

Is Jesus alive & resurrected in your life? Who makes your judgments? Does He call all the shots?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

When one door shuts another door of hope can open...

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Broken hearts can still burn.

Proverbs 18:14
A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?

Its not that we decide to do nothing, we decide to listen. And then we learn that in the process of listening is a big part of what we should be doing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let God's message knock you out!

What God showed me over time is that my identity was not what others had done to me, nor was it even what I had done to myself. God helped me embrace my true identity as his loved child. Miroslav Volf

Sometimes it takes a fistful of HOPE to clear our senses!

Titus 2:11-14
God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My kids are always reminding me...

James 1:19
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tonight @ 730...

Hiding our vulnerability is what separates us from God. Trying to hide our vulnerability is trying to mask who we really are - a reflection of God. Come into community & be known for the captivating woman you already are.

1 Peter 3:3-4
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Live the resurrection life

Hebrews 13:5-6
Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?

Did you get that? He will 'NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER' leave!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Will the real Jesus please stand up?

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Cross of Christ

I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing around his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world, but each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hand and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross which symbolizes divine suffering. The cross of Christ… is God’s only self justification in such a world as ours. John Stott (Thanks Frank)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The one & only Papa...

My favorite Ernest Hemingway quote is like a maxim for my own life:

Wearing underwear is as formal as I ever hope to get. EH

Good on you son, I am proud of you.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

‘immortality, or the lack of it’

Lately I've been thinking of Ernest Hemingway a lot. Perhaps it was his nicknme 'Papa' that rekindled an interest for me, as Hemingway was quite unlike other 'Papa' characters I'm fond of, such as in The Shack or the kid's book, Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? (the youngster Katrina asks, "Does God ever cry, Papa?").

Hemingway in many ways stands as the complete model of self-sufficiency, and when he could no longer make the world bend to his desires he committed suicide by literally blowing his brains out with a shotgun. Perhaps his breaking down old body convinced him he would never be able to return to past glory...

In 1944 he shot & killed a young German soldier in WWII & claimed his belt buckle that Hemingway wore for the rest of his life. It was inscribed with Got Mit Uns, (God Is With Us) & also had an eagle & a swastika on it. I found it strange that Hemingway wore the buckle right up to & including the day he died especially considering that he had rebelled against much of his Christian upbringing (or should I instead say, 'religious upbringing'?!).

The final chapter of Hemingway's life is tragic. He had seen a lot of killing during his days, had participated in some of it, & had seen many relationships become estranged. Hemingway was married four times & divorced three times, & considering a fourth! He wrote to a friend late in life commenting on his fourth wife, "I wish I could leave her, I really do, but I'm too old now to afford a fourth divorce and the hell Mary would put me through." Ouch!!

“Lord help me grow up before I grow old.”

Our suffering can lead any of us into bitterness & cynicism if we let it. The alternative is to look at it like regular trips to 'God's Gym' where we allow Him to build perseverance, character, hope & love into our life. A young man who cannot cry is a savage & an old man who cannot laugh is a fool. May our end not be as tragic as Ernest's...

1 Corinthians 15:54-57
... the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Jesus Way

As the great Canadian poet Bruce Cockburn wrote so many years ago, "nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight -- Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."

Thankfully Jesus has taken care of it for us.

John 1:3-5
Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out.

Monday, April 06, 2009

"Can someone please get me a pillow?"

God is more interested in our maturity than in our convenience and comfort.

Luke 22:39-46
Leaving there, he (Jesus) went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, "Pray that you don't give in to temptation."

He pulled away from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?" At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, "What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won't give in to temptation."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Final Chapter

Ephesians 6:23-24
Good-bye, friends. Love mixed with faith be yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ. Pure grace and nothing but grace be with all who love our Master, Jesus Christ.

Learn to live on grace & grace alone.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

God really does love you

Love is always about giving up control, and people are trained to think of taking control—even of God. In my experience, most people would sooner be afraid and in control than in love and out of control. Richard Rohr

Friday, April 03, 2009

God is calling us to pray for one another like never before.

There are all kinds of detours & dead ends in life. What looks pointless, like being in prison might seem for Paul, can actually be the fodder for good & God's work in our lives. Faith or fear...

Ephesians 6:19-20
And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

We all need a prayer shield


Ephesians 6:18
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fell deeds awake

Revelation 19:11-21
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: