Some ideas are more challenging to grasp than others. We all understand that we can multiply numbers and even multiply our words to an extent. I can remind my kids that I had previously told them to clean up their rooms three times before they finally tidied up. Cooper will also multiply his words by saying something like, “You already told me 756,000 times.” We all know that this is an exaggeration, but it conveys the meaning well. The translation is I have told him more times than he cares to count.

Perhaps you remember doing the same thing when you were a kid. You would add “infinity” to the end of a phrase to show how much you agree with a statement. For example, “I love you, infinity.” Or “Infinity + 1.” We want to intensify this statement to a point where it is not calculable.

The infinite is a complex concept to grasp. There is no real beginning or end. Theo has asked me how big is “infinity.” That is a challenging question. Because infinity can be small, there is an infinite number of numbers between 1 and 2 (1.1, 1.11, 1.111); they are not whole numbers but have numerical value. Then again, infinity can be an endless amount of whole numbers more than can ever be considered. The highest value you arrive at can always be higher simply by adding 1.

Perhaps this is why when God describes large number values, He does not provide a countable number. Instead, he makes statements like “numerous as the sand on the seashore” or “stars in the sky.” They hold tremendous value but are largely impossible to figure out and calculate. We can safely assume it is too much to count or comprehend. That is why one of my favorite verses is in Psalm 103.

Psalm 103:10-12 – “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our guilty deeds. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us.”

It is almost impossible to consider the magnitude of God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. And yet this poetic verse allows me to comprehend that my sins are gone. They are so far gone that from horizon to horizon, my failings have disappeared. They have not been relegated to another place or tallied for a later time to remind me of my wrongdoings. Instead, God reassures us time and time again that He will wipe the slate clean in a way that we can understand. Quoting the prophet Jeremiah, the preacher of Hebrews states:
Hebrews 10:14-19 – “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus […].”

Through the blood of Jesus, those sins are gone. God accounted for them, and Jesus paid the sum in full. There is no outstanding balance to be reported. It may seem unfathomable, much like the concept of infinity, but it is hard to wrap our minds around. Yet, God has promised that he has removed our sins from the east to the west through the blood of the Lamb. They are gone, infinity + 1.


There is this one house in our neighborhood. The homeowners are young and inexperienced. These homeowners make a lot of mistakes, and they don’t know there are unwritten rules to owning a home. In life, there are a lot of problems that take a couple of tries before you figure out how to handle them.

Case in point, about a week ago, they still needed to cut their front lawn. It had become a jungle of vegetation reaching almost a foot in some areas (not that I actually measured it). They did what any new homeowner would do. They went out and bought a lawnmower. Then, they went out and bought a new electric mower. These new mowers are great, but due to the grass’s depth and the yard’s size, the mower’s new battery was drained relatively quickly. When you buy an electric mower, you typically only get one battery; these batteries cost approximately $150-250, depending on the Ah (ampere-hour or amp-hour) or how long the battery will last while operating under normal conditions. The resulting situation was a lawnmower stuck in a sea of grass while waiting for its only power source to recharge.

I don’t fault the new homeowners; that is simply a mistake that you only make a few times. We have all been there; we have overextended ourselves. We have bitten off more than we can chew. We drove too far on a half-tank of gas. We’ve all had these moments where we are stuck in the middle of a problem, having run out of power.

Romans 1:16, 20 NASB20 – “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. … 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

This word power is more significant than we can imagine. And yet it is something that I don’t think we take advantage of to its fullest extent. In both verses, the power is from God, and it is impossible to downplay the immense power of God. He created the heavens and the earth and spoke light into existence. The Greek word for power in these verses is δύναμις dýnamis; it is from this root that we gain our word dynamite. We have access to a power that is explosive and sustaining. The gospel and the world’s creation were affected by and through the same power. It is this same power that lives in every one of us. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that this power keeps us going and supports us.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NASB20 – “7 But we have this treasure in earthen containers, so that the extraordinary greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being handed over to death because of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.”

Paul makes the case that even though we may encounter every hardship, including the expiration of our physical bodies. The element that makes all of this possible is not our ability or fortitude; it is from the same power that created the universe that raised a body from the grave that loves the unlovable. This is the power that propels us. This is the power that picks us up when our lawn mower stalls in the front yard. The question is how to keep from getting run down. We must keep plugging into the power that comes from above. We must tap into the real and lasting power that comes from above.


A few weeks ago, I had a dental check-up. I entered the appointment thinking that everything was going to be okay. They started with X-rays to see things that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Then they began cleaning and checking the overall health of the mouth and gums. When the dental tech finished the cleaning, the dentist came in to give me his prognosis and diagnosis. He said everything looked great, but one of my molars had a soft white spot, and then he poked it with an instrument to demonstrate how it was weaker than expected. He said it was the beginning of a cavity, and we needed to remove it and come in for a filling in a few weeks.

Prior to this visit, my teeth didn’t hurt. I was unaware of the hidden problems within my mouth. Unchecked, my tooth would have continued to decay, and my issues would have worsened over time. For the most part, we have no idea what is happening in our mouths. Unless we have routine check-ups, we can harbor harmful conditions in our teeth. To put it another way, we are blind to our present situation, and we can often live ignorantly in a state of decay until something more traumatic happens. However, because of the expertise and knowledge of the dentist, I trusted his advice and was delivered from the ensuing threat.

As humans, we are blind to our corrupt condition. We think, “I am okay, I don’t have any pain or problems.” Or even more dangerous, we declare, “I’m good.” We stumble through life without knowing the true jeopardy of our position. Yet. When the Creator of the universe, described as the Life-Giving Spirit, communicates with us through His prophets and apostles, He says:

Jeremiah 17:9 NASB20 – “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”
Mark 7:21-22 NASB20 – “For from within, out of the hearts of people, come the evil thoughts, [acts of] sexual immorality, thefts, murders, [acts of] adultery, 22 deeds of greed, wickedness, deceit, indecent behavior, envy, slander, pride, [and] foolishness.”
Romans 3:9-18, 23 NASB20 – “What then? Are we [the Jews] better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written:


23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

When we read this, we become aware of our actual disease. We think we are better than we are. We believe that we are impervious to decay, and the virtue of our character upholds us. Yet, we are rotting under the surface. Humanity has cavities that are not visible to the naked eye; therefore, we must trust the expertise and knowledge of the One who made us. That alone takes a considerable amount of faith; however, this is our understanding that we don’t have all the answers.

