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I’m not huge on poetry but I wrote this a couple of years ago after I went through a huge test of my faith. I may have failed the test in some ways but God’s love has a way of running into me wherever I go.
The weight of failure presses on my shoulders
My crimes leave stains on my skin
Heavy laden with regret
Discoloration…nothing pristine anymore
I feel something like a magnet
Drawing my emotions to a realm unseen
A hope mixed with sadness and joy
I remember how much I love You
All You’ve done to love me
Pressure turns into an embrace
My skin dissolves as my spirit becomes material before my eyes
It’s not about me.
I remember You.
This mirror has reminded me…
During a time of loss or tragedy you hear people offer a lot of sympathy. When I was much younger I would try and say something profound to people who were grieving with the hopes that I could bring some peace or resolution to their suffering. Many times I ended up making things worse so over the years I have tried to let people know how much I love them and also let them know that despite how things may appear, God is always good.
Sometimes people say things out of habit though, that are just not true. One of the things I have heard lately is that Dave was an angel and God needed him now. I want to address that.
First of all, I had the privilege of putting my hand on Dave’s shoulder the first time he ever felt the presence of the Lord when was 13 at our youth conference. I watched hip weep as this quiet introverted boy became a man of rock-solid faith. From that moment forward I was able to experience nearly every facet of …
After Elijah called down fire against the prophets of Baal in the spiritual Superbowl, he informed King Ahab that there was a “sound of heavy rain”. Ahab had just been through 3 years of being called out by God. Elijah had prayed for the drought and God brought it to humble Ahab and the nation. The Baal’s they worshipped were specifically honored for things like fertility, harvest, and…RAIN. After Elijah proved, by God’s mighty hand, that there is no question whose God is the strongest, there was no need for the drought so Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of heavy rain”.
Even when you are a great person of faith who has seen the miraculous, there is always a moment where a huge demand is put on your faith. Elijah knew that God had caused the drought and he knew God would end it. Still, Elijah climbed to the top of Mt. Carmel (revisiting the place where God had done amazing things before ) and bent down with his face between …
My responsibilities as a pastor give me the opportunity to talk to every type of person you could imagine on a weekly basis. As I do my best to try and help people navigate through life with a great sense of purpose and hope in knowing Jesus, I have found one issue that distracts people more than almost any other. Farmville. I kid, I kid. The issue that truly confuses people is the issue of identity.
People want to fit in. As a matter of fact, according to psychologists, our desire for acceptance is greater than our need for food, water, or shelter. It is a need that drives us to do nearly anything. We will search for it anywhere imaginable, we will starve ourselves for it, punish our bodies for it, we will work for it, we will finance things we cannot afford to have it, and many times we will compromise our own values to get it.
I am so moved when I look at Jesus’ life because He had such a huge sense of who He was. Remember, He was …
Alright, this has been a fun “mini-series” for my blog. We will close it out today with Part 3. The chapter we have been studying begins by Paul stating his desire that this wild church at Corinth would stop being ignorant about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe there is a lot of ignorance even today about these gifts.
Paul masterfully addresses the subject in question in chapter 12, writes chapter 13 about the superiority of love over any gift (one of the major problems still…no love), then addresses the protocol necessary for the functional use of the gifts in public.
1 Corinthians 12:3-6
3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
It is important to realize the context here because clearly Paul is …
Better to Receive?
If God gave you a gift would you receive it? That is the question I ended Part 1 of this blog with. I think when the question is asked with no context, almost anyone would enthusiastically say, “Yes!” God has, in fact, given us many gifts. Salvation is the greatest gift of all.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am happy that I received God’s gift of salvation. When it comes to the gifts He has given us there is such an awesome degree of intentionality on His part. It makes me want to treasure the gift all the more. As a shepherd, or a pastor, I appreciate the gift God has given me to help lead people closer to Him, to watch over them and to build them up. We see in this scripture that the Lord gave these gifts, which are many times are vocational, specifically so Christians could be built up.
Ephesians 4:8, 11&12
8 When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and …
A Wild Church
1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, and 14 have always been so awesome to me. Let me explain why. The church Paul was addressing the church at Corinth, one of the most immature, enthusiastic, sinful, yet hopeful churches imaginable. They were messing everything up. They didn’t know how to do communion. They were going wild using spiritual gifts without order. They were having orgies and yet still showing up to worship passionately. They were trying to one-up all the other leaders in the church with their deep spirituality while still practicing extreme paganism. These people were wild, but they loved Jesus. They were new in their faith but they didn’t quit just because they were doing it wrong. They kept pushing forward (with the help of one extremely wise apostle).
In these chapters you find an amazing story of Paul explaining the “gifts” of the Spirit to these energetic people. The context of these chapters is one of rationale and gentle correction. He is not chewing them out. He is lovingly explaining why they are doing things wrong and how …
God has never let me down
He has sustained me through failure, shame, victory, regret, and joy
Why have I ever questioned His faithfulness?
He cannot fail
When I was so lost, I couldn’t find myself
He showed me the benefit of what an heir is.
I deserved nothing and He gave me everything
I was surely headed toward heartbreak but He showed me what rejoicing truly was
I will tell nations of this love
I will persuade men to sing songs of my Father’s majesty
But most of all I am marked by this moment
Stretched so that I no longer am the same man
This becoming is beautiful and I don’t want to miss any of it.