February 29, 2008


In the book "Exiles", Michael Frost talks about "dangerous songs" - these songs we've sung over and over in worship, praise and adoration of Jesus, yet fail to actually live out. We make claims and assertions that God never intended for us to make or we make promises and declarations that we haven't really thought through - we don't consider the real consequences or ramifications of living out such statements.

One such statement that's been reeling through my mind lately is from the song "The Air I Breathe". In the chorus of the song we sing, "...I'm desperate for You..." Seriously? Desperate? Think about this: when was the last time you were desperate for anything? When was the last time that in this certain place or circumstance you believed "I am at my end. God if you do not act here I am through. If You don't come through - if You don't meet me in this place - I don't know how I will go on." Been there lately?

I was reminded of desperation this morning when I read Luke 18:35-43. A blind beggar is sitting by the road and overhears that Jesus is coming his way. He begins screaming at the top of his lungs, "JESUS! Son of David! Have mercy on me." Everyone tried to shut him up, but he only screamed louder and longer. "JESUS! Have mercy on me!" In other words, "I'm DESPERATE for you!" This was a man who had been waiting on rescue. This was also a man who not only believed, he KNEW that Jesus was the only one who could bring rescue. That's why he called out to him as "Son of David". He knew who Jesus was. Do we? If so, then why aren't we desperate?

I believe the answer lies in the daily struggle that we have of reaching and loving the people in this world, and at the same time not allowing the things of this world to seduce our hearts away from the only One who can satisfy us. Jesus.

Jesus. There is no other name, no other word, no other thought that brings peace and disturbance to my heart simultaneously. He disciplines me and comforts me. He leads me, guides me, walks with me, and at the same time says, "You have to take these steps and trust that I am with you." The Psalmist asked, "Who can satisfy my soul but You, Oh Lord?" No one. No one but Jesus.

Jesus, may You work in our hearts and lives in such a way that we find ourselves able to truthfully say, "I'm desperate for You". You are the only thing that satisfies. And hopefully we won't have to become beggars to find this out.

February 26, 2008

Out on a Limb

Have you ever done something a certain way for so long that when you tried to take a new turn or learn something new that it seemed almost insurmountable? Well, I'm there. I just got my brand new Mac. After one day I can already see the benefits and bonuses to using these fine well-oiled machines. I'm guessing this might be what it felt like if I bought a Porsche or something. Like "What am I doing with all this car?" 

Most of us will not willingly put ourselves through the agony of a complete overhaul in any area of our life. But sometimes we need it. And I know that directly my spiritual life has nothing to do with whether or not my computer says Dell or Mac on it. But I think that forcing myself out on this limb of having to do something in a totally new and confusing way is a good thing.

Is there something you can do to sort of force yourself out on a new limb? Think about it and pray hard. No one else can push you out there. And God may have something new and exciting He wants to teach you or show you. It's your choice.
And if you consider going out on that limb, just remember that the Tree is trustworthy!
John 15:5

February 16, 2008

The Importance of One Person

Has anyone invested in you? Was there (or is there) a person who went out of their way and made an indelible mark on your life and your heart? Did someone disciple you, mentor you, help shape you into the person you are today? We've been called by God to "take action" in others lives; to make an impact.

Of course, it goes without saying that my parents had a great deal of influence on who I am today - in more good ways than bad (just thought I'd throw that in there in case you're reading this Mom or Dad). Outside of that, there were a few people that invested in my life not because of genetics or sympathetic reasons, but because they saw value in me. One of those people was Tod Forbess.

I remember countless Sunday nights riding in the RX-7 with the "Tod F" license plate, spilling my guts, sharing my screw-ups, and Tod just listening and processing it all. Tod would sometimes give me advice, sometimes he would set me straight, and sometimes he would just listen. But he always prayed with me and for me. He created routes to restaurants that went miles out of the way just so we could finish our conversation. He really cared.

This was 17-18 years ago. That's half my lifetime. And yet it is still as fresh on my heart as it was there and then.

Did someone invest in you? If so, make sure you're paying it forward - make sure you're heeding the call of Jesus to "make disciples". And if you don't identify with this story, don't let it be your excuse to miss out on the greatest reward accessible to you as a child of the King. "GO and make discipes....!"

If you're ready to hear more about this and go the distance, I'll see you tomorrow morning as we talk about "The Importance of One Person".

February 13, 2008

Please, Put Down the Shovel.

If you're like me you probably would rather not ever hear one more word about Barry Bonds and steroids. That dead horse was beaten over and over this past year to the shagrin of most sports fans. It's not that we don't care, it's that there's really nothing left to say. We're all fed up with it.

Well, this brand new mess with Roger Clemens brings it all back to the surface. And I think it is very important for everyone to see the real issue at hand here. Yes, quite frankly it does matter whether or not professional athletes like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Barry Bonds and others have made the enormous blunder of using these drugs. But what matters more is that grown men - who are being watched by millions who have placed them on an unwarranted pedestal - can't seem to simply tell the truth.

I'm not going to speak for anyone else, but I have a suspicion that if Barry Bonds had held a press conference a couple of years ago when this all started, confessed to the world that "Yes, several years ago I made the mistake and horrible choice of using performance enhancing drugs and I regret it. I can't go back and change it. But I can commit to you that it will never happen again", I think the American public would have been forgiving and possibly dumbfounded by the level of integrity and honesty. But that's not what happened. He lied. And on average, it takes at least 4 lies to cover up the first one. Someone get Barry a shovel! The hole is so deep he can't possibly see the top anymore.

Enter Roger Clemens. Of course I wanted to hear from Clemens that he had never taken steroids (HGH, Performance Enhancing Drugs, whatever!) but I only wanted to hear that if it was the truth. I think people want the truth. They want to know that you have integrity and that you don't think they're so stupid that they'll fall for any old bag of bologna you'll try and feed them. But sadly, here we are again.

I dread watching the uncomfortable chaos that will most likely play out over the next few days as the public eye watches these men scramble to see who can bluff longer and who can manage to worm their way through the labyrinth of lies. Please, do us all a favor - just tell the TRUTH! That's all we want. We're ready to say, "You're forgiven. Don't do it again." Give us the chance. The TRUTH will set you free. Put down the shovel. Stop digging this hole that, before you know it, will be swallowing up your whole life. Show your kids that the TRUTH is more important than covering your temporary reputation.

Please, put down the shovel. No one wants to watch this again.

February 3, 2008

A Much Needed Reminder

I feel very blessed. I just got through having lunch with some friends who helped me gain some fresh perspective. Every once-in-awhile life can start to feel like Groundhog Day - like you're re-living the same thing over and over. And ministry is like this only intensified about 10 times. You just start wondering, "Is this really working? Is this really making a difference? Is any of this getting through?"

Thank you to my friends who very honestly and openly gave me their opinions, insights and encouragement. And even for just listening. Sometimes you just need a sounding board - like you need to hear yourself saying something just to realize, "Maybe I don't actually believe that" or to remind yourself of why you started doing this in the first place.

For me, it all comes back to a couple of things. God has called me to preach His Word - to communicate His truth - specifically to this generation. And God has called me to build relationships. As I was reminded today, when the relationship is neglected or forsaken the truth seems to get lost. God loves people. Relationships are of eternal importance.

Again, thank you to my friends (new & old) who probably don't realize that the 2 hours they spent around a table at lunch today truly blessed my life.