I think about the dentist poking my tooth to demonstrate the lack of hardness in my enamel. We can do the same thing spiritually. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize we aren’t perfect and have deficiencies. We can tell we are not complete. And no amount of metaphorical brushing or fluoride will fix our problem. First, sin-sickness must be rooted out and destroyed within our hearts. Then, we must fill our hearts with something else. Something more durable that is not prone to the harmful effects of sin. Something eternal and everlasting.

Ephesians 3:14-21 – “For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

We must admit on some level that our hearts have these areas of decay and corrosion. How will we choose to fill our troubled hearts? Will we ignorantly dismiss the warnings presented to us? Or will we find our security in God and His Son, letting Him fill our emptiness or cavities?

Richland Church of Christ


Two weeks ago, I had a terribly unfortunate incident happen to me. Early Saturday morning, I was helping Madasyn move her belongings up to Lewiston, ID (thanks, Dan and Dana, for driving them up there). After the move, I was taking the hitch off my truck; I’m not particularly eager to hit my shin on a trailer hitch, so I took mine off immediately. Unfortunately, while taking the hitch off, I must have set my wallet on my bumper, and then I drove away…

By the time I realized what I had done, I was already at the Home Depot on Duportail, and the wallet was gone. I immediately began retracing my steps; however, seeing a brown wallet from a moving vehicle was nearly impossible. After I retraced my route twice, I admitted defeat and began calling banks to cancel the cards in my billfold and preparing to get new IDs. However, before I submitted any full cancellations, I told myself to wait 48 hours in case it happened to turn up somewhere.

Then it happened at 8:26 am on Sunday; a random stranger sent my wife a message saying they had found my wallet. Immediately after services, I rushed to his house to claim my lost belongings. If you have ever lost something like that, it is a feeling you can’t contain; it is relief mixed with joy, overflowing with gratitude.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells us three parables regarding lost items. And because we are often the wayward and lost things, we identify with the feeling of being found. Yet, the sensation of recovering something that was lost is undeniably better. Often, the lost items do not know they are lost; my wallet had no idea it was gone floating on the winds of uncertainty. While the one who lost them knows they are gone and has to deal with that sorrow and the question of “What if?” And therefore, when the sadness is gone and replaced by joy, how great is that rejoicing?

Luke 15:5-7, 9-10, 32 NASB20 – “And when he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost!’ 7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. …
9 “And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”…
32 ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'”

Is it any wonder why Jesus tells this from the perspective of God and the heavenly realm? Can you imagine the amount of rejoicing in heaven when someone is found again? God is the originator of emotions, and the Bible describes Him with the same adjectives and emotions we can experience. Leading me to believe that the joy He feels is superior to ours, as He more fully understands the ramifications between our states of being lost and found. I wish for only a moment that we could appreciate the delight God feels when someone returns to His embrace.

I was beyond excited to have my wallet returned. To know that it was back in my possession brought considerable happiness. And it was only a trivial wallet. It compares nothing to someone’s soul. Perhaps that is why all of heaven rejoices when those who are lost become found. When the shepherd finds the wayward sheep or when the son returns from their time of wild living. Let’s find lost things and fill heaven with great rejoicing. Let’s get to celebrating.

Storing Up Treasures

I love LTC for many reasons. One aspect is meeting new people from around the PNW and reconnecting with others we may only see once a year. There is also the excitement of participating in an event with so much energy. Combine this with the nerves and awkwardness of young people displaying their skills and talents, some that they have been working on for months and even years. Sweaty palms, queasy stomachs, racing heartbeats; it is glorious!

Under the pretext of competition, there is something that is infinitely more important. It is having young people see a model of faith lived out and displayed by peers. The world of vibrant faith is isolating, as Jesus described in his sermon, which he presented on a mountainside.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

When you exhibit your faith externally, people will notice, and many times they will cringe and despise you in response to your outward display. Yet, these young people can, for one weekend, see that they are not alone. They can experience that many more like them are holding onto their faith. It can be a significant boost for their spiritual lives. Much like Elijah when he is hiding from Jezebel.

1 Kings 19:10, 18 “[Elijah] replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”… 18 [The LORD said to him] Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

For Elijah, this was a life-changing, faith-strengthening event, and I know it is the same for so many of our youth who wander school halls filled with contradictory and conflicting beliefs. They sit among friends who have “bowed down to Baal” who pay lip service to a culture that is hostile to God. They feel all alone. However, for one weekend, they see others who worship and revere the God of Heaven’s Armies. And I love it!

And yet perhaps my favorite thing about the weekend is that these young people are pursuing God’s word. From Bible Bowl to speeches, singing, drama, Bible readers theater, and signing, all are dependent and focused on recounting God’s word. And whether they acknowledge it or not, they have tucked a piece of this inside their heart. Through these exhibitions, they have transferred bits of knowledge from their short-term to their long-term memory. We should notice and celebrate it because it is life-altering. Through the prophet Isaiah, God states:“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8). Through events like LTC, we are placing something eternal within their hearts. Through their dedication and actions, they are storing up for themselves treasures for future experiences.
Our adversary can quickly destroy faith, manipulating this world to follow his direction. So it is a challenge to remain faithful. And I will assert that it is humanly impossible, but by consuming God’s word and hiding it in our hearts, equipping ourselves to defeat our opponent.

Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your word. 10 I have tried hard to find You–don’t let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

If we can get our children to reflect on these thoughts, we have placed eternity within their hearts…and leading them toward life everlasting. I also want to challenge those who may not directly resemble children anymore. Start memorizing scripture, finding one that you would like to store inside your heart for future referencing. I guarantee that this simple action blesses you more than you can ever imagine.
By hiding God’s word within our hearts, He is never far from any of us, as the psalmist continues. Even when we wander away, He is there because of these treasures within our hearts.

Psalm 119:176 “I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.”


Free Indeed

Free Indeed

As I sat in the juror selection pool, a person couldn’t help but wonder what kind of case it would be. And then you start to consider the incredible responsibility of hearing a case and deciding someone’s future, whether they will be incarcerated or freed. In walks the defendant, a picture of normality, an ordinary everyday person. You recall that in our country, we are protected by the Presumption of Innocence and that regardless of the crime, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is a remarkable liberty, and we’re blessed to live in a society where this is the law of the land.

