Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My 3 girls...

My 3 girls waiting for me at home...My wife (Janeen), my baby girl (Eliana) and my dog (Lexi).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is it over already?

We just got back from our Summer Camp at Camp Erdman. Going into to it I really had no idea what it would be like. There was so much to do in preparation that I always felt that I was forgetting something. I was worrying about the outcome so much. Thankfully the Lord convicted me a few days before about trying to go it alone, without Him.

I stopped. I got down on my knees. I prayed.

Now on the "victory" side of camp, I don't see how I got anything done without Him. The team grew and came together, more kids signed up, the kids were stoked and the team was single minded in loving the kids throughout the weekend.

Forgive me for doubting. Thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Putting up with others for His names' sake...

“12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. “

Colossians 3:12,13


Paul uses the term ”put on“ here in verse 12. It gives us the sense that believers must choose to put these character markers on like one puts on a shirt. He also calls them ”God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved...“ God sees them, sees us, as holy and beloved. In the preceding verses he tells us that in Christ there is no difference between Jew or Greek, slave or free man etc. This is the basis for what he tells them to do next.

He tells the Colossians to put on love most of all because love is like the umbrella that all of these falls under. As Christians they were to show no partiality because Christ showed none. In His eyes all who were in Him were seen as holy and beloved, not because of anything they did, or the way they looked, or how much money or power they had. It was solely based on His choice; ”God’s chosen ones...“

In verse 13 he tells them to bear with one another. This greek word for ‘bear’ is anechō (ἀνέχω). It can also be translated ”put up with“ or ”endure”. The idea is that even though they are a body of believers they still have sinful tendencies that need to be forgiven as Christ forgave them. This obviously applies to us today as well. If we must choose to put on compassion, humility, meekness, patience and love then that means we can also choose to be uncaring, mean spirited, prideful, boastful, impatient and unloving.

He finishes this passage by telling us to do everything in the name of the Lord in other words, do it all in order for Christ to get all of the glory. That truly is what Christianity is about.

Christianity is not about ME going to church, ME reading the bible, ME being in a small group and ME sinning less.

Although those are certainly good things, ultimately the reason we are in Christ is so that He might be glorified. The reason we were saved was so that He might be known more. This may sound horrible to some. To think that God is self-centered. But I just read today in 2 Kings 20 about 2 instances where God saved His people form annihilation for His names sake. A simple word search for the term “for His names sake” produces countless other examples. Even Paul’s conversion was done so that the patience of God might be shown. From 2 Kings 20 we also see that when God is glorified is to our good. I don’t think that you can separate the two. In God’s pursuit to glorify Himself our joy is fulfilled.

It’s like the last line of the theme song of Married With Children:

Love and marriage. Love and marriage.

Go together like a horse and carriage.

This, I tell you brothers.

You can’t have one without the other

Just like love and marriage, God’s glory IS our ultimate joy. In a way, “you can’t have one without the other.”


To ‘put up with one another“ is key to unity in the body of Christ and this unity is key to making Christ known.

As John 17:22,23 says:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Too many times I have seen leaders criticize the work of other leaders or volunteers. Because they might not be as organized, or the event did not go off as well as planned. I have seen youth form cliques and exclude the uncool or not as talented or not as old etc.

All of this is rooted in the thought, whether conscious or unconscious, that one is better than the other. That somehow because we are more attractive, more talented, have more money, pull off awesome events, fundraise tons of money or whatever it may be, we are better than someone else.

People who think like this are like a vending machine. You put in a few coins for a bag of chips. But that last coin hasn’t yet dropped and so you don’t get your bag of chips. The coin is in the machine but it has not yet been fully deposited. And just like that vending machine, these people intellectually understand grace but it has not dropped into their hearts affecting their emotions and affections and so their is no fruit of that grace evident in their lives.

As receivers of grace, we must be willing to bear with one another for the sake of unity in the body.

The American ideals of individualism and consumerism have seeped into the church. “If this doesn’t work for me I’ll get a new one.“ And so we see a pin ball effect where people are bouncing to and fro from church to church never building relationships. Or people stay within a particular body of Christ but become poisonous and acidic to those around due to their bitterness.

The only way to combat this is to fully understand grace and forgiveness which places everyone on the same level and urges us to put up with people’s sinful proclivities and not only that but to forgive as Christ forgave.

Do we allow sin to flourish and just simply endure it with no rebuke? By no means. But even the rebuke must be rooted in love with the ultimate goal of reconciliation to Christ and His body.

The idea is to never give up. Whether that means you giving up on the church and leaving or you giving up on the person and allowing them to continue sinning.

Both are a danger to unity.

So let us pursue unity in the body with love and grace as our foundation. Let’s pursue Christ with reckless abandon of our own pride and glory. So that unity flourishes and Christ is magnified and made known.


Please root out of me anything that is working against your purposes of unity in the body. I lay my life down at your feet knowing that you love. Please use me as you please to love on others and glorify your name.

In Christ’s name, Amen

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pushing through the quitting moments

Lakers take game 5, bringing the game to Boston.
I believe in miracles.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Best Brand of Kicks - the Gospel of Peace

“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.“

                                                                                        Ephesians 6:15

This short passage in Ephesians 6 is the well known and often preached passage on spiritual warfare and the armor of God. I have heard many different takes on what spiritual warfare entails and what this set of scriptures is talking about. I still don’t understand it fully but what I do know is that the majority of everyday spiritual warfare is not battling demonic possession, casting demons out and the like. The majority of the battle is demon oppression fought in the mind.

