No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Category Archives: Ministry

I’ll Ask for Forgiveness…. Later.


Tell me if you’ve ever heard something like this: “I know what I’m doing isn’t right… okay, well maybe it’s even wrong… maybe… but I REALLY want to do this… it feels right… Well, at least I think it’s what’s going to make me happiest now. Yeah, it’s probably not what God wants, but it’s okay, cuz I’ll just ask Him to forgive me for it… later…”

Maybe we’ve even heard ourselves saying something like that… If not aloud, perhaps we’ve tried to justify sinful actions in our minds this way… Friends, let me say as lovingly as I can… this is a VERY dangerous game to play…

Consider what God says in Deuteronomy 29:

Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God… make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.” This will bring disaster… The LORD will single him out… for disaster.

Granted, this passage is written to Israel and in relation to the covenant they had with God… But the principle is clear… God HATES it when we identify with Him in name only and then go ahead and do our own thing… Isn’t that exactly what we’re doing when (like above) we try to justify stupidity? How many people do you know that claim to be Christian, yet don’t live it out in their lives at all? If and when they are confronted with their sin they blow it off as “mistakes” or dismiss it as “personality flaws” or “shortcomings”… and they will ask for forgiveness… later?

To bring this in a NT light, let’s look quickly at the end of Romans 5 and the beginning of Romans 6.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?… Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God…

Also consider Hebrews 10

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Notice at the end it says the LORD will judge His people… Can you be saved and sin willfully, yes… but then consider the next sentence… It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And, as a child of God, who loves Him, you will not want to persist in that sin… Robert and I have both written in recent posts about freedom in Christ, and how that freedom should not be used for evil.

It has been said that there is no such thing as a person who has accepted Jesus but has no change in their life… Does that mean that you will be perfect from the moment of salvation? Of course not! However, if there is little to no evidence of a change in your life, there is much to fear and that person should take head to 2 Corinthians 13:5 which says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Does this mean that you have to “clean up” your life before you come to Christ? Absolutely not… Salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone… Ephesians 4:8-9 affirms, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Since we are transformed into a new creation upon salvation then we ought to look and act differently than we did before… If we don’t we are massively immature as Christians or we are not Christians at all. Will there be ups and downs in the Christian life? SURE! Sometimes the downs might be huge… but we should be growing more and more as time progresses…

Philippians 2:13-14 says, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Basically, what this means that we have to rely upon God for the changes that He wants to take place in our lives, but we are to work with Him in that process…

So, I guess what this post boils down to is an appeal for everyone claiming the name of Christ (i.e. calling themselves Christian) to be, well, christlike (though the power of the Holy Spirit). Let’s stop living for ourselves and start living for Him… no more lame excuses for stupidity (like above) that presume upon the grace of God…

Unhappy with the Government?


I’m going to be out of pocket tomorrow, so I’m doing my G90X update a little early this week… Thought I’d take the Holiday as a good opportunity to remind us of a passage that isn’t always very comfortable. 1 Peter 2:13-17:

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Of course, in America we have no king… but we do have a Congress and a President and a Supreme Court… Regardless of your political leanings there are probably several men or women in Washington that you are not a big fan of… In posting this passage, I’ve got another confession to make… I need to do a much better job of praying for the men and women in our government… I spend a whole lot of time complaining about them (not always out loud, but often in my heart), and only a fraction of that time praying for them… which I think, is probably the best way to honor and submit to them.

When we are dissatisfied with certain things that our government is doing or not doing how should we respond? Robert touched on this in a previous post after he was very upset over the passing of the Health Care bill. I think 1 Peter 2:15 sheds a lot of light on what we can and should do… It’s easy to complain (believe me I know from 1st hand experience), but I think that our first obligation is to stop and pray and silence useless/foolish talk…

What do I mean by that? Here’s a question… What can actually (legally) be done to change the government? Vote them out, right? Of course you can write your elected officials and let them know how you feel about certain issues and how you will vote based on those issues… If you are dissatisfied with what they are doing/not doing – go to it… but the opportunity to actually make a change (by voting) only comes around every couple of years, right?! And there’s no guarantees that someone more worthy will be running against them. Our complaints in the meantime are futile and do more to rile us up and make us discontent and take our focus off what’s more important (i.e. the Kingdom of God, lost souls and hurting people around us)…

If our complaints are largely futile could they then be considered “ignorant talk of foolish men” in light of verse 15 and Ephesians 4:29, which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”? Not convinced? Check it out in context (Ephesians 4:25-32).

Thanks to the sacrifice of countless men and women throughout America’s history we have the freedom of speech… We have the freedom to complain… But 1 Peter 2:16 reminds us, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” Do our complaints build others up… do they mark us as servants of God? Am I saying folks on Fox or MSNBC are evil in being political pundants? Not really… However, as Christians we should think about how WE need to respond to our discontentment on a daily basis.

So what can be done DAILY to change the government? The Answer is Prayer.

God has the ability to change hearts and minds… I truly trust in His power and sovereignty… If He has that power and ability, then let us lean on Him to do so… Let’s pray for our government officials that God would give them supernatural wisdom and that they would make God-honoring choices… Let us “cast all our anxiety upon Him because He cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7) – It can make a difference in our nation, in our lives and our attitudes… I certainly want to do the will of God and definitely do not want to be considered by Him to be a fool who’s engaging in “ignorant talk.”

Maybe I should pray more…

Have you been Eclipsed? A Quick Commentary on the Twilight Series


Much has been said or written about the Twilight series that is sweeping the nation, both in book form and also on the big screen… The latest movie installment, Eclipse, released earlier this week.  So, I know that what I have to say about this phenomenon is probably not earth-shattering or anything close to that, but I feel it’s important to weigh in a little from a Christian perspective, but even more specifically from a youth minister’s perspective, a father’s perspective and a former romantic’s perspective…

To be fair, let me disclose my familiarity with the series… My wife and I have read the first 2 books and watched the first 2 movies and are in the process of reading the 3rd book… I say this not neither to endorse the works – nor really to blast them… but instead to offer some cautions for anyone thinking about engaging with Stephanie Myers’ works…

First of all, the books are very well written… Ms. Myers is a masterful story teller… the books are an easy read and the story is compelling… the books and the movies are entertaining… no doubt about that.

However, it is in this mastery that the first caution needs to be raised… I have observed in many that these characters and the story are all so compelling that one can lose themselves in the story… quite literally… this is especially true for young ladies (teens and tweens) – it’s as if their own life becomes “Eclipsed” by the Twilight stories and characters.

This leads to the second caution… While many Christian writers have focused on the elements of the movies and books that at least border on the occult, these, to me, are FAR less dangerous than the portrait of “love” that is painted by the series… and girls are buying it hook, line and sinker. The relationships between Edward and Bella and Jacob are dysfunctional, at best… they are not a true picture of biblical love or a healthy dating/marriage relationship, but could and should be labeled as obsessive and co-dependent.  This is particularly dangerous because the destructive way to approach romantic relationships presented in the books, especially New Moon, is shaping the expectations of young women as their bodies and minds and emotions are going through their own sort of Breaking Dawn (i.e. puberty)… Teenagers (both boys and girls) need no help in forming unhealthy ideas of “love”) – but these movies and books pushes them strongly in that direction. I shudder to think of how many multi-month long catatonic–like depressed funks that young ladies are going to slide into when their first (or second, or third…) puppy love breaks their heart? What’s more scary is I wonder how much that destructive behavior may be applauded by their friends…  Then, to what extremes will they take this display of broken-heartedness (keep in mind that Edward attempted suicide in New Moon after he thought that he had lost Bella)? The logical conclusion to this is nothing short of horrifying.

Consider what God has to say in Philippians 4:6-9: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Is this the world view presented by the Twilight series?

As a father, I want my daughter and my sons to experience God’s best in their relationships – for them to be healthy, focused on Him, selfless, edifying… I want them to find their identity in Jesus, not in a fallible human being who will undoubtedly let them down (frequently)…

As a Youth minister, I want the same for the young men and women that are affected by the ministry God has graciously given me… I don’t want to have to see them hurt and holding on to hurts that have been at least partially caused by unrealistic expectations… I don’t want to see them obsess over anything other than their relationship with the Lord…. My message to the young ladies in my youth group (and others) would be very similar to an open letter Nikki from the WayFM’s morning show wrote to some of her female friends:

“I was thinking about you this weekend. It was while I was watching a movie. It was probably the most anticipated movie of 2009. Females all over the country, possibly the world, chose a team, put on the t-shirt, and maybe even camped out overnight in exhilarated excitement to take in the next chapter of this supposedly timeless love story. I was a little late in getting around to it, but as I finally sat down to watch New Moon, you were on my mind. And here’s why: ITS RIDICULOUS.

