Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Joseph 2

Genesis 37: 3-4

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

I want to start off by looking at Joseph as a young man. We start to get a look into Joseph’s life at the age of 17. I say Joseph was a prideful, young man, some call it spoiled. Without a doubt he was loved, and special concessions were made for him. As a matter of fact we read in verse 3 : 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age. SO Joseph was the baby of the family, a position that seems to have changed very little of the last 1500 or so years.

His father made him a robe. Many call it the coat of many colors. However this is not to be thought of as the coat of many colors that the country song was about. In fact it was quiet the opposite. This robe was made to show off. It was flashy, and showed the family wealth. It was a way to say look at me. While most robes were plain and one color, this robe was adorned with trinkets, and colorful.

It was more than just the robe that set Joseph apart. We see in chapter 37 verse 12 that Joseph has been allowed to stay behind while his brothers are out tending the flock. So there was also exceptions made when it came to passing out the work assignments, and that was a pretty big deal back then. There is little wonder that his brothers had quite a bit of animosity towards him.

Then to top it off, the Lord gives Joseph a couple of dreams. In verse 6-7 we read 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it."

Then another dream in verse 9 we read: 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

Have you ever heard it said that some things are best kept to yourself? Of course right at the beginning of verse 6 we see that Joseph did not feel that way, because it starts off with him telling his brothers, listen to this dream I had…… I can see it now, here is Joseph the one who gets out of work all of the time, standing there with his flashy robe on telling his brothers hey listen, I had these dreams, and….well hey, I am going to be a pretty big deal, even the sun and moon shall bow to me! I can only imagine how that went over with the other brothers!
I have heard it said that for God to do impossible things he starts by humbling an impossible person, and we all know what is in store for Joseph, a truly humbling time is heading his way. The point I would like to make about this prideful behavior is are we guilty of the same? Do we flaunt what we have? Do we strive to take the easy way out? Do you find yourself wanting that pretty coat, and the special attention?

It is very human to want to be the best, but let us not confuse being the best at something with being admired, and held out as something special. We should all strive to be the best Christian we can be, yet accomplishing that goal is exactly what will typically keep us from becoming the favored one. We know that Joseph’s brothers wanted that attention. We know that apostles bickered over who was the favorite to Christ. Some apostles even had their mother show up and request special treatment. Yet as Jesus reminded them (Mark 10:43-45), and it still rings true today. If you want to be great among your peers you must first become a servant to them, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all. Most telling is what Christ says next “for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

So while it is Joseph’s pride that will start the chain of events in his life; it is that very same pride, that feeling of being better than, or more privileged than the next guy, that we must be on guard for. It is a very easy snare to step into, and once there it is hard to get out.

God Bless,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Joseph 1

OK so it has been a couple of weeks since I have posted to the blog. I have had more words than time, and as a result I just have not had the availability to get the words posted. However, this week looks to be the start of things getting back on track, and down to a low roar. SO I am going to make it a point to get back to posting what I am writing. For the last couple of weeks I have started a series on the men of the bible.

This week we will be looking at Joseph son of Jacob / Israel. Joseph has many qualities that we all can identify with, and each of us can learn a great deal about navigating our own lives by looking at how he handled his. Specifically we will be looking at the pride of Joseph, the faithfulness of Joseph through all of the hardships, and we will look at how Joseph handles the successes that the Lord blesses him with. All of the posts for the week will be listed numerically i.e. Joseph 1, Joseph 2. With today’s being Joseph 1

May the peace of the Lord be with you always,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

so now what? continuation of suffering

Often we suffer, through no fault of our own, nor does someone intentionally try to cause us pain. It comes through the circumstances of life.

Take a look at Ruth 1

3 Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi had everything important to her taken. Her husband and her children were dead; to say she was suffering is an understatement. When she returned home and the people greeted her, she told them: (Ruth 1) 20 "Don't call me Naomi, “she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.

Like most people in life Naomi was bitter. She has hardship enter not at the hands of anyone around her, but just by the circumstances of her life.

We also have to remember that there is a battle going on for our very soul. While the Lord might not directly inflict pain, the devil will. Think of Job. By all accounts Job was a righteous man. The Lord said so, his friends said so, and the devil agreed. So the devil sets out to create hardship in Job’s life so that Job might turn from God. We know that God allowed it, because the Lord knew that Job would endure. Try as the devil might, he could not get Job to turn away from the Lord, yet Job suffered greatly. This happens in our lives as well. The devil wants you…..no …needs you to turn away from the Lord. If he is to win even one soul, it must come from that soul turning from God. He will get directly involved in your life to pull you off the path. Suffering will come directly from him, so that you might be moved.

The last way I want to look at suffering is as part of our Godly, righteous lives. If you follow the Lord, you will encounter suffering. Not because of the Lord, but for the Lord! In acts 9 we see the Lord speaking to Ananias about going to Paul after his encounter on the road to Damascus. We read: 15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

In Philippians 1 we read: 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him

In 1 Peter 4 we are reminded: 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Part of fulfilling God work will involve suffering. We will be singled out; we will be ignored, in some countries even today people are still being killed for it.

Lastly yes we cause our own suffering. As little sense as that makes we as humans are very good at it. In Hebrews 12 Paul tells us: 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
The psalmist tells us in psalm 119 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

When we choose to walk in a direction that is opposite of the Lord, life will become hard, not out of resentment from God, but out of his love for us. Think of Jonah He fled from the Lord. He was called and instead of following the Lord he ran as far as he could in the opposite direction. We all remember the story; He spent some time in a whale’s belly! Just like Jonah it is never too late for any of us. We can always change our course, and we too will find that we can escape the trouble we have found ourselves in.

The big question is the attitude we have about suffering. As you look at your life and assess the suffering in your life, you know that unless you are the direct cause of the suffering you might not be able to control it. If it is you, well that is an easy fix…..correct the problem! But what about when it is not? How should you approach life when you are suffering, and struggling? Should you be like Naomi? Do you let yourself become bitter? I think not. I think Proverbs 24 says it well: 10 if you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! It is during our times of strife that our faith should be the greatest. God is at his strongest when we are at our weakest.

The bible has much to say on this topic:

If any man suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf . . .I Peter 4:16

1 Peter 4: 9So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

How should we act?

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

I Thessalonians 3:3 3so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.

Most of all do not be surprised by it.
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

To sum up our how our attitude should be we only need to read 2Corinthians 4:16-18 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

But the question remains what good can come of suffering?

