Dec 28, 2009


2009 is almost in the history books; cast in stone. Quickly; you must decide the answer to the inevitable question that you will soon be asked. The question can come from anyone at anytime; including from within your own head. How will you answer? Do you have your answer ready? Have you sorted out the pros and cons and set the answer in stone? Have you even begun to ponder? Quickly; you will be asked and you must answer. And you only can have one answer; one side; no middle ground; those are the rules that you must abide by. And your answer must remain unchanged and affect your life from now and for all of eternity. 

The question is; “was it a good year or a bad year?” 

I must admit it is a strange question because the answer is so subjective depending upon your perspective. And yet, we ask the same question every year as we close the books on this year and anticipate the coming year. We have a strange way of making everything “black or white” and nothing in between when it comes to how we look at just about everything.  

If a sports team wins most of their games and improves how they played over last year; but loses the final game; did they have a good year or a bad year? If you made it through another year and paid all of your bills and still have some cash in your pocket, was it a good or bad year? If the old house burns down and you get another one that is better, was it a good or bad year? If your kids are noisy and ruin the carpeting as they fill the house with laugher and joy; was it a good year or a bad year? If your nine chickens only produce 5 eggs a day; was it a good year or a bad year? If you spill your second cup of coffee after spending a delightful first cup with a friend, was it a good year or a bad year?  

I’ve seen so many lives ruined and trapped because of a single event that seems to overshadow all the events that took place prior. I personally have in the past almost thrown away a whole weekend because of a wrong response; instead of realizing that one moment didn’t have to wipe it all away.  

I want to stop and state the obvious: YES, sometimes there will be events (sometimes tragedies) that will affect our lives in a radical way. And I don’t want to be insensitive to what took place in your life this past year and tell you to; “Get over it”; that would be wrong. But, I am get sad when I see lives ruined by perspective and want to suggest that sometimes a fresh perspective can help shape what is cast in stone. Albert Einstein is quoted as having said; "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."  

Perhaps we need to process this past year (as well as the next) a little differently. Simply put; you don’t have to see the bad in every situation. Learn to see the good through the eyes of a Loving God who truly does want the best for us. Look for opportunities to be thankful EACH and every day. Learn to be thankful for your old clunker that still starts every day (even if it takes 10 tries to get it started). Learn to “Seek First the Kingdom Of God and His Righteousness” (read Matthew 6:24-34).  

Learn to be grateful for leftovers; our cities are filled with people who still go to bed at night hungry. Learn to see the good in that job that you don’t like going to. After all, there are people who are laid off and would love to have a job to complain about. Learn to be grateful for the extra pounds you put on this season from eating at too many parties; be grateful that your belly is bigger from eating rather than being bloated from malnourishment. Learn to be rejoice in muscles are sore from time spent in the gym; rather than from trying maneuver your wheelchair up a ramp to get into your house. Learn to sit and linger and enjoy life; instead of always “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. 

This is a New Year; A Fresh Start; A Chance to Do It Differently. How 2010 turns out to be can be partially in your control based upon how you choose to view it.

The question one year from now will still be; “was it a good year or a bad year?”

Dec 22, 2009

CHRISTmas: an answer to the Impossible

“Then the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you; you shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger”. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-16)

At Christmas we celebrate God sending His Son Jesus into the world as a child born to a virgin named Mary. We listen, we watch, we observe, we wonder about the message from the angels to the shepherds: “there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

But what do we do with this information that we heard in the songs and the stories? Is there really any relevance in this 2000 year old message? How do we apply what we’ve heard into our day to day lives? What do we do with this information as we try live this stuff out? What do we do with this information tomorrow as we gather with relatives only to face another Christmas of rejection, and pain, and disappointment? It seems impossible that they could ever change.

What do we do with this information as Monday we go back to our real jobs and real lives with all of its trials and seemingly impossible adventures? What do we do with this information when things look impossible?”

When things look impossible, we need to remember that the shepherd FOUND a babe wrapped in swaddling clothing laying in a feed trough. Did you notice that God didn’t leave His message simply up to human faith? My question is “How often do shepherds find the babies lying in a feed trough?”

God confirmed that born to us in the city of David was a Savior- Jesus Christ. And that same God who was born as a babe in a manger is waiting to reveal Himself to us in power and wonder and awe like He did to the shepherds!

When things look impossible, we need to remember that although Jesus came as a babe, He grew up and lived this life that we live.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome: “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34). Hebrews 7:25 says; “...He is able also to save them to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.

