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Carry the Cross

Posted: March 12, 2010 in Uncategorized
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“There is only one path  One way — the cross is at the beginning, and the end, and all along the way. You must carry the cross you picked up at the start.” -Arthur Blessitt

Once again the cross has consumed my thoughts today. I am convinced more than ever that if we as the church get a proper view of the cross of it’s place and power in our lives than much that is wrong will be righted. Because of the cross our sins are forgiven. Because of the cross we have healing. Because the cross we get to experience God’s presence. Because of the cross we are free. We could talk all day about what the the cross brings to the table but the truth is that we need to start to walk in the power of the cross.

In order to walk in it’s power we must carry it with us everyday. You see we can’t except the cross at the altar or wherever and leave it there. That’s why Jesus said to take it up and carry it everyday. I’ll never forget March 15, 2003 it was the day I married my wife and started my life with her. We exchanged vows at a beautiful chapel in nashville. We had bagpipes, a huge pipe organ, flowers, candles, tears, our family and friends were all there… it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. 🙂 But if I had been through all that and left what I did at that altar that day and didn’t take her with me… didn’t take marriage with me, my marriage and all the great things it has brought to my left would cease to exist.

It’s no different with us and the cross. We can’t accept the cross for our salvation but not carry it with us as a way of life. I mean after all we are the bride of Christ. Today walk with the cross. Take it with you where ever you go. It will make you talk different. It will make you think different. It will make you see people differently. It make you worship differently this weekend at church. It will make you pray differently. Embrace the cross not just as a momentary thing, but as a way of life.

So the cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. -A.W. Tozer

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Keep Hope Alive!

Posted: March 11, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Hope.

It’s a funny word. You either have it or you don’t. Not much middle ground with hope. Not really a “kinda” when it comes to hope. It’s like a candle in the dark at midnight of a new moon and the power goes out… No light anywhere but you still have the candle. Even if you only have a little bit than you still have it. Hope is power. Hope is light. Hope is faith. Hope is future. Hope is everything. With it anything is possible… without it all “seems” lost.

Last night in 68 I preach out of John 5:1-15 about the lame man at the pool of bethesda. With the exception Martha telling Jesus “hey thanks for nothing” when he arrived after Lazarus died, I can’t think of a time when somebody was around Jesus but yet still so hopeless. The man didn’t know who Jesus was, all he knew is that he had been sick for 38yrs and even though he tried everybody else beat him to the pool when the angel stirred the water. So, when Jesus asked “Would you like to get well?” the only thing the man could answer was “I can’t” followed by “i try but everyone gets there first.” All hope for this guy was lost. I mean somebody asked him if he wanted to get better and he couldn’t even answer “yes” just “I can’t. The guy was pretty bad off in the hope department, because he didn’t know who he was talking to.

He was talking to the very one that was the hope for all mankind. The One who’s whole purpose in coming to earth was to bring hope. The One that Paul on several occasions would call “Our Hope.” I mean who brings more hope than Jesus? And here this sick man is talking to the Hope of Glory and all he can say is “I Can’t.” Hopeless is a sad place to be, but the good news is Jesus did come and He brought hope along for the ride. The very next verse after the man says “I can’t” Jesus said “Get up…” and he did.

Don’t lose hope today. No matter how long you’ve been fighting… keep fighting. No matter how bad off everything looks… hold on to hope. Whatever you are facing… face it with hope. Keep hope alive. The worse part about the man wasn’t that he was sick it was that he had lost hope. Don’t lose hope. There are worse things than facing what your facing, it’s facing that thing without hope.

Here’s some scripture on hope if you’re running low today…

1 Corinthians 15:58, Colossians 1:27, Psalm 31:24, Hebrews 10:23, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Psalm 25:21

At the Cross

Posted: March 10, 2010 in Uncategorized
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“The same cross that saves us, is the cross that slays us.” -A.W. Tozer

I’ve been taken today and for sometime by a “holy fascination” (for lack of a better term) with the cross. At first read I know this may seem elementary, simplistic, and ordinary but it’s actually the furthest thing from any of that. Think about it. The entirety of the bible, as wonderfully complex as it is, is ultimately about one thing… the cross. Without IT we’re still really on the outs with God. The veil still separates us from Him. We’re still sacrificing sheep, oxen, calves, etc to be forgiven of our sins. We’re still not having that close intimate relationship with God. The priests still are the only ones in His presence after they go through all they had to go through to get there. But the cross changed it all.