 Look, I know it’s just a movie, and it’s meant for entertainment. I am a movie buff myself, and I love escaping into another place and time and diving into a world of imagined intrigue. It’s awesome. But with this one, I couldn’t even take that journey because it was just so RIDICULOUS.

 Bella’s pain, relentless agony, and perpetual longing may seem romantic on a big screen, but please know this is NOT what love looks like. Please know it is NOT normal or healthy to be this obsessed with a guy, to feel as if life is over or not worth living because he isn’t a part of it anymore. Or to think this other guy might do the trick if guy number one leaves. Please know your whole life and self-worth will never be wrapped up in any man. God completes you. End of story. I know this because I’ve let myself buy into that way of thinking before. I thought there would be no life for me if it didn’t work out. And guess what? I’m still here. And God is still awesome, and life is still rolling.

 Sure, I get it. It’s a movie and it’s fun. Go ahead, watch, enjoy, be entertained. But it’s just a story. Please don’t get too caught up in the picture of love Edward and Bella paint for you. Please don’t buy into it, or you may miss out on how big and life-changing love can really be. I was thinking about you as I watched this, and I just had to tell you.”

Yes, these are “just movies/books”, and some people can probably approach them this way… If you can, great… however, we have seen in the craze that has swept the nation, that this is often not the case… people are taking this series much more seriously than that… I also want to gravely caution parents that MOST young people are not mature enough to make those types of determinations (like whether they can refrain from getting sucked into the hype or not) on their own… and I would encourage you if you are going to allow your sons and daughters watch and read Twilight stuff that you watch and/or read it with them and have some very open discussions about the themes and messages in the books… For more help with this and for a more comprehensive review of the series, CLICK HERE.  It is the best analysis I’ve seen on the Twilight series BY FAR.

Themes in the Bible and God’s Will


With the sermon last week I got bogged down in study rather than the speed reading needed to keep up the G90X pace… Today is a catch up day…

So instead of trying to teach today, let me pose some questions (please shoot me your answers as a comment to this post)… In a previous post I said that the overarching theme for the Bible is the redemption of mankind, in other words it is about God easing the tension between His perfect love and His perfect justice…

  • What other themes do you see in the Bible?
  • How do they speak to you?
  • AND… How are you responding to them in obedience (And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6)?
  • Finally, do you trust these as God’s Will for your life (The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17)?

Why Pray?!?!


So, yet again my internet at home was down yesterday… so the G90X is a day late again! Sorry… I’ve hopefully got that shored up (ATT said I needed a new modem, so I got one and installed it late last night)…

As promised, I wanted to talk about the prayer aspect of the G90X… But to do that, I’ve got to start with a confession. I didn’t get in the full 90 minutes last week… The first 2 weeks I did in spades, but last week, I let business creep in and rob me of my prayer time… Boy, could I tell the difference!

The best way I can explain how prayer works and changes me is by a personal analogy. I’ve got some VERY good friends who do not live in the same town as I do, but with whom I keep in close contact… I Facebook, or email or text them often (usually one or all of these multiple times a day)… These guys are two of my very best friends and they keep me sharp, on my toes… hold me accountable… listen to my joys, concerns and hurts and they encourage me – I value their friendship and their time VERY, VERY much! In fact, if I don’t get my daily “fix” (i.e. fellowship with these friends) my day is not quite as good as it would be otherwise… Oh, it can still be a great day, but regardless of how good it is, it is somewhat diminished by my not communicating with these important men.

It works the same with my Heavenly Father. The days I communicate intimately with Him (more than just a “drive by” or “rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub… Yea, God!” type prayer) are the days that I’m most encouraged, empowered, focused on what’s important and submitted to Him… These are the days I’m closest to Him and these are the days I’m most selfless and filled with compassion for other people! Like above, these days can still be horrible days (believe me!), but days are just somehow better when I’ve had my “Jesus fix”…  THAT’s what I missed out on a little bit last week – I didn’t have as much fellowship as I should have or would have liked. My week was good, but how much better would it have been had I communed more with the God who not only created the universe, but who also loves me with a burning and passionate love?