Lets start with suffering will test your faith. It is a chance to show the world how great our faith is, and a chance to glorify God
1 Peter 1:7
7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

We all have times in our lives that give us great opportunities to test, and prove our faith. It is easy to have faith when life is sailing along, but it is when life gets hard that our faith will pull us through, as well as show those around us how much more our faith is capable of accomplishing.

Our suffering allows us to comfort others when they are struggling:
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Without suffering ourselves we could never help others through tough times. If we never suffered and experienced the comfort of God’s love, then how could we ever relate that love and comfort to anyone else?

Maybe most importantly we learn not to count on ourselves, but to trust in God
2 Corinthians 1: 8-9
8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

Things in our life come up, road blocks, and suffering. Things that we not only cannot get around, but will never get through on our own. It is these times in our life that we understand that without the Lord we cannot do much, but with him we can accomplish anything. For many of us if we did not encounter suffering, we would never learn to trust in the Lord. We would stay convinced that we are the ones driving, and, all things in life are possible, only be cause we will them to be!

We know that the best example of suffering is found on the cross. In Jesus’ last moments it is written in Matthew 27 and Mark 15 that he cried out "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" They both also record that Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and then gave up his spirit. But what was said. Few remember that Jesus’ last words were words of submission to God in hi suffering. It is recorded in Luke 23 what his last words were 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. As his final act, Christ gives his spirit to God. In the midst of unimaginable suffering, Christ is not bitter, he is not resentful. He Turns his spirit over to God, and submits to the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.

We will always have struggle in our lives; we will always go through suffering. These are nothing more than tests, and opportunities. They are chances to right our wrongs, correct our course, and Chances to glorify God. When we take the time to understand the suffering in our lives, see where it comes from, and use it as a way to glorify God; we start to understand that suffering is not always a bad thing. It is a welcomed opportunity. This is why Paul often looked back on his struggles with fondness. Not because he enjoyed pain, but because he saw the suffering for what it was just another trial of faith, just another way to show the world his love for God. Suffering will come in to each of our lives, directly or indirectly. It is how we handle it that will determine how much we grow in our relationship with the Lord. Will we allow ourselves to become bitter, or will we rise to the challenge, and fight on behalf of the Lord? We can be defeated, or we can defeat the suffering. We can rise to new heights with the Lord, hand in hand using each struggle as a stepping stone over the creeks and rivers of our lives. We might get wet along the way. The stones might be slippery, but when we navigate with the Lord at our side, we will never be swept away by the current.

May the Peace of the Lord rest upon you,

Friday, May 29, 2009


Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the
keeping of their souls to Him in well doing as unto a faithful creator.
(I Peter 4:19)

We talked of listening for God last week, but what happens when you listen, you pray, you are fairly sure of the direction you need to go, yet you are met with hardship? If you are doing it right, and walking the path, then why is it hard. Did you misunderstand? Did you miss the mark? Why does God do this to people? Does he do this to people? Basically, you ask….what’s up with that??

Tragically when people are faced with adversity while following the path of the Lord, instead of trying to understand it, they simply give up. IN John 6 we read:
58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" 61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." 66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

So if the people of Christ’s time were willing to ditch on him, you can bet that plenty of people today are ready to run at the first sign of trouble. Resist the temptation to become on of the fleeing masses. Stop and take a look at just what might be the cause of the suffering. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
Fist, the people around you can bring about quite a bit of suffering. If you remember that story of Joseph, you will remember that he was sold by his own brothers into slavery……His own brothers. Then he was imprisoned, and abandoned by the cup bearer, and the king’s wife. He was left to rot. Talk about suffering. Yet Joseph did not wallow in his suffering. Even though it was not brought about by his own doing. Look what he told his brothers, many years later, (Genesis 45:4,7) 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
This example shows that God will use even tough time, times of struggle, times that you have suffered by no fault of your own, for the good of not just you , but for the good of those around you.

Tomorrow I will take a look at how circumstances, the devil, and your own sin can play into your suffering. We will also take a look at how we should view suffering. As well as why we should expect it, and what positive effects it can have on our lives......yes I said positive!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Voice, the direction, and the failure

Psalm 81:13
13 "If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,

Once we have followed the steps and have learned the voice of God does that mean that we will never have problems again?.....If only that were true. Many things happen along the way, sometimes we hear the Word of God yet decide to take our own route, sometimes we fail to understand what God is trying to tell us. The point is that we will not always get it right. Here are some examples of two different ways to deal with the aftermath.

Men who fell short and recovered

Abraham: He lied about Sarah being his wife for fear he would be killed and his wife
taken from him. Yet he is called a man of faith and the friend of God.

Moses: He struck the rock and called forth water instead of speaking to it as God
directed. Yet the Bible states there has never been another prophet as great as Moses.

David: He committed adultery with another man's wife, then had the man killed to try to
cover his sin. Yet he was a great king and is called a man after God's own heart.

Jonah: This preacher went the opposite direction when God called him to preach in
Ninevah. Later he preached the greatest revival in history. The whole city repented.

Peter: He denied Jesus, but later became a great leader in the early church.

Men who never recovered

Samson: He was an important judge in the nation of Israel and had great physical strength
given him from God. He began to deliver Israel from the Philistine enemy. But through
involvement with a heathen woman, Samson was taken captive and died while yet a
prisoner of the enemy.

Uziah: This king originally did what was right in the sight of the Lord and God made him
prosper. But Uziah sinned by entering the temple and performing duties which only the
priests were permitted to do. He was stricken with leprosy and died.

Saul: The first king of Israel, Saul was a man adored by the people and upon whom the
Spirit of God rested. Because of disobedience, Saul was rejected by God and another
king was selected to complete his task. Saul's life ended in failure, disgrace, and suicide.

Eli: Originally a great priest in the house of the Lord, Eli and his sons died in disgrace
because of disobedience.

Judas: Judas was a disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He witnessed the great
miracles of Jesus and heard His teachings. Yet he betrayed Jesus and ended his own life
by suicide.

So what is the difference, you might ask. I find the best explanation in 2 Corinthians 7:10
10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

We have to expect to make mistakes. We are not perfect. We will falter. It is a matter of knowing that it will happen, and be willing to put the hard work in to correct the transgression. The difference between the men on the first list and the men on the second is a simple as understanding that the men on the first list recognized their sin and repented. They took steps to correct the problem. They asked the Lord for forgiveness, and the asked for his guidance. They might have started off acting under their own motivations, but in the end they submitted to the Lord and had the patience, faith, and hope to wait for his will.

