Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Few New Blog Posts

For those of you who still follow my blog on here please subscribe to my new feed at All of my new posts are on that new page. You can click the title of this post and it will re-direct you to the new site or you can type in the new URL.

Hope it blesses you. Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I've moved the blog over to

You can click the title of this post and it will direct you to the new page.

I've moved all of the old posts/entries from this page over there.

Thanks so much, Ryan!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What If?

What if we could drop our desire to be relevant, significant, powerful, extraordinary and spectacular? What if we could peel away the layers of lies that allow us to be consumed What if we stopped trying to be the person who not only tries to impress others but also desires to impress ourselves? What if we could stop complaining about the gifts we lack and start allowing God to cultivate the gifts He gave us? What if we could stop being critical and learn to become grateful? What if we could solely focus on a life of love, beauty, grace, peace and justice? What if we could empty our fears for the sake of God? What if we could trust Him, obey him, and completely depend on Him?

We would be Jesus. Amazing Guy. Amazing God.

Monday, August 2, 2010

If You Had One Day to Serve...

Thanks to a friend's Facebook post, I was deeply moved this morning by an article in the Dallas Morning News. With plenty already to do today as we aim to get settled in our new place, prepare for another little girl in two weeks, and try to run a business I've been completely stunned after reading it. Mentally, my mind is being tossed around like one of those front load washing machines. My only thought was to express this myriad of emotions by sharing through my writing as an outlet. There is nothing that I say that will seem fancy or deep. There is no particular goal in mind with what I am sharing or saying. Just a thought that I hope you will consider as you go about a day that's sure to be filled with emotions of stress, anger, and frustration. I truly hope you will consider clicking on the title of this post and have your Spirit touched by an article that is the same thing our God is all

Before you click, please consider this brief thought. It's something I've had the Lord share with me during prayer lately as well as in conversation with others. That thought is understanding the importance of loving your family. It's the number one priority, ministry and job in your life. To you followers of Christ, your ability to find life and joy within family is part of what makes you like the triune God. A God who manages to live as a family in perfect harmony, a family that is in essence one unit. To make your family the number one priority in your life is not to make God number two. Instead it is glorifying God by seeing this life through the lens of Christ. Jesus is so much bigger than a priority and we must not lose sight of the fact that following Jesus is not about something else we must do. It's about being transformed and coming to know what it really means to live by the grace of God. It means becoming the kind of person that can't help but love God and love others.

Loving others starts at home. Your immediate family is the first thing each day that tangibly allows you to love God and love others more than yourself. It's what allows us to find joy in the midst of sorrow and gratefulness in the midst of heartache. It's the place where we have the oppurtunity to share the love of God most frequently. However, with so much emphasis placed on "finding a ministry" for Christians these days I truly believe we are once again settling on great things while neglecting the best thing in regards to the aforementioned buzz word, "ministry". I would never argue that some are called to great things like heading to other Countries to build houses, help the poor start businesses, or making sure people are getting clean water just to name a few. Let's face it, even Scripture tells us that the poor will always be with us and by loving the "least of these" whether widows, children or poor we are undoubtedly blessing them and blessing God. However, we far too often miss out on the ministry that is our immediate family as well as the life that can be found in loving and serving them. Our family is a gift from God, not a curse that gets in the way of us doing "great things" for Him and the world. We need to expose this lie that there is a greater thing that we can on this Earth than to share what true love looks like, the undeniable, inclusive, unconditional love of Christ with our spouses and children. This love for our family is what makes the love of Christ come alive. We become hypocrites in our own home when we treat our husbands/wives or children in an unloving way.

Sadly enough, we within the Church have no excuse for having our own children feel neglected by Father's who are constantly focused on their businesses or on finding, growing and enhancing "their" ministry. We too frequently have mom's that are more concerned with looking the right way, saying the right things and having the right friends than they are with teaching their kids what true love looks like. I hope that after reading this article, though clearly a non-Christian one, we come to see how short this life is. Hopefully it also helps us to see the importance of creating an environment of love that allows us to leave a legacy when we're gone and ultimately glorify God more than any other thing we could have done.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Social Justice or God's Justice?

A brief thought (definitely not all thoughts on this topic) before I head off to bed. It's not perfect, it's not meant to be, but I have to get some of this out as the church continues to be lied to about ideas and movements which do not come from His spirit...

