Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going Through the Motions

So, how’s life? Really, how is your life going right now? Are you just going through the motions of everyday life or are you living your life in practical, purposeful ways for Christ?

I don’t know about you, but I know that I don’t want to just live my life going through the motions of following Christ – going to church, going to youth group, going to Bible studies, reading God’s Word, praying, etc. While all those things are great and essential to a growing and active relationship with Jesus Christ, I don’t want to just go through the motions with those things. I don’t want to go through life not knowing what my meaning is or what my purpose is in this world. I don’t want what this world tells me about what life is all about. There has got to be something more.

Thankfully, God’s Word tells me that there is something more. There is something more to this life than just existing and “going through the motions”.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
-John 10:10a

The thief – satan – comes to steal and kill and destroy our lives, our dreams, and our futures. His plan will leave us broken, empty, and destroyed. A lot of times satan subtly and deceivingly works through this world that we live in by telling us lies about ourselves, our identities, and what life is all about. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Thankfully, the second part of this verse tells us that we have hope.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
-John 10:10b

God’s plan is far different from satan’s or this world’s plan for our lives. God’s plan is for us to live purposeful, meaningful, joyful lives. God’s plan is not to harm us, but rather to prosper us and to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s plan is to give us eternal peace and fulfillment. He is ready and willing to make these plans reality; are you ready to carry them out and live them?

Are you existing or are you truly living? Are you a drifter, just “going with the flow”? Or are you a passionate pursuer of God’s dreams and plans for your life?

Are you just “going through the motions” of a walk with Christ? Or is your life a true reflection of the One who created you? Take a close look at your life right now. How is your relationship with God? Is it real? Is it passionate? Is it powerful? Is it purposeful and meaningful? Does it transcend into every area and part of your life, or are you holding back?

Changing things about your life can be dangerous, but I have come to the conclusion that safe is even more dangerous. If we are “safe”, living in our own comfort zones all of our lives, not pursuing anything outside of this life, then that to me is a dangerous thing because of the lack of purpose and meaning in that life. However, if we are pursuing God and His dreams and His plans for our lives and living our lives purposefully and meaningfully, we will live radical, dangerous, exciting lives for Christ. And as painful or dangerous as it may be, every moment of it is worth it because it is not just for us or for this life. It is all for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom and its effects will last into eternity.

I believe that God calls us to so much more than what most of us believe. God’s Word tells us that “just ok” is not enough. Jesus tells us in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (italics mine). Our lives should humbly yet passionately radiate the love and power of Christ. After all, He came so that we “may have life, and have it to the full”. I encourage you to live in the brilliant light of eternity and not just in the shifting shadows of this life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome to the Real CTU

Welcome to the Real CTU

Question...are you bored? Do you wake up and sometimes wonder how you will be able to bring some excitement into your life? If so, I don't think you're alone. Back in the day folks filled the hours with now forgotten things like 'the outdoors' and a really novel concept called a 'book'.
But now we have 5000+ channels of comedy-animal planet-discovery-food-home shopping-MTV-you can learn Japanese in 30 days type stuff going on.

If that's not enough, you can pretty much enfold hours of entertainment with compelling text message sessions that go like this:


Or...you can spend hours on Facebook while also checking your MySpace while downloading tunes and seeing what other movies Robert Pattison has been in.

Like I asked...are you bored? Maybe that's why the smash hit TV show 24 is now in its 7 th season? Watching Jack Bauer and company throw down terrorists and save the nation seems to never get old - and it seems to be the way a lot of people spice up their lives.

And of course there's nothing wrong with that. Unless of course you are sitting on the sidelines bogged down in a swamp of self entertainment when you actually should be carrying out one of your callings in life.

What calling? Well to be honest, it's a lot like the recently disbanded CTU (Counter Terrorism Unit) in the show 24 . Here's the way it is described:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 ).

Sound like terrorism to you? The 'Evil rulers' and 'mighty powers' mentioned in this verse are demons who are serious about taking spiritual terrorism to a whole new level. They aren't satisfied with destroying physical life, they want to claim eternal souls to join them in eternal torment.

And like Jack Bauer and the other former members of CTU that have banded together outside any official government agency to continue the fight against an impending terrorist attack, we all have a critical part to play in this battle. We can't afford to have anyone sitting out on the battle at hand. That's why we were given these orders:

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil (Ephesians 6:10 -11).

