17 Mar

I like to watch VH-1’s Driven. Here is a line that is frequently heard:

They told him he couldn’t do it. He proved them all wrong.

Can people say that of you? Are you living your dream? Are you doing what you have always wanted to do? Are you doing what God wants you to do? If you answered “NO” to any of those questions, then let me ask you another question.

If money or time were not an obstacle, what would you be doing right now?

I truly believe everyone has a God given dream inside them. Some people live their dream but most people never do. Why do some people achieve their dream while others don’t? How can God’s glory be revealed in you if you aren’t living the dream that He gave you?

I’m in the process of reading Bruce Wilkinson’s book entitled “The Dream Giver”. If you have your dream tucked somewhere in the back corner of your heart, it’s time to get it out, dust it off and start to pursue it. It’s never too late.

One of my dreams is to help other people identify and pursue their dream. I’m thinking about preparing a class using this book as a guide. What do you think?

Where Is God Taking The Church Today?

2 Mar

We are approaching the 100th Anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. In April 1906 the Holy Spirit fell on a ragtag group of black, white, and Hispanic Christians who had gathered in the rundown Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. They sang with fervor, testified of God’s sanctifying power and spoke in tongues—in a day when such behavior was considered fanatical. This now-famous revival, led by an unknown black preacher named William Seymour, was a defining moment in the history of Christianity.(link).

I have received numerous emails this week about the Azusa Street Revival. I don’t know if I am considered Pentecostal or not. I was raised as a Charismatic Lutheran! What I do know is that I crave to know the real God and take part in everything He has to offer. I read recently on another church’s website that they believe that the physical gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the disciples and they were “dispensed” only for the 1st Generation Church. They believe that the current resurgence of speaking in tongues and prophecy is unscriptural. I am sure that there are committed Christians that could debate that issue until Jesus returns. That’s not my point in bringing it up. My problem is that I can’t deny personal experiences. I have been in prayer meetings where people have prophesied in tongues and someone completely unrelated would interpret the prophecy. I pray in tongues and I know I’m not just “making it up”. I have witnessed physical healing and demons being cast out of people. I know people who have battled demonic spirits.

So – if I follow their logic – if what I have experienced in my own personal life is unscriptural then it isn’t from God. If it isn’t from God, it must be from Satan. Is that what they are telling me? Could they be so sure of something that they would condemn me for believing that the same power of the Holy Spirit that was available to the disciples is available to us today?

Listen – I’ve read the book – I know who wins. Why are we as a church so passive? A lot of us are living life just holding on until Jesus returns and takes us to heaven, instead of boldly proclaiming the message of Jesus. We should be warriors instead of wimps! We need to start living our life with a triumphal view of the future.

God is moving. God does not wait for us to decide to serve Him. He moves and it is up to us to find where he is working and join Him. Believe me, I’m writing this for me as much as for you. I want all Christians to step up. Take a stand. Why be so afraid to “offend” someone? We don’t bring people to Christ. Christ is already there. Christ moves in peoples lives – we’re just there to support and encourage them. Be prepared to answer questions. Be available. Be a friend. Be where Jesus is working.

In an article in Charisma Online, J. Lee Grady lists some things He sees God doing today:

1. He’s shifting us from buildings to the organic church.
2. He’s shifting us from pulpits to people.
3. He’s shifting us from racism to reconciliation.
4. He’s shifting us from male-dominated to egalitarian.
5. He’s shifting us from hidden sin to healthy holiness.
6. He’s shifting us from human ability to supernatural power.
7. He’s shifting us from poverty to prosperity.
8. He’s shifting us from escapism to conquest.

I don’t necessarily subscribe to all of the items on the list as they are written but I think it provides a good starting point for a discussion. Lets have a discussion about where you see God moving the church. Read the article that I linked to and read his explanations on each point. Then, give me your opinion.

Where do you stand?

The Christian and the Atheist

16 Feb

I came across a podcast entitled “The Christian and the Atheist”. I was intrigued so I started listening to one of their programs, “What’s Up With Church?” It was very interesting to me to see how a discussion like this could go. What I found out didn’t surprise me.