No matter what's being fed to this generation, Jesus' message was not one of "social justice" and "causes". Both of those, while seemingly good things on the surface are not the best things in the eyes of our Creator. Deep down they are guilt driven (not from God), politically driven and in most cases both. Instead, Jesus was all about God's justice and the Gospel. It is those two things that led and still lead to the call of sinners to repentance, death to self, the importance of receiving grace, sanctification, transformation, service and a life of love which is Kingdom driven.

While the "social justice" folk constantly remind the "out of the loop" Christians that we "should be" taking care of widows, orphans, "the least of these" and those in need, they fail to recognize that only a thorough understanding of God's justice and the Gospel is what gives a follower of Jesus the freedom (not the obligation) to love God and to love others like those mentioned above. It's that love, which comes from the Holy Spirit, that moves us to joyfully give to those who are in need without ever knowing how much is actually given since we believe it call comes from God's hand (not our own innate goodness) anyway.

We must not miss the fact that in this movement of "social justice" Satan has been lying to us, riddling us with guilt and shame, telling us "that's what Jesus would be doing today" and moving us from the truth so that the Gospel will be forgotten or lost in the translation. There is a huge difference between the justice's and we must remember that God's justice and the Gospel is more concerned with saving souls, while social justice is more concerned about people's finite feelings, making people "equals" (not a biblical command) and tugging at their heart strings by using an unquestionably good God-given emotion like compassion against us so that we forget to keep the "main thing, the main thing". That main thing is the Gospel who is Jesus Christ. Don't forget that Satan knows Scripture, but like Jesus on the mountain, we must be able to discern when it is being taken out of context.

Social Justice cannot be God's mission as it sees people as inherently good, deserving of good gifts, a good life, and a lack of pain and suffering. God's justice is so much different, different enough that I question if "social justice" can actually come from the God of Scripture. God's justice says that the wages of sin is death, that deep down our righteousness is as filthy rags and apart from God is where we deserve to spend eternity if not for the Gospel. I am certain of this, when reviewing the differences above, I can't help but see how a counterfeit Spirit has taken over the Church, cancelled out the Gospel with a message of "do good and you'll feel good" and caused many Christians to live outside of the Kingdom without recognizing it. We must not share a gospel of "social justice", or "equality for all" leaving out a Gospel that is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. A Gospel that removes our sin, guilt and shame by bearing it on a cross so that we may fellowship for eternity with our Lord. A gospel that de-fills us and in turn fills us with the Holy Spirit.

The message seems fairly simple, the answer to social problems is Jesus. The answer to political problems is Jesus. The answer to your life's problems is jesus. The answer to the sin problem is Jesus and most importantly the answer to your eternal problem is Jesus.

Love this quote below:

“I believe in justice: but I am not a preacher of the gospel of justice, but the Gospel of Christ who calls us to justice. I believe in love, but I am not a preacher of the gospel of love, but the Gospel of Christ who calls us to love. I am committed to peace, but I am not a preacher of the gospel of peace, but the Gospel of Christ who calls us to peace. I believe in the value of the simple life, but I am not the preacher of the simple life, but of the Gospel of Christ that calls us to the simple life. Let us beware of the ultimate plagiarism of borrowing some great concepts from Jesus then running off proclaiming these concepts and not sharing the Christ that empowers these concepts.”~ Myron Augsburger

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter, C.S Lewis and More...

“There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began ‘Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen.’ This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer seem sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They will have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.” ~C. S. Lewis

Easter is decision time for all of us. First and foremost it is a time when we must decide between grace and works. By accepting the truth of today(grace), we must see Easter as a day to remember how God draws near to us, not because we've done great things to deserve it, we constantly do the right things, we show up at church on Sunday's or because we know the right people. In fact today is a time to accept the fact that God chose to reconcile His people in spite of the fact that "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Is. 64:6).

Today is a day in which we must refuse to celebrate our worth first (though today proves our worth to Him) and instead is a day to celebrate with gratefulness, thankfulness and awe just what a loving Father has done through Christ. By accepting today as a day to celebrate God's rescue mission through Christ, we can't help but be grateful to Him even if we do recognize how much we mean to Him during this weekend. By seeing God for who He is, a righteous, unconditionally loving, judge (sound like a paradox?), we come to realize that we are nothing without Him, unable to save ourselves and the resurrection of Christ and the defeat of death has eternal implications that are now received as opposed to earned.

