Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Laying Down Our Fears

Ask yourself and WRITE DOWN what are the anxieties, fears, regrets or doubts that have paralyzed you?

Matthew 14:22-31 (New Living Translation)

Would you take the invitation to take on a risk for Jesus and get out of the boat? The Message says that "Peter jumped out of the boat". Peter started out walking on water. Sure he was not successful but he was willing and he took a risk.

When we trust God we can receive God's power to make it through the storm. As long as we hold onto our faith and keep our eyes on Jesus, we will not be overcome by the storms of life.

It is when we focus on the troubled waters around us and forget God's assistance that we start to sink. If our hearts are hardened by problems like sin we will be unable to understand what God is trying to teach us.

What can keep you from seeing and appreciating the mighty works that God does in and through your life?

Mark 2:1-5
(New Living Translation)

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

When Jesus announced that the sins were forgiven, many thoughts probably stirred in the mind of those nearby. The friends of the paralyzed man may have wondered how Jesus could have overlooked the man's more obvious need.

We often come to Jesus with dire problems, whether it be anxiety about being alone, fears of the future, past regrets, or doubts of our abilities. He does not overlook these; but he also does not overlook our most critical need of all - the need to receive forgiveness of our sins.

Romans 12:1-2 (New Living Translation)

A Living Sacrifice to God

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, (The Message says "Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking") but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We are called to offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices. We are asked to make the decision to lay our lives on the altar before God so he can use us for his work. We are called to follow God's plan. As we do this, we will become a showcase to others of what God can do. And as we grow, we will discover the joy and meaning that can be experience when we offer our lives to God.

Ask Jesus for forgiveness, love, and peace to take the place of those things and to help you change.

Are You Mary or Martha?

So over the last few weeks I have really been struggling with many things.

Today, Thanksgiving Eve, I concluded my first Thanksgiving basket season. What an amazing experience it has been. Prior to leaving we prayed for the community, Christian Services, and each other.

God spoke to me in the midst of this time and reminded me of the story of Martha and Mary. During this holiday season who do you most look like? Are we busy running and doing like Martha or are we sit at Jesus feet listening to every word?

Read Luke 11:38-42

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I would challenge you to be more like Mary tomorrow and not be "distracted by the big dinner". Let tomorrow not be about what society tells you it is about and let it be a time to rejoice and thankful for our Heavenly Father.

YouVersion just announced starting today they will have a 30 day reading plan called "Rediscovering Christmas". Why not start this holiday season diving into the word.

Jamie and I will be running a 5K down in Detroit and enjoying time with an awesome couple tomorrow. I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fathers Day

Another awesome Sunday at Journey Life Church.

Throughout the entire sermon God showed me all the men that were put in my life despite the fact I had no actual father. I looked differently at the gift that was given to me all those years yesterday.

One family in particular adopted me into their family and picked me up for every Sunday to go to church. All my youth I remember they were there ready to get me there. They helped me learn who Jesus was and what it was to walk the Christian walk.

On top of that family my mother always made sure there were men in my life that I could learn from. My mom did such an awesome job raising me up to be how I am. Even during the stressful teen years she held on and would not let me go down the wrong road.

So for all the fathers out there I hope you had a blessed Fathers Day. A special thank you and appreciation goes out to all the men out there that are fathers to kids they do not have be to. You may never know how much of an impact it makes it that childs life.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Making Time For Meals As A Family

Regular family meals together may seem like something of the past. An idealized dream we can only picture in our minds. Father pulls mother’s chair out for her as they sit down to an ornately decorated table. Passing the rice pilaf, candied yams, and stewed pork roast to the left, the children cordially answer mother’s and father’s inquiries about their schoolwork and social engagements. And everyone stays afterwards to do the dishes while singing tunes from "Bye Bye Birdie” before they retire to the perfectly trimmed backyard to play fetch with the dog.

Sounds more like an episode of "Leave It to Beaver” than your reality, right? These days, "mealtime” more likely goes like this: Brother swings by Wendy’s with the guys on his way home from band practice, sister microwaves something from the freezer when she gets home late from drill team, and mom gets take-out at the office because she’s working late. So dad microwaves a burrito and sits down to watch SportsCenter in the living room. Let’s find a way to make "Leave It to Beaver” and reality meet halfway, shall we?

Eating together as a family is more than a dream. It’s a necessity. If we get too caught up in the whirlwind of work and social life to spend daily quality time with our family, our priorities can slip out of focus. Family meals can be an anchor. A few moments of quiet sanity amidst the chaos of life. But how can we make them happen?

How to make it work
Having a quiet meal together may seem unrealistic. But remember, it doesn’t have to be ideal. Even if you just end up pulling a frozen lasagna out of the oven and throwing it on paper plates while sipping diet soda, the important thing is that you’re eating together. You don’t have to get out grandmother’s china and prepare a seven-course meal to have quality time with one another.

It’s important that you have family meals at a set time. Put it on the calendar if you have to. Even if everyone’s schedule only allows it from 6:35 to 7:10 on some days and 8:15 to 8:40 on others, make it a scheduled event and it will become a priority. Make sure that the TV is off, newspapers and books are put away, and that everyone has an opportunity to pay attention to one another. Having meals together won’t do much if everyone’s attention is elsewhere.

One idea is to have family members take turns planning and preparing a meal. If children are able to plan and make something they like, they will be that much more willing to participate regularly. It also will help teach them responsibility and help them appreciate the hard work that goes into feeding a family. Even small children can help with clearing the table and doing dishes. Allow teens to invite a friend to dinner on their night. Remember, mealtime should be a fun experience, not a sentence to carry out, so keep it fun and casual.