When things look impossible, we need to remember that the story of Jesus’ birth is not just some cute story told once a year. There is healing, and power, and deliverance available to us when we call upon His Name....RIGHT NOW! We have access to this same Jesus who is interceding for us: RIGHTNOW! 

In the Old Testament, we find God revealing Himself through various situations. Revealing who He is and His character as Healer, Provider, All Powerful. In our passage today, we find Him revealing that He is the SAVIOR.

Did you notice in that passage in Luke that the shepherds were told that: “There is born to YOU this day in the city of David, a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord”. YES: for unto YOU is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
 For YOU He left heaven and was born in a manger.
For YOU He bore the cross and was crucified.
For YOU His blood was poured out from His hands & His feet.
For YOU He said “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do”.
For YOU He breathed His last breath and said, “It is finished”.
For YOU He rose from the dead on the 3rd day.

My friend; I’m not sure what challenges you are facing today:
 Maybe you are in a school or a job or a family where they take the name of God in vain or you are experiencing some other difficult situation, and you say, "I can't survive here spiritually!"
Maybe you’re facing seemingly impossible situations that have tormented you and stolen your sleep and your health.
Maybe you are facing overwhelming financial difficulties.
Maybe you are facing the loss of a loved who through death, or divorce and you can’t find any hope in this season of joy.
Maybe you are involved in sin, and a life style that has trapped you and can’t see any way out of your addiction.
Maybe you are dealing with loneliness that is crushing your soul.
Maybe disappointment and despair have gripped you to the point that you have been wrestling with thoughts of suicide.
Maybe you are simply facing a flat tire.

Listen dear friends, I’m writing this to let you know that the message that the angels brought to those shepherds centuries ago is still true today. That Jesus wants us to come to Him knowing that He longs to give you peace that only comes from a right relationship with Him: While you’re in the midst of what you are going through... and when you’re overwhelmed by your circumstances... Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33).

To those who don’t know Jesus:  I would hate to think of someone going through another Christmas and not understand why Jesus came.  

Jesus came to pay for our sins so that we could be forgiven and be in right relationship with the Father. THAT WAS HIS PLAN ALL ALONG.  It is so easy to miss that as we sort through the bills, gifts and traditions. Simply put, Jesus is calling out for you today. But He wants so much more than just today, He wants your tomorrows and all that follows in the future. And all you have to do is respond to His calling for you to turn from your ways and ask His forgiveness. He will take care of the rest.  WON”T YOU ANSWER HIM TODAY?

To those who know Jesus:  I would hate to think of a Christian going through another day without knowing and entering into the victory and peace that comes when we call upon the Name of the Lord.  “YES”, He is our Savior, but He is so much more than that. And you need to remember that He is and cry out to Him.

When Things Look Impossible, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal who God is. Reminding you that He is a faithful God and will come through

When things look impossible, remember His name is Jesus Mt 1:21  He is The Prince of Peace Is 9:6 The Mighty God Is 9:6 The Wonderful Counselor Is 9:6
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Holy One Mk 1:24 The Lamb of God John 1:29 The Lord God Almighty Rev 15:3 The Great I AM John 8:58
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Lion of The Tribe of Judah Rev 5:5 He is The Root of David Rev 22:16 The Word of Life 1 John 1:1
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Author and Finisher of Our Faith Heb 12:2  He is The Advocate 1 John 2:1 He is The Way John 14:6 He is The Dayspring Luke 1:78
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Lord of All Acts 10:36 He is The Son of God John 1:34 The Shepherd & Bishop of Our Souls 1 Peter 2:25
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Messiah John 1:41 He is The Root of Truth John 14:6 He is The Savior 2 Peter 2:20
When things look impossible, remember He is The Chief Cornerstone Rev 22:16 He is The King of Kings Rev 19:16 and The Lord of Lords Rev 19:16
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Righteous Judge 2 Tim 4:8 He is The Chief Shepherd 1 Peter 5:4 The Head of The Church Eph 1:22
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Light of The World John 8:12 The Bright and Morning Star Rev 22:16 The Son of Righteousness Mal 4:22
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Alpha and The Omega Rev 1:18 The Governor Matt 2:6 The Horn of Salvation Luke 1:69 The Resurrection & The Life John 11:25 
 When things look impossible, remember He is The Lord Jesus Christ Acts 15:11 
 When things look impossible, remember that JESUS IS LORD! Phil 2:11

Dec 15, 2009

I Have Days Like You

This is for all of you who had a bad day today; a day when you fought the good fight and still seemed to go backwards. 

