Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple - Release : Reorganize

Here is my sermon from this morning. We started a new sermon series on simplfying our lives. Listen here.


Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don't worry...I'm here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you. -Charlie Brown to Snoopy

Jesus said:

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

It is not sinful to eat and dress. Sin is being so concerned about it and clinging to whatever so much that it becomes the desire of our heart.

Jesus continues:
  • Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
  • Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
  • So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
  • Today’s trouble is enough for today. –Matthew 6:25-34

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened. –Winston Churchill

Think about your life. Wouldn’t it be so much more simple if you didn’t worry so much?

Judging Others

Consider this parable:

One night there was a woman at the airport who had to wait for several hours before catching her next flight. While she waited she bought a book and a pack of biscuits to spend the time. She looked for a place to sit and waited.
She was deep into her book, when suddenly she realized that there was a young man sitting next to her who was stretching his hand, with no concern whatsoever, and grabbing the pack of cookies lying between them. He started to eat them one by one.

Not wanting to make a fuss about it she decided to ignore him. The woman, slightly bothered, ate the cookies and watched the clock, while the young and shameless thief of biscuits was also finishing them. The woman started to get really angry at this point and thought ‘If I wasn’t such a good and educated person, I would have given this daring man a black eye by now.’

Every time she ate a biscuit, he had one too. The dialogue between their eyes continued and when only one biscuit was left, she wondered what was he going to do. Softly and with a nervous smile, the young man grabbed the last biscuit and broke it in two. He offered one half to the woman while he ate the other half.

Briskly she took the biscuit and thought, ‘What an insolent man! How uneducated! He didn’t even thank me!’ She had never met anybody so fresh and sighed relieved to hear her flight announced. She grabbed her bags and went towards the boarding gate refusing to look back to where that insolent thief was seated.

After boarding the plane and nicely seated, she looked for her book which was nearly finished by now. While looking into her bag she was totally surprised to find her pack of biscuits nearly intact. ‘If my biscuits are here’, she thought feeling terribly, ‘those others were his and he tried to share them with me.’ Too late to apologize to the young man, she realized with pain, that it was her who had been insolent, uneducated and a thief, and not him.

How many times in our lives, did we know with certainty that something happened in a certain way, only to discover later that it wasn’t true?
How many times has our lack of trust within us made us judge other people unfairly with our conceited ideas, often far away from reality.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. –Matthew 7:1-5

Thoughts about judging others:

  1. It takes time to judge other people
  2. It takes energy to judge other people
  3. Judging others does not help the other person
  4. Judging others lets you feel superior to others not by pulling yourself up, but by bringing others down
  5. Usually when we judge others we are judging ourselves and transferring our shortcomings on to others
  6. The more you judge, the less you love


This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” –Matthew 1:18-21

The best way to conquer something complex is by creating a series of simple tasks.

If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been. –Robert Schuller

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. –Mark Twain


You have heard that our ancestors were told, “You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.” But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. –Matthew 5:21-22

Two victims in anger:

  1. Those around you
  2. You

I remember one summer day when my ten year old son and a friend were getting a pitcher of lemonade from the refrigerator. I’d spent hours that morning scrubbing, waxing, and polishing the floors so I warned the boys not to spill anything. They tried so hard to be careful, but innocently bumped a carton of eggs from the door onto to the floor. The eggs splattered all over my clean floor. The boys eyes widen with alarm as I exploded angrily, “Get out of here now.” I finishing cleaning the mess and calmed down. I felt bad and wanted to make things better so I took them some lemonade and a cookies. When I called their name I discovered they went somewhere else to play – somewhere where my angry voice couldn’t reach them. (Source Unknown)

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. –Seneca

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.


Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. –Galatians 5:26

Jealousy is another thing that can clutter up your life.

It is not possible to be both jealous and grateful.

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.

Envy is the consuming desire to have everybody else as unsuccessful as you are. –Frederick Buecnher

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Philippians 4 - Worry

Happy Thanksgiving!

S - Scripture

Philippians 4:4-7

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Paul was writing to the Philippian Christians. This was one of his earliest churches. They were very generous. They also appreciated Paul very much. Paul was writing this letter out of love to encourage them. People were likely hanging on every word that Paul was writing. Paul seems to be addressing general issues as opposed to specific issues in the second chapter of Philippians, with the exception of the dispute between Euodia and Syntyche who Paul urges to settle their dispute and move on. Forgiveness and reconciliation is a simple command of Christ and is applicable to anybody who is in a struggling relationship, which is many of us at least some of the time.

