God-sized Calling


Joshua worked so hard on his backpack.  We were getting ready for a trip to see the cousins and Joshua made sure that he packed enough toys for the week (month).  

Then he came face to face with the cousins.

Joshua’s backpack rests in the back of the Jeep – unopened – forgotten – unnecessary.

Cousins trump toys.

Have you ever worked for something only to find that God has a bigger calling for you?
Would you let go of the things you think are amazing so Jesus can do something God-sized with you?

Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee when He comes across two brothers: James and John.
These brothers are preparing their nets. This is what fishermen do to prepare for the next day of fishing, however…
Jesus has something God-sized for them.

Matthew chapter 4, verses 21 and 22 says, “…They were mending their nets; and Jesus called them.  Immediately they left the boat…”

Nets unneeded.

I have often wondered about those nets. They sit in the boat – unopened – forgotten – unnecessary.

Calling trumps old life.

Calling trumps everything.

God is going to call to you today.  Please hear.

He will call you to a new life and, if you are anything like I used to be, you will want to hold on to your old life.
You think your toys will satisfy, but that’s just because you have not yet come face to face with the God-sized plan.  I pray you trust God enough to leave the toys in the backpack.

He will call you to adventure, danger, drama, passion, uncomfortable and unimaginable life.

Leave the nets!

“Jesus call.  Amen.”

Faith in Famine


You have to go through the desert to get to the mountains of Colorado.

Genesis 12 is the true story of Abram as he walks toward the promised land.  God tells him to go “to the land which I will show you”.   (Verse 1)

That’s faith.

“You start going and I will tell you where you are going when you get there.”  I long for that faith in my life.

Instead, I need to know where, and what direction, and how fast…

My faith feels small and ineffective when I look at all of the things I need to happen before I can believe Christ.

Then Abram meets an obstacle.  Verse 10:  “Now there was a famine in the land…”

As far as I can tell, God is calling Abram into the promised land VIA famine.

Am I willing to walk through the famine on my way to the promise?

So often, we stop traveling when we reach the famine.
   “This marriage is too difficult…”
   “My job is not satisfying any more…”
   “There is so much wear and tear in this…”
   “I am scared.” “I am tired.” “I am sore.”

I feel sorry for people like me; people that give up on the dream too soon because the famine is so dry.

Let me descibe to you the kind of faith I want to have:  I want to be a man that stands in the middle of the famine and realizes that I am at the gates of the promise.

That is the faith that is required to live as a man of God on this planet.

What famine is in front of you?  Are you frightened?  Will you turn around or keep going?

The famine is just one page in the journal once you arrive at the promise.

Jesus, call me into Your promise through the famine – I want faith!

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Faith Works Great When You Need An Umbrella

The clouds roll in and we get excited.  There is a storm coming and we need it.  We need the storm.  We need the moisture.  We need the snow.

But the storm does something else.  It surrounds us.  It presses us.  The storm covers up all that defines us.

For a moment (a long moment), while we are waiting for the picture of beauty; while we are hoping for the excitement of the snow and the promise of a great season, all we can see is the cloud.

There is no mountain.  Only storm.

There is no beauty.  Only threat.

There is no majesty.  Only fog.

Thus the necessity of faith.

The man poor in spirit looks at the surrounding storm and sees only the storm.

The man of faith looks at the cloud and sees a mountain.
A mountain full of snow.
A mountain full of life.
A mountain full of hope.

I invite you to look up today.  God is doing something amazing right in front of you!

Exodus 13:21 “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light…”. 

God, I see the storm.  I want to see the Mountain!  Help me, please.

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Christians, Politics, and Growth

I know you are bombarded during this election season with heated, one-sided political posts.  I am not going to tell you for whom you should vote.  I just want to remind you where God is during the election.

The emperor of Rome from 54 – 68 A.D. was Nero.  He did not love Christians.  In fact, Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome and set out to publicly destroy them in horrible ways.  (EyeWitness to History).  (Of course, this was after he had his mother killed, and his wife, and his brother, I think, and his chief advisor; so, you know, consider the source.)

The Christian church grew during this persecution.  Yep.  Grew.  Was not defeated or squashed, but grew…  spread…

Why?

Why would a group of people grow in number and resolve in times of persecution?