I’ve been walking with the Lord for around thirty years. I came to the Lord when I was in college shortly after my parents had a radical conversion that was evident by changes in their lives. After much prayer for me, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior; and I have, by His grace, been walking with Him ever since. 

As a Christian, I have served in ministry in many roles and capacities; among them as a small group leader, youth worker, deacon, elder, associate and senior pastor. I also work with pastors and have attended many pastors’ prayer groups. 

Throughout that walk, I have seen and heard what I perceive to be wrong beliefs about how to walk with God. Some of these beliefs are from misconceptions of what was being taught. Some of the beliefs were from erroneous teachings by well meaning people who had misconceptions themselves. 

Sometimes we inadvertently give out false beliefs to get people to make decisions for Christ; like saying; “Come to Jesus and all of problems will go away!”   

I am amazed that people give the impression that as Christians we will always have happy-happy joy-filled days. This is simply not true. Now, I know there are some people who have a pretty good outlook on life and see the best of every situation; but not always. There are some days, sometimes, some moments where life doesn’t always make sense. This is true for all of us and it doesn’t make us less of a Christian to admit from time to time that we are “stuck-in-the-mud”.   

As Christians we are not exempt. We all have opportunities to have life come at us. Death, pain, loss are all part of this fallen world. What we do with it when theses come makes all the difference in the world.    

Jesus said; “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Hang in there; God loves you.

If I portray myself blessed within,
If I display myself, try to show
I meet the approval of my kind.
If I pretend to have all I need,
It's never intentional, I should have mentioned
I'm not always feeling just fine.

I have days like you,
Stuck in a rut, feeling the blues,
Oh I have days like you,
Just holding my ground.

If I defend myself hastily, 
If I recommend myself, call for security
For the renewal of my mind. 

There is a greater will to be done
In the name of the Father and of the Son
With all my intentions behind.

I have days like you,
Stuck in the mud, feeling the blues,
And I have days like you,
Just holding my ground.
Life leaves us to choose,
How will we finish, win or lose?
Oh I have days like you,
And these days just come around.

I have days like you,
Stuck in a rut, feeling the blues,
And I have days like you,
Just holding my ground.
Life leaves us to choose,
How will we finish, win or lose?
Oh I have days like you,
And these days just come around.
I have days like you,
Stuck in the mud, feeling the blues,
Oh I have days like you,
Just holding my ground.

And these days just come around.

Dec 8, 2009

Let Everything Else Go

Have you ever asked yourself the question; “What is the meaning of life?” Usually this type of question comes at the end of a long hard day filled with ups and downs; victories and failures.  

“So what is it all about anyway?” King Solomon, who was one of the richest people in his day; maybe of all time; pondered this question in one of the books of the Bible called “Ecclesiastes”. Solomon had it all and tried it all and yet he still felt empty.  

King Solomon realized some hindsight from his experiences and was trying to pass on to his sons wisdom learned from “The School of Hard Knocks”. He wrote; "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

King Solomon went on to write: “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Pretty sad reflection from a guy who could afford anything he wanted in order to get happiness.    

After many years of trying, King Solomon concluded; “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandment, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man is to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”. Perhaps it is best sometimes to stop striving for things that won’t last; take time to seek God, and let everything else go.

Let Everything Else Go by Phil Keaggy

Chasing down hot air balloons on Sunday morning,
In pace with a familiar tune
I reach for nothing less, but something more.
All the day, and the wind is at my back most of the way.

Holding conversation with a friend I know is near,
Great anticipation fills my soul,
It fills my heart, it fills the air.
All the day, and the wind is at my back

Oh I can't wait to see you Jesus, face to face,
Nothing in this world can take Your place.
All the pride of man laid low,
And all his works of gold,
Nothing can compare with what You are,
Let everything else go.

Dec 1, 2009


Apologetics is the whole of the consensus of the views of those who defend a position in an argument of long standing. The term comes from the Greek word apologia (απολογία), meaning a speaking in defense. (taken from Wikipedia).

Several years ago I was asked to do apologetics and defend Christianity to a philosophy group at a local college; and it was met with overwhelmingly good results. I want to state clearly that I don’t consider myself an apologist but rather one who loves God and His Word and saw this as an opportunity to tell what I believe the Bible says about who Jesus is.

I am writing this today for those of you out there who don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I want to do a different form of apologetics; I want to do “Christian-apologizing” .

