Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Must Decrease

We hear all of the time that we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Jesus. However, when rubber meets the road we are unwilling to completely give ourselves away to Christ. We hold onto the securities that we have feel that we have in this world. We cling to friends, school, sin, family, and many other things and activities that we find comfort in. We are afraid to let go of these comforts and other things that we see as steady in our lives. The unfortunate thing in all of this is that these things are only temporary and many times hinder us from completely giving ourselves away.

Jesus says in Luke 14:26-27, 33 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Brothers and Sisters, Yes, and His own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple."

Jesus is talking about the things that we hold dear to our hearts here. He is saying that the love that you have for any person or anything here on this earth should not even compare to the love that you have for Christ. You should love Christ so much that you you love for the thing on this earth grows less and less. Is it weird? Dang straight it is. The way that you spend your time, money, efforts, and energy will changes. The world will see yoy in a different light, but that's ok. We are called to be different, to walk a different path (Matthew 7:13-14). You see many times we believe that following Jesus is supposed to be easy, like a walk in the park. But it most definitely is not. It is a journey that is full of difficulties, but God can overcome those difficulties, we just have to let Him. We are to pursue him at such a pace that it seems that we hate the things of this world. That we let go, Cruicify ourselves, of the things that hold us back. Allow God to chisel away at our hearts and let those pieces fall and shatter on the ground.

John the Baptist said it best in John 3:30 "HE must increase, but I must decrease." What does this look like in your life? How can he increase? How can you increase? How can you apply this principle into your life? I know in my life I can let go of my desire to be in control, my temper, my selfishness, and sin. I can allow Christ to be my All, to be All in to him, to live Deuteronomy 6:5 and Jeremiah 29:13. I can truly be his hands and feet. Allow him to use my to accomplish the will that he has for my life. To let go of those things that I find security in, the things that I constantly run to when things get tough and instead, RUN TOWARDS GOD WITH ALL OF MY HEART. He must increase.... and I Must Decrease.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Lesson from Life

All of my life I have been keeping a buffer zone between me and the people that surround me. People thought that they knew me, but when in reality they didn't. People knew who I was at the most basic of levels, but never at a level deeper than that. My world was rocked just the other day when someone finally broke into the buffer zone. To be honest I was completely freaked out, absolutely speechless. How had someone finally broke into this zone, they were treading into unchartered territory. For the first time in my life I felt like I was truly out there, completely vulnerable, and I was scared. However, there is a great lesson that I have been taught through all of this, It's Good. I know your thinking It's Good sound like nothing, but hear me out and I think that you will be blessed in just the same way that I was through this.

Look at the Apostle Paul when he was on the Road to Damascus. He was walking along the road on the way to gather up believers in Damascus and his life was changed forever. God himself came into Paul's life and asked him Acts 9:4 "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" God himself confronted Saul and asked him what he was doing, he told Saul exactly what he was doing. He entered unchartered territory in Saul's life. Just like I was Saul felt vulneable, scared, and amazed Acts 9:6 "So he, trembling and astonished..." Amidst all of these emotions that were going on and the astonishment that Saul was facing, he knew it was time to let go, time to change. V. 6 "Lord what do you want me to do?" The the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." Saul knew it was time to change his ways so he obeyed and went, the rest is history. He received the Holy Spirit, his named was changed to Paul, and he became the greatest of all of the Apostles. Why? Because he was willing to accept what happened when someone came into that unchartered territory. Instead of run into a shell and hide he choose to come out and completely change. He went from Saul to Paul, from Christian killer to soul winner.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." I believe that everything that happens in life happens for our good, despite how we feel in the current moment. I feel that in those moments God is trying to teach us something, just like I feel he is trying to teach me something in this moment. What is he trying to teach me? He is teaching me that in order to completely show other people his love, the buffer zone has to break. In order to completely serve him the way that I want to serve him, I can't be afraid to put myself out there. I can't be afraid to love. Why? 1 John 4:8-9 " He who does not love does not know God, for GOD IS LOVE. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." We love because 1. God is love. and 2. He showed us his love by nailing Jesus to the cross. Not loving is simply not an option. Is is scary loving people? Dang straight it is. Could you get hurt? Most certaintly you can. The only way that you can truly love others is to first love God, and the let go of all of your fears, all of your walls, all of your what ifs and start loving. Is it going to be scary? Yes. Could you get hurt? Yes. But its worth it.

1 John 4: 18-19 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We Love him because He first loved us."

Listen to this Song by My Boys the Sidewalk Prophets- It's Good (Love's not safe)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Live Like That

My favorite Christian band, Sidewalk Prophets, recently put out their new album Live Like That. The title track, Live Like That, has become the theme for my life.