And yet part of the process is the jurors are presented with a brief summary of the case, including the accusations against the defendant. And when you hear these accusations, and even though this person is presumed innocent and looks normal, you can’t help but imagine the defendant in some state of guilt or responsibility. I suspect that the more heinous the crime, the harder this preconception would be to shake. And yet, everyone is innocent until proven otherwise. 

This is far different when we consider our spiritual case. We, of course, know that we are guilty as charged. We know that we have all sinned and fallen short of honoring God (Romans 3:23); we also know that if you break only one part of God’s Law, you are guilty of the whole thing (James 2:10); this includes showing partiality. We stand before the Judge already condemned. Knowing that you have a guilty verdict against you and you have no one to plead your case would be a terrible situation. 

Another question that was asked of the juror selection pool was if we would think poorly of the defendant if they did not take the witness stand? Many people feel that public testimony of innocence is a powerful tool, but it can also lean others toward a guilty verdict. Some lawyers advise their clients to refrain from taking the witness stand to take this issue off the table. You don’t want to provide any evidence of guilt because that might convict you of a crime. And you definitely would like to avoid standing before a jury of your peers and admitting to the crime. 

Yet that is precisely what we are called to do in our Christian faith. 

1 John 1:6-10 – “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and [yet] walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Wrestle with this thought for a moment. We are found and sentenced as guilty, doomed to die. But God, in His incredible mercy and grace, provides a way to prevent this condemnation, and it is by admitting our guilt. In a paradoxical position, we gain freedom by admitting we are guilty. The thing that would convict us in a human institution is the act that pardons us. In fact, by our own admittance and reliance on Jesus, it is as if we were never guilty in the first place. 

Hebrews 10:14-18 – “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”

According to His marvelous word, God no longer remembers our guilt. The Judge Himself does not bring the charge against us because it ceases to exist. Notice the beauty of verse 14, God has made perfect (the process is complete) those who are “in the process of” being made holy or sanctified. The purification of our sins is both ongoing and also complete. In our court system, we benefit because we are innocent until proven guilty. Yet for the ones covered in the sacrifice of Jesus, we are guilty and declared innocent when we confess our guilt. 

John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Beyond Words

This past week I had jury duty, or at least I was placed in a jury selection pool for Franklin County. It was a lesson in the process and dismay of our judicial system. I had never sat in a jury pool before, and how the final jury was selected was enlightening. Of course, both attorneys want to choose the best jury for their case, and even during this activity, they try to “win” their case. You’ll be happy to know that my following few blogs will center around these eye-opening days in the courtroom. 

One of the more intriguing aspects was the role of the stenographer. They have the difficult job of transcribing all the conversations within the courtroom. These discussions can be between jurors, attorneys, judges, plaintiffs, defendants, and even the bailiffs. These exchanges can be heated, and words can begin to fly. It is paramount that the stenographer records each phrase perfectly, and so courts have developed a unique process to capture all of these words. You have a highly trained person utilizing specialized equipment to annotate and catch each purposeful or wayward phrase. Our bailiffs informed us that our stenographer could record 470 words per minute, ensuring that every detail is secured permanently in the court’s official records. 

More important than the words themselves was who said the words.

Of course, this is true for the lawyers, the judge, and those on trial. Furthermore, every prospective juror must identify who they are, using their juror number, ensuring they are credited with their thoughts. You would want the right phrase attributed to the correct person. It could spell doom for either side of the case, and so not only the recorded words matter but also who said what. 

We all see that the Bible contains truth. It includes things that are wise and beyond human intuition. Yet, we also know that many philosophers, throughout time, have stumbled on occasional truths. However, what sets the wisdom contained in the Bible apart is that it has another claim that transcends earthly understanding. The Bible asserts that it contains the Mind of God. 

2 Peter 1:16-21 – “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

And Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 2:9-11 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

What we have contained in Scripture is more than just cleverly devised words or philosophical ideas; it is God revealing truths to humanity in order to grant them more than our present reality. Sadly, many see the Bible as one version of the truth, leaving the possibility for other truths to exist, as if there can be two contradicting truths.

However, from these two passages, we can declare two statements. 

  • There is only One God, then that one God has only one mind. 
  • That mind is revealed throughout His Word, through His Spirit. 

If you want to know the mind of God, how He thinks, what He wants us to do, and how we are to live. The lesson is simple, read His Word. We can all agree that the words in the Bible are valuable and more precious than gold (Psalm 19:10). Yet, what is often unstated is that these words come from the very mind of God, and that is why they are invaluable. Knowing that God revealed this most intimate part of His character to us is incomprehensible and fills me with an adoration that is BEYOND WORDS


In Repair

Our house is not old, built in 2006; it is pretty new by housing standards. Even though it is relatively new, it requires routine maintenance and, from time to time, more significant repairs. Having kids, I know I’ll need to repaint a surface or patch a hole periodically. 

By comparison, our first house was built in 1970, and there were some major issues that I was hesitant to tackle. For example, it needed a new HVAC system, it was on its second roof, and the stucco was coming apart. The worst part was that although it had a slab foundation, it had begun to settle in some areas causing more significant issues that needed to be addressed. I suppose that is the blessing and curse of home ownership. You own something tangible, but it takes effort to maintain it, and if you neglect it for too long, it becomes more problematic the longer you hesitate. 

Every house is different; some have seen very little wear and tear. Perhaps their owners were careful or lived in a region that preserved the overall structure. Others have been used and abused, or more poetically, they have “seen” a lot of life. And so on the other hand, these houses need a little more care to make them livable long-term. These structures may have settled, and these issues have taken years to become visible.

On Wednesday nights, we have been focusing on Galatians 6:1-5. Our spiritual lives are a lot like houses. Some individuals need major adjustments, and others need a little paint to smooth out the scuffs in the wall. Those that need minor repairs find it easy to “course correct” and come to Jesus. Asking these people to repent and place their faith in Jesus is non-controversial because their lives require minimal adjusting. However, those that may have seen a little more “life” will struggle to repair the cracks in their foundation. They may see their spiritual lives require a complete overhaul, and the remodeling phase is too much to handle. 

Galatians 6:1-5 – “Brothers and sisters, even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you are not tempted as well. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks that he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting, but to himself alone, and not to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.”

  • Burden–βάρος báros, bar’-os—a weight that is too heavy to carry. It means to bend down under the weight. 
  • Load–φορτίον phortíon- a small amount of cargo, typically carried as freight on a larger ship. 