We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do. We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Can you see what's going on here? Part of the reason God left us on this earth after we trusted Christ was to take on the terrorism of Satan and his band of spiritual 'insurgents.' And you really don't need to look around much to see the damage they inflict every day. Poverty, homelessness, injustice, broken relationships and hatred in the human heart are just of few of his weapons.

But we can fight back. And we need to fight back. The problem is that we are often more concerned about updating our status than we are about the status of hurting and enslaved people all around us.

My encouragement to you is to get active in the battle for eternal souls. Pray each day for victory in your life through the Holy Spirit. Put on God's armor for protection, then go out and boldly go where few Christians have gone before.

And remember, one of your most effective weapons is the gospel message of Jesus. The good news that people can be set free from sin and secure a place in heaven simply by trusting in Jesus Christ alone is the equivalent of an air strike on Satan's Kingdom.

Remember also - being effective in the spiritual battle is a moment-by moment practice of living according to God's Word, in His power, confidently facing an enemy already defeated by the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and fearlessly sharing the gospel no matter what the cost.
If this becomes the pattern for your life, I absolutely guarantee the word boredom will never enter your vocabulary again!

Head: What you need to know about this truth
Christians are called to engage in spiritual warfare, and to do so we must live according to God's Word, in His power, confidently facing an enemy already defeated by the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and fearlessly sharing the gospel no matter what the cost.

Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
If you are feeling bored with life, you have a choice to feel excited about joining up with God's counter spiritual terrorism unit.

Hands: What you need to do about this truth
To be effective in spiritual warfare, you must put on God's armor. Check out this Soul Fuel that explains the armor in more detail: http://www.dare2share.org/students/soldiers-on-your-feet.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Insignificantly Significant

So today at church we watched a DVD Presentation by Louie Giglio that was just amazing. It really put things in perspective for me. He was talking about the indescribable awesomeness of God. He showed snapshots of pictures from NASA of galaxies and things and it was just amazing. One picture that really captured my attention was this: http://www.nasaimages.org/luna/servlet/detail/nasaNAS~12~12~64158~168551:The-Infrared-Helix--Expanded-View

He kept saying, "Okay, now we are going to go even farther out" and each time he'd show a picture of something even more amazing. Finally, he said, "Okay, now we are going to go far far far out" and a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross came up on the screen - and everything got quiet. The same God who created all of the universe came to this little speck called earth to DIE for ME and for YOU. The same God who breathed life into the galaxies and into the universe breathed life into ME and into YOU. The same God who commanded the amazing universe to come into existence spoke the words that commanded ME and YOU to come into existence. That same God cares about the little details of MY life and of YOUR life. It is something that cannot completely be grasped by the human mind, yet it is truth.The last picture Louie showed completely blew my mind: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/exotic_collection/pr1992017a/

Some call it an "x", but that is clearly a picture of a cross in a galaxy called the Whirlpool Galaxy. Looking at these pictures, how much more proof do we need that God is real, that God is powerful, that God is holy, that God is mighty, that God is beautiful? And then looking at the cross everything turns around as we see Jesus at His most humble state, dying on that cross for YOU and for ME - just because He cares about and loves each and every one of us.

"When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?"
-Psalm 8:3-4

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

-Philippians 2:5-12

I come to the same conclusion that Louie came to: we are so insignificantly significant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here I Am

I wrote this devotion tonight for M&M Ministries and I thought I'd share it again. This is something that the Lord has been reminding me of over and over again and I hope that it makes you think as you go about your daily life this week.

Here I Am

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am." (Exodus 3:1-4)

Moses was a great man of the Bible. He led the Israelites out of captivity from the Egyptians and into the land promised to them by God. This was no small task. The pharaoh of the Egyptians was a very hard man and Moses was not good at speaking. When God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, at first Moses’ reply was, “Here I am.” However, when God explained to Moses what He wanted him to do, Moses questions God’s calling. He doesn’t just question God once or twice. He questioned God four times about what He had called him to do. And finally, He says, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13)

Can you relate? Does Moses’ questioning and attitude describe your own towards God? You may be open to what God is calling you to do. “Here I am, Lord,” you say. “Use me as You will and I will follow You. Here I am.” Do you have that same attitude when God reveals to you what He wants you to do? Or do you say, like Moses, “Lord, You can’t possibly send me to do that. I’m just not good enough. My weaknesses are too great. I will fail You. O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

How open is your heart really towards all that God has for you? Are you willing to follow Him with whatever He calls you to do? Moses questioned God many times on what He was calling him to do. He even asked God to please send somebody more qualified.