I want to live like that
And Give it all I have
So that everything I say and do points to you
If love is who I am
Then this is where I stand
Recklessly abandoned, Never Holding Back
I want to Live Like That

I Want to Live Like That.... What does that mean? Some would say that it is having that pretty house on the corner, a beautiful family, a well paying job, comfort, luxury, health, etc... Although there is nothing wrong with the life, as Christians we are called to something that is much more than this. When we say I want to live like that we are saying, God here I am let everything I say, everything I do, every part of my life Honor, glorify, and lead others to you. We are devoting ourselves to Love. The way we live our lives is going to change, it has no choice to. The way we talk, walk, act, spend our time, money, and efforts are going to change. Why? Because we will no longer conforming ourselves to the world, Romans 12:2 "And do not be CONFORMED to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." In order to Live Like That our priorities shift from the world to God. We no longer try to mold Jesus to our lives, we allow him to take over our lives so that he can transform us into all that he wants us to be. We lose control, we are no longer in charge, Jesus is Matthew 16:24-26 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what Profir is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?""

The most powerful line in the whole song is the line "Recklessly Abandoned, Never Holding Back." Many times we say that we want to Live Like That but that is as far as it goes. We are not willing to let go and let God move through us. We are not willing to allow our Father and Creator to work in us to complete the purpose that he made us for. Want to see someone who was Recklessly Abandoned? Look at Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, Steven, Noah, Moses. All of these people allowed God to come into their lives and do things that others thought was crazy, and in the God's will was achieved. Because Jesus lived like that we are able to obtain salvation by Grace through Faith. Becuase Moses lived like that he led the Exodus into the Promised Land. Becuase Noah lived like that he preserved mankind and animals from dying in the flood. Becuase Peter, John, and the other disciples lived like that the early Church had leaders and began to flourish. When people live all out, God shows up and shows out. When we are recklessly abandoned and hold nothing back from God, he uses us in the most awesome ways. All we have to do is have the faith to live like that. Allow God to come into our hearts, set the example, and us follow that example. Are you willing to Live Like That?

Ephesians 5:1-2 "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma."

I want to live like that
And Give it all I have
So that everything I say and do points to you
If love is who I am
Then this is where I stand
Recklessly abandoned, Never Holding Back
I want to Live Like That

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flawed Thinking Again

Many times as believers we pray that we become all that God wants us to become. However, we are much like the guy in this movie, we do not really believe in it happening. We do not really believe that he will do it. But the great news is that We have a God who IS and WILL and is WILLING to help us become all that he wants us to become. All we have to do is allow him to do his work.

How does God help us to become all that he has for us to be..? He reveals our sins to us. He makes it Uncomfortable for us to sin... His spirit guides out heart to Holiness. God died on the cross for our sins but many times we fail to realize what this really means. We do not think that we are good enough for God to save us, we buy into the lie of the world, the lie of satan. God died on the cross for all of sin, for all on mankind. Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone."Key phrase MIGHT TASTE DEATH FOR EVERYONE. He died for ALL... Not for the GOOD. My Bible says in Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no, not one." There is not a good person in the world. No one is righteous, not even one. Nobody is good enough to be saved by God, but our GOD is GOOD ENOUGH TO SAVE US. He loves us John 3:16 "For God so LOVED the WORLD that He GAVE his only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish, but have Everlasting Life."God gave Jesus up for ALL not the GOOD.

Many of us were, are, or will be caught up in the lie that we are not good enough. We try to Mask our sins so that no one else will know them, and it tears us up inside. The world sees us as being this Holy person, but deep down inside we know that we are nothing more than a hypocrite. We are afraid to allow God to come into our hearts, into our lives and chisel away the sins that are holding us back because we are afraid of what he will find. When in all reality he can already see those sins, he already know them. We know that we have let God down, we just do not want him to know, but he already does. He loves us despite letting him down, he wants to pick us up. But we continue to do the same things over and over expecting different results. Insanity.... Trying to do life on our own is insanity... We feel that we are letting God down when we never ever were the ones that were holding him up... HE is the One who HOLDS US UP. And he NEVER LETS US DOWN.

I believe that the words of the Old Hymn had it right when it says
"My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus Blood and righteousness
 On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, All other Ground is sinking Sand."

When our hope is in Christ and Christ alone we are standing on the solid Rock, the rock than cannot be moved, changed, of shaken. He will hold us up because he is solid, because he loves us. BECAUSE GOD IS. All we have to do is trust GOD, obey his spirit, and put or complete FAITH in him.

Deuteronomy 32:4 "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and Upright is He.