While many (not all) preachers use Easter to share how God can do great things (the impossible), share who Jesus is and what we can do during this life because of Him, I can't help but be discouraged by the people centered message I've heard the last six years on this glorious, majestic day. Today is not a day for a topical sermon with bullet points that tell us how to have a better life because of Easter. It's not a time for a message about how God will resurrect us "too" if we stay faithful to His call. It is not a day to try and act more like Jesus because of what He did through His life, death and resurrection. Today is a day to believe that Jesus' defeat of death is able to bring a sinful, lost, striving people back to the Creator who loves them. Today is a day that God ushered in the truth of His Kingdom. Today is the day that Jesus proved who He claimed He was.

There is no doubt that we will feel joy today, but the start of this joy doesn't begin with how we get a new life (a true and good thing) or that we finally know what we have to do (accept, believe, have faith-all good and true things) to get back to God. Instead, today is a day in which we must first realize, recognize and celebrate that we don't have a distant God, we instead have a God who loves us so much that He has brought Himself closer to us through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. We have a God who by defeating death has also defeated the striving ways of the human being to draw closer to Him. We have a God that sees us as heirs and aims to share eternity to those who accept this grace through Christ.

Christianity is not a religion for enlightenment though it is typically taught that way in America today. (Michael Horton and others have coined this teaching "moralistic, therapeutic, deism"). Easter is not a day of enlightenment or meant solely for individual spiritual excitement that brings out what some would call the God in us, or the ability to see as God sees, or brings us closer to God through some vain effort. Christianity instead is a special ops mission in which a personal God came as man (Christ) to save us from eternal damnation and offer a new Spirit that spares us from the sting of death through His death and resurrection(by clothing us in the blood of Christ's death which washes away our sin). The God of Christianity separates Himself from all other worshipped (created) god's as He offers the gift of grace on Easter that no other religion can offer. He does it by drawing near to us first through the life, death and resurrection of Christ so that we can't take the credit for our salvation and so we may stop wasting so much time trying to earn it.

Easter is a time to choose to accept what Christ has done for us on this morning. Period. The choice is the only work involved and the grace undoubtedly precedes the work. The saving grace is already there through Jesus, we don't get it because we choose it but instead by choosing it, we receive it. Easter is a day of truth. It's the reality that the Natural and the Spiritual are not separate but instead live together in the flesh of the risen Christ and His gift to us. Like the boy in Lewis' story above, when we choose to see Easter as God's day and gift to us first, the gift we receive because of the day(chocolate/salvation) will always point us back to Him.

May you all have a Happy Easter! May the Lord bless you by the presence of His Spirit and may He relieve you of the stress of striving in your Spirit to reconcile yourself to Him. Today is a day to accept and believe what He has done through Christ and now, out of a response to what we are, we will choose to share His love not just by deed but also in creed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My and Mine

I read a wonderful prayer this morning out of A.W Tozer's book "The Pursuit of God". In a culture that whispers sweet little lies in our ear about how "the world is ours", I couldn't help but post it to give us some perspective. In my own life, I recognize that a life following Christ calls for a total abandonment of our "self" and absolute trust in Him (thanks Jesus and translated by Oswald Chambers). At the same time, I continue (wrongly) to see the "dying to self" that Jesus calls me to as an act to do or a law to follow in order to be right with Him/God. I sometimes fall into the trap that creating in my own power a life of charity or a life of poverty is what God needs from me in order to truly know Him. Fortunately to you and me, my own best thinking isn't close to God's eternal perspective.

The "death to self" that Jesus speaks of, or that "harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom" thing that we aim to keep away from are matters of our heart. They are not matters of God's grace to us and in fact are misread to the point that we see them as something to "check off" of our list of things to do to get right with God. Thankfully, Jesus is speaking of being transformed from seeing gifts on Earth as ours as opposed to on loan from Him. The kind of transformation of the heart that only comes through God and time spent with Him.