Doubts, worries, concerns, desires, mislead passions, guilt, unbelief. All of these and more wage war against our souls; against the truth. But Ephesians 6:15 urges us to put on readiness of the gospel of peace as shoes.

In this passage I see three things that are key to understanding what is meant. Shoes, readiness and the gospel of peace.

Shoes protect our feet which is what we use move, to strive forward and stand tall. They give us something to stand on and walk in.

Readiness is self explanatory. Since we are talking about feet I think that this is the readiness to move. To take action.

But to understand what readiness really means we need to understand what the Gospel of Peace is. The gospel is God’s message to His people that the enmity that was once between us and Him is now gone through the power of Christ’s blood. His wrath which was ready to be poured out has been absorbed by Christ and no in place of enmity is peace; an open relationship.

Paul here is not telling us to put on the gospel as our shoes. He is telling us to put on readiness. The readiness to move with the gospel. To go where the gospel is going.

The readiness given by the gospel which says that our righteousness has been given to us through Christ not our own merit. And with that readiness our sense of self, our self esteem, our identity is no longer found in ourselves. And with that truth imbedded in our hearts the lies thrown at us hold no water and we are ready to move on when struck.

The Armor of God is presented as a defensive armor. The only offensive weapon is the word and the word IS the gospel of peace.

It has been said that the best defense is a good offense. And I think that that principle holds true here. As we live out the gospel, as we spread out the message, its truth becomes imbedded deep within our souls and we are continually ready to move. Never being hindered by the enemies fiery darts of doubt, despair, guilt or depression.

On the flip side, another weapon that the devil uses are our own proclivities and desires. Pride, selfishness, self-glorification, greed. The gospel of peace deals with these too. A good understanding of the gospel reveals our own depravity and need of a savior. It breaks down pride by taking away all of our power to make ourselves righteous and gives it to Christ. All of our action become filthy rags when compared to His righteousness.


This is way harder than it sounds. To live out the gospel and really believe it 24/7 is tough. Mentally I can understand it, but often when I look at my actions they don’t match up to my beliefs. I let other people’s view of me determine my self worth. I find myself trying to do my best not for God’s glory or to love on people but so that people will see what I’ve done. I know better. I believe in the gospel of peace but my actions don;’t always reflect it. Paul fell into this cycle of doing what he didn’t really want to do. But He knew God’s grace well. And that is truly the gospel of peace. God’s grace allows us; even urges to get back up and pursue Him once more. If it truly is all for His glory then it would do no good to stay down.


Help me to live what I know to be true. I love you.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Submitting to Christ is like playing "Simon Says"...kind of.

In July I have to speak at our High School Ministries Summer Camp on Moloka’i. I am both excited and petrified at this notion. The teaching theme given to me is “Modern Day Discipleship”; what it means to be a follower of Christ today.

The first session is supposed to be on what it means to “Count the Cost”; What does it cost to follow Christ?

There are many things to be said on this particular subject but as I was getting ready for bed tonight a thought popped into my mind that following Christ is kind of like playing Simon Says.

In Simon Says the players give up their rights and submit to the absolute authority of “Simon”. Whatever Simon tells them to do they must do it. If Simon doesn’t “say it“ and they do it they are out of the game.

The difference then is in the ”Simon“.

In the game, the role of ”Simon“ is to try to trick the players into doing an action that he didn’t say to do. ”Simon’s“ goal is to get people out.

But when Christ is the ”Simon“; when He is in the position of authority He gives us everything we need to stay in the game. He even pushes, prods, disciplines and rebukes us to make sure that we stay in it. And when we do something that goes against Him, He is quick to forgive those in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

God Draws Near to Us in Christ

“In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;“

Romans 15:17-19


Paul lived a missional lifestyle. He calls himself a priest to the Gentiles. He went around and proclaimed truth to a disobedient people and because of that he was often persecuted, jailed, whipped, and stoned. If anyone was to boast of his efforts and perseverance for the sake of the Gospel, it would have been him. But he doesn’t boast. His very words say that it was Christ who did the accomplishing; the Holy Spirit who gives hope and changes hearts. He was merely a vessel. With this mindset that he was merely a joyful pawn in God’s hands being used to bring Gentiles to repentance he had no room for pride. It wasn’t him. It was Jesus.

In today’s culture proclaiming truth is looked down upon. People don’t want to be told that what they believe is wrong. They call Christians who hold to the idea that Christ is the only way bigots, or closed-minded or narrow. They seem to think that as people get more educated and more modern, ideas about Christ should dissipate. In their eyes Christianity is backwards and ancient, not relevant today with all that we know now. When I was in college I would hear the same thing all the time, ”Don’t try to force your beliefs on me.“ They think that if you say ”What I believe is right and what you believe is wrong.“ then you are arrogant.

The thing is that they are doing the exact same thing. They are saying that they believe one thing and that what I believe is wrong. They are being ignorant and arrogant. All of the worlds belief systems and religions are to some degree based on the works of the individual to make them righteous or to get them closer to God.






Christian Science.




Bahai Faith.


Jehovah’s Witness.

The International Church of Christ




Followers of all of these all find their sense of self worth and justification from their own merit. What they have done or are going to do.

They have room to boast and be prideful and look down at others because its all about what they’ve done.

Christianity is the only one that says our sense of self worth is found in God’s view of us. And His view is not based on our actions but on His love. Man is sinful and unable to please God apart from Christ

The worlds religions have prophets who tell people about the path to get closer God or Enlightenment or Happiness or whatever.

Christ is the only one who claims to be God Himself drawing close to us.

Paul got this. It was all about Christ not himself.