We can all learn to hear the Word of God. He does still speak to his people today, and he has a very specific plan to relay to you. Through the Holy Spirit his plan will be revealed to each of us, but will it always be easy to discern. Will it always be a spoke word? Far from it. God uses many different methods to relate his message to us. Let’s look at a few examples from the bible.


The following are a few of many Biblical examples:
-God warned Abimelech in a dream about his sin of taking Abraham's wife,
Sarah. Genesis 20:3
-An angel spoke to Jacob in a dream to remind him of his vow to God.
Genesis 31:11-13
-God used dreams to reveal His will to Joseph. Genesis 37.
-God appeared to Solomon in a dream and gave him the opportunity to ask
for whatever he desired. I Kings 3:5
-A dream was used to direct shepherds to return to their country by a
different route because of an evil king. Matthew 2:12-13


-God appeared to Abraham in a vision and made him a great promise.
Genesis 15
-The book of Daniel is filled with visions (as well as dreams). God used
these to reveal many things about the future of the world. He spoke to
many other Old Testament prophets through visions.
-God gave Peter a vision concerning the need to take the Gospel to the
Gentile nations. Acts 10
-God called Paul to Macedonia through a vision. Acts 16:9
-God spoke to Paul in the night through a vision. Acts 18:9-10
-The final book in the Bible, Revelation, is based on a vision seen by the
Apostle John.

The Holy Spirit

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
(Romans 8:14)

He that searches the hearts knows what is in the mind of the Spirit,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:27)

Paul gives us so many examples of different ways God will communicate with us:

-On the Damascus road Paul was directed by a bright light and a voice from
Heaven. Acts 9:1-8
-When a plot was formed to murder Paul, he was warned by believers who
were used of God to help him escape. Acts 9:20-25
-Barnabas was used by God to establish relationships between Paul and the
other disciples. Acts 9:20-28
-Believers were used of God to help Paul escape the angry Grecians. Acts
-When Paul met an occultist, God gave him discernment to bring
deliverance. Acts 13:6-12
-Prayer and the Holy Spirit guided Paul into a special missionary ministry.
Acts 13:2-4
-Personal prophecy by Agabus confirmed the experience that awaited Paul
in Jerusalem. Acts 21:10-14
-God spoke to Paul through dreams and visions. Acts 22:18; 26:19; 27:23-24
-An effectual door of service for the Lord caused Paul to change his
personal plans. I Corinthians 16:8-10
I bring all of these to light to point out the fact that God is not limited on how he speaks to us. He uses many different things in our lives. That is why I often say that you must be still and listen, pay attention to what is going on around you. That is not to say that every dream, every vision, or every inner revelation is from God. We must remember to go back and read the scripture; God’s will never departs form God’s written word. The Lord has much to say to each of us He is the great Creator, and the great communicator. But we must listen, and open our hearts. The path might not always be smooth, and easy, but God will always offer direction is we will prepare our hearts, and open our minds to the Lord


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making changes

Continuing from last week

We are told in Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

If we want to clearly hear the voice of the Lord, we have to start with shutting out the voices that lead us off the path. When we turn our attention to the Lord we allow ourselves to become born again. We allow Christ to enter and start the good work inside of us. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! If we are to start listening we have to start changing., and that change comes by giving our lives over to Christ. As I mentioned earlier, all of the people who are in the bible that talked with God, and heard his voice, were men who followed God. I want to be clear about one thing. They were not perfect men. SO often people think well I can never hear the Lord, because I will never be good enough. But as Paul reminds us in Christ we are new creations, not perfect creation, but new. The slate has been clean, and we are just as good as the next person….even the men in the bible. Will we hear as clearly, will we be as blessed? Well that is not for us to decide, that is up to the will of God. The important thing to take in is that you have to make that change. If you want to hear the Lord, you have to give him your heart, and have faith that he will keep his promises.

Christ told his disciples that there would be help; there would be a way to realize his plan. We read in John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. This is what typically is referred to as being led by the Spirit. Some examples are: Acts 8:29 The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." or Acts 11:12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them.

Once we have given our lives to Christ we allow the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God to enter into our lives. The Spirit of Truth is with us always, gently whispering in our ear, leading us down the path to the Glory of God. Will you follow?


Friday, May 15, 2009

Which Voice?

SO if we do want to hear the Lord, we have to listen, but what does the Lord sound like? Well in John 10 we read: 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice.

So Christ is telling us that we will in fact know his voice, but his voice is not the only one rolling around in there is it? How do we know it is the Lord talking to us? Well we have to go with what we know. First we know our own voice. We are always running thoughts in our minds, we reason, and think to ourselves. So we know our own voice very well.

Who else might we find when we listen for the Lord? Well there is little doubt we will find the devil himself. Have you ever been in the middle of a prayer, or maybe reading the bible, and then right out of the blue you get the most off the wall thought. One that you do not have the least idea where it came from, but you know good and well that it does not belong in your head……you know what I mean……yeah, that one! Folks that is the devil stepping in to say hi! He creeps in and throws the most random things in just a quick thought, maybe a little mis-direction. With a little effort it is very easy to recognize the devils voice. It is the suggestion that springs forth, that your voice typically follows with Oh no you will not!

SO how will we know it is the Lord? Chris told us that we will know his voice, so it comes down to separating the Lord’s voice form all the others. It comes down to “logos” and “graphe” both are used in the bible both mean word. However one is the spoken word, and one is the written word.

Acts 17:11 gives us a good example: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica,
in that they received the word (logos) with all readiness of mind, and searched the
Scriptures (graphe) daily, whether those things were so.

The spoken Word of God always aligns with the written Word of God. They always
agree, there is no contradiction.

So how do we get to that point? How can we really learn to pick His voice out of all of the
others? Well we have some work to do on our part. Remember how I pointed out that the people that heard God’s voice so clearly in the Bible all had one thing in common? Well they all were in tune with the Lord. They searched him out, they made their lives a living example of His love.

Each of us have to do the same thing. There is a process to get to that point, and that is where we need to make sure we put the work in.

If I do not pick this up tomorrow, I will continue with it on Monday.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stop, Look, and Listen

I spend quite a bit of time focusing on God plan. I am always quick to say we need to listen for the Lord’s instruction; we should wait and see what He has in store for us. This is all very true, but I get a lot of questions about how do we know God’s intentions in our life, how can do we know if it is God’s will to do this instead of that? A lot of people make the observation that while they pray and pray, they never “hear” the Lord.

So this week I want to spend some time looking at how the Lord speaks to us, and how we can prepare ourselves to really get in tune with God’s plan. We will look at three different areas; first does God speak to man? Next we will ask can we understand or “hear” the Lord. Third (and this is where we will spend the majority of the time) we will look at what the Lord has to tell us, as well as how to hear Him clearly, and know His voice.