So what is it that Jesus wants us to actually die to? It's the things we still hold onto in this world, the things that cause fear and discouragement if we are to lose them. They are the things we call "my" or "mine". Wives, children, jobs, "callings", health, wealth, toys, etc. Those two words, "my" and "mine" always speak of personal possession and when they are used by a person, God's question to them will always be, "What is occupying your heart that keeps me from having full reign over your life?". It's a question that is scary to the carnal(natural) Christian, but to the follower of Christ, the one who is filled with the Spirit, it is a realization that God wants us to experience the freedom in Christ we read about but rarely see in person.

Just last night as I laid in bed with my fourteen month old daughter who has been dealing with a fever between 100 degrees and 105.5 degrees over the past two days my mind began wandering. Sure I had been to the Doctor's office earlier in the day and was assured that this is normal and that it's viral, but as I randomly checked her temperature though the night and watched it vary from 99 degrees to 105.5 degrees I got scared. At the point that I became so tired that I couldn't keep myself up I began praying for her (again). Before I could enter into the prayer, God stopped me, asked me to let Him have her back, reminded me she was His and not mine and told me that I'm a better helper to Him when I get some sleep. My response was a recognition that I still have some "my's" and "mine's" in my life that need to be relinquished to obtain freedom in Christ and while I hate to see my little girl not feeling well, I'm thankful to have a God that can be trusted in all circumstances.

If you are having marital issues remember that your wife or husband is His and not yours. If you are having job/money issues remember you are His and not your own. If you are unwilling to live off of "savings" because you feel like that is your little "security" in case things really get bad, guess what? Your "savings" is His too (guilty of this one). Your life is His, nothing is your own and recognizing that is the beginning of freedom.

By the way, that little thing about making my life one of charity and poverty. I've come to realize that while minimizing and only using what is needed is beneficial, it is NOT mandatory to the heart that is fully occupied by God. As a matter of fact, many men and women of God throughout Scripture have attained wealth. The reason that it was allowed to them (and not me) was because their hearts were not controlled by these "things". It's not a matter of if the "things" that are useful in our life are bad because they're expensive. It's instead a matter of them getting in the way of God as He reigns over our entire heart. When God is reining over your entire heart, the "things" you want and desire seem to change on their own.


Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart
fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them
without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide
from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling,
but I come. Please root from my heart all those
things which I have cherished so long and which
have become a very part of my living self, so that
Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival.
Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious.
Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to
shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it,
and there shall be no night there.
In Jesus' name.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Painting By Numbers

I get the oppurtunity to hang out with a lot of guys. Whether it's to listen about their life, speak truth into it, watch sports or any other reason, I'm truly grateful to get this oppurtunity to share being alive with them. It really is a time of personal growth and reflection and also teaches me a lot of new things about intimacy with Jesus that I can't get from one on one time with my wife. Over the past week, I've had a fun little discussion with one of these guys about the idea of creativity. It wasn't the normal discussion about creativity involving topics like how we know God is creative, or a question about the importance of meeting Him as a Creator in Scripture. We didn't discuss how our own creativity is another "thing" that makes it clear we are made in God's image or what we can do in terms of disciplines to get our creative minds running. Even the idea that we live in a culture in which, quite honestly, creative people are vitually worshipped didn't become a topic either.

Instead we talked about my blog. Seems kind of weird right? He told me that he checks in on it to read whatever insight or questions I may be raising about the "status quo" in the Christian life. He told me that he does that because he felt like the idea of creative writing and thinking is what is lacking, especially in Christian culture. He went on to say that he thinks I'm creative which was a compliment I have not heard many times in my life, especially as somebody who is thought of as being analytical on the verge of critical. Ironically, when he asked why I've stopped writing, I responded with a reason that had to do with what I felt is a lack of creativity. I said that it seems like I'm posting about the same things as many other people who are much more prominent than me (in the world's eyes, clearly not God's) and in fact felt a bit like an idiot for doing so because their stuff seems so much more original than mine.

That quick discussion is what fueled today's blog. He went on to tell me that he liked what I had to say because even though other people may also be saying it, the way I write it seems like I don't want to copy anybody else (that got me worried). Instead he said that he feels as though my writing comes from my heart, not fearing anybody but God in what I say and that he likes the idea of being stretched to consider if he ACTUALLY believes, what he says he believes.