1 John 4:8"..... God is Love" 1 Corinthians 13:8 "Love never fails..."

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

You are his Love. Walk in it, Talk in it, Believe in it, and Live in it. You are special to Him.

Psalms 56:13 "For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?"

How He Loves Us

You Love Me Anyway

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Faith= Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Faith is the word that is at the epicenter of what we believe. However, I feel that many times we get true faith wrong. Most people say faith is "believing in God," but when things get hard they hop off of the faith train. Many people are only faithful when they know they are right, when things are easy, when no risk at all is involved. What kinda faith is that? Faithless in my opinion. It takes no faith when the odds are in your favor, when you know the circumstances and the consequences. True faith believes and acts regardless of the circumstances and in spite of the consequences. It goes outside of the comfort zone and into the God zone. It says God I don't know what is going to happen but I have the faith to do it. I'm relying on You, your strenght, your guidance, and your power to get me through this. Faith requires effort, it does not care about being popular, fitting in, or being IT. Faith actively seeks God and proclaims God all of the time regardless the cost.

The Bible is full of people of True Faith. Look at Abraham who offered up his own son Issac. Moses who Hebrews 11:25 "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin... V27 By faith, he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the King; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." You have the Faith of the disciples who left all that they had and followed Jesus. The faith of Paul and others to boldly preach the Gospel of Christ to others despite the imprisonments, harsh words, and threats of others. These examples are in the Bible for a reason... And I feel that the reason is to show us what true faith looks like. To show us what being All In for Jesus Christ really is. Will we listen? Will we read the Word and learn? Or will we simply continue to live faithless lives?

A popular passage in the Bible talks about a Faithless man... The Rich Young Ruler Mark 10: 17-22. The Rules asks Jesus "what shall I do to enherit eternal life? V17" to which Jesus replies
 "You know the commandments.... V19" The ruler was excited because he had kept the commandments. However, following the commandments was not enough. Anyone can follow a bunch of commands (rules). Anyone can look at a list of things that you should not do and follow them. You do not have to really pur forth a great deal of faith to follow commands. In V21 Jesus says "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come, take up your cross and follow me." He is saying take that step of faith, come and follow me. Give up all that you know, leave it all behind, have the faith to eliminate those things and follow me. Don't have faith in the things that you have physically, but have faith in Your Father that you have spiritually. However, The Ruler "was sad at this work, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions V.22." Faithless.

Do we have the faith to say YES, I give it all away? To have faith in God despite the circumstances and consequences? Moses forsook pleasure of sin to take on affliction with the people of God. Steven lost his life for the faith that he had in God. But the good things anout Faith is that it always pays off. If it takes your life, You gain heaven. If ya suffer persecution, your blessed (Matther 5:10). If ya make it through it, there is always an opportunity to share God's love. Faith is living out what ya truly believe about God. Actions always speak louder that words. Many people talk about faith, but few live out faith.... Which one are you dear friend?

1 Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of Faith...."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Deception... A Lesson From Turkey Hunting

This morning The Good Lord blessed me with the opportunity to spend the morning in the woods hunting the ever elusive wild turkey. Alarm went off at 5:15 and at 5:35 the trek was on. After walking across the farm and not hearing a gobble one sounded off right where we had began... The chase was on. After arriving on the scene the birds were on the ground and sounding off... GOBBLE... GOBBLE.... Set up five yards in the woods off of a logging road with the Birds hammering up on the ridge. My dad was about 20 yards off to my right calling the birds in (he has "seductive love calling abilities"). After about 10 minutes of suspense I saw the birds walking down the ridge GOBBLE followed by a drumming sound. Stepped into an opening at about 40 yards and that was all she wrote. My biggest bird yet... 11 inch beard and 1.25 inch spurs. What a hunt!!!

There is a lesson to be learned from this hunt... The turkey was deceived. He believed that the yelping, clucking, purring, and scratching noises that he was hearing was a hen (female turkey). He believed that he was coming into a potential mate when in fact he was walking right into a trap, his death. He gave into the temptation of the calling and was trapped in the deception. Many times we too are just like this turkey, we are deceived by sin.

James 1:14-15 "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown brings death."You see sin works much in the same way as calling in the turkey does. It gets our attention, it attacks our desires. The turkey desired to mate so the calling was appealing to that desire. Sin attacks our desires, whether its lust, gluttony, stealing, cursing, cheating, or whatever it is the devil attacks. "It's alright," "Everyone is doing it," "No one will ever know," "You know you wanna do it," "It will feel so good," are just some of the calls of the devil. And when we give into these temptations we sin, and when we sin we become just like that turkey. We give into our desires, listen to the calls, and die because of our sin....

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."