As Paul is writing to the church in Galatia, he asserts that this is where a church family comes in; we come alongside our brothers and sisters and help them with their more extensive repair process. Make no mistake; we are cleansed and made new through the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11). Yet, part of the repentance process is taking the log or speck out of our eyes. When you have something debilitating in your eye, help is typically required. 

It is a good reminder that we all don’t have the same house. We didn’t start with the same foundation or even the same building code. Some require a bit more paint, and some need a complete renovation. As we walk in fellowship with others, we recognize that some need a little more TLC; therefore, we approach them with grace and patience. It is a reminder that some come to Christ with a lot of structural issues, and it may take years to sort out as they are continually made into the likeness of Jesus. Yet, God’s grace is sufficient, and they, too, are sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus. However, they might be rough around the edges as they mature and grow. And so we remind ourselves that we are all in some state of repair and might need help with our maintenance issues someday. 

Birth Pains

It has been a little over five years since Theo was born; however, I still remember those jitters as Amanda sat up uncomfortably with her first contractions. I can only imagine the sensation for expecting mothers. The build-up from the previous ten months, combined with the anticipation of bringing life into the world, mingled with the uneasiness of what will happen. And all of this is accompanied by intense moments of pain. I can’t imagine anything as confusing yet simultaneously yearned for as childbirth; last night in our Life Group, the mothers in our group reflected on those days of anguish and joy.

Whitney Dunn recalled how each contraction brought the precious birth closer to realization, providing her hope and purpose to the pain. Amanda reflected that regardless of the pain, she knew it would be momentary and necessary for new life to enter the world. How incredible and marvelous is this process!? I encourage you to reflect on your own experiences or to ask a mom about their experience; I was enlightened by what I heard. And although I will never experience it, I can glimpse the wonder of childbirth and hear the joy, patience, and strength required to bring a baby into this life.

Reflecting on Jesus’ words from Matthew 24, Jesus wanted to let us know that we should prepare ourselves for hard times and possible persecution; after giving us a sampling of future events, he states, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:8). I cannot think of a better analogy! Because just like birth, there will be momentary pain, which will accompany great joy and life. I think about women who have endured the pain of childbirth and the mentality of the process; they realize that this is a necessity and requirement, yet it will produce something more significant than what was before.

For the Christian, isn’t this the reality? We know whatever we are enduring pales in comparison to what is coming. We understand that each trial, each pain, or heartache is momentary, and there will come a time when every tear will be wiped away. We trust that we can suffer for a little while so that we may be comforted by the Prince of Peace.

That passage in Matthew 24:6-13 contains another truth that benefits us. It reminds us that life is not permanent.

Matthew 24:6-13 – “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 “And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. 12 “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.”

We are often under the misconception that we must preserve our current existence. Yet, in this discourse, Jesus reminds his followers that this present life is full of wars, famines, earthquakes, hate, lawlessness, and death. Our current circumstances are not the end goal; this is not God’s ideal for His perfect creation. Thankfully, Jesus reminds us that this is only temporary and that all these atrocities will be over someday. And for those that don’t give up, they will be saved. Those that recognize that these are merely birth pains bringing on something far better are the ones that press on.

The difficulties mentioned are decidedly not pleasant. They are not something most people would willingly accept. And yet, as expectant mothers accept their fate of discomfort, knowing that it will bring an unimaginable newness, we too anticipate these tribulations knowing that it brings us one step closer to our Savior and the life that is to come. And so, while many would see these signs as worrisome and disturbing, we should consider them a process that brings us to an eternal promise that far outweighs our current existence.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner [person] is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”



Theo and I were talking the other day, and I mentioned we should play outside after his afternoon nap. (Yes, he still naps sometimes, and it is glorious!) I also said it looks like it could rain, and the wind might pick up, so we might be unable to play outside. Theo asked, “Do you think you could pray that the rain doesn’t come so that we can play?”

Such a sweet thought, but it is a dangerous request. It is a very self-centered approach to prayer. What if someone else needs the rain, like a farmer preparing for a growing season? It is bold to pray that only my needs are met while simultaneously ignoring the needs of others. Controlling weather patterns for a few minutes of playtime is too excessive for me. But then I remember Elijah, who did pray for the rain to stop, and I consider the circumstances of that request.

James 5:17-18 –
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”

Can you imagine the audacity and resoluteness it would take to pray at this level? A drought of this intensity would cripple a region. He was wiping out all agricultural production for three and a half years. Elijah was affecting not only Ahab and his royal court but everyone in the northern kingdom of Israel and the surrounding regions. This is why the justification of the prayer is essential. Through God’s direction, Elijah was trying to turn a nation back to God and have them stop engaging in pagan idol worship. Elijah is not asking for a few more days of summer but rather a wake-up call to the nation. It may be helpful to know that Baal was the regional god of the storm. Not having any rainfall for three and six months was an indictment of the impotence of Baal. And after the showdown on Mount Carmel, this is the climax of this narrative.

1 Kings 18:36-39
“Then at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet approached and said, “LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant, and [that] I have done all these things at Your word. 37 “Answer me, LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that You, LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, and the stones and the dust; and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God!””

The nation is chanting and worshiping the One True God again. This is because they have, at least for a moment, realized that their idols are worthless and powerless. And because their hearts have turned back, Elijah can lift the drought.

1 Kings 18:41 – “Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”

No, I am not advocating for us to pray for drastically adjusted weather patterns. Instead, we should have the mindset that God has ordered the world to operate precisely how it has and always will. We should humbly accept our fate, allow God to control the weather, and adjust our lives accordingly. Yet, the example exists that a single man with a nature like our own was able to change the hearts of a nation by praying that it wouldn’t rain. This narrative is a tremendous example of faith, bold prayer, and changing hearts. Many of the things we pray for are mundane and perhaps even profane. Yet the cause and purpose of Elijah’s prayer were to reconcile a nation back to God.
Do we courageously pray that hearts are changed, and that loved ones draw closer to Jesus? Hopefully, like Elijah, you are praying for a change in the weather.

You Have Something

You Have Something

There’s a game that I love playing with my boys. Feel free to try it on your kids or someone else’s kids, but not with a stranger’s kids; that would be inappropriate. Cup your hands and pretend to have something of great value inside. Bring the child’s attention to it, but keep it “hidden” and see if they can pry your hands away from the precious object. Their innate curiosity will only allow them to give up once they discover what is in your hand. After a bout of fun and wrestling, I let them pry open my hands to reveal they were empty the whole time. Every once in a while, I will have a random item in my hand, but the real fun is the struggle of finding out what is in my hands and wrestling with dad.