If you don’t understand what I’m talking about because you’ve never experienced it let me encourage you to seriously consider John 3:16-18 and 1 John 4:9-10… Here’s what they have to say:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

If you HAVE experienced what I’m talking about let me encourage you to Love Him more and more and more… and express that love through time spent with Him through prayer… after all 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray continually” – Our days would be so much better if we would!

The Star Wars Saga and the Bible… Yeah, I’m a nerd


My lame internet at home was down and Robert had a post ready yesterday, so no G90X update then, but here it is a day late (Sorry)!  Don’t know what G90X is? Check out the original article from Greg Stier HERE.

I sympathize with Robert in his last G90X post… Speed reading has its drawbacks, but it also has its benefits… The last time I tried to read the Bible in 90 days I failed spectacularly because I was in the throes of Seminary and I just got bogged down in wanting to study everything out! I think this is kind of where Robert is coming from in his last post – His mind is churning and new ideas keep popping up and he wants to slow down and investigate them all… I TOTALLY get that… In fact, this is extremely admirable (cf. Acts 17:11) I find myself demonstrating the same tendencies… But what ARE the benefits of reading ALL of God’s word in 90 days?

Strangely enough, the benefit of reading it all is what serious students of the Bible strive for in their study – CONTEXT… CONTEXT… CONTEXT… What I mean by this is that the Bible, taken as a whole, is essentially the story of how God has, is and will work out the problem of evil. That is, it is the story of the redemption of mankind!  We get that intellectually as we approach the Bible, but that really comes alive when we look at it as a whole! In fact it brings God’s sovereignty and what He’s done behind the scenes much more clearly into focus and actually helps us see things we perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise if we’re picking and choosing our way through the God’s word (and perhaps skipping and/or ignoring certain passages or books)…

To use an imperfect, but more modern, analogy (and yes, I know this analogy reveals the depths of just how nerdy I am): If one were only to see the original Star Wars films (episodes 4-6), then they may be convinced that the Star Wars legend is mostly about Luke Skywalker’s growing up into maturity… NOT SO!! When you look at all 6 films (plus the Clone Wars, if you’re as nerdy as me) then it becomes abundantly clear that story is actually about the rise, fall and restoration of Anakin Skywalker (a.k.a. Darth Vader)… In the same way, but probably to a lesser degree, we may have the tendency to see the Bible as just good moral stories about specific historical figures (regardless of the degree of historical reliability we ascribe to it)… Again, NOT SO! The Bible is about how God provides a solution to the tension between His love for us and His Justice and hatred toward sin.

So, let me challenge you to keep with it!! Look at the whole counsel of God within its larger framework (like Paul’s hearers in Ephesus did) … Give yourself permission to look at it from 10,000 feet – you can see a lot from up there… Next update – Gonna  talk about the effects of the G90X’s intense prayer plan.

Better than the P90X


One of my personal ministry heroes has recently thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak. Robert and I have determined to take him up on the spiritual aspect of his challenge… Below is an edited down version of the G90X plan you can CLICK HERE for the full article.

Robert and I will start tomorrow and we commit to posting weekly updates on Mondays letting you know how we’re doing… We’ll also post random stuff from our G90X experience periodically both on our site and on Greg’s – Will you join us?

1. Go through the Bible in 90 Days.

I’m going to read a lot of it and listen to the rest on CD. One of the things I want to do is to journal my thoughts along the way so that I can write down key insights from the Word of God as I go through it. There is an excellent reading guide on the biblein90days  that I have downloaded to use (you can also read any One Year Bible at a rate of 4-5 of their “days” at a time). Call this the nutrition program for my soul. There’s no better than God’s Word.

2. Spend 90 minutes of concentrated prayer per week

What I mean by this is, not your typical “Good morning Lord” or “thanks for the food” quickie prayers, but concentrated, passionate and intensive worship, supplication and intercession where I spend time in PRAYer (Praising him, Requesting stuff, Admitting sins and Yielding to his Spirit.)

