Archives For life


Do you remember when the TV show survivor first aired? For my wife and I it was a huge moment in our history. Some of you might think that is lame, but we loved curling up on the couch together (curling up for a guy my size might be a stretch but you get the point)… This was before DVR so we actually had to clear our calendar. You were either a friend that was going to watch this “real life” drama with us or you were dead to us for one hour each week. We absolutely loved watching season after season normal people doing normal things in the most abnormal environment. Each week we would debate with each other if we would have the stones to try out for the show. Could we make it? Was this the weightloss regime I was looking for? Would we cheat and steal and revert to carnal instincts because we are on an island in the middle of no where? So many questions! So much fun!

Each tribal counsel they would vote somebody off the island. The host, jeff, would proclaim that their lit torches represented their life in the game. “fire represents life…” He would proclaim in the most intense moment on the show. We were always on the edge of our seat waiting to see who would get snuffed out.

Fire represents life… I find it interesting that Lent, which is designed to have us take a closer look at our lives in order to get a better glimpse of Jesus, begins with Ash… Ash represents death.

I have been in church services where the worship leader has loudly proclaimed that we are wretches and worms and dirty and a bunch more adjectives to describe how crappy we are and how great God is. I know why we do this in the church and often times this mantra of self loathing is magnified during Lent in order to magnify the Lord more. As if the only way to show God’s greatness is to cut myself off at the knees. Where is the “LIFE” in this?

“I ONCE was lost… NOW i’m found…. Amazing grace who saved a WRETCH like me” – If we are going to insist on taking our theology from songs lets make sure to at least get it right. I AM FOUND. I AM SAVED. I AM NEW…

I am one of those people who many falsely accuse of being prideful because I’m confident. The truth is I’m confident and bold, but have battled insecurity my whole life.

Ephesians 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Does that passage just make you just shake with life?!

So many of us are convinced we are worthless, That we have no value, that we are wretches… so when we get to a season like lent we use it as an opportunity to continue our pattern as spiritual “cutters”. We take the razor blades of shame and disgust and we slash at our wrists all the while thanking the Lord for His great mercy in saving us. Lets make sure to not get our theology wrong here… And I know many people who would consider me to be a heretic, but I believe in the God of LIFE.

Let us be aware that the Cross was made by man… We bear the burden of killing God, but thankfully He is far greater than our past!
The act on the cross was not to show God’s value, but to show how much He values us! God laying down his life doesn’t reveal how horrible we are. It reveals how amazing He considers us to be. Let that wash over you today as it has for me this morning.

I spend some time praying about beginning with ash… I have spoken from a microphone out of Ecc 3 “from dust we have come and to dust we will return” in an effort to begin our Lenten season grappling with our own mortality.

However something hit me… No the Lord spoke to me a few things.

1. BACKWARDS KINGDOM
On the church calendar this season we are in starts with Ash Wednesday, takes us through lent, moves through Holy week, and finds it’s resting place in Pentecost. I have spent a great amount of time dwelling on and studying that the Kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. A kingdom where the first are last, the last are first, that the religious are missing it and the prostitutes see it, where the learned don’t follow and the dirtbags sell all… And I’m met with the realization that once again even this season is backwards.

It begins with ASH and ends with FIRE.

It doesn’t start with an ember… It starts with ash. From the ruins and rubble and charred remnants of “something” that is now dead to the outpouring of the spirit of God it becomes fire!

Romans 12 (NIRV) 11 Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. 12 When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful.

If you want to get an amazing picture of how our hearts should be this season, spend some time in Romans 12.
Here is the amazing part. From the ASH of my life God doesn’t want to bring attention to the blackened dust… He wants to not only TRANSFORM it into Fire which IS Life for those of us who don’t know Him, but for those of us who do He wants to remind us that unlike survivor it can’t be snuffed out!

I am valuable. I am loved. I am new. I am created in His image, for His glory, and I am no LONGER what my mind tells me I am every day.

In this season I am NOT FACED WITH MY MORTALITY… I am overjoyed by my IMMORTALITY!

His Fire burns away anything that is not of Him… So that I can be more like him

Hebrews 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.

