So Long Self

Posted: April 27, 2016 in Faith, Music, Uncategorized
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I think I’ve shared the lyrics to this song before, but this is my song of the day. I’ve loved the lyrics to “So Long Self” by MercyMe from the first moment I heard it, but it seems to resonate particularly strongly with me today. Read the rest of this entry »

God of the small things

Posted: April 6, 2016 in Faith, Life
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Sleepyhead kid

Sometimes we think the Bible only speaks on the big issues. But scripture has very imminently practical instructions and advice in small matters as well. Take Proverbs 27:14 for example:

Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
rising early in the morning,
will be counted as cursing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why I want to believe

Posted: March 27, 2016 in Faith

resurrection

It’s just after midnight, Easter morning. In a few hours I’ll be taking my family to church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Christ. This is church attendance is not just a once or twice a year thing. It’s a weekly event. More than that, the study of scripture and conversation about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are regular events in our household.

Why? Why do I believe that some guy who was tortured to death almost 2,000 years ago actually came back to life? The reasons are many. But more importantly is the desire to believe. Why do I want to believe this? That’s the more interesting question.  Read the rest of this entry »

studentdebt3411

Art Rainer posted an article on student loan debt. It’s a good article. If you are considering college, or advise someone considering college (parents, youth ministers, guidance counselors, etc.) I recommend giving it a read. While I won’t rehash all his points (read the article) I would like to address a couple of them. Read the rest of this entry »

No silence to be had

Posted: February 10, 2016 in Film/TV

tooloud

I like reading and watching detective stories. Some of my favorite TV shows include Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, CSI, and NCIS. What I don’t like are wild inaccuracies. The longer I watch a show, the more I find.

Recently I was watching a show (from a few seasons back) wherein a person was murdered in a busy hotel. The killer used a .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol and employed a stuffed animal as a makeshift silencer so none of the hotel patrons heard the shot.

Um…nope. Not a chance. Read the rest of this entry »

Does God owe me anything?

Posted: February 3, 2016 in Faith, Life

youoweme

Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. — Job 41:11 ESV

God owes me! I’ve seldom heard someone make such a bold statement so openly, but I have heard the sentiment expressed in subtler ways all too often. Truth be told, I am guilty of thinking and saying this, or words similar.

I remember a time in my ministry when I doubted. While I did not doubt God’s existence or the saving work of Christ, I doubted whether I wanted to be an active worshiper much less a missionary. The work had been hard, the rewards few, the wounds painful and deep. All night I railed at God. The paraphrase of my cries can be expressed this way:

“I’ve worked hard. I’ve been faithful. I’ve sacrificed so much. You owe me!”

In the stillness that followed my tirade the thought entered my mind, “God doesn’t owe me anything.”

A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. — John 3:27 ESV

My family had eaten dinner that evening. We had a roof over our head. We were in relatively good health… No, there was nothing I had “sacrificed” to God which he had not first given me. My debt far outweighed any payment I might have made.

Life is often difficult. We often face disappointment, heartache, and tragedy. How do we respond to these trials? Do we focus on what we think we have lost and blame God for these or do we remember that they were never ours to begin with and praise the Giver of all good things for His generosity?

Potiphar’s awkward day

Posted: January 18, 2016 in Faith

joandpho

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:39-43)

Just in case you’re not up on your ancient Biblical history, Joseph is sold in to slavery by his loving brothers (they had plotted to kill him at first, but had a change of heart at the last minute). In Egypt he’s bought by a high ranking government official named Potiphar. He did his job so well that Potiphar promoted him to General Manager of his estate. After some time Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of committing an act he was innocent of and Potiphar threw Joseph into prison.

Even in prison Joseph distinguished himself and aided other inmates. After several years went by Joseph was given wisdom by God to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and suggest a way through the difficult times ahead. In the passage quoted above we see Pharaoh recognizing Joseph’s administrative gift and foresight. Pharaoh freed him and gave him a position something like Prime Minister of the country.

Today during devotions my grandfather said, “Can you imagine Potiphar going home and saying to his wife, ‘Well, you’ll never guess who my new boss is.'”

Gosh that must have been awkward for Potiphar.