People visit my office almost daily to visit, pray, and seek guidance. And there is an individual that stops by every once and a while for this very purpose. I have seen this person make great strides in their pursuit of Jesus. In our conversation, he admitted that he still struggles with some things, but one thing that motivates him the most is when he observes more mature Christians; they have something that he does not possess yet. What he observes most abundantly is peace. He sees peace, and he wants that to be present in his life. Consider the words of Paul as he writes to the church in Philippi and comprehend how attractive this lifestyle is to a world full of anxiety and chaos.   

Philippians 4: 4-7 

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Recognize that this peace is dependent on a few beliefs. First, you must believe that the Lord is near, that He is present and imminent. God’s proximity is the reality; however, we seldom rest in this truth. Instead, we become anxious and demand signs, wonders, and deliverance to fully trust. Those who are mature in their faith may have moments of unease, but they consider the nearness of God, and it will reduce the anxiety present in their life. The second element that produces inner calmness is when we are anxious; we place these concerns back at the throne, pleading for God to remove them. The attitude of the begging is not by selfish demands but through humble thanksgiving. Therefore, we acknowledge God’s nearness, thank Him for all He has done, and then make our requests. This approach grants us peace, and this peace guards our hearts; it protects us from spiraling in harmful ways. 

This peace is the byproduct of experience. Reflect on the father of faith, Abraham; how much did he face before he fully trusted in God? There was a famine in Canaan- he went to Egypt. He felt his life was in jeopardy because of Sarai- he lied and said she was his sister. He had no children- he slept with Hagar. Time and time again, Abraham was anxious and apprehensive. However, He, who is Faithful, never faltered, and Abraham could fully trust and find a peace that passes understanding. 

Whether you admit it or not, you have something that the world desperately needs. The people around us may only get glimpses of it in our lives, but they see a peace that comes from trusting in God that they might not be able to access. Having peace does not mean you don’t or won’t struggle with anxiety; it means that when worries appear, you recognize that the Lord is near, and you lay that concern at His throne, thanking Him for all of the other circumstances that He has provided an escape for you. Let them notice that you have something of great value, and then show them how they can access it too. Because you have something…  




We love our heroes. We tend to invent heroes for us to look up to and emulate. I imagine that there are tens of thousands of young kids playing in their backyards dreaming of being Patrick Mahomes tossing a ball to Travis Kelce. Why do they choose these two football players to emulate? Because they excelled in the most high-profile game of the year to secure a championship for their team. Success is absolutely admirable. As a young boy in Colorado, I remember when I was 14, pretending to be Ed McCaffery, the wide receiver for the Denver Broncos (these were their championship years). Running routes, catching balls, and pretending to be more athletic than I really was. We adore these sports heroes because we treasure the glory and fame that come with their hard work and victories. 



In the same way, the Bible tells us to imitate Christ like a young kid celebrating their respected sports figure. In a way, it is counter-cultural because it is whom we imitate. Instead of admiring a touchdown or an unbelievable throw, we copy Jesus in less self-aggrandizing ways. 



John 13:1, 3-5 – “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. … 3 [Jesus,] knowing that the Father had handed all things over to Him, and that He had come forth from God and was going [back] to God, 4 got up from supper and laid His outer garments [aside;] and He took a towel and tied it around Himself. 5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which He had tied around Himself.”


The concept is simple. Pretending to be a super-star professional football player is something that little kids will do voluntarily and unprompted. As children, we look to our heroes and copy, emulate, and imitate. So let us do the very same thing for the One that secured the most significant victory of all time. But he did not do it through impressive athletic prowess but through humility and washing feet, by dying to himself and walking a path of servanthood. 


After reading through that Triumphal Entry, I think of all the modes of locomotion that Jesus could have used. He could have come in on chariots or horses, carried by the people, or merely walked like he did most places. And yet, I am mindful that due to his obedience to God’s will, and his very nature of servanthood, he knew that riding on the colt of a donkey was the only option. It is because the humblest option is to humble yourself before God and others. As Paul writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8).

It might not be as visually magnificent as catching a Super Bowl-winning touchdown pass, but that is the point. It is not supposed to be; our calling is to be so humble that we take on the lowest of appearances and serve even those who would eventually betray us. We walk in a way that honors obedience and servitude above all else. It is different, but it is the way of my Hero. 

Hope Against Hope

Hope Against Hope

Ten years ago, I had been on a string of insignificant and fruitless dates. The truth is no one likes to see eligible bachelors or bachelorettes, so they try to fix you up with this person or that person. I’m a personable and outgoing individual, so I would agree to these blind dates to see if there was any hope for a future with that other person. Being single and 28 was not my plan nor my intention; however, we seldom get what we want. Despite setbacks and disruptions, I never gave up on finding someone with whom I could spend my life.

Perseverance takes a type of determination that we seldom discuss. Knowing that you greatly desire something but cannot bring it to fruition takes a special kind of patience and long-suffering; I admire anyone who has patiently waited for any particular outcome in their life.

That is when a young lady I knew from church asked if I wouldn’t mind “helping” her and her husband out. She had a cousin coming to visit from out of town and didn’t want to leave that cousin alone for an evening. So, she asked if I wouldn’t mind tagging along to make the evening less awkward and keep her cousin from being a third wheel. There was one other small problem: the night they were worried about abandoning their visitor was not just any night… it was Valentine’s Day. A day meant for couples, and who in their right mind goes on a blind-double-date on Valentine’s Day? I find very few circumstances awkward, so I said, “Sure.” And I began preparing for another probably insignificant and unrewarding blind date. 

Yet, mixed into this preparation is the idea that perhaps this is someone who is “right” for me. In situations like this, you don’t want to get your hopes up, but you also want to prepare yourself for any opportunities that might arise. It is a delicate balance of hoping and not hoping. You want to put your best foot forward, but you also want to manage expectations for the night. It was nerve-wracking and unsettling; it was a lot like hoping against hope. In this scenario, there was no reason for me to believe that it would turn out any different than it had before. Yet, I still went on that blind date. 

Romans 4:18-22 – “In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

I tell this story not because I believe I am in the same prophetic light as Abraham but to demonstrate that we have all been in these circumstances; we have all given up hope at some time or another. Yet, we still hope for the best ending. This is where Abraham was, he was old, and his wife was old… too old… to have children, yet He trusted in God’s promises anyway. This is how God operates. He does not want us to believe in only the probable or the most likely; God wants us to believe and hope in the impossible. God wants us to believe that He raises dead men to new lives. God wants us to expect a future that we can’t comprehend. So, we eagerly await this future not because of our own ability but because of the faithfulness of God.  

