5 Ways We Kill Without Killing – 1 Key to Giving Life.

“You shall not murder.” Four words. For most, not difficult to follow.

But, this is part of the Ten Commandments, commandments that all Christians are instructed to live. I know I’m not supposed to murder someone and I’ve managed to not break this Commandment for the 45 years of my life. I suspect whatever your age you’ve been able to keep from doing this too.

Read More

Heart Healer

broken heart

Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:36 what the greatest commandment is. You probably remember His answer; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Do you think that’s a lot to ask? Really? God wants me to love Him with all that’s inside me?

Well, before we can come to any conclusions about how this can happen we need to deal with a couple of truths about the heart. First, we all have a heart that’s under attack! That’s right, your heart, as is mine, right now, as your eyes are reading these words is under an attack.

In his book “It’s Your Call,” Gary Barkalow explains that there are three aspects that every person who encounters Jesus Christ through His Gospel will live out:

1. The Truth

Every person is faced with the truth of God through general revelation and then more directly through the special revelation of God the Son. In Psalm 19, the psalmist tells of how the creation speaks of who God is and all the people of the world can see, or hear, this truth. Hebrews 1:1-2 states, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” We are all faced, at some point in our lives with the truth.

2. The Heart

Did you know that you and I were born with a broken heart. Maybe you’re like me. As I read Jesus’ words that I must love God with all, I instantly know that in and of myself I’m unable to love anyone with all; except maybe myself. That’s because we are all born with hearts that are separated from the One who gave us our heart, soul and mind. Thank God, He came after us so that can be remedied!

3. An Assault

Then, those who respond to the Gospel of Jesus and place their faith in Him, both for eternal life and this life now, will undergo an attack from the Evil One himself. The Devil wants to disrupt our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in any way he can. (By the way, that’s why it’s so important to armor up!)

So, how does a broken heart love anyone, much less God, with all?

That brings us to the second truth; it’s a process. Paul Tripp says it this way, “God has chosen that our growth be a process, not an event.” 

How do we begin on the process to love God will all? As stated above, first, armor up with God’s armor to deflect the fiery darts of the devil. (Ephesians 6) Secondly, realize that you and I have a serious tendency to compartmentalize our hearts. That is, we will choose to only give God certain parts of our heart; the parts we feel comfortable giving Him at the moment. If you’re wondering how this works just remember, we’re all master of compartmentalizing our time too. We’re very good and deciding that God only deserves a certain amount of our time. So it is with the heart.

Where do we start?  By remembering that God is the great heart healer. You can trust Him with your heart! As you realize the parts of your heart, soul and mind that you’re not giving Him, learn to trust Him with those parts too. And remember, God is always the great heart healer and He will never, ever break your heart.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

His love is greater than any broken heart.

Jesus is the Prize

I read a blog article this morning on Dan Dewitt’s blog “Theolatte.” He wrote of a new T.V. documentary that shows the life of several wealthy, possession driven, name-it-and-claim-it type pastors in LA. It makes me sad that this show is being produced and broadcast, but  of course there’s nothing I can do about that. What I can do, as Dan has, is give a reminder, biblically, as to what is important in this life. First, here’s the video trailer for this show:

Please know that God does provide for His people. This has always been true and always will be. But, the pursuit of possessions and the things of this world is a death knell to true faith. So here’s my reminder: Jesus is the prize, not the stuff He provides! To miss this truth is to miss the Savior. Here’s what the Apostle John wrote in regard to the desire for riches in this life:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, ESV)

Unfortunately, the world will get yet another dose of an unfortunate side of Christian ministry (so called.) All I can do is hope and pray that this show has little effect over those Jesus can reach with His Gospel. Unfortunately, many have a skewed view of what true Christianity is because of this type of “witness.”  As Dan wrote,  “If all I knew about Christianity came from religious broadcasting I’d likely throw in the towel and join them.”

As a Pastor who lives on a modest salary and works well past 40 hours a week to earn it, (and gladly do it), let me tell you that there are many, many more of us giving our lives away for the Gospel with no care for this world’s “stuff” than there are of those who live like ministry is a means of gain. Here’s Paul’s take on it:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain,” (1 Timothy 6:6, ESV)

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:9–10, ESV)

Jesus has called us to follow Him forsaking all the things of this world, in trade, that in the life to come, we will be compensated and completely satisfied; in Him.