We know that the Lord speaks to us. Throughout the bible we read the phrase “the Lord said” We read that the Lord spoke to many people throughout the Bible. Adam, and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Nehemiah, Jonah, the list goes on and on. We do know one thing; yes The Lord does speak to us. Sometimes he even uses animals as in the story of Balaam found in Chapter 22 of Numbers. The Lord used a donkey to speak to Balaam. Then of course there is scores of examples where the Lord sends His messengers to relay his desires, and his plan to men. Mary, and the Sheppard’s are two that come to mind. The Father of John the Baptist would be another.

There is no doubt that God does indeed speak to us! He has much to say, and He wants an open line of communication. It does take some practice, and desire on our part. If you notice most of the people that the Lord speaks so clearly to, happen to be very in tune with the Lord. They are people who spend their time in prayer; they spend their time searching out God’s voice.

The Lord wants to talk to you, the question is do you want to listen?


Friday, May 8, 2009

the application

TO wrap up the week on Mom’s I want to leave you with a job discription I found. I hope You all have a great weekend!

Position: Mom
JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work various hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
RESPONSIBILITIES: This is for the rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, and embarrassed the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

There is little doubt that God knew what He was doing when He created women. The Lord knew good and well that men would never be able to get by with out them. That is why God gave woman the responsibility of bringing life in to the world. The undeniable love that a woman possess for her child is the closest glimpse we get of seeing the love that God has for each one of us.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jesus and Mom

You know I can’t help but think about Christ when I think about Moms. You might think I am crazy to say that but hear me out. First remember how Christ ran the money changers out of the temple? All is right with the world, Jesus and his friends are walking in to the temple then BAM out of nowhere, Jesus makes short work of all of the people desecrating His Fathers house! See that is how my Mom was…..I dare say that is how my wife is! Moms just do not have a lot of room for blatant disobedience, and justice comes quickly, and thoroughly.

It is not just the discipline end of it, although I will say if the man is king of his castle, then the mom must be the judge and jury! When I think of how Christ fed so many on so little, I cannot help but think of Moms. There is no end to how far a Mom can make a dollar go. I can come back from the store thinking I got a bargain, only to see my wife come back form the store with twice as much, and still spent less than I did! Then how far she can make those groceries go! I walk to the pantry and see nothing, I show up to the table and the woman has prepared a full meal! I do not know where this food comes from, but I am quite certain that food was not in there when I looked, yet there it is a feast ready to eat!

One of the many amazing things about Christ was His ability to heal others. He cast out demons, he healed lepers, and he brought people back form the dead. There is not a doubt in my mind that God gave Mothers some of that healing magic. This same woman who had brought a child to tears earlier in the day, can relieve the pain of skinned knee with a hug. She can pull the venom out of a bee sting with a kiss, and can break the fever of any sickness with a cold washrag, some Vicks, and an I love you while brushing the wet hair from their child’s eyes! Oh yes, a mother has healing powers, I do not know of a father that does not feel the pangs of jealousy when he see the love of a mother heal the wounds of children.

But when you get down to it, the point that drives it home for me is very simple. As adults we trust Christ, we turn to him, and we look for guidance, we read God’s word and listen for His direction on how to live our lives. We pray to him, we ask Him to heal our broken souls. There is nothing that Christ will not do for us, He was even willing to give His life to save ours…..but you see…when we were young we did not know Christ. We had no idea who he was or what he did for us. That is why He gave us mothers. See, all of Christ’s roles for us when we get older, are trusted to dear old Mom when we are young children. She will bend over backwards to give her child anything they need. She nurtures, she guides, she protects, but most of all she loves. She loves as only a Mother can. Wholly, fully, completely, and is willing to die to defend her child. A mother is unique indeed, a mixture of force, strength, and unyielding love.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Gen 3:20
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

This Sunday is Mothers day. SO this week I want to spend some time putting some thoughts together on Moms.

The first Mother was Eve. Eve meaning life. God made Adam, and Adam was given many responsibilities. HE was Gods first human creation, however God save the most important duty for His second human creation, the creation of woman. To the woman he gave the gift of life.

Every man woman and child on the face of this earth, have one very vital thing in common. They all have a Mother. I know many might think well without a man a woman cannot produce life. However you would be wrong to assume that. Mary is the example of what happens when God wants to create special life. No man needed!

Even today with all of our modern advancements the woman is vital in bringing life into this world. There is no device or substitution for a mother’s womb. We have come to a point in science that the man is almost irrelevant, relegated to the sidelines, yet without the mother providing a safe place for the baby to form, and grow, life has no chance of maturing.

It really goes beyond that though doesn’t it? Mothers are a unique creation, they have very unique traits. The uniqueness of the Mother is what I want to look at over the next few days.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

the harvest

After we have worked the ground, planted, and waited, we see an amazing thing; we see the harvest start to come in. Now is the time for excitement, and thanksgiving. If we have put in the work, and have waited instead of forcing it, we will see more than we ever imagined. It is much like the parable that Christ told of the sower. In Luke 8: 5"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."

If we do it right, there is a hundred fold waiting on us. Now as always I need to put the disclaimer out there, when I say a hundred fold, and talk of being prosperous I am not talking about getting rich. That is not the purpose of farming our souls, that isn’t the end result we are after. I am talking about the important things we will harvest. Love, peace, hope, faith, the seeds we decided to plant will be what we harvest.

Do not be fooled though. This season is not easier than the others. It takes work to go out and harvest. You still have to get out in the field, and put in the work to get the harvest into the barn, or to the market; and in respect to your spiritual harvest, the harvest is really just the beginning. While you are out there in your field receiving all of the wonder and gifts that God is showering on you; you now have a greater responsibility that just getting it in to your barn. Now comes the prep work for the continuation. Now you realize that part of your work is not just in your field, but you have to harvest in the Lord’s field as well. That field is ripe, and bountiful. Just as Christ told his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Once we get our own field producing good crops, we have to go out and help others in their fields. We have to show them how to till the ground, and remove the rocks. Just when we think we are finished, we find that the real work has begun! It is not enough to tend to our own fields, and let our neighbors crop die on the vine. The great commission put us squarely in our neighbor’s field working side by side to get his harvest to come in as well as ours has. The beauty of doing that is the more we help others, the fuller our crops become! What we end up with is spiritual land as far as the eye can see; bursting at the seams with love, hope, faith, and generosity. These are the crops that we are to tend. This is what it is to be a farmer of the soul!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Plant and patience

Ecclesiastes 3:1
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Now that the ground has been worked, and the stones removed it is the time to plant the seeds…..then the hardest part of all the time to wait. Planting the seeds weather in the fields of the farm or the fields of our spirit, are much the same. The farmer has sacks of seeds, and each of us has the same. Oh our seeds might not be as obvious as the farmers, but they are there. Our seeds are our time, our talents, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, and how we spend our money, just to name a few.