That’s why it’s so important that we not forget the cross. We can’t forget it’s power. We can’t forget the sacrifice made upon it. We cannot forget even the smallest detail about it. It’s easy to take the cross for granted. It’s around our necks, it’s on our cars, on our shirts, tattooed on our arms (guilty as charged), it’s on our bible covers, it’s on our signs and churches. It’s everywhere we turn but is it really everywhere we go? We can’t just accept the cross at salvation and then choose not die on it everyday. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that he died everyday, and he wrote half of the new testament. Jesus said in Mark 8:34-35 that if we want to follow Him we must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and go after Him. Think about what it means for you to die on the cross today and how you are going to do it. I’ll finish this post how I started with the words of A.W. Tozer.

“The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.”

It’s Private… Kinda.

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

So, as I was riding around today in my truck, which has no radio, I had my iPhone and earbuds working like a champ listening a podcast from theRAMP. The sermon was on Gideon and the main crux of the message for me was about the effect of our private time on our public life. We always see the public lives of people but rarely, if ever, do we know the private lives of anyone but ourselves and hopefully our spouses, and sadly even that is up to question in a lot of relationships. The public life is what we see but the private life is what is most telling.

What’s scary for some and a comfort of others is that the private life will always at some point come to public light. Think about it? What made David the one chosen above his way more qualified brothers? He was seemingly so unqualified to be a king that his own family didn’t even think it necessary he be there when the future king was anointed, but in his private life he had something going on with God. How about Mary? Just a young girl nobody knew but the angel said “You are highly favored. The Lord is with you!’ How about John the Baptist? His father was a priest. A priest was one of the highest public offices any Jew could have, and because of the levitical order John was next in line for that public office. Instead, he chose the private life of the wilderness to get ready to prepare the way for Jesus.

We’ve seen the list of public figures who’s private lives have been shown to haunt them. No need to type it out you probably know it better than me. Pastors, athletes, polictians, musicians, hollywood, normal people, etc all have fallen victim to a private life that is not what it should be. As I was listening to this podcast today Damon Thompson said this and it’s stuck with me and changed me… “It’s private obedience that leads to public victory.”

So, the question is… what needs to change for you privately? I know what God dealt with me about but what is it for you? Not only what but how? How do you make the change? No matter what no matter how… make the change today.

All In

Posted: March 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

So in 68 we’ve been in a series called “Against All Odds” looking at stories in the Bible where people have had their backs up against a wall and then God comes through for them. This week we looked at the widow from 2 Kings 4, the one that God multiplied the oil for… remember her? If not, go read the story it’s really amazing.

As I prepared for the message a few things popped out to me… i’ll share 3.

  • 1. She was able to receive her miracle because of the relationship her husband had with God.
  • 2. She obeyed the man of God to a tee… no arguments, no debates, no doubt… just obeyed.
  • 3. She was willing to pour it all out, because it’s what God said to do.

1. She was able to go to Elisha because her husband served and feared God. It’s easy to get frustrated and upset as a Christian when things don’t go our way. After all we serve Almighty God and if He’s all that than why can’t xyz happen or why did xyz happen? (I know you don’t think like that but I’m still a growing boy [no fat jokes please] so bare with me) If anyone had reason to get upset it’s this lady… husband was a prophet, died early (sons were still at home so he couldn’t have been too old), in debt, lost everything and about to lose her boys too. She could have been mad, upset, hurt, all the stuff we are quick to feel and even quicker to throw out, but because her husband was the kind of man he was she stayed the course, went to the prophet and God came through. Never jump ship on God because things get tough, your relationship with Him will serve a purpose long after you’re gone.

2. She did EXACTLY what Elisha told her too. He said “Go borrow vessels from your neighbors… and borrow not a few.” She was broke and everyone knew it, couldn’t Elisha have said “hey God has made you some vessels full of oil they’re in your house go sell them, pay your debt and yall live on the left over money.” Instead he said “go borrow vessels from the neighbors that know you’re broke and oh yeah get a bunch of ’em too” but still she went and borrowed the vessels, knowing full well some would most likely reject her and at the very least talk about her. Elisha said gather your boys in the house and shut the door… check. Pour the oil out and set the full jars aside… 10-4. I wonder how many times I’ve missed God because I thought that’s too crazy, what will somebody say or think, it’s ok if I don’t do EXACTLY what He said to… after all there’s grace right?!? (again growing boy and again no fat jokes) Not this lady, she did EXACTLY what the prophet said and thus God did what He does; He came through.