What to eat
Having family meals together can help you eat more healthy as a family. And if you start having healthy meals when your children are young, they will be much more likely to practice good eating habits throughout their lives. Don’t feel obligated to have a steaming pork roast or slow-cooked stew every night. Keep things fresh, simple, and easy. Having a variety is a good way to avoid excessive complaining from younger children.

What to talk about
So what do you do now that you’ve got everyone together for a few precious moments to eat a decent meal? Talk to one another. Ask your kids what they did that day. Learn about their friends, challenges, and schoolwork. Ask them about books they have read or movies they have seen recently. Save lecturing and instruction for another time, when you can speak to children one on one. Everyone should feel comfortable and welcome at mealtime.

You can also take advantage of having everyone together and talk about calendars and plans. If your children are busy with practices to attend and rides to be coordinated, mealtime can be very valuable for logistic as well as social discussions. Family meals do not have to be perfect. They just need to happen. And every day you make it happen you will be building a closer home, a stronger family, and a healthier life for you and your children.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


When you see a rainbow what comes to mind?

Do you look at awe of the colors?

Do you think about the convenant that God gave Noah?

On Monday I was dropping off supplies at church and when I came out I saw this rainbow. It stopped me in my tracks and I had to pause for a moment and take it in.

Now when I see of rainbows I think about Genesis 9:8-17.

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."

In this God makes a convenant with Noah after the flood. God gave Noah hope and set a rainbow in the sky as a seal of his promise.

If you are rebuilding your life in keeping with God's design, you can be sure that God will support you with his presence and promises. And you should keep an eye out for the "rainbows" along the way. God often leaves you signs to remind you of his loving presence and care.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go See To Save a Life

While Jamie and I were in Grand Rapids I found a theater that was showing To Save a Life. This is a new Christian movie but it is not your typical Christian movie. It is marketed for teens and gives them a timely message.

I will admit it did stretch my faith and me watching it.

In it the main character has it all. He was living the high life and then something tragic happens that changed his life forever.

He ends up becoming a Christian and it seems his life is falling apart. It does not paint a rosy picture of once saved life it going to be easy.

Through it all he makes it his goal to change lives. To make a difference in peoples lives. He was Jesus with skin on as Pastor B would like to call it. Watch this clip...

It opened my eyes to a lot of things that I did not realize teens go through. It also made me aware of short comings in my own life. Jamie saw my hamster running fast in his little wheel after leaving the theater. If you have an opportunity to check it out please do you will not regret it.

God's Protection

On Thursday Jamie and I went to Grand Rapids for a couple days.

We started our trip by volunteering at the Dave Ramsey Total Moneymaker LIVE! event. Jamie and I have done this for 4 years now.

We help people with questions about starting their journey of Godly stewardship. Through Financial Peace University in 13 weeks you learn basic information about finances. Which may seem like a long time but it is life changing.

Who knows how many lives we changed by giving 8 hours of our life.

Side note, I am praying for the means to go and get trained to be one of Dave's financial counselors. I know it will be in God's timing and not mine.

On Friday we spent the day doing things together. Man was that awesome. We have not had much time together since Jamie has started working again.

Did not seem to matter where we went our GPS was sending us in the wrong direction.

Through all the frustration we missed a 4 car accident and almost getting hit by a car that was not able to stop.

We made it to our destination later than we would have liked but we were safe. That is definitely more important.

Thank God for for your protection. We love the blessings we were given during our trip seen and unseen.

We must remember that through our faithfulness we are given many blessings. These are not always financial blessings. They come in many forms seen and unseen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Loving God, Loving People, and Loving Life Doing It

Matthew 22:37-40 says "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

This verse boils down to "Love God" and "Love People". I believe we are to "Love Life" while we are doing these two important commandments. Now anyone that goes to the same church I do, Journey Life Church, knows these three things are our core principles.

How do we do that? How do we love God, people and do so together?

The early Church faced the same question.

Acts 2:42-47 says "And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

There are only four basic things they devoted themselves to teaching (Bible study), fellowship (small groups), breaking bread (communion), and prayer. Everything else flowed from these.

By being devoted to these four simple practices, the early Church grew strong in Godly character, and the ministry bore fruit. If we expect the same kind of fruit then we must be devoted to practicing these same disciplines.

If we are truly practicing the disciplines then we are teaching both by example and by instruction. Those who come to Christ through us will learn to practice the same disciplines and the legacy continues.

Time is precious. We must be about the essentials and we must stay focused.

Keep it Biblical. Keep it simple. Keep it genuine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turning Over a New Leaf

I have been doing a lot of reading in the last week. Ask Jamie she has not seen much of me. Between reading for MI-SOM (Michigan District School of Ministry) and 4 other ones I have got a ton of notes compiled.

Resounding in the books I have been reading is a call to action.

Our country has been broken. The core of the problem is easily identifiable. Increasing neglect and devaluing of God's Word and the associated fallout that comes with it. We, as is the body of Christ, are all in this together.

Two basic principles should govern us. First our direction should come directly from the Bible. We must seek Scripture to determine our plan. God has already given the blueprint. We just need to learn to read and follow it. Second we must set an example for the Church by approaching things from the positive rather than from the negative.

Our goal should be to present a clear Biblical model in the hope that it will be put into practice throughout the body of Christ. This may require us to change our current practices or even start over from scratch. Whatever we do be assured that it is well worth it.

Keep it Biblical. Keep it simple. Keep it genuine.