I am a big believer in prayer walking for the simple reason that ADD guys like me have a hard time sitting still. Walking and praying… brings solitude, worship and focus.

3. Memorize 90 Verses.

Yes, that’s right, one verse per day for 90 days. That may sound extreme but when you consider that Jewish boys in Jesus’ day had the first five books of the Bible memorized by the time they were 14. At the bottom of this blog are the verses I’ve chosen to memorize and their categories… (see Greg’s full article for his suggestion on how to do this)

4. Sin attack

I’ve identified two sins in my life (no, I’m not going to share them with you) that I’m going to attack in the next 90 days. Pray for me as I do. Scripture reminds us to search and destroy those sins that hurt our relationship with God.

4. Accountability

If you choose to join me, you can come back to this blog and give me updates and I’ll do the same. Invite your friends to join us! It should be fun, challenging and somewhat painful but, as Tony Horton of P90X fame reminds us, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

By the way, let’s not be legalistic with this. G90X is just an intensive spiritual workout to jumpstart our spiritual disciplines. Remember that those who choose to do it with me are not necessarily more spiritual than those who don’t. You can do all the disciplines in the world and if you are not controlled by the Spirit and fueled through God’s power in your motives it is all wood, hay and stubble.

If you are choosing not to do it (which is totally fine) I challenge you to, at the least, amp up your spiritual disciplines. Maybe this means 9 verses instead of 90, reading through the Bible in a year rather than 90 days, etc. But, whatever you choose to do, do it in the strength that God provides and not the flesh. Some great spiritual pump up advice is found in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power….”

Why do this? For Christ and his cause, THE Cause, to know Him and to make Him known. Let’s be disciples and make them. But for us to do both effectively we must be energized, disciplined and fueled in our own souls. God has given us the Spirit of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) so that we can live and give the gospel to everyone around us out of a heart that overflows with divine power (and huge triceps may intimidate some into the kingdom as well!)

The 90 verses (and the categories they fall under).

7 Warm up verses: 1 Timothy 4:7, 8 and 1 Corinthians 9:23-27

16 Worship verses: Colossians 3:16, 17; Ephesians 5:18-20; Psalm 66:1,2, Psalm 95:6,7; 1 Chronicles 16:23-29

12 Prayer verses: Luke 5:15,16; Matthew 7:7,8; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Psalm 34:15; Psalm 66:18; James 5:16; 2 Thess 3:1

11 Dependence on God verses: Colossians 3:1-4; Galatians 2:20; John 15:1-5; Isaiah 12:2

16 Dive into Scripture verses: Psalm 119:97-104; 1 Timothy 4:13; Psalm 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

16 Sin killing verses: Romans 8:12,13; Psalm 101:1-4; Galatians 5:16-24; 2 Timothy 2:22

12 Fasting verses: Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 6:16-18

LOST Series Finale


Sunday night was bitter sweet for me. LOST is over… Yeah, I can admit that I’ve been a huge fan of the show. My wife and I didn’t start off watching it, but got caught up in about season 3 by renting the first two seasons on DVD just before season 3 launched. This series has been one of my favorite shows of all time and the finale didn’t disappoint.

Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize about the show’s world view… but seriously, who forms their belief system over something they know to be fiction? There are, however, at least a few parallels to biblical Christianity (this is often true of great literature)… So, to put LOST to bed, so to speak, please allow me to point out just a couple of these.

First of all… the concept of the show started out simple enough, but then it got REAL complicated – REAL quick… Not everything made sense – no one could ever quite understand all the rules governing the island and those living on it – good people went bad, people with dubious pasts redeemed themselves. To the very end everybody had their own opinions as to why such and such was happening (from the tiniest detail to the over-arching purpose/meaning)… In fact, the most helpful episodes were the reruns that included the writers’ and/or directors’ commentary – but even these sometimes brought more confusion and questions than they provided answers.

Isn’t that just like real life, though? Life starts out real simple, but gets REAL complicated – REAL quick. Not everything that happens to us makes sense – Why do bad things happen to us or people we know? Why does the economy stink? Why do folks get laid off? What is the Purpose of Life? Why is the government so jacked up? The questions roll on and on… And the stronger the questions and challenges the less we know how to deal with them on our own!