Romans 8:22-25 – “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only that, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, through perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”


My little story just so happened to end with an incredible ending because, on February 14, 2013, I met my beautiful and amazing wife, Amanda. Ten years later, I am so thankful I had hoped for something better than another meaningless outing. I am grateful that I did not give up. It would have been easier to say “No” or to avoid hoping in the first place. But I can’t imagine my life without having that hope from that evening ten years ago. And isn’t that the point of perseverance? To continue forward with the anticipation that there is something better ahead? We don’t give up. We push forward knowing, like Abraham, that God is faithful to His promises. And so, we Hope Against Hope.



Walk this Way!

Kids are goofy. They do ridiculous things, and it is all games and good-natured fun; their innate play is a harmless way for them to experience the world. We spend such a long time getting them to walk when they are younger, and then one day, they master that skill; however, kids are never satisfied just being proficient; they want to push boundaries and excel. For example, Theo has been testing out new ways to walk. He loves walking backward, which for a parent, trying to navigate crowds or stores is highly frustrating. Then the other day, we were in Walmart picking up a few items, and he was wiggling and squirming his feet as we walked down the aisle; he looked like a penguin wading through Jell-O when he suddenly knocked over the bottom row of hot sauce bottles all over the floor. Thankfully, nothing broke, and we could pick them up and continue our shopping trip. All of this is because walking in a straight line is BORING. He is not satisfied doing things the same way every time; he wants to improve and advance himself in even the most mundane tasks, even if walking down the aisle of a grocery store.

On Wednesday nights, we have been studying how to advance to the next step of our Christian walk. We reject change; we don’t want to push ourselves to a more intentional degree of followership. As a result, we become stagnant and stale in our walk. We cease to grow, and that is a dangerous place to be. Perhaps you are thinking, “There are different stages of Christianity?” And yes, there are. Paul, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews mention that we should increase our maturity and not only consume milk in our spiritual lives. What are these various stages? Peter gives us a good understanding of this as he writes his second epistle. Look through this list and determine where you are in your Christian walk. 

2 Peter 1:5-9 – “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten their purification from their former sins.”

Notice that the last two areas concern your affection and love for others. You progress from the most fundamental requirement, faith, to personal internal reflection (moral excellence, knowledge, self-control) and finally to how to treat others. Unfortunately, many Christians stop progressing at the internal reflection part. They stagnate on learning facts, diving into the minutia of theories and nuances of ancient grammar. A lack of progress makes a person short-sighted and unproductive. We must not be satisfied with inaction; we should desire the next level. 

On Wednesdays, we discovered that achieving this next level is impossible without the church. How can I show brotherly kindness if I have no connection with the brotherhood of believers? How can I love those outside of this family if I don’t deeply love those I call my spiritual family? You might try to find maturity on your own, but this is unattainable without a connection to a church body. Look at these passages from the apostle John. 

1 John 1:5-7 – “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 2:9-11 – “The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother and sister remains in the Light, and there is nothing in him to cause stumbling. 11 But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is profound unity within these passages. Walking in the Light, loving our brothers and sisters, versus walking without fellowship and blind. You cannot claim to walk in the Light and dismiss being surrounded by your fellow Christian family. You can’t profess to be mature in your faith and not desire to meet together frequently. Finally, how can you know where you are going if you aren’t living and loving within a church community? That concept is foreign to scripture. Isolation and Christianity do not mix. An isolationist is a symptom of immaturity and stagnation. 

I encourage us all to stretch ourselves in how we are walking… it might seem a little goofier to those outside our fellowship. But it is the only way we can grow more proficient in our journey ever upward. 

Where You Are Supposed to Be.

**I hesitate to write today’s blog because I don’t want anyone to receive it in the wrong fashion, so with that, I will begin with a caveat. I am not writing because I feel challenged or discouraged. I am very secure in my role and position here at our local congregation. God has blessed me with a particular skill set, and I am comfortable with who I am and where God has placed me to work and be. However, I write this blog to provide insight and comfort as you navigate this world. Furthermore, I feel loved and appreciated, so please don’t feel like you need to encourage me based on this blog post 😊**

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

We live in a digital world where comparisons are ever-present and frequently unattainable. Three years ago, churches went “live” and started recording their services. You could stream any number of sermons and services as long as you knew where to begin. I know some people who watch three or more sermons each Sunday. That they can do this is a testament to their desire to learn and immerse themselves in the


A person can find their favorite speaker and listen to them all day. Yet, simultaneously, I feel something different; I feel the need to compete with a faceless enemy. Is there someone better out there that a person could stay home and watch? Am I enough to hold the attention and contend with the myriads of other preachers in the digital spectrum? If I let myself travel down this road, it is a burden far too much for anyone to bear. And then yesterday Hawatthia came and delivered a powerful and much-needed message… and one could stop and ponder… am I enough? I am not the first person to run into this situation; comparisons like this have been there from the beginning of the church; let’s look at how Paul confronts this issue.

1 Corinthians 3:4-9 – “For when one person says, “I am with Paul,” and another, “I am with Apollos,” are you not ordinary people? 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now the one who plants and the one who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

You can almost hear the angst in Paul’s tone as he writes this. He is not disgruntled because some have an allegiance to Apollos; instead, he is concerned that they have missed the point of the message. He asserts that the speakers or teachers aren’t any more special or pivotal. Instead, the important principle is that God is placed as preeminent and is the focal point of building or field. This is the marker of a good teacher. They don’t care who delivers the message as long as it places God and His truth in the center. Paul frames it all with the understanding that if anyone else delivered the Gospel, it was done so because of the opportunity God presented to these various servants. The planting of Paul and watering of Apollos were only possible because God made it possible.

Thinking in this way should shape our own positions in this life instead of comparing ourselves with others, which typically leads to stagnation or self-defeating thoughts. We instead start to think of God orchestrating opportunities for me to share the Gospel with others. Being constantly concerned with what other people are doing and saying limits my preparedness for when God will use me.

We must think of the wise words from Mordecai to Esther; how do we know if we haven’t arrived at any particular situation, “for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14).

We can always think am I enough? Why am I here? Is there someone else that can do better? The correct answer is that God placed “YOU” right where you are supposed to be. I am here because this is where the Creator of the Universe wants me to be. He has set and presented opportunities for me to ensure that we exalt His name above every name and glorify Jesus as Lord. So, make the most of every opportunity, and stop comparing yourself to those around you. 