The farmer goes our and drops his seeds into the ground and covers them. He knows what he is planting, but we make the choice on what we plant. Each of us goes out in to the world, and how we sow our seeds will greatly determine what we will harvest. Are you spending all of your time on yourself? What do you see when you open your check book? Are your funds going to material things, with very little spent on things that would advance the word of God? How do you treat others, are you short, never spending the time on anyone to nurture that friendship, unless it benefits you, and your ideals? If you want to harvest love, peace, prosperity, generosity, hope, and faith, then that is what you have to sow. As Christ told us, an olive will not come from a thorn bush. Much the same hate will not breed love, greed will not breed generosity, and denial, will not breed faith. You have to set out each day and go about planting your seeds. You have to plant them knowing that you will have to wait…..and that is the hard part of this season. The waiting. You have to plant your seeds fearlessly and in faith. The farmer does not plant his seeds then worry day and night if they will take root. He is not a worry wart. He has faith, faith that his hard work he put in will be rewarded. This is how we must wait. We have to wait in faith. We cannot plant then expect something to immediately happen. Just like that farmer we have to wait. We have to have faith that God is working on our behalf. We have to have faith that even though we planted the seed and put the work in, God will provide the water needed to make that seed sprout…..and he will! If you will put in the effort, God will show you his abundance! He will use the bad things in your life for the good, He will see the seeds you have planted, and while you wait in faith, He will provide the life giving water to make the seeds grow.


Farmers of the soul

Matthew 9:37-38

37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

Christ often used the image of fields, and the work of farmers. There is a good reason for that you know. That is what I want to talk about today….Farming. Have you ever known a farmer? Or maybe a person that really loves gardening? They are unique people. I remember driving by huge corn fields when I was a kid, and I remember thinking, Man, what a job! You must have to be the most patience trusting, hard working person in the world to be a farmer!

When it comes to our spiritual lives we would do well to model our lives after farming. There are very specific steps that have to be followed. There are no shortcuts, and you can’t do the last step without doing the first! To be a successful farmer you can’t just go buy a bunch of equipment and go harvest your field. Not by a long shot! There is a ton of work to do first. In the same way, we can’t just go out and reap the rewards that the Lord has to offer with out first putting in the work. So what are the steps? Well let’s take a look.

First you have to work the ground. A farmer has to get out there every day and till the land, he has to break the ground open, and turn the soil. It is a dirty grimy job, dirt is flying in the air all day, and it hangs to everything. Imagine how pointless that must seem! Acers of land lying out in front of him, and he is out there relentlessly dragging equipment behind the tractor, kicking up dust, and making a mess! If you were just to glance at him while he was working it might look like he is just wasting his time. A bunch of work going on but no payoff. But the farmer knows better, he knows that he has to get the soil turned, he has to get the rows cut. If he does not the harvest will never come in right. It will be sporadic, and only a small portion of what he plants will take root.

Sound familiar? Walking with Christ is no different! We have a lot of work to do in our hearts and in our lives before anything will grow. We have to take the proverbial hoe to our hearts and turn the soil; we have to prepare our hearts and our lives for the gifts of the Lord. That comes by way of prayer, and by searching out our hearts for all of the rocks and getting them out of our field! We can’t come to Christ, unless we know who Christ is. We cannot come to know Christ unless we search Him out in our lives. The best place to start looking for Christ is on your knees! We as a society do not spend enough time in prayer. It is the most powerful, yet most overlooked tool we have been given. Could you imagine a farmer passing up a tractor, and saying “naaa that’s ok I’ll just use this hoe” of course not! Yet that is exactly what we do when we pass on prayer, and go out in to the world thinking that everything will be just peachy. Time and time a gain in the Bible one of the most repeated things people do is pray. David, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, all of the apostles, John the Baptist, Isaiah, and this is just a few! Christ himself not only prayed, but gave us a prayer to pray! Amazing things happened in these men’s lives and it all started with prayer! I urge each of you to incorporate prayer into your lives, as a foundation of your day. It is vital in the process.

Another great place to “till” the soil of the soul is found in the pages of the Bible. I cannot stress the importance of this in your life. It has been said that you can read the same Bible your whole life, and never read the same book twice. I firmly believe that! It might sound strange at first, but I promise you that the same person never picks up that Bible. Everyday we find ourselves in different circumstances, and facing different challenges. Each time you pick the Bible, up a different part will speak to you that you did not notice that day or the week or the year before! I have read the Bible many times cover to cover, and each time there is something I did not see last time! It is truly the Word of God, and it will speak to you each time you open it. If you start each day off with prayer, and a quick read through the Bible you will find that you have truly laid the foundation of a Great day!

The last thing we have to do to prep our spiritual field is to get down and pick out the rocks. This is the dirty part! We all have rocks in our field, toxic relationships, sin, poor choices that we make, selfishness, greed. Each of our fields has a little different type of rock, but we all have to really work to get them out of our fields. A seed will not root if the soil is full of rocks! Some rocks are bigger than others, some you can reach down and just fling to the side, but we all have those big rocks that we have to go to the shed and break out the sledge hammer, and the breaker bar on. We have to break them down to manageable pieces. The best tools to use for that are prayer, and faith. Pray that the Lord helps you remove those rocks, and most importantly Faith that He will!! The Lord will help you turn the soil, but you have to give Him the room to work, you have to have the faith that he will!!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

First thing in the morning.

But our attitude really is so much more than just the way we treat others, it is more than just learning to control our anger. Our attitude will dictate just how we make it through the day. Think about as soon as you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing on your mind? Are you dreading the day, do you find that you just do not want to get out of bed? I will let you in on a little something. You know the first thing I think when I wake in the morning? Psalm 118: 24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us rejoice! And why should’nt we? Have we not woke up and found ourselves alive and breathing? The Lord has set another day at our doorsteps and we have to make a choice on how we are going to meet it. The only way worth your effort it to REJOICE!

Think that you do nto have anything to be happy about? Or that attitude really does nto make a difference Let me share one of my favorite stories with you.