Sorting it all out can be crippling! So people turn to various religions and try all sorts of theories (remember the hatch… Hugo’s unlucky numbers… Daniel’s crazy insights and ideas – including the nuke… Desmond’s idea last night). But even when they find the right place (we believe this to be the Bible) to search for reliable answers to life and morality (I mean, just how are we supposed to fight the “Smoke Monsters” in our lives – whoever he is) the waters can still be muddy because people often have a hard time understanding it or it leads to more questions!

SPOILER ALERT: Two of my favorite places in this last episode is where Jack initiated Hurley by passing him the bottle as Jacob had done for him – “Now, you’re like me”. Kate said “I know you don’t understand, Jack… But if you come with me, you will.” She touched his life profoundly and then led him to his father, who could (and did) provide the answers.

Both of these scenes demonstrate the kind of evangelism we need to have in the Church today… a passionate compassion for other people that leads them to be their best by seriously engaging in a relationship with God. In both scenes a life-altering decision was made and it was initiated by one of the characters simply asking them to make a decision. The decisions were tough but because of the love and care and friendship that had been invested between them the decision was really not all that hard… But still, one had to ask and the other had to accept. Demonstrating their decision wasn’t complicated – instead, it was so easy Hurley asked “Is that it?” It is the same for sharing and accepting God’s free gift of salvation. Through Jesus there is redemption for everyone even someone as evil as Benjamin Linus (I was glad to see them bring that character around for good through admitting his failures and apologizing). But for that to occur they must be presented the Good News that forgiveness and a new life are available though Jesus… this means that we are going to have to do a much better job of just lovingly asking our friends and family to make a decision (just like Kate and Jack did) – I’d venture to say that we will often get similar responses as the ones depicted on the show… acceptance (even if there is some reluctance at first).

That is what Robert and I are trying to do with this venue… it’s our driving force… our passion… our purpose: To connect with you and share life with you – to show you the way to the God and place (God’s Word – the Bible) where we’ve found our answers – And, we want to do this with No Shame, No Fear and No Apologizing – though we ourselves have been LOST, even though we fail… We sincerely hope you will come along with us and see where this ride takes us – It’s wilder and more awesome than anything Jack, Sawyer, Kate, John or Hurley could ever have imagined!

A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

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The death of me…The birth of ME!


Today, I am standing at a cross roads.

To my left is a path that I have always dreamed of.  Always wanted.  The reason… I have always wanted to make a difference.  Change things…forever.   The road to my left represents what I have always wanted but had no way of attaining.  You see, ever since I was a juvenile I have wanted to go down this road.  Part of my education was to prepare me on moving down this road, how to navigate the road and how to make an impact.  The thought of this road consumed me and every bit of my rational thinking ever since I can remember.  Today I sit and stare down that road and see shapes that I have never seen before.  The gate has been opened and now I am seeing everything that I wanted to see 6 years ago.  But today…I am hesitant.

As I stand here, I look back and see an older set of crossroads and a decision that changed me forever.  This cross roads that I currently stand at, has become available because of the decision I made before.  I look to the right, and I also see things I have always dreamt of,  but it is not as I would have imagined.  It is different.  I am different.

The difference between the two is that one pushes me to become better in everything I do- to do things right.  Not just on a workmanship level, but also personally.  The other will push me to my limits on a workmanship level, and its rewards will be money, and power.  You see the decision I made a little bit back, has made me a better husband, father, friend and leader.  Really now that I look at the cross roads, its not so much of a cross roads as much as it is a veer to the left because the path to the right…is just a continuation of the road that I have been traveling.  Really, the closer I look…the more I realize that the veer to the left…I passed it a long time ago.  The cross roads is simply a person whispering in my ear of what could have been.  The question…Do I go back to the veer? Or do I stay the course?

Today, I announce the death of the old me.  The things I once coveted are passing away one by one.  This by far being the largest piece.  What I have realized today is that the new birth that Christ speaks of, is literal.  There is nothing metaphorical about it.  All of the things I once wanted, everything has now changed for me.  Today, I looked the person offering me a chance to fulfill something that I have thought about since I was a kid, and told him…no thanks.  Today… I chose God.

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