O - Observation
  • Joy comes from God. It is a gift we accept and a way of life as opposed to a temporary set of favorable circumstances.
  • Always be joyful. Not some of the time or when things are working out well, but always.
  • Let others see God's goodness shine through you - similar to Christ telling us that we are the light of the world.
  • Worrying is not helpful. This is consistent with the teachings of Christ.
  • Prayer is an antidote to worry.
  • Be thankful for all God has done - which is quite a bit if we stop and think about it.
  • Prayer leads to peace, which as far as gifts from God or anybody else goes is about as good as it gets.
Benjamin took this peaceful picture when I was running at the park this morning. He and his grandma enjoyed a nice picnic while I ran through the park.

A - Application

Worry is the area I would like to focus on. I'm not a person who worries a lot, but I do worry.
  • What will my boys be like in twenty years?
  • What will the church be like in five years?
  • What will my legs be like in ten years or ten days for that matter?
  • Will I save enough money for my kids to go wherever they want to go to college?
  • What will happen in North Korea or Iran with nuclear weapons?
  • Why is my throat hurting today?
I do know this: whenever worry gets to be a little too much and whenever I have taken these worries to God, something happens. Life is put into perspective. I think more clearly. Peace happens. God is always bigger than any and all of my problems.

Two buffalo on the way to Amber's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. They were enjoying peace and embodying peace.

P - Prayer

Lord, when the stresses of life become too much help me to turn to You. Help me to turn to You before life's problems become too much. Guide me in all I do. Make me want to experience a deeper relationship with You. I confess in the past I have relied too much on me and not enough on You. Give me a peace that passes all human understanding and allow me to experience a life full of joy, faith, and peace. Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2009


During the next four weeks we will be looking at simplicity. Here are what some others think on the subject. (I hope you don’t mind, but I made my life a little more simple this week by borrowing from others.)
  • Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art. They seem to be the purpose of God for his whole creation. -Richard Holloway
  • Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. -Charles Dudley Warner
  • Simplicity is the glory of expression. -Walt Whitman
  • There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
  • Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature. -Thomas Kempis
  • Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. -Albert Einstein
  • The simplest things are often the truest. -Richard Bach
  • In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Simplicity is the nature of great souls. –Unknown
  • As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” –Henry David Thoreau
  • The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. -Hans Hofmann
  • To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world. -Charles Dudley Warner
  • Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. -D.H. Mondfleur
  • Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. -Lin Yutang
  • Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. -William Morris
  • The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed - it is a process of elimination. -Elbert Hubbard

In Christ,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crazy Love: The Next Chapter

Here is my sermon from this morning. Busy morning - I had four baptisms and preached at both Faith-Westwood and The Water's Edge. I had to cut the sermon way short, so not all the notes are covered. Listen here.

Faith Can Move Mountains

πίστις – pistis – Faith – A firm conviction

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. –Hebrews 11:1

I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. –Matthew 17:20

We live by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.

Hope Never Ends

ἐλπίς - elpis - Hope – Favorable and confident expectation

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. –Albert Einstein

Miracles Happen

σημεῖον – sēmeíon – Miracle - Sign, mark, token, miracle with a spiritual end and purpose. Miracles which lead to something out of and beyond themselves. They are fingerprints, valuable not so much for what they are, as for what they indicate of the grace and power of the Doer.

And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
–Mark 16:20

Broken Hearts Become Brand New

καρδία – kardía – Heart - The seat and center of human life.

Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. –Romans 6:17-18

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. -Helen Keller

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Benjamin and I went to the Nebraska - Kansas State game tonight. The Husker defense played very and Nebraska won the Big 12 North. We had a great night.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Late November Reflections

The waterfall at Platte River State Park
  1. It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important." -Soren Kierkegaard
  2. It sure gets dark early.
  3. Jesus is still a light to a dark world. He always will be.
  4. The weather this month has been exceptional. I think it was warmer most of November than it was most of August.
  5. I have been trying to have an attitude of gratefulness and thanksgiving – for little things like beautiful days and more important things like family and friends.
  6. It is hard to believe that football season is coming to an end. Except for the NFL where the season is only about half over.
  7. This is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. –Micah 6:8
  8. I think I could eat pumpkin stuff all year long and not just in October and November.
  9. I can’t believe David is almost three years old.
  10. Tme seems to go so fast. Enjoy and live the moments God gives us each day because life is a collection of moments.
  11. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. -Ambrose Redmoon
  12. I haven’t heard any Christmas music yet this year (and it’s Friday, November 20th at 8:57 in the morning as I write this.)
  13. Saying “no” to unimportant things allows us to say “yes” to the important things.
  14. I’m excited about studying, talking about, and hopefully living a more simple live during the next month.
  15. I’m excited for Thanksgiving at my in-law’s home in Papillion.
  16. A fine line exists between a feast and gluttony. A feast is a group of people who love each other getting together to celebrate God’s goodness. Gluttony is filling our stomachs with food and our lives with stuff thinking that food and stuff are what we really need.
  17. I’ve never understood Christmas shopping at 5:00 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. I guess most people don’t understand running at 5:00 in the morning either, so life can be thought of as loving people you don’t fully understand.
  18. Communion is sharing a meal with friends and God. The food and drink leave a little bit to be desired, but you can’t beat the company.
  19. I’m grateful for friends, family, church, and God.
Two deer keeping a close eye on me