2. I DIDN’T COME FROM ASH/DUST
This is what the Lord told me this morning as I was praying through what God wanted to speak to me today. I was driving my kids to school thinking about all of the above and asking the Lord… “Speak to me… you know where my heart is and something is just not lining up for me today… What can you speak over me so that I can share your goodness to others in todays reflection?”

He said to me: “You didn’t come from dust. I might have used dust to form you, but you didn’t come from dust. You came from the FIRE OF MY HEART

I am usually not at a loss for words… But I needed to hear that today as I’m sure whoever is reading this does as well.

You were NOT a mistake You came from the FIRE OF HIS HEART. You were created in love by love! His Fire is Life!

We shouldn’t avoid our mess because the Lord wants to transform it.. but lets not Start in it or end in it.

We start with The fire of HIS loving heart
Have our garbage be consumed by the Fire of His righteousness
And continue with Life eternal in the Fire of His spirit!

THANKS BE TO GOD! 

Framing Faith
From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World
By Matthew Knisely

I have the privilege of following Matt on the social media platforms and being his “friend” on facebook. This was actually how I first heard about this book. It has been interesting looking through that lens (no pun intended) as I read through these pages.

Matt is a photojournalist and a storyteller. The main reason why I grabbed this book to review is because of my fascination with photography, the arts, speaking and storytelling as well. I loved the clarity that was in this book in regards to intentionality of capturing “worthwhile” moments and encountering God in the midst of the chaos of life.

Over the years I have also had these epiphanies around “carpe diem” or the recognition that each moment matters. I really liked this book and his phrasing. I would have loved to have seen more of his “art” in the book because I think it FRAMES clearly as a visual example his text.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

GodBox (part2): Be like David

November 15, 2007 — 6 Comments

GodBox: Part 2
Your Name

The bible says that David was a man after God’s heart. Ever thought about what that really means?
I think it is referring to the second step in the GodBox. The first was Standing firm on the promises God has given us for who we are.
The second is Standing firm on the promises of who He is.
David knew His God was bigger than he was. A lot of times we are very good at pretending how big he is but never really putting our faith in that. We are made in Christs image. Like I said in the part one, we love to make him into our image, but he is far bigger. For ever promise He has given to us about us He is even greater.
The potter shapes and molds us and we really learn how beautiful we are. We can’t know how great he is without looking up at the face of Jesus and seeking his heart. A man after God’s own heart is a man who is looking to be God’s instrument. It’s a person who seeks to be just and merciful in the sight of the Lord. It’s a person who is claiming the greatness of the Lord

Proverbs 18:10 – God‘s name is a place of protection, good people can run there and be safe.

Isn’t that verse awesome. We can truly see through it how great our God is. He is our strong tower. He is our refuge. In Him there is no condemnation.
Claim the name of the Lord. Seek the heart of our God. We are his workmanship
When we see the power of His name and have faith in how great he is we are peeking into the GodBox.
How big is your God?

Paul Baloche – Your Name

HE IS…
Adonai-Jehovah
— The Lord our Sovereign
El-Elyon — The Lord Most High
El-Olam — The Everlasting God
El-Shaddai — The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim — The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi — The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka — The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom — The Lord our Peace
Jehovah-Tsidkenu — The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem — The Lord our Sanctifier
Jehovah-Sabaoth — The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah-Shammah — The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi — The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah-Hoseenu — The Lord our Maker
Jehovah-Eloheenu — The Lord our God

for more on the names

GodBox: Part 1
My God is bigger than your god

There is a classic song out that we all know that has the lyrics – “God is bigger than the air I breathe…” What a great line. It’s poetic and beautiful. How great would it be if we believed that. The bible is my foundation and I know that everything in it is the breathe of God. The odd thing is I am not to good at standing on the truths as much as I am at professing the truths.
Go through your day and look at what your doing. It is very monotonous at best. We all have our ritualistic lifestyle and find ourselves in a situation where hours flow by in a blur. I think God is calling us to something bigger, something grand, something with purpose.
I was asked the question by my mens group this week “who in movies do you think you are most like and are afraid you are”
My answer:

George Jetson. George was an odd man. He went through the same routine every morning and every evening. In between he had a job where he pushes a button when he comes in…does nothing the rest of the day and pushes it again when he leaves. This is a life with no substance..no purpose. He allows his surroundings and daily “rituals” to influence who he has become.
We need to make sure we don’t become that. We need to make sure that we don’t find our identity in worldly things. but that we find our identity in Christ alone. He gives us our purpose and direction.
I’ve always said I do not want to be influenced. I want to be an influencer.