3. Last thing… she was willing to pour out the only thing she had left because God said to. Every translation I could find she says “nothing” when Elisha asks her what she had in her house… “nothing” but some oil. No furniture, no plates, cups, silverware, no table… NOTHING. We could take forever and talk about the significance of “just” having oil, but that’s been done and done much better than I can do. What struck me was the fact that she was willing to pour out the only thing she had left. She was willing to take the only thing she had left… and pour it out because God asked her to. Elisha didn’t say what was going to happen. He didn’t say “watch as the oil keeps flowing” or “you’re not going to believe how much oil can come out of that jar you have” or “this is gonna be awesome what happens with that oil” nothing like that. Elisha said pour it out and she trusted. I wanna be like that. Instead of clinging to the little we have left, which in the grand scheme is not much anyway, how about we trust and obey God and pour it all out.

I wonder what we could do as the kingdom of God if just “regular” Christians would be willing to pour ourselves out. I mean how many churches would be out of debt and making HUGE impact’s in their communities if their regular people would pour it all out. What would the altars look like this Sunday if instead putting Jesus on the shelf at work we were all in and not ashamed? I wonder what drugs, violence, divorce, abuse, world hunger, sex-trafficing, politics, school shootings, homosexuality, terrorism, orphans, aids, africa, haiti, financial markets would look like if the church as a whole, as a kingdom, as a force, as a movement would get ALL IN and POUR IT ALL OUT, because Jesus asked us too. I mean after all Jesus Himself said we’d do greater works than He did (John 14:12-14)… so why aren’t we?

Let’s pour it all out, get all in and see what happens.

the adventure…

Posted: June 2, 2009 in Uncategorized

so, yesterday i had a grip of stuff to do around the house. i got some of it done, but some of it i COMPLETELY blew off to hang up with my wife and oldest son. he’s 3 and we took him to see the new pixar movie “UP.” which is pretty good i give it an 8… it started a little slow for me, but it’s definitely worth a view. (DISCLAIMER… if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to know about the movie come back another day) anyhow, the movie starts out seeing the lives of a couple how they met as kids and wanted to be these world explorers and they got married lived a pretty normal happy life and they grow old together and the lady dies. now they main character, Carl Fredricksen, is left by myself. long story short Carl goes on the adventure he and his wife never got to go on and he’s accompanied by this kid, Russell, who’s trying to earn his “assist the elderly” badge for boy scouts type group he’s in. 

during their adventure Carl stumbles across Ellie’s (his wife) adventure book. the book was meant to be filled with pictures and tokens of the adventures they had dreamed about… when he got to the section in the book where the adventure pictures and whatnot were to be he found that instead of being filled with these mementos of grandiose (hello mr dictionary) adventures like mountain tops, rivers, dangers, far off places, etc. it was filled with their life… a wedding, going to the park, picnics, laughing, their house, etc. it was at that moment Carl realized the adventure happened around him everyday, he just didn’t realize it was going on.

I sat there saying to myself… I don’t want to ever miss the adventure of everyday life. I don’t want to ever look for the next “BIG THING” so much so that I miss the bigger thing happening right in front of me. I am not saying settle for the mediocre, cause I don’t believe we are supposed to, however if we forget to enjoy and take in the adventure of everyday life looking for the massive to take place… there’s a good chance one day we’ll look back and like Carl realize the adventure was happening all around us but we were too blind to see it going on.

CLICK HERE  for a glimpse at UP…

until next time… whenever that may be.

so i ran across this story today on foxnews.com and it scared me, made me furious, made me sad, and everything in between. the run down is basically this… a pastor David Jones and his wife were holding a bible study in their home on good friday. well that’s until an employee for san diego county came to their door and informed them could no longer do so and “that the bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county.” (you can read the whole story here and get the entire story for yourself)

are you kidding me right now? is this not America? did our forefathers not form this country in large part to have freedom of religion and worship how they wanted? doesn’t the Declaration of Independence say “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (capital C that wasn’t an accident) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” i mean who on earth fell off their rocker and hit their head so hard that this became ok?!?

i’m not saying go riot in the streets, get signs and march around your local courthouse and i am in no way saying i want to be anywhere else but right here in America… but this is unreal. we as, what i believe to be a Christian nation, (despite what our current president says) need to be aware when such things go on because it could happen right under our noses and if we don’t know it some law or court ruling gets passed and before we know it our religious freedoms as we know them could be gone.

so, pray for our leaders in authority that they make right decisions. pray that God puts Godly counsel in their circles and paths. and pray that they have the courage and backbone to make the right decisions that will continue to make America the most amazing place to live on this planet.

and for those that think this may not be a big deal i give you PROVERBS 14:34

thanks for letting me vent… see ya next time. (whenever that may be)