Here’s a link to Dan Dewitt’s article: http://www.theolatte.com/2013/07/the-posh-pastor/

Armor Up

Samarai armor

This past Sunday I preached the second message out of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. The critical truth of this armor is two-fold. First, this is God’s armor, God’s strength and God’s protection for us. Secondly, knowing that it’s imperative that we have it to protect us from the Devil’s schemes, we must put it on. That’s our part. So the question arises; how do you put on the armor? Here’s a brief explanation of all six pieces of armor Paul describes in Ephesians 6:

  1. Truth
    • There’s no value in unapplied truth. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Seek the truth but put on the armor of truth by applying it.
  2. Righteousness
    • Putting on this piece of armor is as much about what you don’t do. Remember, that our righteousness does not come by way of anything we can do. Only true righteousness is imputed (put on us) by God through Jesus. Paul wrote, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) How do you put on the armor of righteousness? Stop trying to be righteous on your own. (We mostly do this through religious yet un-scriptural works.) God is not impressed by us, He’s impressed when He sees the Son’s righteousness on us by faith.
  3. Gospel (Good News) of peace
    • Even in the midst of the spiritual battle that Paul warns us about, and the one that we know’s going on deep down, we can  have peace. How? Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus promised that we can have peace, deep, soul-quenching peace even in the midst of the battle; in Him.
  4. Faith
    • This piece of armor deflects the “fiery darts” of the devil. How do we have it? By continually and deliberately placing the full weight of our faith in Jesus’ ability and not our own. That’s what faith is. So, continue in the process to which Jesus has called you and learn to take faith from your own ability and place it in Christ.
  5. Salvation
    1. I know what you’re thinking; how do you put on salvation? Salvation is of the Lord! That is correct, it is. You put it on, not in any way trying to save yourself, but living as though it matters. You put on salvation by remembering that there’s more to life than just this life. The Apostle John said, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16) If you’re only tied to the stuff of this world, Satan will use that against you. Make sure you’re tied to the next life, store up your treasure there as you live fully here.
  6. The Word
    • This is how God instructs in truth. Just like the armor of truth, it must be applied. But, you will never apply it if you don’t read it. Whatever you do, don’t let everything you know, or even most of what you know about the Bible be second hand. Read it for yourself.

Make sure you put on the whole armor today and live in the protection and security of the Lord!

Below is a link the the full sermon from Sunday:


Dear Jesus

Writing with pen

One of our Life University classes on Sunday night this semester was a class entitled “Walk with Christ.” It was taught by Paul Smeltzer and was an in depth study of the last three days of Jesus’ life. I can tell you, though I’ve studied the Gospels extensively, it was eye opening.

Last Sunday’s class wrapped up Jesus’ actual death along with the last three hours of his life. At the conclusion of the class we were asked to write  a letter to Jesus in order to tell Him how his last three days impacted us. It was difficult to begin, actually. Where do you start in writing such a letter to such a person? But, once I got started….. We were given a limited amount of time to write it. For me, that was probably a good thing. But, I felt my emotions welling up as I reflected upon what Jesus had done, not just on the cross, but through His determination that brought Him there. So, here’s my short letter to Jesus:

Dear Jesus,
I noticed many things about your walk to the cross and what it said about you. Here are some of the things that have great impact upon me. First, that you were deliberate. I’ve never witnessed a person live such a deliberate life. You came with a purpose and plan and never let anything distract you from it. The most amazing thing is that your plan, of which you were so incredibly deliberate, included me. 
Second was the cost you were willing to pay. I will never understand the price because I’m unable, in my humanity, to pay it. Yet, through my inability you chose to pay it for me anyway. 
Third was your sacrifice. You came, completely settled in your own mind to sacrifice yourself and not require anyone else to do that with you. And you sacrificed yourself for me! How can I not live for you?
Finally, I’m amazed by your resurrection. You left no doubt that your substitution and sacrifice were enough. You have given me such amazing reason to place my faith in you as you have demonstrated such amazing grace and power! How can I not live for you?
I love you because you first loved me. Your child,

What would you say to Jesus today?