Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).


"Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded" (2 John 3-4).


"Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some of the brothers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth" (3 John 2-4).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The dangers of becoming a "professional" Christian

Yesterday was my sabbath, the day I chose this week to rest from everything that feels like work and to refocus on the LORD.  Because I have the privilege of serving full-time with our church, I work on Sundays.  Though it's usually a blessed day, it's far from a rest day.  So this week, I chose Saturday to sabbath.

As I drove to the grocery store on my chosen day of rest, I saw two young men on the sidewalk, dancing as they walked to the beat booming from a cell phone that one held (their version of a "boom box on your shoulder," I suppose).

I heard a whisper, "Tell them about the destiny I have for their lives. Call out the treasure I've deposited in them. Invite them to use the gifts I've given them for Me."

I smiled and waved as I drove by.  I did this so quickly, I didn’t see if they even noticed.

"Hmm... not exactly what I had in mind," Holy Spirit whispered.  I drove on.

Down a busy road, I saw a minivan parked in an industrial lot with kids peeking out the open doors.

Two adults stood outside with a sign: "Help us get home. God bless"

The whisper: "Stop. Hear about their need. Bring a taste of My Kingdom."  

Wonderings of a calloused heart: "Scammers who go from city to city? A family truly in need? I'll stop to find out, if they're still there when I get back from grocery shopping. After all, it's my sabbath."

I never found out, as they were gone by the time I drove home.  I even excused myself, thinking: I would’ve stopped if I’d had a friend with me.  I sensed a sadness in my heart but shook it off to continue on with my sabbath observance.

Today, as I drove from the church building to the beach for our student event, I passed a worn-down house with a woman standing outside in the sun wearing a thick hoody and jeans.  The temp was in the high 80s.  Her face looked, in a word: “hopeless.”  I didn't have a full word of encouragement to deliver to her, but I was prompted to stop and had one word: "HOPE."

Was that her name?  Was that what she needed to hear?

I slowed down as I drove by.  While I stalled like a child delaying bedtime, she began walking toward a side door and entered the house.  I deliberated turning around to knock and share some "hope."  I didn't.

At our beach event, the sister who shared an anointed message spoke on stepping out in faith and listening to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to work through us to speak to and touch others.  Ouch... "I'm listening, LORD."

I returned to that house after the beach.  When I knocked, I learned firsthand the importance of timely, immediate obedience.

A man gruffly asked, "What do you want?"  

"This might seem out of the ordinary, but I felt God..." 

“Not interested.”

I didn't get to see the lady who needed hope.


Holy Spirit, draw her nearer to Jesus and bring other Christ followers into her life who will share Your hope! 


Jesus worked miracles on the sabbath, and it triggered the religious crowd (Matthew 12:9-14).  He didn’t stop to touch everyone or fix every problem.  But He did stop every time His Father asked Him to (John 5:19).  No matter what day it was.

Followers of Jesus do need regular rest (Mark 2:27-28).  But, we take no break from obeying Abba, from following the promptings of His Spirit.

Following Jesus is not my "job."  I refuse to become a "professional" Christian.  If you minister to others for your livelihood, you might be tempted to think of your service as your source and yourself as a professional.

I am not a "professional" Christian, however.  It is not my day job to follow Jesus.  It is not even my duty.  It is my honor.  He died for me.  I live for Him.

“Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.”

I willingly choose, in response to His love, to live for Him.

I need to repent.  

I am not a 9-to-5, punch-in/punch-out “Christian.”  I live on mission.

I am not part of the religious crowd.  I live in relationship with Holy Spirit.

I am not a duty and obligation, "have to" kind of guy.  I get to serve the most wonderful Master!  Living for His glory is my joy!

I've learned recently from a friend that repentance is much more than feeling sorrow over my sin or even just asking for forgiveness.

In Acts 26:18, Paul retells the mission that Jesus gave him:
 “...to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”  

Paul says he obeyed this calling by preaching “that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (v. 20).

All the facets of verse 18 fulfilled in preaching repentance!

Peter shared that repentance brings times of refreshing from the Presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).

I’ve discovered: repentance is turning from sin to face Abba, declaring, "This old pattern is not who I am. I embrace You! I believe what You say about me is true!"

We are called to live lives of repentance.  We are ambassadors of His Kingdom, ministers of reconciliation, those who run with the good news of His love!


Lord Jesus, tenderize my heart.  You died and rose again, so we can live in relationship with You, be filled with Your Spirit, and demonstrate the reality of Your resurrection.  You rose from the dead and so nothing is impossible for You!


