Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Wife is Amazing and So is God!

For those of you who don't know, my beautiful wife Angie had a really
tough pregnancy, enduring morning sickness for nearly eight straight
months. During that time, all she could stomach was waffles and other
simple, high calorie, starch laden foods. Needless to say, this led to
her gaining far more weight than the average woman would during a
pregnancy. After our son was born, try as she might, she just couldn't
seem to lose the weight. As you can imagine, this was very tough, both
emotionally and spiritually for a woman who was the prettiest girl in
her high school.

Well, she made up her mind last summer that she was going to give her weight problem over to God and made a vow that through Him, she was going to get her weight back down to a healthy level. Since last September, she's dropped over 80 pounds.

80 Pounds! That's an entire Back Street Boy! (as I'm fond of telling her)

Well, a few weeks ago, our Pastor asked Angie and two other women at
our church into his office, where he interviewed them about their
weight loss. He then used that as proof positive that God can help us
do anything, even if it seems impossible, as long as we're willing to
step out in faith.

You can watch the message here:

If you don't want to watch the entire service (which I recommend you
do), you can simply fast forward to 17:50 into the message to watch
the portion focused on Angie and her coworkers. You'll be amazed when
you see the before/after image they show.

While many people might take credit for the hard work they did to lose
that amount of weight, since the first moment someone acknowledged how amazing Angie's weight loss was, she's remained emphatic that she didn't do it, God did.

So, if you're struggling with something that seems impossible, watch
my awesome wife and know that with God, all things are possible.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I’m going to show my age here and reference J.J. Walker from the old 70s sitcom Good Times. When J.J. thought something was so spectacular he couldn’t contain himself, he’d yell “Dy-no-MITE!” For those that remember the show, I probably needn’t say more, but for those who never saw it, in today’s terms, this was akin to a complete off-the-hook explosion of excitement.

Dynamite is just that, something with an explosive potential too great for anyone to contain. The word dynamite comes from the Greek word dunamis, which means power.

Acts 1:8   But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…

These are the words of Jesus. So, as John MacArthur points out in his book “Found: God’s Will”, if you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart “you are literally walking dynamite.”

The problem is, a lot of the time I don’t feel dynamite at all. In fact, I feel downright helpless, overwhelmed and exhausted.

I want to help others, help my family, my small group, all the kids we work with in K-Rock, but a lot of the time, I feel unable to do any of that.

Then, it occurs to me that I have the Holy Spirit within me and I should have uncontainable power.

So, where’s the disconnect? I read my bible daily (mostly), I pray daily (but not enough), I strive to live right with God (but often fall into sin) and I serve the body of Christ (sometimes not enough and sometimes too much).

In thinking this all through, I had one of those “ah ha!” moments and realized there is no one set answer, but there are several components to the answer that have several variations within each.

For instance, as my friend Tom pointed out last night, our sin hinders our prayers. The more sinful we are, the less effective our prayers. Every time I give in to sin, I’m putting a blockade between myself and God’s power. Makes me feel kinda dumb to think of it that way. Why would I do anything to prevent myself from accessing that power?

Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

The less time I spend in the word, the more emaciated by spiritual life becomes.

The less time I spend surrounded by other Christians, the more emaciated it becomes as well.

When I don’t intentionally fill my spirit tank daily, it runs dangerously close to empty as I strive to pour what I have into others.

If I’m not intentionally praying with gusto every day, how can I hope to access the dunamis of the Holy Spirit?

So, here I am, trying to use sin-soaked, spirit diminished, under-fueled dynamite to blow up the world for Christ with a weaker than it should be prayer life.

No wonder it’s not working. Duh!

To that end, I’d like to ask those of you who read these words to join with me in a few things:

1)    Giving our sin over to God, so that he can diminish it (for we’ll never do it on our own).

2)    Dedicating daily time, no matter what, to the Word.

3)    Dedicating daily time to prayer, no matter what.

4)    Pouring into one another, so that as we share God’s love, we can fill each other with spiritual dynamite so that we’re all empowered to do His work, whenever and wherever necessary.

Who’s in?