Attitude is EverythingBy Francie Baltazar-Schwartz
Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man. " I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Tomorrow when you open your eyes, think one think before all others. Psalm 118: 24 and REJOICE! That attitude will follow you the rest of the day.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


What if I were to tell you that there is a specific way to live, would you believe me? What if I were to say that all of the bickering, backbiting, and angry arguments were at least half our fault? Would you raise an eyebrow, and scoff at the idea, would you be quick to offer up a rebuff of well they were asking for it, or they started it? What if I were to tell you that as soon as you take your fist conscious breath of the day you have already started to make choices that will not only effect your day, but the day of everyone around you? It all comes down to one little word that has a huge impact on our lives, and our spiritual health, that word is attitude.

What is your attitude? How do you face the day? When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing that races through your mind? How you answer these questions goes a long way in not just getting an idea of where your priorities lie, but it goes a long way in showing where you are spiritually. See the Lord told us what our attitude should be. He spelled it out clearly when he told us the two greatest laws. Love your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and the second is much like the first. Turn and love your brother (those in your community) as you love yourself. Love is the attitude that we must pursue, and make no mistake about it. Many might call love an emotion, but it is in fact an attitude. It takes work, it takes commitment, and it takes perseverance.

If we try to live the attitude of love then the arguments go away. I know you are thinking what??? How will that work? Well the easiest way to stop an argument is for one side to shut up. Think back to your last argument, what really came of it? Hot words, things said that were not meant, things taken out of context and skewed….the argument becomes more about winning than it is abut fixing anything. How is that love? God loves us, and He wants us to love each other the same, we cannot do that if we are always tearing each other down. It is not enough to just find an outlet for our angry actions, we must learn to master them and live out of love for one another. It reminds me of a young man who had a terrible temper.

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

It is all about the attitude of love….how many nails have you driven into your fence?


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Story

Easter is upon us. I wanted to share a story that was sent to me, and I plan to share this Sunday in Service. I have heard the Easter story told many different ways. I have heard it through the viwpoint of the disciples, I have heard it through the viewpoint of Barabbas, I have heard some try to tell it through the viewpoint of Christ…..This is a viewpoint I have not heard before, it is told by way of a Roman Soldier.

Do you hear it? What you ask? "Tetelestai" I can hear it even now. It beckons to me through the wind. I can tell you are looking at me strangely.
Let me go back and explain why this word is so pregnant with meaning for me. I had never seen anything remotely like that day. In my time spent with the Legion in Jerusalem; I had helped perform many executions, but this one was different. This day there were three young men condemned to die. The sentence proclaimed on each of them had been death by crucifixion. At the palace, we tied the large crossbeams of rough hewn wood across the backs of each of the condemned. Their arms were outstretched on the wood demonstrating to everyone throughout the city what was going to happen to them. We took "the parade route" through town. We wound down every street to warn the people that the Roman Empire was serious about crime. Everyone knew where we were headed. There was this hill called "The Skull" where we performed the executions. As we wound down the streets, the weight of the beams dug into their back.
Several splinters from the rough wood slivered deep into their skin. The first man hollered curses at the crowd. There was no remorse there, only bitterness. I can still hear his angry voice yelling at the top of his lungs. The bitterness came out with his words and hung around him condemning him yet further. He made no appeals for mercy. I guess he was holding onto the only thing he had left. His strength had been robbed from him in the prisons. I had to prod him with my sword several times to keep him moving.
The second man was almost the opposite of the first. In his tears, he cried out for mercy. He mentioned his child and tried to tell a heart-rending story to the crowd. But all they did was jeer back. I had to wonder about the wisdom of killing this repentant man. But mine was not to wonder, mine was to take orders.
As the third man came by, I heard the whispers and murmurs going through the crowd. I overheard that this was Jesus. I figured this must be the guy that had whipped the city into a frenzy and the reason why we were having this execution so quickly. He didn't look like the criminal he was supposed to be. Also on his head, there was a wreath of thorns. Each one had dug deeply into his flesh encircling his head with blood. His olive skin was hanging in strips on his back. He was so badly beaten that the pain had to be unbearable. I glanced at him and saw such a peaceful look in his eyes that I couldn't help but stare. This peace didn't make sense. Did he not realize that he was about to die one of the most gruesome deaths possible? Did he know that he would die from lack of air as he started to lack the strength to pull himself up by his nail pierced wrists and finally his lungs would fill with liquid? I was absorbed by this man, when he stumbled. The weight of the cross seamed to be unbearable for him. I grabbed one of the young men standing by and shouted at him, "CARRY HIS CROSS!" This man looked like he was going to hesitate, but as I went for my sword he lowered his head in submission. I strapped the cross to him and we continued to march.
After an eternity of marching, we approached the site of execution. The sound of a hammer hitting a nail echoed throughout the countryside as we connected the crossbeams to the posts. As we finished each one we would lift the post up and into the hole in the ground. As we slid the cross with Jesus on it into the ground, he asked for forgiveness for us. For us??
Why in the world did we need forgiving? Even more importantly, how come he didn't hate us like every other condemned man. Did he not realize that we were killing him? I wandered away with some of the other soldiers while we waited for the condemned to die.
About three hours later, the entire land went dark. This was an unusual dark. It wasn't like night. It was a stifling darkness. This day was getting weirder and weirder. I just wanted this execution to be over with so I could go my own way.
Then about three hours later, the darkness left and I heard Jesus scream out "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani" I wondered what he was screaming. I heard someone say that he was calling Elijah. But then I heard someone else correct them and say that what he was saying was Hebrew for "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" The cry was with such agony that I can still hear it in my ears. It was not merely a physical agony. It went much deeper. It was the agony of a heart breaking. I recognized that cry as one that I could never quite understand. Finally something that made sense from this man. I was used to seeing a sense of desperation from these men watching their life slip away.
I was thinking about this when he screamed out his final word, "Tetelestai"
It covered the countryside. It was long and drawn out and obviously painful for him to say. Roughly translated that means "It is finished." But that alone would make sense. Truly it was finished, after all he was dead after he uttered it. But "Tetelestai" means more than that. It means that it is utterly and totally complete and that nothing else could possibly be done to add to it. My curiosity could take it no longer.
I went up to the cross and asked a woman there who this Jesus was. She broke down in tears, and I couldn't understand her through her sobs. But the man with her explained to me a fanciful story of Jesus. He tried to tell me that Jesus was the Messiah. But I wouldn't listen. After all, if Jesus was truly the Son of God then we wouldn't have been able to kill him, right??
Before I left we went ahead and broke the legs of the two other criminals, but we didn't waste our time with Jesus. He was obviously dead. One of the other soldiers ran a sword through Jesus' side and blood and water flowed. I had heard of these "tears of the heart" before but I had never seen it. I left that site and tried to go about my day.
Well the next week as I was going around town, I stopped in my tracks as I saw this guy that was in the spitting image of Jesus. I figured it must be his brother or something. But as I stared I saw the nail marks still in his wrists. As I stood there staring, he called me to him. With a slight smile, he said, "I AM He" He had read my mind, I bowed down. He could read my heart as well. He raised my head and told me, "What I had completely finished was paying for your sins. Go and sin no more, for you are a new creation."
Now as I go everywhere, I hear "Tetelestai" It is God's way of reminding me that sin is no longer my master. After all, nothing else could have been done. I hear the word echoing in the breeze as the birds sing. It is a subtle sound even in the hubbub of the crowd. Whenever I stop listening with my ears, I can hear it again. "Tetelestai" Can you hear it? Listen closely. There it is. Yes, it is finished. Jesus could have done nothing more to reconcile you with God. That is the great news!! As you hear "Tetelestai", remember once again that you can be a new creation. The old will be wiped away! Shout it in praise to Him, "Tetelestai." And when someone asks you what you are saying, you can tell them about this man that died not only for me but for you and them as well. "Tetelestai!"