 You are right where you are supposed to be.   


How Can I Keep from Singing?

How Can I Keep from Singing?

A few weeks ago, my voice began to fail me. For reasons I still don’t know, probably some viral or bacterial infection, I was suffering from laryngitis. The timing was terrible, and it was unfolding “live” on a Sunday morning. Before Kingdom Kids, I would not have guessed that my voice was going to fade away, but halfway through the sermon, it was a struggle to make it through the message I had planned out. Thankfully, K’Lynn had a water bottle that she readily shared with me, and I don’t think I could have made it through without it. Yet the worst part is that with all these vocal troubles, I haven’t been able to sing like I normally would for the past few weeks. If I overuse my voice, I feel the strain more than usual; I am limited and hampered. So, I have been restricting myself… and it feels unnatural and weird.

It is confusing that many people don’t sing even when they are healthy. Ever. Not on Sunday morning, not by themselves. They just don’t sing. I know this because I’ve seen it. I can’t even fathom living like that… never singing? Perhaps that is why I resonate with David as he recounts God’s faithful goodness and the reaction it produces.

Psalm 63:1-11 –
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”

The psalmist denotes that we all have an inner desire to praise and glorify God. David’s external condition does not prompt this internal longing as he writes; in fact, he is not in a position to praise. He feels needy, disadvantaged, and even attacked by people who want to kill him, yet he can offer praise because he acknowledges the character of God.

What must it be like not to sing? Right now, I am struggling with not being able to sing, and it is hard, but this is momentary. But for me, the concept of not singing seems unthinkable. David communicates that singing is the natural byproduct of knowing God, His power, glory, and loving faithfulness. Even in your darkest moments, knowing God produces songs from your lips. In other words, if you know God, how can you not sing?

We can’t help but share with others the things that we love. Why should it be any different from our relationship with God? We should imagine it as though songs of joy and praise flow out like water from a mountain spring whenever I open my mouth. I will always sing, regardless of the circumstances. Someday soon I will sing confidently again. The question is, will you sing or find reasons to stop singing?


A couple of weeks ago, the mornings got a little darker. I am not referring to the winter solstice on December 21; this dimming happened the following week. One morning, in particular, Amanda and I noticed our boys were sleeping a little later, and the inside of our house was darker. Shouldn’t it be getting lighter now that the solstice had passed?

It didn’t take long to figure out what was different; the snow was gone. It had finally melted after four weeks of covering the ground; the blanket of white had disappeared. Any snow-sport enthusiast will tell you of the harsh effects of sun and snow. You sunburn twice as quickly, and you had better wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the doubling effects of the sun reflected off the snow below. It was a reminder of how easily those tiny ice crystals reflect light, even the light of the moon. If you have ever walked through a winter wonderland with a full moon, you know how much brighter the landscape becomes.

There is an image presented in scripture regarding the radiance of God’s glory and holiness; this picture is conveyed in Daniel and carried forward to the second person of the trinity in Revelation. These two descriptions communicate that looking at God is to look at someone as white as snow.

Daniel 7:9 – “I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne [was] ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire.”

Revelation 1:14 – “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.”

The whiteness of snow is so pure and undefiled; it perfectly represents the nature and character of our Creator and Savior. And to experience this type of purity as it coats the ground is an excellent reminder of whom we serve and follow. However, this is something else we should remember. God calls us to be transformed into His likeness.

Ephesians 4:23-24 – “and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

It is incredible to think that our holiness replicates the likeness of God. When others see me, they witness the luminescence of God’s righteousness and purity. We don’t often talk like this because we don’t want the pressure of being holy and righteous thrust upon us. However, God designed us to bear His likeness, and we should champion that goodness to the rest of the world. When we shine a light, this is the light that we are shining. God’s goodness, righteousness, and holiness wherever we may go.

When David stumbled and committed adultery, David requested cleansing so that he could be made white as snow and renewed. To return to a time when he reflected the holiness of God to those around him.

 Psalm 51:7-10 –

“Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

Cleanse me, and I will be whiter than snow. 

Let me hear joy and gladness,

Let the bones You have broken rejoice. 

Hide Your face from my sins

And wipe out all my guilty deeds.

Create in me a clean heart, God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

We were not renewed for solitary reasons. When Jesus’ blood cleansed us, it would allow others to recall the purity and holiness of God. Living in this way brightens the world, even on the darkest days of the year. If we were to coat the ground with the brightness of snow, how much more illuminated this world would be? Instead, we tarnish our exteriors; we cover ourselves in dirt and wonder why no one is interested in the glory and goodness of God. Let us be like David, who asked to be made cleansed and pure during a hideous lapse in his character. Then he would praise God because it reflects God’s character in the world.

Psalm 51:13-15 –

“Then I will teach wrongdoers Your ways,

And sinners will be converted to You.

Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation;

Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

Lord, open my lips, so that my mouth may declare Your praise.”

Birth and Rebrith

The world does not understand Christianity. This reality becomes clear when we see how those outside our faith attempt to attack or degrade our beliefs. In the first century, adversaries to our faith persecuted the early Christians physically; however, this tactic only propelled Christianity to the farthest reaches of our globe. Others have tried more covert means, sowing seeds of discord and doubt. In recent years I have witnessed that many will assert that Christianity merely borrows from other cultural traditions. And no practices are attacked more than those surrounding the Christmas holiday. Trees, wreaths, presents, twinkle lights… even the day (December 25) are all questioned and claim to have pagan roots. And my honest response is, “So what?” Even if there were any validity to these claims (which there is not), it wouldn’t make a difference. When it comes to our faith, we believe in a God that is not bound by customs or traditions. He is far above all that nonsense, but I will list one more reason these claims hold no value to me. 

God is transformational. A narrative as old as the history of God’s people is that God changes stuff, but primarily people. In Genesis 9, we have a world reborn out of a global flood, God literally remaking and starting fresh from the corrupted world depicted in Genesis 6. In Genesis 17, God changes Abram’s name to reflect His promise of many descendants coming through Abram’s offspring. In Genesis 28, Jacob changes the city of Luz to Bethel (House of God); a few chapters later, in Genesis 32, God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, depicting the relationship between Jacob’s descendants and God. Finally, the entire region of Canaan, once entirely pagan, is renamed to reflect the 12 tribes of Israel and their covenant with God. These changes take what was once foreign or even opposed to God and bring it back into His overall plan. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what things once were, only what they are in relation to God. 