That type of creative critical thinking is what brought the idea of "painting by numbers" to my mind. When I was a kid I wasn't a great artist, but I was really good at coloring. Staying between the lines was an easy thing for me and when I found out about the paint by color kits I realized that was the perfect place for me to show off my artistic (but clearly non-creative) abilities. I was tired of other kids getting attention for how great they could draw or paint and this was a place I could shine. All I had to do was be the best at using the colors that were picked out for me, on a picture I cared nothing about. When I was done, I may have painted a beautiful bird that made me look artistic even though it lacked inspiration and creativity. I was willing to settle because it made life easier and me look good.

Does that story sound familiar to anybody? Are you living a life that you call creative but is actually just a life that is more "paint by number"? Are you doing all the right "Christiany" things without ever thinking about them? Are you going through the motions by attending religious services, small groups, prayer meetings, retreats, or seminars just to realize that you are there to take and not to give? Do you serve because you were told it's a specific day to serve, but not because you have a heart for service? I could go on and on but it is my belief that we are living in a Christian era of copycats. It's easier that way. We copy culture, we copy poets, we copy preachers, we copy marketing ideas, we copy business strategies for "church" growth, we copy movies and give them Christian names in order to attract "non-believers", and even worse (or better if it's that guy on American Idol doing a NEW version of "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul) we are the kings of "cover songs".

I don't know what it's going to take for Christians, followers of Jesus, to get a mind of their own. I'm not saying that we should be wasting our time trying to make things "untrue" that are eternally true. I'm not saying we shouldn't believe that God is the Alpha and Omega or that maybe Jesus was only a man. What I'm saying is that we need to be willing to let God speak to us clearly instead of us trying to please those around us by how good of a "Christian" we are. I'm saying to get out of the box of doing all the right "Christiany" things without ever getting intimate with Jesus. Im' saying that teachers of the word need to remember that it isn't persuasive speech that does the saving but in fact it's the Holy Spirit and the enabline of the heart by God. When it comes to creativity clearly Van Gogh used things that existed in order to show the world the way he saw it. I can guarantee you that he had seen the nighttime and stars before he painted "starry starry night". I'm just saying that God has given us a mind to use for both analysis and creativity. He has given us a mind to challenge ourselves. I can remember Jesus saying to the Pharisees in the book of John how they looked and looked through the Scriptures in order to find eternal life when instead the freedom of eternal life was just found in following Him. Following Jesus looks different from person to person but there remains one constant when we're truly following him and that is the fact that we can't copy another person's way of doing it.

God wants to inspire you. He does it through His Spirit as you follow Jesus. Allow your heart to be transformed into the person God created you to be instead of who you try and create yourself to be based on what you think is cool or "in". When we create ourselves to be something we're not, we're not being creative at all, in fact we're creating ourselves in the image of something that already exists. Don't settle for painting by color, God isn't worried about you impressing others, He just wants you to have the freedom to glorify Him with the gifts He has already given you instead of trying to borrow the gifts of others to impress Him or them. He loves you, now let Him live in you and work through you in a way that could only be labeled creative.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

This is bad news for some and good news for others. My "couple weeks" break turned into a month and a half. Anyway, after a lot of meetings and people asking why I haven't posted any new content I realize it is time to start writing again. I'm aiming to post twice a week starting March 1st. If anyone still receives my blog, then you will be the first to know. I will also be posting on Twitter and Facebook when new articles come up. Feel free to forward it to anybody you think may benefit.

The first post is tentatively titled "Painting by Color". Hoping this clarity from God blesses you like it blessed me. In the mean time be praying for revival, revolution, friends, family, Haiti, Chile and so many others. I'm really looking forward to challenging your thinking and life in the "status quo", especially those living like "Casual Christians" starting next week. Also, be praying for me that I make much of Jesus with this blog. I write for Him, not for me, you or anybody else.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Break....

I've had a lot going on over the past two weeks which is why you're seeing more links than my own writing (though I share many of the same views as the links I post or at least consider the questions that are being asked). I hope to be back with some Spirit filled insight into individual transformation and communal growth in the next couple weeks. I hope you see all of the blessings God has bestowed upon you this year and please make sure to be praying for the people of Haiti!

Much Love,