Happy Easter!
God Bless,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

first difference

While there are differences in all of the gospels, the one thing that is missing in Luke, but is included in all of the other Gospels is the Hosannas. Matthew, Mark, and John all have at least one reference that is much like the account in John: 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!"

While Hosanna is a word of adoration, literally translated it means save us. That being said one can see why the Hosanna was left out. In Luke the crowd that greeted Jesus were not described as simply a crowd, nor were they towns people, Luke called them “the whole crowd of disciples”. What stuck in Luke’s mind was that this crowd of people already knew that Jesus was the Christ…the anointed one. They did not need to shout save us, they were busy declaring to the world that Jesus was King.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So what is the difference?

Read through the following verses. Look for something that is different in one from all of the others. I know it is a little bit of reading, but with Palm Sunday just around the corner it is a topic that I like to bring up. I will post the readings today, then start the discussion tomorrow.

Matthew 21: 1-11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."

4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5"Say to the Daughter of Zion,
'See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' "
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Hosanna in the highest!" 10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" 11The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

Mark 11: 1-11
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.' "
4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
10"Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!"
"Hosanna in the highest!"
11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Luke 19: 28-44
28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30"Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "
32Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"
34They replied, "The Lord needs it."
35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
40"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

John 12: 12-19

12The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey's colt."
16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

After reading each passage what is missing from one of them, that is included in the other three?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My best friend

To bring this week to a close on the thoughts of friends in our lives I have to tell you about my best friend. I think you might know him. He was born in a manger. He is the one true friend I have. I call him my best friend because He love me. He truly loves me. No matter how weak I get, He is there for me. No matter if my life is great or it is rocky, all I have to do is look for Him, and I find him there by my side. When I make bad choices He is there to help me find my way. When my choices are good, He celebrates my victory with me. He has been my friend since before I was born. The best part about it. I did not choose Him, He chose me. Just like the kid from earlier this week, He just knew of some poor soul that needed a friend, a good friend, a true friend, and when I dropped my books He was there to help me pick them up.

There is no doubt that just like that lost kid who felt so alone, I too was marching to my own death. So sure that it was the right way, the only way really……Why wouldn’t I think so? So many of my friends were walking the same path. The He showed up, He picked me up dusted me off, He helped me carry my books one day, and every day since then it seems that He carries all of my books, and so much more. Who is this fella I am talking about? It is Jesus Christ. He tells us in John 15: 15 -16 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Now I run with the Lord, we spend most of our days together trying to figure out how to navigate this crazy life of mine, He helps me out a lot, more than many people would think. We also like to keep an eye out for people that were just like me, marching to their death content to chase the dreams of this earth, thinking that it is all that there is to live for. The greatest part is the other friends I have met, friends that were like me at one point but now hang out with Christ. See we spend our time helping each other out, we don’t worry too much about who is the best or who is the first, or who is liked by Christ the most. We are all friends that Christ loves the most. We build each other up, we encourage each other to chase after our dreams, and dare each other to live the amazing life that the Lord has planned for each of us!

Oh sure we run into groups who like to bash us, or think we are Jesusfreaks….(which is kinda funny because we are, ......we just don’t think that is a bad thing!) but you k now what? It is easy to see those people for what they are now, they are leaners, not lifters. They are the people who I was talking about who will take it all from you and give you nothing in return. They are the people in the world who are still lost, and while we will always try and help them, and we will always try to show them the truth; but when we see that they are not ready, we shake the dust off of our sandals as we leave.

So I invite you to meet and hang out with my best friend. Give Him a chance, He will be the best friend you have ever known, and He will be there not just for this life, but for eternity. Call on Him, you will find that he is already there. He has been waiting for your invitation. He picked you long ago, and has been watching, wanting to help....just waiting for you to call Him friend back.


Friday, March 13, 2009

encouraging friends

I know yesterday I rambled a little, and I apologize for that, but the entire concept of who we associate with and who we spend time with is so crucial to our well being, yet it is the one area that we often over look. We always cut out friends slack but is it at the cost of our own well being? Are the people that we are feeding feeding us? Are we encouraging each other?? I know what is the deal with me always talking about encouraging each other? Why is that so important?

Well let me put it this way, maybe you will see why I dwell on it so much.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man.
The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rosette’s judgment. He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings - these done by a young art student?
Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. "These," he said, "oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it."
Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. "Who is this fine young artist?" he asked. "Your son?"
"No," said the old man sadly. "It is me - 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up - too soon."

You see we are all painters, God gives us each a blank canvas how well we paint that picture is going to depend on the feedback we get while painting it. Imagine that the people that come in to your life while you are painting are always telling you that it is good, but not good enough, or that while it is OK it will never be a masterpiece. Better yet, they really don’t care about your painting at all, they just want you to set your brush down and come help with their painting! Sound familiar? I am sure it does! These are the people that we have to stay away form; our picture we are painting is our life’s masterpiece. It is great to lend advice and encouragement to other painters, but you cannot paint their picture for them, you have your own work to do!