These examples serve as a reminder that God has changed us. He takes us from where we once were and remakes us into who He wants us to be. As Paul states, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It would be easy to listen to the rhetoric of the world and say that “What once was, always will be.” The world is opposed to change and primarily changes for the better. The natural world loves entropy, and God loves rebirth and renewal. Those outside our faith say that you are just the way you are, and there is no need to change, or real change is impossible. But that is not how God works. He changes us down to our very core, and He can do that with every aspect of our lives. God promises He will change everything, even the physical world “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1). 

Continuing with this thought is that we are encouraged to bring all things into the obedience of Christ. As Paul writes again to the church in Corinth, “We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). God has already given Jesus all authority (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, the only thing that matters is that we make this our daily reality; that we live and think as if Jesus is the ultimate authority. And so, we bring even our thoughts into obedience and submission to Christ. Our very thoughts become reborn and remade into the likeness of the Son.   

The world does not want us to change. It does not want anything to be brought under the authority of Christ. The world does not like to submit its thoughts, customs, or traditions. And that is okay because we are not of the world. We have been renewed, we have been changed, and we are not what we used to be. God’s transformation of our lives should give us another reason to celebrate this time of year as we move on from what once was to what has been made new—reflecting on a God that is all about Birth and Rebirth.   


Wisdom in Wearing Gloves

One of the most challenging parts of being a parent is trying to get your children out of the house. It can be to go to the store, or it can be to play outside. The colder weather exacerbates this problem because going out requires a few more layers of clothes or possibly a whole new wardrobe. They need jackets and coats or socks and boots. Every article of clothing is met with rejection or hesitancy. First comes the complaining, then the stalling, then bargaining—and finally, they realize that they must put on some warmer clothes before they go outside. Our snowfall last week allowed for a good day to go sledding or, at the very least, attempt to find a good hill that wouldn’t destroy our kids with the first crash. That morning was the same as every morning. As soon as I told them it was time to get ready, they scoffed and protested at the thought of going outside. “It’s too hard to put on my boots!” “Why do I have to wear snow pants?” “My gloves don’t work, right.” (Wearing gloves is a common complaint from Cooper, who does not like wearing gloves and pulls them off every chance he gets.) They don’t like putting on their snow clothes not because they don’t want to be outside; but because it requires them to stop playing and, for a moment, do something that can be difficult for a three- or five-year-old. 

Yet, with coaching and help, we eventually made it outside and found some decent sledding hills to take advantage of on this wintry day. And you know what? Dear old dad was right, and after a while, they were having a wonderful time! They were playing and diving into the snow, tumbling around, and to their surprise, they weren’t cold or wet, which extended the amount of time they were playing. The winter gear they had whined about and objected to had done its job and protected them from the elements. And the next time I said we were going to play outside, they gladly put on the clothes that would keep them warm and dry. 

We could say the same thing about the wisdom that God presents to us. We may not always see the wisdom God offers to us initially. However, the Bible reveals that following God’s word benefits us more than we know. We may scoff or complain. We may be hesitant to trust His will fully, but like wearing winter gear, it safeguards us from the hazards around us. Look at this wisdom shared by Solomon in the book of Proverbs.  

Proverbs 3:1-8 – 
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 
 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 
 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 
 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 
 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

At first glance, this passage presents a picture of peace, prosperity, and favor from God and humanity. Why wouldn’t anyone lean upon and learn from God? Why would there be any hesitancy to fear the Lord and shun evil? Why would they reject wisdom? The reason is it may make you uncomfortable, or it may even require momentary effort. The most challenging portion of this passage is that you must submit to God. You must admit that you don’t have all the answers. You cannot be “wise in your own eyes.” And for many people, that is terrifying. Yet, if we trust in Him, if we lean on Him, and if we submit to Him… He will bless us in more profound and pleasing ways than we could have accomplished on our own.   

Sure, putting on some extra layers or wearing oversized boots might be uncomfortable. But it will benefit us in the long run. We might believe it is better to do things our way, but God has a much bigger and better plan for us if only we stop and listen to His wisdom. And if we heed His instruction, we will not be disappointed. 


Snow Day!

It is the news that every child wants to hear. The anticipation grows as the flakes of snow begin to accumulate. Maybe just maybe, tomorrow will be a “Snow Day!” What probably started as a safety concern and a logistical allowance (not enough snowplows) has become a vacation from the everyday hustle of going to school and, for some going to work. That is the thing about “Snow Days”; they often mean rest for some, but more work for others, and for many, it depends on the region where you live. Growing up in western Colorado, I remember three snow days during my entire adolescence. Where I grew up, they had plenty of snowplows and sand trucks, and our school district had 4×4 buses. The only way administrators would cancel school would be if a blizzard came through the region. Kids in the Northeast portion of the U.S. must get used to shuffling to school in full winter gear; there is no break from the educational requirements. As I mentioned earlier, rest for some means more work for others when snow is on the horizon, that is when snow crews get to work. They hit the roads early to keep traffic safe and cars on the road. There are a lot of people who can’t take a day off even if the weather is questionable. Rest, for some, does not always translate to rest for all. Yet the worst part of snow days is if you have too many of them in one school year, you have to make up the missed educational days at the end of the year. And so what appears to have been a day of rest may convert into a day of more work.

Hebrews 4:1-11 – “Therefore, we must fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY ANGER, THEY CERTAINLY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY CERTAINLY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who previously had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again sets a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 Consequently, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let’s make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience.”

When we read this passage, we observe that there is a final and complete rest promised to God’s people. A future rest that we can appreciate even though we have not fully achieved it yet. It is trusting in a promise to come. God has orchestrated this rest for us, and He has been enjoying this rest from the creation of the world. It was promised to the Israelites, although they did not grasp it, and remains available to those who have “listened with faith.” It is a rest that requires effort for a little while; that effort is directly tied to obedience brought about through faith in what is promised.

Like a “Snow Day,” we wish our rest came frequently and often. We want to be able to enjoy a break from our day-to-day endeavors. We expect our eternal rest started right now, but there is still a lot left to do. And I would rather enjoy that endless summer break than enjoy all the metaphorical snow days now—another instruction we see from Paul as he writes to the church in Galatia.

Galatians 6:9-10 – “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

A day of rest will come, but let’s not grow weary of doing what we should be doing until that day arrives.