Seems to me the reward of this sort of thing is certainly something worth yelling about.

Friday, March 11, 2011

That's One Dark Fish...

I read through the book of Jonah this morning, as I prepare a devotional to share with the other humble servants who volunteer in K-Rock this weekend. Some things jumped out at me at regarding the utter simplicity of the message and thought I'd share it here as well. As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraging.


Jonah 1:1-3 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

The voice of the Lord in Old Testament times has been replaced in New Testament times by promptings from the Holy Spirit, which resides in all of us. More than once since coming to Christ, I’ve ignored a prompting from the Spirit and done my own thing. I rationalize it by thinking of ways that I’ve made the right decision, even though deep down I know it’s the wrong one.

I think Jonah went through the same thing. God spoke to him and put it on Jonah’s heart to do something for God that, quite frankly, Jonah didn’t think was such a cool idea. So, he rationalized in his mind and bailed on God.

What did God do? He made the path before Jonah hard to tread, extinguishing the light and closing the doors.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

If God’s word, or the promptings of the Holy Spirit is a light to our path, like it was for Jonah, what happens when we walk away from the light?

We end up in darkness...

Many times when I find myself in darkness, I think “Why God? Why is this?” Well, if I just think of Jonah from now on, I’ll know why that is. I ignored a prompting from the Holy Spirit and walked out of God’s light. Thankfully, I’ve yet to end up in the belly of a fish… I mean, I've been through some crazy stuff, but being vomited out a giant fish might be the grossest thing ever.

Jonah 1:15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.

While Jonah was in the darkness, his personal relationships suffered. When I’m not walking in God’s light, so do mine.

Jonah 2:7-8 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple. "Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.”

If God is light, but I’m focused on worthless idols (work, video games, movies, Facebook, etc) and ignoring his promptings, chances are, I’m not seeing the light nor letting it light my path. But, once again, I can learn from Jonah, who realized when life gets dark, we all need light which only comes from our Lord.

God has a plan for all of us, and as we can see by Jonah’s sojourn, when we ignore his plan, we only put ourselves through needless heartache. I pray we can all focus intently on the promptings of the Holy Spirit today, and every day, so that we always walk in the light or at least never stray far from it before realizing we weren’t made to live in the darkness.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Final Clarification on Tithing

My lovely wife came across this message on tithing. If you have any doubts, check this out.

Multiply Part One

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Never Stop Praying!

My admiration of John MacArthur grows almost every time I encounter his words. So, I thought I'd seek out a daily email devotional from him. While I haven't found one yet, I did discover some devotionals on the Grace To You site, with one that was instantly near and dear to my heart.

Prayer, in my interpretation at least, is the way we tap into the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside us all. I think too many of us, myself included, forget that we have a piece of God's power inside us that we can tap into at will, if we're following God's commands and living for Him. As MacArthur says in his book Found: God's Will, we don't need to ask God for strength, He's already given it to us, we just have to unlock it.

Prayer is a way to do just that. So, never stop praying. Ever.

Here's the devotional:

"Men ought always to pray" (Luke 18:1, KJV).

As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.

I have since learned that praying with my eyes closed is a helpful way to avoid distractions, but it isn't mandated in Scripture--nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. For example, some people want to limit prayer to a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.

Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyous.

Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.

The point is clear: there is no specific correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn't limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, and at any time of the day or night.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Make a list of your current plans, thoughts, and concerns. Have you made each of them a matter of prayer? Commit yourself to sharing every aspect of your life with God.

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 136. Note how the Lord is intimately involved in the lives of His people.

For more, check out the site here: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Devotionals/drawing

Curious Conclusions

Thanks to everyone who responded with your thoughts on the last post. The passage in Mark 5:1-13 that had always had me wondering was the part with the pigs. If the demons were going to get sent back to hell when the pigs died, why kill the pigs?

Two people brought back a similar thought on this: When Jesus removed the demons from the men, he needed a visible way to prove to those who witnessed the event, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he had indeed removed the demons. Since pigs never act in concert, and certainly aren’t suicidal, having 2000 of them charge to certain death did the trick.

One bible curiosity solved, countless more to go!

God bless!