During Nero’s reign, just before the great persecution (around 56 A.D.), a man named Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church.  We call that the book of Romans in the Bible.  Romans 13 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”  (Read the rest of that chapter.  Oh wow it is good!)

I’m going to write this next section for me; if you would like to read along with me you are welcome to do that.

When you find out who wins the election tomorrow, fear not.  You might lose your job, but you probably will not.  You might lose some friends, but it is unlikely.  You might even die because you believe Christ loves the people of the world, but you will probably live to see another year.

The love this world has for you and the choosing of the president does not define your success as a man of God.

There is one authority over you:  His name is Jesus and He loved you to death.  But because His authority was from God (Matthew 28:18), His death did not stick.  Neither will yours! (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

In fact, your faith just might grow…

Jesus, grow me.  Amen.

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Unhinged

The cabinet door was broken.  It was out of alignment.  That had two consequences:  

1.  It was in the way when we tried to open the dishwasher.
2. It was driving my wife crazy.

So I set out to fix it…

I took a hammer and hit the front as hard as I could.  Nope.  Still broken.

I drilled three tiny holes in the front, then sealed patches on all three holes.  Still broken.

I painted both the front and the back.  Still broken.

I shut it completely, waited three minutes, opened it up again.  Works for my computer.  Did not work for cabinet.

No, I didn’t do any of this.  Why would I?  We all know that the problem with a misaligned door is not the door.  It is the hinge.  

I fixed the hinge (duh).
Seems to me as though we spend a lot of time complaining about the doors in this world but not enough time looking at the hinges.  (Just so you know, I am the hinge in this scenario.)

Or, put another way:  Everyone wants change, but nobody wants TO change.

God wants to come in to my life today and realign.  He is ready to rescue and my response is typically, “Yes, fix the door God.  Hey.  What are you doing with that hinge.  The problem is them.  Not me.”

The Bible has this verse of warning for a young pastor:  2 Timothy 4:3 says, “The time wil come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will gather around them teachers in accordance with their own desires.”

The writer, Paul, speaks of a people that refuse to listen to anyone that is out of alignment with their own beliefs.  They refuse to listen to anyone that tells them the truth.  They refuse God.

So I have this challenge for me – and for you too if you will listen.

Let God change you first – then see if the world doesn’t look different.

Jesus, I am ready for a change.  Change me.  

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Chad and Rhi

These two people are so remarkably important to me.  I had the great honor of walking with them as they were getting ready to be married but was unable to be at their wedding.  Today, they gave me the best gift:  They let me officiate their vow renewal ceremony.
Afterwords, we walked around on the mountain with friends and took pictures and had fun and chatted about where life was going.  

I took this picture because I want the world to notice two things about Chad and Rhi…

1.  It is raining on them.
2.  They are smiling.

What power love has.

Some people frown in the storm.  Some fear.  Some fall.  Some whine.

Some are so remarkably conquered by love that we just don’t care about the rain.
The rain cannot beat us.
It is too small in comparison to the all-consuming heart-stopping heart-starting passion that cannot be adequately described by a billion blogs.

When the storms come (and they will) am I conquered by the storm or by love?

Romans 8:37-39 In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord

It will rain.

I will smile.

My God’s love is that big.

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It’ll Hurt More


His knee hurt.  A bad fall and he would be limping for the rest of the week.

But when it was time to play with his best friend next door, Joshua managed to muster enough strength to run, jump, and fly to infinity and beyond!  He was healed. (Or he forgot the pain in the face of fun.)


McKayla (sorry if I butchered your name, little friend) arrived at the mountain top service with a cast on her foot.  I ran into her family the next day and they were bragging on their little girl.  “We just hiked to the waterfall.”  I asked if her foot hurt in the cast.  

“Yes.  Oh yes.”

Jesus is beaten and bloodied and placed on a cross.  He asks for something to drink and endures mocking.  Then His motive comes out:  Luke 23:34…

It is easy to smile when the blue skies abound, but not so much when standing in line at the DMV.

What will you do when it hurts?  That is where your priority lies.

If you want to know how much my son loves his best friend, bloody his knee.
If you want to know how much McKayla values time with her family, break her toe.
If you want to know how much Jesus loves you, put Him on a cross and hear His plea.

What you do when it hurts more points to where your heart is. That, I believe, is why Jesus told us to love our enemies – not because that would take the pain away, but because sacrifice is sanctifying.