Let me ask you a question. If you had to defend your faith, could you? Could you answer the question – Why is it important to go to church? What’s up with all those denominations if Jesus is the way? Why are some priests pedophiles? What’s the difference between Catholic and Protestant? Why do people go to church and then to the casinos? How do you know there is really a God? Isn’t it all a scam just to scare people out of their money? How do you know your faith is real? How do you know you are having faith in the right God? What about Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccas and all the other religions? Are they going to hell? What is your proof that hell even exists? How can the Bible be true? There are so many contradictions. How can a loving God command that all everything be burned – even women and children? Is Christianity sexist?

The questions go on and on. If you start searching Google, you will find many resources that either support or question Christianity. Could you defend your faith?

Back to the Christian and the Atheist. I think it is easier to not believe in something. To NOT believe in God doesn’t take much thought. It’s easy to defend. Look around, do you see God? This is what I listened to. While I don’t know anything about the “Christians” true relationship with Christ, what I did hear is someone trying to defend why they are a Christian and not doing a very good job at it. Basically, in a nutshell, when asked why he goes to church his answer was “because it is tradition”. Because we’ve always just done that! Sure, the fellowship is nice but to answer why we go to church, well, because!

If you are a believer in Jesus as the Christ, then take some time to reflect on why you believe. How personal is it? If you asked my to defend my relationship with my wife, I could go on for hours. Could you do the same about your relationship with Christ?

If you don’t know yet why you believe, then maybe I can help. Lets start a discussion. What questions do you have? What do you want to know? I don’t profess to have all of the answers but I’ll sure try to answer all of the questions I receive.

Religion Can Go To Hell

18 Jan

I just read this article entitled “Religion Can Go To Hell“. It was written by a college student at the University of Buffalo. It disturbed me. My first gut wrenching reaction was that I should rush off and write an email to the guy and tell them that his friends are right and that he’s going to hell. That his ideas about having a relationship with Jesus are so whack that he’s going to miss the eternal boat!

After regaining some sanity, I realized that this author is not unlike a lot of people today who have turned off Jesus because they have been turned off of religion. The overly judgemental attitudes of some “Christians” end up leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who are starving for something to fill the emptiness inside them. In this case, those bad experiences just reinforced his own faith commitment that there is no God.

You see, every person has a faith commitment. The difference is what they have faith in. I choose to have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sins as a means of gaining eternal life. He chooses to put his faith in his belief that there is no God. That once his life ends, that’s it. Nothing else. He says that I can’t prove that there is a God. I say that he can’t prove that there isn’t a God. We both have faith commitments.

So, the question is out there. As a Christian, I know that I am supposed to tell others of the salvation of Jesus Christ. I know that the old ways of condemnation – “scaring the hell out of you” – don’t work. The key is to enter into a dialog with people through real and intentional caring relationships. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Once they trust you, they will be much more open to “hearing” you. They will honestly start considering what you have to say because you have invested time in building a relationship with them. G. K. Chesterton said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” That means that you can’t shut your mind on something solid unless you open it first. Building the relationship is the first step in getting your friends to open their minds to the possibility that their faith commitment may be flawed. It will allow them to question their beliefs and other beliefs. This is the time when you can present Jesus in His true light. That as a Savior that is waiting for them to answer the knock. In his case, Jesus is waiting to come back to him.

I will be praying for this guy. Who knows, maybe he’ll run into some other Christian who just wants to be friends.

(A good book for skeptical college students to read is “Ask Me Anything” by j. budziszewski (aka Professor Theophilus).

Why Do You Go To Church?

12 Jan

Here is a quote to think about.

For many of us, going to church is like getting directions to a place we never plan on going.
Matt Brown, Pastor at Sandals Church

He goes on to say that it is like if he would give sermons each week on how to drive to Siberia. It wouldn’t make sense but yet, that’s what it is like for some people. They think they only need to come to church on Sunday’s. 80%-90% of the New Testament is about living life together, experiencing life together. We preach about it and talk about it but for some of us, we never intend on doing it. He is speaking about small groups and why a lot of his church doesn’t participate.

Patti and I have wanted to start a small group in Blair. If anyone is interested, let me know!

PRAY – Updated

8 Jan

PRAYEvery once in a while, I will be so dogged that I can’t seem to think of anything to pray about. I sit there with a blank mind. I actually don’t feel like talking to God but I know I should. I usually end up complaining to Him.

