Showing posts from May, 2016

Do Not Keep Silent!

“O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!” (Psalm 83:1 ESV) It is fascinating that God speaks to his people and calls us to “be still and know that I am God.” But in our petition to him, the call is that he will not be still! In the face of trouble, of the awful things of life and in the unknowns, we need God to intervene. We need him to speak into the situations, to act on our behalf and not hold his peace. It is a prayer we still pray now — Lord, work somehow in this, change our circumstance, move among us. It is a good prayer. It shows our reliance on him and our ever present need before him. And there is some really good news in the midst of this prayer; it has been answered for us in Christ. In the cosmic drama and tragedy of our sin and departure from God, he was no still, he did not keep silence, and he broke his peace. He spoke and lived among us, taking on our burden, solving our need. Jesus is the God with us that declares a better word over us t

Uncontrollable Consistency

I live near the ocean. Not far off really, just down the road twenty minutes. Then the vastness, the magnificence of that body of water is is in full view and goes beyond what the eye can grasp. There is something to being at the water's edge and feeling insignificant that I wonder if it wasn't designed that way on purpose. I think people are drawn to pieces of nature like the ocean because it represents a reality we feel most days and frankly are supposed to feel. Here is something so grand and violently uncontainable, and we have no say over it at all. We are nothing in its presence; nothing but an effected observer. I think we like to be reminded of the things greater than us. Because we were meant to rely on One vastly different and bigger than us. We love the uncontrollable consistency of the waves because it reminds us, deep in our souls, that there is a God who is uncontrollable and consistent in his providential care for us. To be in that place, in the proximity of such

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 37

Jesus is bringing you all the way home and giving you an inheritance of endless provision and unmatchable identity. Rejoice in this good news today. [embed][/embed]

To Be Forgiven

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV) What hope do we have to earn forgiveness? To receive mercy from a perfect God who requires perfection to be in relationship? None in and of ourselves. But in Christ there is great hope. In Christ it is accomplished and forgiveness delivered. By believing in Jesus, that he lived the perfect life and died as a substitute for us, we gain his righteousness and relationship with the holy God. We also are given the way of forgiveness for all of life. If we confess, and let’s be honest, we have much sin to confess, he is faithful and just to forgive us. Jesus is faithful to once again apply the forgiveness he gives you through his blood and he cleanses you anew from all the filth once a burden. It is a privilege worth celebrating and worshiping about; that we can confess, be forgiven and experience Christ’s righteousness as our own. There is no penance or work

Becoming Family

Love this from Honey Maid. Anyone want to stock up on graham crackers?!

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 36

We can be fearless, faithful and expectant for the future by the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is good news! [audio]

Who You Are

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV) In Christ, as a believer, you are this. Part of a chosen people, holy and set apart for Jesus. Set to proclaim the unending goodness of the gospel of grace. You have been called out of darkness no longer to dwell there and instead put into the marvelous light that is the righteousness of Christ. This is quite the identity document. In a world that stumbles and strives to define what is most important about people, here is a biblical declaration that is the ultimate when it comes to our identity. Everything else about you is secondary (and maybe even further back in the priority ratings) compared to this. A redeemed person, perfected and approved is who you are. How should this change how you face the day? It should shift everything. What can challenge this identity? Not t

Wherever I Go

OneRepublic has a new single out and I like it. Lead singer Ryan Tedder says the song is about obsession maybe even "almost an unnatural, unhealthy level of obsession, is what the song is about. But it feels very, to me – like we were looking for .." Even beyond the direct reference to praying for this feeling, I wonder if the song speaks of deeper redemptive realities... hear for yourself I know I could lie but I’m telling the truth (Wherever I go there’s a shadow of you...) I know I could try looking for something new But wherever I go, I'll be looking for you... Some people lie but they're looking for magic Others are quietly going insane I feel alive when I’m close to the madness No easy love could ever make me feel the same I know I could lie, but I won't lie to you Wherever I go, you're the ghost in the room I don't even try looking for something new Cause wherever I go, I'll be looking for you Some peo

Being Warmed by the Light

I have a vivid memory of being cold in Nebraska. I know that sounds weird, but I can remember as if it is happening, driving my little Volkswagen GTI down 48th Avenue turning on to Saddle Creek Road and then Leavenworth on my way to school (Omaha people might enjoy the geography). It was freezing. Surely in the single digits and the car's heater was not much help. I was convinced that I needed to change my mind about the temperature, I had to change my mind to be warm. There I was, I can still see in my mind the fog on the window, dreaming of being on a beach basking in the heat of the day. I remember imagining my attire and the breeze rustling the leaves of a palm tree. And I remember the warmth I felt from the light of the sun. It sent a warmth through my body. Was it real? It is possible that there were residual chemicals in my body from the night before that had me hallucinating... but I can remember the sense that I really was warmer just from thinking about it. I am sure ther

Content in Christ

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV) I am not sure if there is a harder command in Scripture. To be content, not clinging to money as our hope, as our future and as our security. They culture we exist in, and every culture since the dawn of man, has been obsessed with more, more for me and more than the next guy. We are told it is the only way to be happy, to store up riches, more toys equals more joys. Even in good ways, think preparing for retirement and saving for difficult days, the accumulation never ends and there is never enough. This is a never-ending and never-fulfilling race to completion, something money can never provide. And the best among us fall prey to the pursuit every day. Something better is in store. Hear Jesus saying to you, “I will never leave your nor forsake you.” He is your provision and he will not leave you. Money can’t stick with you but Jesus

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 35

Jesus calls his church to love in Revelation 2:1-7 and thankfully he first loves us. In his love, we are headed home, to paradise. [embed][/embed]

The Value of Time Spent

This week I am in Reno with a couple of Grace Church elders attending the Acts 29 West Multiply Conference. The first day was good and encouraging and I expect the second day will be much of the same. Often in attending meetings there is a conviction that we must gift the time spent a value to gauge if it was worthwhile. Without a doubt there are times wasted that are to be avoided but on the other side we may not find an immediate application or result of things gained. This can be a big deal for attending a Christian conference. I have served in environments that were so ingrown that attending a conference was practically prohibited and if you went to one the leadership had to be convinced it was worthwhile and you would make the church bigger and shinier upon return. There was little value placed on enrichment. But for a pastor in my circumstance, being enriched and encouraged by gospel preaching and equipping is a significant value. Relational connection with others laboring for th

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 34

In the presence of Jesus, the warrior King of the universe, we can be comforted and have not fear because of the cross. [embed][/embed]

Keep Going from Gospel Goodness

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV) When the good news of Jesus gets ahold of you it is meant to radically change how you live. Instead of selfish pursuits we actually turn outward to extend love to others as a reflection of the love we have received in Christ. Now, we don’t do this perfectly. We still war with our flesh that demands it go first, but the spark is there igniting the fire that will burn for others. To encourage this care more and more we are told that God sees it all. While our works do not save us, God does not disregard them. They don’t earn us relationship but they certainly please the One who extended us the grace that is our basis for love and effort. It is a life of glorifying God and he notices. Today we can be encouraged that God is paying attention to how the gospel fuels our love for others and the works we do for his name. It is worship to p