I am a student, a learner, an obedient follower, walking in the footsteps of my Master, led by His Spirit.  I rest: daily and weekly.  I can’t fix everything.  I’m not the savior or messiah.  But I do know Him.  And I follow Him.  What He says goes.  As a disciple of Jesus, I will obey Him without question or hesitation.  I love Him, and I trust His heart that much.

I am not a "professional" Christian.  I am following Jesus.  How about you?



Monday, April 4, 2016

Hearing God

I’m so grateful that Jesus connected me with godly mentors early in my spiritual walk who encouraged me to love God’s Word and prioritize listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice.  I learned then to practice 360 degree listening, which I still do over ten years later!  From the beginning to the end of the day, I listen to everything Jesus wants to say through the common themes of His Word, His whisper, conversations with others, and the circumstances of our lives that together create a complete circle wherein we can hear and be led by His Spirit.

We learn to recognize His voice by spending time in the Bible.  We’ll only hear Him if we’re willing to quiet our hearts and listen. We test everything we hear according to His written Word.  Here are a few questions I use for listening prayer.  Spend a few minutes asking the LORD one or more of these questions each day and writing or drawing what you hear, see, or feel:
a. What is something amazing about You I need to know?
b. What lies am I believing?
c. What is Your truth about this?
d. What’s holding me back from being everything You created me to be?
e. Who do I need to forgive?
f. Who do I need to love? How?
g. Is there anything You shared with me today that would be a blessing to someone else? Do You want me to share any of this with others?  Who?

During a time in my life when I was facing discouragement in the midst of a struggle, the LORD encouraged me through a conversation with my pastor.  He told me, “God is always speaking, so ask Him what He’s saying and listen.”

Today, I pray you take a 30-minute, mini vacation and listen to what He has on His heart to share with you.  Let’s cultivate hearts that love His Presence and delight to hear His voice!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Declaration of Readiness to Receive the Word

In Acts 17:11, Dr. Luke records the account of the noble Bereans who were so willing to learn and grow.  They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Apostle Paul said was true.  I picture this eagerness as on-the-edge-of-your-seat readiness, with your spirit fully active and alert to receive everything Holy Spirit wants to say to you as you hear the Word.

Below is a declaration of readiness to receive the Word with eagerness.  I mined the gold of this declaration from the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:9-18, 35.  Apply this treasure by declaring it for yourself whenever you are preparing your heart to hear God’s Word, both before your own daily Bible study and in corporate gatherings.

In the Name of Jesus, I declare…
I have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His Church.
I receive from Jesus the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.
As I hear, I hear and understand.
As I see, I see and perceive.
My heart is soft.
My ears and eyes are open.
I see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and understand with my heart.
I turn to Jesus, and I am healed.
Blessed are my eyes for they see.
Blessed are my ears for they hear.
Blessed is my heart for I understand.
Many prophets and righteous people longed to see what I see and to hear what I hear.
I will listen then to what the Word means.

Holy Spirit, I ask You to seal this declaration of truth and cause it to become fully true in my life as I receive Your Word with eagerness.  In Jesus’ Name – Amen!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daniel 9 - A prayer on behalf of our nation


Daniel 9:3-19,
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking Him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from Your commandments and rules. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To You, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which You have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against You. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, refusing to obey Your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by Your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that He has done, and we have not obeyed His voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for Yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteous acts, let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for Your own sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by Your name. For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (ESV).

The Prophet Daniel turned his face toward the Lord, seeking Him in prayer and pleading for mercy on behalf of his nation of Israel.  He prayed to the Lord and made confession for Israel’s sins.  Israel is a nation that is special to the Lord like none other, because through it He has sent the Messiah Jesus to suffer, die, and rise again to life to redeem sinners back to Himself.  Whatever your home country, you can pray a similar prayer of confession, repentance, and contrition as Daniel did on behalf of your nation.  In like manner, we also turn our faces toward the Lord Jesus Christ, seeking Him in prayer and pleading for mercy on behalf of our nation the United States of America.  We stand in the gap.  We make intercession.  Now, I pray to the Lord and make this confession for the sins of our nation.

O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from Your commandments and rules. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets and apostles, who speak in Your name to our leaders, our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To You, O Lord Jesus, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of America, to the inhabitants of Washington D.C., and to all of the United States, those who are near and those who are far away from sea to shining sea.

I confess that we have broken Your Ten Commandments, disregarding these vows of the covenant that You first proposed to Your beloved people at Mount Sinai.  I confess we have had other gods before You, worshiping false gods and making gods in our own image that better suit us; blasphemy, taking Your Name in vain; dishonoring and disregarding the Sabbath day of rest; disrespecting and speaking maliciously against our parents and those in authority; murder, hatred; adultery, looking with lust, fornication, pornography; theft, failure to give, hording; lying; and coveting our neighbor’s possessions and relationships.

