Showing posts from December, 2015

The End is Nigh

Whew. That happened fast. 2015 was a blur. A blur of family fun, church healing and purpose, new friendships, school for our oldest, a knocked out tooth for the youngest, and the hope for one more added to the clan. It has been a year of my own stupidity, sin and brokenness. And more so, it has been a year of God's wave upon wave of grace and relentless faithfulness. So here I sit. Looking out the window in one of my favorite "offices,' looking out at the sun and palm trees. Reflecting on 2015. Thinking about 2016 and drinking Scotch (which doesn't have to do with anything, I was just thinking about it!) And what I keep coming back to is God's faithfulness. Over and over again. When it seems right. When it seems applied wrongly. He has been faithful to his promise and his purpose. And because of that, we can rest. We can just sit here. Lean our weary heads on his shoulder and experience his faithfulness. I want to see this truth more in the year to come. The end of

The End of Boasting

"Now there is an umbrella of free justification over us that we receive by faith alone, without works. If you could add a single brick to it, your salvation would be insecure because it would depend on you. That’s also why we have nothing to boast about. Isn’t all boasting just trying to gain the acceptance that only God can give you? But now we can be free from trying to save ourselves, free from trying to earn the good opinion of others. We have the righteousness of Christ through faith as our unshakable new reality." Jack Miller, from the daily devotional Saving Grace. This truth reminds me of Paul's words to the Corinthian church.  "For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that ar

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 16

Last episode of 2015! Celebrating that we are strengthened in the gospel and the mystery has been revealed in Christ. Romans 16:25-27. [audio] Listen here .

Jesus Invades the Noise

I love the opportunities we have around Christmas to pause and maybe even sing about the birth of Christ with others. It is nice to slow down and reflect. These moments when we can detach from the craziness of everything else, of schedules and difficult situations, just to rest, the experience the calm that this night seems to promise. It is a taste of the peace that we all desire so much. To have everything right in the world, to have some quiet. To experience only love and harmony with others. That for just a moment to have nothing stirring, not even a mouse…  There is something to that desire. This longing for peace. Most of the time we can subdue it and convince ourselves that since it can’t be had we should settle for less. And like a light in the distance, it remains, twinkling and calling us to see it. Truth is, there isn’t much peace in our world. Many other words come to mind long before peace to describe our lives… scattered, busy, chaotic, full of noise. Sure we see it in th

To Know It To Exult In It

"Paul had his head and heart so full of the gospel that he could scarcely mention it without a digression to set forth the nature and excellency of it."  Matthew Henry’s commentary on Romans 16:25-27 . Oh that we too would scarcely mention the gospel and not talk of its accomplished work, depths and vast beauty.

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 15

Christmas. The time we celebrate Jesus' invasion into the noise of our world. [audio] Listen here .

38 Years

Another year is coming to an end and today I have flipped the calendar on another year of life. Seems like a perfect time to look back over the last twelve months and reflect on getting older! 2015 was an exciting year for our little family. Just over a year ago we moved to southern California to be part of Grace Church. When we arrived there was a lot of uncertainty to be sorted out and new foundations to be laid. By God's grace, the church today is vibrant and deepening relationships. In the last year as a church we have installed a new elder council with five very different men all committed to the church and each other, we have moved our Sunday gathering out of a industrial park and into a neighborhood school saving some $14,000 a month, and we baptized nine believers (first baptisms in a long time). There is much to come as we endeavor to put into place a new vision and mission statement as part of our new book of church order in January and hold our first new members seminar

Trust in You

If you are anything like me, you have probably spent most of the day trusting in yourself. To get you through. Your ability. Your strength. These are not bad, but they are not meant to be what we trust in. No. There is One greater in whom we can trust. We can lean on his provision. His plan. His purpose. Even when it makes little sense to us or others. It is our place of rest. It is where we are meant to be. Trusting in Christ. Turn from the old things that keep failing, and find your hope, peace, and trust in Jesus.

2016 : Depths

It is the season for bloggers to list their favorite books of the year, and as I reflected on the books I finished in 2015 I was actually underwhelmed by the number. There were some magnificent books I read this year, most have been shared here, but I had higher exceptions for the volume of my reading. I was convinced being a lead pastor would open up the old schedule for more reading, and it has, just not what the type of reading I thought. Truth is, I did read a lot more than in years past, but it was the Bible that consumed more of my time. Now, I am not touting my daily reading as if I am a better disciple than you. I have been in environments where checking a daily task off the list was meant to make you feel more Christian and that is just silly. But rather than a task to be accomplished the Bible has become a deep to be explored. Not only in sermon preparation but in devotional study and meditation, the gospel revealed on every page of Scripture has increasingly comforted and gi

Few Minutes of Fantastic New Episode 14

In this episode we hear Paul's prayer in Romans 15:13 that the God of hope would fill us with all joy and peace in believing in Jesus so that the power of the Holy Spirit would pour hope into us. [audio] Listen here .

Considering Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 Let’s think about this prayer of Paul’s for a moment in the context of the holiday season. Christmas is all about the birth of Christ, his first advent, his arrival into humanity. The Eternal God, the creative Word that has coexisted with the Father always, takes on flesh, as a helpless babe. Because of this birth, this life, we have faith today. We are able to be in relationship with God and Paul’s prayer reminds us that God is a trinitarian God, One God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And they are all active in our lives because of the arrival of that babe in a manger. Paul calls God the Father, the “God of hope.” There is wrath against sin but this God has made a way for resolution and reconciliation with him. Rather than a far off deity unconcerned with our lives, or a cold callous supreme being, God brings hope. Hope for s

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 13

Because Jesus is Lord, you can live with others in grace and peace. Really, since we are not our own, we can care for other believers and those around us with kindness in our thinking and living. [audio] Listen here .

The Fog of Control

Today I have come intimately aware of how disturbed and flat out angry I can be when I have no control over circumstances and situations. Be it the government agencies saying there is nothing to do to solve their mistake other than wait, or the line at the grocery store that moves oh too slow, the fuse is lit and man it is a burning sensation! Pair this reality on the personal level to the collective level, and the lack of control we have over our own security and harmony in the world and it feels like we are simply lost in a fog wandering until we hit something concrete. In the fog I can't decipher which way I am to go or what lies ahead and that can be unsettling when I am trusting in my control for comfort and purpose in life. There is another way. It might still feel like fog on occasion but what we can't see doesn't scare us in the same way.  We can be given great clues of how we are to live and it really is the source of harmony. Now, you are reading a pastor's bl