Something to always remember is an old quote that I have heard many times. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Are you willing to not only say to God, “Here I am”, but also to embrace all that He will call you to do? When your heart is open to God’s callings, He will do amazing things in and through you to advance His Kingdom. When God calls you to do something, He doesn’t make a mistake and accidentally call the wrong person. God knows you more than you know yourself. He not only knows your heart, but He knows your weaknesses. Yet He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Here I Am - Downhere

Sometimes Your calling comes in dream
Sometimes it comes in the Spirit's breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity
But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it's hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began
And these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing


Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I'll fail You in the end
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces,
I can't put this together but You can


Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am


You can go directly to the song by this link: http://musicremedy.com/audio/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowAudioPlayer&AudioId=25367&Quality=5

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Brand New Day

I wrote the following for M&M Ministries, a music/devotional ministry through email that my friend started that I took over for her. Basically, I write a devotion and then provide lyrics and [usually] a link to a song that goes along with it. If you would like to be a part of it, please let me know and I'll add you to the list to receive the devotionals. I used "Brand New Day" by Fireflight for this one.


So it’s a brand new year. It’s a time to set goals, to dream big dreams, to believe that God can do more this year than you could possibly imagine. It is a time to embrace the year ahead, filled with its potential challenges and blessings. It is not only a time to reflect on the year behind you, but also to look forward into the year that lies ahead of you and to think about what you want to make different about this year. It is a brand new year and a time to start anew.

But not only is it a new year, but it is also a new day. Every day is a brand new day, filled with brand new opportunities, blessings, and God’s mercies. You may have messed up yesterday. You may have huge regrets. You may have made big mistakes. You may have said something that you wish you could take back. You may have done something that you feel you cannot forgive yourself for. Someone may have done or said something to you that you feel you cannot forgive them for. There may be bitterness in your heart against God or someone else for something that happened in your life yesterday, last week, last year, or years ago.
However, there is no need to look back and hold on to the harmful things that have happened to you in the past. There is no reason that you need to look back and hold on to the regretful decisions that you have made yesterday.

Today is a brand new day.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.”-Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

God has a promise in His Word that is neither brand new nor growing old. This promise has stood since the beginning of your life and will continue to stand at the end of your life and in to all of eternity.

We just have to choose to embrace it.

If we would embrace the faithfulness and mercies of God that He promises in His Word, our lives would be free. Our hearts would be full of joy. I think that so often we forget that God promises that His mercies never cease and that they are new every morning. He promises that He is faithful and His faithfulness never ends. Will you choose to embrace that and allow Him to free you of any bondage that your heart may be in? Will you choose to let go of your past mistakes, regrets, pain, and bitterness and move on, knowing that those things are what are shaping your life and that you can use them for the glory of God?

What will you choose? It is a brand new day.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I haven't posted on here since October! However, it's a new year and I am hoping to update this more often. Most likely not every day, but hopefully more than I have been.

So it's the new year and I have set some goals for myself!

-Do Hard Things

It is my goal this year that I will do hard things for Christ, that I will stand up for Him in bigger ways than I ever have before, and that I will follow His lead wherever He leads me - perhaps farther out of my comfort zone than ever before.

-Keep it Simple

It is also my goal this year that I will make my life more simple. It is my goal that I will have a more childlike, genuine faith in Christ. I have learned in great ways this year that it is easy to get so deep in your faith that you begin to defend yourself more than (and instead of) God. It is my goal this year that I will defend God more than myself and that my life will be simple and my faith will be genuine. I don't want to get this confused though; "A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps." [Proverbs 14:15] I don't just want to believe whatever I hear. I want to be prudent about it; not simple-minded. There is a huge difference between a simple and a childlike faith.

This year, it is my goal to completely hope in Christ, believe in things that only God could accomplish, and dream "impossible" dreams. And it is my goal to carry out that hope, that belief and trust, and those dreams by achieving all that God has purposed for me this year. It will be challenging, but it will be worth it. It is always worth it to serve my Lord.