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One Month in the Bible

Here is a Bible Reading Plan that I have come up with for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will read some of Jesus' most prophetic teaching, the book of Ephesians, some of the stories in the Hebrew Scriptures that foretell the birth of Jesus, two of the great chapters in the Bible: Psalm 23 and Hebrews 12, and the Christmas story. I have some Bible study helps at the bottom to help us apply these Scriptures to our lives and connect us to God during the upcoming season of Advent. I encourage you to spend about 15 minutes a day for personal / family devotion.

Thursday, November 26 - Philippians 4

Friday, November 27 - Matthew 5
Saturday, November 28 - Matthew 6
Sunday, November 29 - Matthew 7

Monday, November 30 - Ephesians 1
Tuesday, December 1 - Ephesians 2
Wednesday, December 2 - Ephesians 3
Thursday, December 3 - Ephesians 4
Friday, December 4 - Ephesians 5
Saturday, December 5 - Ephesians 6

Sunday, December 6 - Psalm 23

Monday, December 7 - Matthew 21
Tuesday, December 8 - Matthew 22
Wednesday, December 9 - Matthew 23
Thursday, December 10 - Matthew 24
Friday, December 11 - Matthew 25

Saturday, December 12 - Isaiah 9
Sunday, December 13 - Isaiah 10
Monday, December 14 - Isaiah 11

Tuesday, December 15 - Zephaniah 1
Wednesday, December 16 - Zephaniah 2
Thursday, December 17 - Zephaniah 3

Friday, December 18 - Matthew 1
Saturday, December 19 - Matthew 2

Sunday, December 20 - Hebrews 12

Monday, December 21 - 2 Pater 1
Tuesday, December 22 - 2 Peter 2

Wednesday, December 23 - Luke 1
Thursday, December 24 - Luke 2

Friday, December 25 - John 1

Consider using the SOAP Method of Bible reading for the next month.

Complete the “S” by reading the scripture. Don’t just skim through it, but really think about what it means. Imagine what the people involved were experiencing. Write down a verse or two that really stood out to you in your journal.

Complete the “O” by writing down observations about the scripture you just read. You may want to write your own summary of the passage, but more importantly, think about what God has to say to you through this part of his word.

Complete the “A” by writing down how this Bible passage applies to you right now, in your daily life. For example, in the parable about the prodigal son, which character do you identify with most: the loving and merciful father, the son who squanders his life and then repents or the resentful older brother? Do you see similar situations in your life right now? How can you respond in the way Jesus taught?

Complete the “P” by writing down a prayer. This is a personal message from you to God, so don’t worry about getting the perfect words down. Just make it honest and heartfelt. Remember that God always listens, and already knows your needs. He just wants to hear from you.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” –Numbers 11:4-6

The people of Israel have a short memory. First, they didn’t have this buffet of fish and vegetables every day. Second, when they did get the good stuff it was far from free: they somehow had forgotten they were slaves.

One of the most important words we can learn, use, and embrace in our relational and spiritual lives is: “Thanks.” One way to experience dissatisfaction in life is when we focus our attention on what we do not have. God provided manna (מָ‏ן – literally means “what is it?”) for the people in the wilderness. It was what they needed. It wasn’t fish or vegetables, but it was more than enough. Instead of being grateful for what they had—manna—they focused on what they didn’t have—fish and vegetables. And there went any opportunity for contentment in their life.

Are we grateful for what we have or are we always longing for what we don’t have or what we would like to have? We should never allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God’s gifts of life, food, health, work and friends. I encourage you to write a list of things you are grateful for this year. Here is mine:
  1. For the simple things in life: a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear.
  2. For being able to run again. Having to walk up and down the steps with the help of the railing last spring wasn’t much fun.
  3. For laughter.
  4. For all the volunteers who make ministry possible. It is so cool to see the extraordinary things that an amazing God can do through ordinary people.
  5. For the small group that Amber and I lead. You all make me a better husband, dad, and person. I look forward to Sunday nights.
  6. For being a pastor and for the church. I wake up every morning excited about leading a ministry that is growing and thriving. So many of you are so generous with your resources, time, and energy. I am truly blessed to serve with you.
  7. For friends who share my burdens and celebrate in times of joy.
  8. For Benjamin and David. For the joy they bring and for teaching me about love, life, and God.
  9. For Amber. For her ministry as therapist, mom, and wife
  10. For God. Not much else needs to be said.
I invite you to our Thanksgiving Eve worship on Wednesday, November 25th at 6:30 in the Sanctuary at Faith-Westwood. It will be a wonderful night of worship and a great way to give God thanks in the community of friends and family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crazy Love: Profile of the Obsessed Christian

You can listen to this morning's sermon here.


Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” -Luke 14:12-14

Friends of All

If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. -1 John 2:4-6

Crazy Ones

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. -Matthew 8:18-19

The Humble

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. -Matthew 5:16


When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. –John 15:8


For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. -Philippians 3:18-21

Unguarded Ones

For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. -Psalm 51:3-4

The Rooted

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. -Psalm 1:3

The Dedicated

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. -James 1:2-4

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

The Cub Scouts raising the flag at Willowdale
Grandpa and Benjamin
Thanks to all the veterans who have faithfully served and defended our basic freedoms. Benjamin got to be a quasi-celebrity for a day as his grandpa talked to the kids about the airplanes he used to fly in VietNam.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Don't Try So Hard

Here is this morning's sermon. You can listen here.

Offering Leftovers to God

God wants our best, deserves our best, and demands our best.

When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. -Malachi 1:8

But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. -Hosea 13:6

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – How are you doing?

______________ is patient and kind
______________ is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude
______________ does not demand its own way
______________ is not irritable
______________ keeps no record of being wronged
______________ does not rejoice about injustice
______________ rejoices whenever the truth wins out
______________ never gives up and never loses faith
______________ is always hopeful and always endures

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? –Mark 8:36

It is hard to bear with people who stand still along the way, lose heart, and seek their happiness in little pleasures which they cling to…. You feel sad about all that self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, for you know with an indestructible certainty that something greater is coming. –Henri Nouwen

Don’t Try So Hard

Believers bring glory to God when we see ourselves as partners with God who desire to love Him and enjoy serving Him rather than feeling that we must love and serve God out of obligation.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5:13-14

Closing Prayer: Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with you on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need You deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, and You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want You. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have Your way with me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Growth : noun : An increase in quantity over time

Growth is generally good. Some exceptions exist: growth in the size of most waistlines, growth in debt, growth in the size of a tumor, and too much growth in someone’s self-esteem.

To the economist, growth in the number of jobs is good, growth in the number of new homes is good, and growth in efficiency is a good thing. A tree growing is good—more strength, more fruit, and more shade. In our interpersonal relationships, growth in trust and service is good. Physical growth for a child is good. Growth in a mutual fund reserved for a child going to college is also good. Growth in learning for children of all ages is a good thing.

The Boys: Two Years Ago

As a pastor, I want to see people grow. I want to see people achieve and chase down dreams. One of the biggest dreams I have for us is that we grow in our relationships with others. We need healthy human relationships that feed and nurture us. The single biggest dream I have for us is that we will grow in our relationship with God.
  • Growth isn’t easy. Just ask the body builder.
  • Growth doesn’t generally happen fast. Just ask the oak tree.
  • Growth doesn’t happen without setbacks. Just ask the skilled investor.
But growth can and does happen. It can happen in most areas of our lives, including our relationship with others and our relationship with God.

Moses was a pretty tough act to follow. After Moses breathed his last breath on Mouth Pisgah, Joshua was in charge. He could see the Promised Land and it was his responsibility to lead the people there. But, two pesky problems existed: a river that needed to be crossed and a few Canaanite tribes that weren’t going to give up this land without an argument.

Joshua wasn’t overly special with the possible exception that he didn’t die in the wilderness. He became a leader through process of elimination probably more than anything else.

So Moses did as the Lord commanded. He presented Joshua to Eleazar the priest and the whole community. Moses laid his hands on him and commissioned him to lead the people, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses. –Numbers 27:22-23

Joshua went from being a survivor in the wilderness to an assistant to Moses to a person who made a river stop dead in its tracks and who got the sun and the moon to put on the brakes and stand still. Growth wasn’t easy for Joshua. There were some hard times for him. He didn’t develop in a day; he developed daily. Growth was a process for him. Joshua experienced some bumps along the way, but he kept on keeping on. Joshua loved God and he loved people.

In the end, it turns out Joshua was one of two people to experience slavery in Egypt and freedom in the Promised Land. God used a simple person who was willing to grow to do something extraordinary.

God is wanting to do this in your life as well.

In Christ,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crazy Love: Profile of a Lukewarm Christian

Here are the notes from today's lesson. Listen here.

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” –Matthew 13:1-8, 18-23

Profile of a Lukewarm Christian
1. Attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. -Isaiah 29:13
2. Give money to charity and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” -Luke 21:1-4
3. Choose what is popular over what is right.
Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ -Matthew 23:5-7
4. Don’t want to be saved from their sin, only the penalty of their sin.
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? -Romans 6:1-2
5. Gauge their morality by comparing themselves to the secular world.
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ -Luke 18:11-12
6. Think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. –C.S. Lewis
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. -Colossians 3:2
7. Are concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9