This is a discussion on taking God out of that neat box we have stuffed him into. Everyone of us, no matter how “holy” we are, are guilty of molding Him into our image.
God wants us to stand on the word that he is God and we aren’t. The first step in the GodBox is opening the lid to the box. That part is claiming who we are in Christ and standing on His word. This is the first step to taking God out of the box and seeing big things from Him

I AM…

Matt 5:13 I am the salt of the earth
Matt 5:14 I am the light of the world
John 1:12 I am a child of God (an adopted orphan)
John 15:1,5 I am a part of the vine
John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend
John 15:16 I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ for Christ
Rom 6:18 I am a slave of righteousness
Rom 8:14,15 I am a son of God (Abba Father)
Rom 8:17 I am a joint heir with Christ
1 Cor 3:16;6:19 I am a temple of God. His Spirit dwells in me
1 Cor 6:17 I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with him
1Cor 12:27 I am a part of Christ’s body
2 Cor 5:17 I am a new creation
2 Cor 5:18,19 I am reconciled to God and am a minster of reconciliation
Eph 1:1 I am a saint
Eph 2:10 I am God’s workmanship created to great works in Christ
Eph 4:24 I am righteous and holy
Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven
Col 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God
Col 3:4 I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life
Col 3:12 I am chosen of God and loved
1 Thes 5:5 I am a son of light and not darkness
Heb 3:1 I am a partaker of a heavenly calling
Heb 3:14 I am a partaker of Christ
1 Pet 2:5 I am a chosen race, a royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for God to proclaim The greatness of Him
1Peter 2:11 I am a stranger to this temporary world
1 Pet 5:8 I am an enemy of the Devil
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the Devil can’t touch me
Psalm 23 & 100 I am a sheep of His pasture and he supplies all my needs

Have you claimed those lately?
Are you really living out his promises in even the simple things?
Want to see God do big things?

Interesting week… I am about to get real here so strap on your helmet.

It has been a tough week with family, emotions, money, kids, pregnant wife, and blogging friends who are going through major trials. (and before there are any crazy thoughts…My marraige is just fine…that isn’t the issues…My wife rocks) I have been really focusing on God this week, but it seems that I was dreading Sunday morning. Basically too much crap going on. So what does I guy do…Pray. yes talk yes. all good answers, but it was still an unavoidably tough week and the peace wasn’t coming.

So church starts this morning…all these thoughts flying through my head. I do not want to be there. I want to be at home on the couch doing nothing. Funny thing is I am more than justified in feeling this way.

Worship starts with Did You Feel the mountains tremble.

“Open up the doors and let the music play let the  streets resound”

It went great. People got really into it from the start…Thank the Lord he can work through a crappy vessel like me.

Next comes prayers and the praise set. I had a good time playing just because I love to play but my mind was not where it needed to be. Things started to change we we came to All we need.
I ended the song repeating..

“All we need…All we Need…All we need is You”

God was starting to push into me..I’m not really receiving it

Sermon…I hear it was good…But here is brutal honesty…I wouldn’t know…I wasn’t really listening.

I sang Bless his name before communion

“Lord we come with gratitude that flows…from deep within our souls…we rejoice in You”

That was me mister thankful…are you kidding…things are a mess…simply that…and I am to be thankful

Communion….

Invitation Fountain:

” all who are weak…all who are weary come to the rock…come to the fountain.”

It hit me…well God hit me…I needed to come to the fountain of mercy….the table of the Lord…remember what He did…and what he promises to do.

” He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”

I love that verse…there is however a difference to loving a verse or enjoying it and actually standing on the word and the Kings firm foundation.

It’s odd…I have been reading in the blogsphere…God will prune and then expect bigger. Steven Furtick said expect freakin watermelons. I DO!

Apostle Paul was in jail and praised His king…I recently read a bout a woman losing her baby girl and she is praising the King

We went into O Praise him…

I will turn my ear to heaven and hear HIS joyous noise. I will make MY praises constant and rejoice in my Savior. I will thank my God for giving me the most wonderful wife and kids. All else around me may be Wack…I will still Praise Him.

“PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW…”