So then what is a friend? My daughter sent me thins and honestly is what started me down this road this week.
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.His name was Kyle.It looked like he was carrying all of his books..I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?He must really be a nerd.'I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him..They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.'He looked at me and said, 'Hey, thanks!'There was a big smile on his face.It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now.I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friendsHe said yes...We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again..I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!'He just laughed and handed me half the books.Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.. When we were seniors we began to think about college.Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.He was going to be a doctor and I w as going for business on a football scholarship.Kyle was valedictorian of our class.I teased him all the time about being a nerd.He had to prepare a speech for graduation.I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great.He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!'He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.' Thanks,' he said..As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends...I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.I am going to tell you a story..'I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.'Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile..Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

This is true friendship. Someone went out and accepted another person. No expectations, no pre-requisites, just an offer of friendship that ended up turning into much more. This is why encouragement is so important. This is why if you find yourself surrounded by people who are spending more time tearing you down than helping you out, you need to really make some hard choices.

No ones circle of friends will be perfect, we all have our problems, and no one is perfect. Even Christ had issues with the Apostles. They argued over who was the best best friend, they missed the points He was trying to make sometimes, some of them doubted Him, some of them denied Him, and one even betrayed Him.

If the people that hung out with Christ were less than perfect and made mistakes, you can bet that we are going to have the same problems, if not more of them form the people that spend time with us, you can be assured that you will make mistakes as well. Making mistakes is nothing new to us humans; it is how we respond that counts. Do we continue to make the same offences against the people in our lives, do we allow the same people to continue to use us like a doormat? Remember that we all want to be like Christ, it is the one thing that we all can agree on; however don’t forget to be ready to leave. We can only do so much, and try for so long before we are no longer helping others, but we are in fact destroying ourselves!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


John 4: 43-44

43After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)

This passage has always jumped out at me. Mark 6 also records it as : 4Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."

As a result of the lack of faith Jesus does not accomplish a whole lot while he is in Galilee. Now you might think that I am wanting to talk more about faith, and I guess in an indirect way I am, but I want you to really think about what is being said here.

Jesus Christ, the only son of God, he left his Father, became human….yet when he goes back to the place of his mortal birth, the Son of God cannot accomplish many things, because of the people that were around him! The people had no faith in him, so he could not display His greatness….

My question to you today is not do you have faith in Christ, but who are you surrounding yourself with? If Christ could not do great things because people did not believe in him, how do you expect yourself to be able to accomplish much if the people that are around you, do not have faith in you? If people do not believe in you, if they are not encouraging you, if the people in your life are not taking an interest…….do you think you are going to be successful?

We are all great at trying to live like Christ…. We want to love like Him, we want to forgive like Him, we want to be compassionate like He was……but we all seem to forget that we need to learn to leave like He did! Christ did not hang out in Galilee for an extended amount of time. He did what He could, He helped whom He could, and then He left!

Matthew 10 we read Jesus giving direct instruction how to handle people that will not receive them: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.

How successful we will be in this life has a lot to do with whom we place around us, and whom we place importance on. You might think well what does it matter, we are here but for a short time, I go to Church, I give my offering, I try to be the best person that I can be……why does it matter who I hang out with…they are “good” people, they don’t do drugs they don’t cheat….yadda yadda yadda, well are they? Are they good people? Are they supporting you….are you supporting them? Do you find that it is a two way relationship, or are you doing all the giving, and getting nothing in return?

Who are you reaching out to today? Are you keeping yourself in an environment that is sapping your faith away? If you think “getting by” as a Christian is all that matters, think again. WE have a lot of work to do, and it will not get done if we are not all at our best.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The rest of the promise

So how much does God love us? So much that he gave his only Son…..That is something that we hear from the first time we go to Church to the day we die, but how many people really understand the depth of that love? I am reminded of a story that brings the point home on a very personal level.

The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. Its not influenza, but three of four people are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they are sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don't think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say its not three villagers, its 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb. People are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before. By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India. It’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as "the mystery flu." The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?" That's when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that's why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English. There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe. Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it you have it for a week before you know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die. Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement. "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing." Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are talking about "What if it comes to this country"? And preachers on Tuesday are saying "It's the scourge of God." It's Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs if from the parking lot and yells, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!" And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders. And then all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing. Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly and safely, to the hospitals. Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, "wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name you can be dismissed and go home." You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and if this is the end of the World. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says," Daddy, that's me." Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a minute. Hold on!" And they say, its okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has got the right type. Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses crying and hugging one another-some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you sir. Your son's blood type is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine." As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, "May we see you for a moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need.....we need you to sign a consent form." You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. "H-h-h-ow many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all!" "But-but. . . .I don't understand. He's my only son!" "We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We-We need it all!" "But can't you give him a transfusion?"
"If we had clean blood we would. Please, will you please sign?" In numb silence you do. Then they say, "would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?" Could you walk back? Could you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Could you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be. Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying." Could you leave? Could you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why. . . .why have you forsaken me?" And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even bother to come because they have better things to do, and some folks come with just a pretentious smile and just pretend to care. Would you want to jump up and say, "EXCUSE ME! MY SON DIED FOR YOU! MY ONLY SON! DON'T YOU EVEN CARE? DOES IT MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?"

Can any of us say that we love the people of this world that much? Can any of us say that we love God that much? Could we give not just ourselves, but what we love the most, what we love more than life, to God? He did it for us. That is how much he loves us.

Look at the next part of the verse, that whoever believes in him……who? Whoever, not a few people, not some select group, or members of one class, but whoever. The rich, the poor, the healthy, and the sick. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Everyone! God does not discriminate; he loves every one of us. All he asks is that we love him back, and love each other. If there is no difference between us to God why do we find it so easy to draw lines in the sand between ourselves?

A friend of mine told me about a guy in College named Bill; He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before! By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, had silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read."

So God loves us, so much that he would give His Son, so that whoever believes……the young and old, all of us, can have everlasting life. We are in this together, hopefully we can all learn to sit next to each other and worship!

One of the main points of this verse I want to call attention to is not that God loves us, and not that we are all included, but what we have to do to receive this gift of eternal life. We have to believe…..that is it, no strings, no hidden agenda, all who believe in him will receive eternal life.

Christ told us that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains; it is the key piece to the puzzle, faith. Faith that God will protect you, faith that you are saved through the death of Christ, faith that the Lord will provide, even when it seems that there is no hope.

It does not matter how hard you work, if you do that work without faith in your heart it is fruitless and worthless. There is no scoreboard in God’s eyes, He does not have a tally sheet on a clipboard marking down each thing that you do, until you reach a set number, and then PRESTO you are saved. You are saved the moment you open your heart to Christ, and accept him as your savior. The moment that you realize, and take into your heart that Christ alone is your rock, you get the promise.

Have you accepted Christ into your life? John 3:16 is a trustworthy saying, it is truthful, and a promise from God. He gave his Son for you, won’t you let him in?