I confess our deeds of the flesh: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly; impurity, degrading our bodies, shameful lusts, unnatural relations, indecent acts, perversion, depravity of mind, wickedness, strife, gossip, hatred for God, insolence, boasting, disobedience, inventing ways of doing evil, being senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless; prostitution, drunkenness, and swindling; debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and orgies; evil desires, anger, and filthy language; being lawbreakers, rebels, ungodly, sinful, unholy, irreligious, killing our fathers or mothers, human trafficking, perjury, and false doctrine; being cowardly, unbelieving, vile, immoral, and practicing magic arts.

I confess abortion, homosexuality, removing the Bible from the education of children, debt, dishonesty, poor stewardship, materialism, humanism, atheism, false religion, racism, and disregard for marriage.  I confess among professing believers hypocrisy, selfishness, pride, persecution, backbiting, divisions among and within congregations, focus on buildings and programs to the neglect of biblical values, favoritism of the rich, neglecting the poor, orphans, and widows, failing to visit believers imprisoned for their stand for Christ and ignoring the persecuted church, failing to preach the Gospel and take a stand for the truth; failing to fulfill the Great Commission around the world, trivializing Hell and the judgment of God; sloppiness and lack of precision in our study and teaching of the Word; loving politics and sports more than the Gospel of Jesus; loving arguments and debates more than the truth.

To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our leaders and to our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets and apostles. Our whole nation has transgressed Your law and turned aside, refusing to obey Your voice. And the consequences of our disobedience have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against Him. He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us great calamity.

O Lord, according to all Your righteous acts, let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from America, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, the USA has become a byword among many peoples around the world. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for Your own sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon this land. O my God, incline Your ear and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations. For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for Your own sake, O my God, because of the believers in this nation, Your people who are called by Your name.

In the Mighty Name of Jesus, our Lord and Messiah, AMEN!

(November 6th, A.D. 2012)

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Go!" said the LORD.


"Abraham, Abraham…" said the LORD.
"LORD, is that You?" Abraham asked.
"Yes, My child," He responded tenderly. "I have something I want to say to you."
With eagerness, Abraham shot back, "Well, speak, LORD!  I’m listening.  I will do whatever You say and go wherever You ask me to go!"
"I know, Abraham.  That’s why I’m calling you today.  I have put that faith in your heart, so you will trust Me wherever I send you," He said.
Bubbling over with excitement: "Thank You, LORD!  Praise You, LORD!  I do trust You.  I love You.  Thank You for speaking to me and thank You for calling me and thank You for loving me and…"
"ABRAHAM.  Abraham," His strong voice echoed.  "I am calling you… to leave your home country, the people you know, the land you’re accustomed to, even your father’s family – and go!"
"Go?  LORD, go where?" the man of faith wondered.
The firm and loving One: "Go… to the land I will show you."
Shaking but believing, His son replied, "Go.  Okay, go.  And You will show me where to go.  What should I do in this new land where You are sending me?"
"Abraham, do you trust Me?"
"Yes, LORD!  I trust You with all of my heart," Abraham immediately responded.
"Abraham, I’ll show you what you must do in this new land," the ever-gracious One said.
Again thinking and wondering: "What about my wife?"
"Bring your wife with you of course," the compassionate Father said.
Abraham thought aloud, "When we go to this new land that You will show us and we do what you will tell us to do, what will happen to us?"
"Abraham, do you trust Me?"
Abraham said, "Yes, LORD!  I trust You with all I am.  And then some…  I trust You, because You have taught me and You help me to trust You!"
The LORD promised, "Abraham, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you.  I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.  And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  I am going to send the Savior through your family."
"LORD, I trust You," the man of God confessed.  "I believe what You say is true.  At the same time, You have given me no children, and I am already an old man.  My body is as good as dead."
"Abraham, do you trust Me?"
"Yes, LORD!  Oh, I trust You," Abraham said from the deepest part of his being.  "You are God, and You can be fully trusted always.  Everything You do is good, and everything You say is true and right."
Directing his gaze heavenward: "Abraham, look up at the heavens and count the stars.  If you can…" He said with a love-laced chuckle.  "This is how many children your family will have.  Every person who believes in the Savior will join your family of faith.  Because you believe, you are right with Me, and we are close friends."
"LORD, let’s go," His son Abraham responded, exploding with anticipation.  "I will listen.  I will follow You.  Wherever You lead, let’s go together."
"Yes, Abraham, I will be with you every step of the way.  I will always keep My promises to you – no matter what happens.  I will speak to you, and you will follow Me.  And you will speak My words to others.  Let’s go, for I will be with you," said the LORD.

(Genesis 12:1-4; 15:3-6)