I should probably tell you that “Christian” means “Christ-bearer”; that is, “a follower of Christ”.  I say this because I have discovered that you are sometimes confused by those of us who call ourselves Christians and see our history filled with a whole lot of skeletons. On behalf of all Christians everywhere I want to apologize to you today for how we have NOT represented God as we have lived our lives among you. 

It really is embarrassing sometimes how we act as Christians towards one another. I apologize that you have had to see our rivalries as we filled our airwaves with our debates trying to prove how our church is the correct and perfect church, as we slammed fellow Christians. I want to apologize to you for how we bicker and fight and argue and have at times in the past even killed each other simply because of a difference in doctrine, gifting, race, and gender. You’ve heard our ramblings and gossip about our pastors, the people we worship with, and our church we attend; and we were shocked that you never once wanted to visit when we invited you.   

I want to apologize to you that we have not practiced what we have preached; living our lives among you filled with hypocrisy and shameful habits. You’ve read stories about us as we were caught doing the very things that we told you not to do. You’ve had to watch as we beat our kids, cheated on our spouses, and neglected our families. We’ve “fleeced the flock” abusing those under our care; all the while amusing ourselves as we fulfilled our own depraved lusts.    

Our love has been filled with hypocrisy; Jesus hates hypocrisy. We’ve not abhorred what is evil and clung to what is good. We’ve not been kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; instead we have lagged in diligence serving our own agendas. You’ve watched when we have gone through trials and we have been hopeless and impatient in tribulation. 

I apologize that you have seen our selfishness as we have cut off our wallets to those around us who have been in need. I am so ashamed that you have heard us cursing instead of blessing this world and all who dwell here. We have not been of the same mind toward one another but instead have been arrogant and wise in our own opinion of ourselves.        

I apologize that you have seen us repay evil for evil instead of mercy, having no regard for good things in the sight of all men. We pursued wars instead of trying to live peaceably with all men as we have tried to avenge ourselves, giving place for wrath.  

 I apologize to you for how we have stolen land and forced whole people groups to give up beliefs instead of sharing and living out our faith among them in an effort to win them to Christ. I am so sorry for what we have done in the Name of Jesus.  

I apologize to you for the times you have come to us over the past 2000 years with hearts that were hurting and we told you to “quit smoking” and “wash your face" and "cut your hair” and “put on a tie”; instead of the good news that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to die for you. We’ve majored on minors and minored on majors. For not telling the truth; for not standing up when we should have. We’ve kept silent at times, and people have gotten away with murder.      

I want to let you know that what you have seen may not be who God is, and I apologize. My hope is that as you call to Him today, that God will reveal Himself to you thru His Son Jesus Christ. 

You see, God doesn’t over look any of our sins, Jesus paid for our sins by His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus died that we might live; and He did it BEFORE we knew about; while we were still sinners. 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV); and “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV).    

All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and put their complete faith and trust in Him and His complete work on the cross are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by simply trying to completely obey the law, or by a person’s own merit, or by any other condition other than faith in Jesus Christ.

Don't give up on God, He hasn't given up on you or His Church.

JESUS LOVES THE CHURCH Written By Sheila Walsh

You say that You believe in us,
At times I wonder why
You say You see the Father in our eyes.
But I think if I were You, Lord,
I'd wash my hands today,
And turn my back on all our alibis.

And we crucify each other,
Leaving a battered, wounded bride,
But Jesus loves the church.
So we'll walk the aisle of history,
Towards the marriage feast,
For Jesus loves the church.

We fight like selfish children,
Vying for that special prize,
We juggle with our gifts before Your face.
And I know You look with sorrow
At the blindness in our eyes
As we trip each other half-way thru the race.

And we crucify each other,
Leaving a battered, wounded bride,
But Jesus loves the church.
So we'll walk the aisle of history,
Towards the marriage feast,
For Jesus loves the church.

I want to learn to love like You,
I don't know where to start,
I want to see them all but through Your eyes.
For You believed enough to live
Amidst the maddened crowd
Enough to die before our very eyes.

But we crucify each other,
Leaving a battered, wounded bride,
But Jesus loves the church.
And so we'll walk the aisle of history,
Towards the marriage feast,
For Jesus loves the church.
Yes we'll walk the aisle of history,
Towards the marriage feast,
For Jesus loves the church.

And as He hung in naked grief,
Bleeding for our crimes
He saw our fickle hearts and cried, I Love You.

Thank God for His indescribable gift of salvation available to each one of us through Jesus Christ!

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