A while back, Pastor Bart shared an acronym that can help you get through those times when it is hard to pray. I’ve been using it and it has helped me out. I created a PDF file that you can print off and keep it with you or put it next to where you have your quite time with God.

Download the file here.

********* UPDATE ************

After I originally posted this, Bart shared with me that he recently he began using this with a scripture. Here’s an example:

Philippians 2:5-11, “5Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NLT)


Lord, I praise you for setting such an incredible example for me to follow. You truly are the Lord of all.


Forgive me for being so prideful. Forgive me for all the times I’ve refused to serve others, and failed to show them Your love.


Please fill me with Your Spirit and give me a heart of humility and service.


As I wait on You, show me what I need to change and who You want me to serve.

Ministering To The Gay Community

5 Jan

Brian LePort at the Fog City Narrative posted this recently. It is a subject that I have been giving a lot of thought to lately.

I think that it is imperative to remember that Jesus forgives all sin. Swiping a pen from work is as much of a sin as homosexual sex is. In ministering to the homosexual community, it is important to establish genuine relationships. If I come across as damning right away, it will just put them on the defense. What kind of a conversation could we have then? By establishing a caring relationship (demonstrating genuine friendship) with them, a time will come where the spiritual consequences of their actions will come up in conversation. The dialog will be more productive because of the trust already built-in through the relationship.

To paraphrase a popular saying – People don’t care how much you know if they don’t know how much you care.

Pithy Melchizedek

4 Jan

MelchizedekI’m sitting here trying to write my commentary on Chapter 7 of Hebrews for the study we are doing at church. We take the chapter and divide it into short daily readings and then I am supposed to come up with some pithy comments that help make what they just read more meaningful. I confess, I am struggling with Melchizedek. Believe me when I say that I have read volumes of speculation on who Melchizedek was. Although the author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to compare the priesthood of Aaron with the priesthood of Melchizedek, I think the whole point is lost in the words themselves.

Here’s what I mean. As we read the words today, we don’t receive them the same way the original audience would have received them. The basic reason is context. The intended audience of the book of Hebrews were second generation Jewish believers steeped in the Mosaic law. They knew the Law and they knew the history. They had lived their whole lives under the Law. Then the Apostles come around mess everything up. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah but with the threat of persecution, they were trying to decide whether or not to go back to practicing Judaism. The author was left with the task of convincing them not to make an irrevocable decision similar to Esau(Heb 12:16-17). The author’s method was to show the superiority of the Messiah (Jesus) over the system of Judaism they were considering going back to. All of the examples using Abraham, Aaron, Melchizedek were used because the author knew the audience would understand. By using figures that were so central to the Mosaic Law, he could show the superiority in the New Covenent established by Jesus.

So, back to my original problem. The whole chapter is about showing the superiority of the Messiah (Jesus) over the Levitical priesthood of Aaron. If I can sum up the whole chapter in one sentence, how am I supposed to have a commentary for each day?

Oh the quandary I am in!

Want to see the results of my struggle? I’ll be covering Chapter 7 beginning next Monday (Jan 9,2006) at Grace Learning Center!

Month Full Of Sundays

14 Dec

As I type this, I am on vacation. Actually, we left yesterday and will finish our drive today. I had an experience yesterday that I would have never dreamed of when I was a kid. On the drive from Omaha to Kansas City, I listened to four different sermons! Now that is saying something since I used to try to find ways to get out of listening to sermons.

One of the newer technologies that I have been interested in is called “Podcasting“. Basically, it’s downloadable audio programs that you can subscribe to. I have been finding different and interesting churches that post sermons online. I have been downloading these and listening to them at work. For the drive I loaded up my MP3 player for hours of listening enjoyment!

So, all the way down, I listened to sermon after sermon after sermon. I like listening to what other people think about what the Bible says about different things in our culture. Like, what does the bible say about the environment, gay marriage, religion and politics, religious or secular music, comedy and glutony. The sermon series I am currently listening to is entitled “Counter Culture”. It is very interesting. You can find that series at Sandals Church. If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to their podcast at iTunes.

Of course, we also have our own podcast at Grace Community Church. You can always listen to the current sermon online at or you can subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.