Monday, December 5

My honest thoughts today!

Lord I sit here at home this morning burdened greatly by all that's going on around me. I run to you. Thank you for the hope I just read in Isaiah 59. V.9 says, "we hope for light and behold darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom." I'm feeling that today. "We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes." God I can't see what's ahead. I worry and sit in fear. I confess that. V.15 is so full of hope. "The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak." This is the Lord's covenant "My Spirit will come upon you." Lord I praise you for putting on zeal in such an extravagant way that hope might be brought to my life TODAY. I rest in this covenant! Praise you God!!!

Thursday, May 5

Thoughts on rest and vacation

Tomorrow morning Danielle and I are heading to Mexico for 5 nights of vacation with a bunch of our good friends. I'm excited about a lot of things, but what I'm really excited about is just chillin -- limited internet, no texting, just chilling on the beach with my bride and our friends. My personality is a worker. I make to-do lists and don't really do a very good job of sitting down and resting. My goal this vacation is to rest, but I want to do it very carefully.

My mind goes to the writer of Hebrews, where in the third and fourth chapters he describes salvation as an entry into the Lord's rest. That is a very interesting wording. I think what it's trying to communicate is that apart from Christ there is no such thing as true rest. Don't get me wrong, people "rest." They go on vacation, take breaks, etc, but that doesn't speak to the problem of the unrest in the human soul. Left to ourselves, we are broken and bent to sin. We don't naturally live for God, but for ourselves. We work so hard to clean ourselves up, be presentable, some even do it with the goal of trying to make God happy. Yet, apart from the redemptive work of God we will remain in our exhausted, busy, broken, and selfish unrest. All the while continually looking to the next thing in the hopes that it brings us the rest that only Jesus can fulfill.

So whether we are going on vacation, taking a day off or just sitting down to rest, it must flow out of and be saturated with Jesus. Left to ourselves, our own agendas, our own thinking, even our own naps, we will remain in our brokenness and miss the eternal rest that can only comes from the Savior. With that being said, I'm looking forward to resting in him this next week.

Wednesday, March 9

Gospel in Life

Our leadership at North Church has been going through Tim Keller's study "Gospel in Life."  It has be very transformational.  We will be rolling it out church-wide in April.  I commend this study to you.  You can always join us at North Church to experience it as well.  It will transform your view of Christianity and the gospel.

Trailer for Gospel in Life from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 17

A Pitiful Hope

Recently I've been consumed with weighty conversations and news that's left me extremely burdened.

1. A girl crushed after her boyfriend broke up with her, inspite of the promise ring he gave her.
2. A 14 yr old and his family who continue to grieve losing their teenage brother/son/friend 10 months ago.
3. A precious saint who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given 2 weeks to 3 months to live.
4. A couple who found out their unborn baby has a 50/50 chance of being born with a disease.
5. A couple who lost their co-joined, unborn twins.
6. My mother (who is in remission from cancer) has been undergoing tests for pain and hearing loss.
7. A friend who just went through a divorce.
8. I just had my car broken into and MacBook Pro stolen

All of these situations mentioned are being experienced by brothers and sisters in Christ.  With the weightiness of them all, I'm remined of the following scripture:

1 Corinthians 15:19 (ESV)
19If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Where is your hope?  If you are banking on this's guaranteed to go bad (read the above situations again)!  Don't pursue a pitiful hope...look to our eternal God who had given us an eternal inheritance that will not fade away!

Friday, December 31

A picture for 2011

Be intentional in 2011

On December 30, 1842, a 29-year-old Scottish pastor named Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote a letter to his congregation. He said:
"MY DEAR FLOCK,—The approach of another year stirs up within me new desires for your salvation, and for the growth of those of you who are saved. “God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” What the coming year is to bring forth, who can tell? . . . Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day. Then we shall be able to say like David—, “The proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from thy law.” “Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart standeth in awe of thy Word.” It has long been in my mind to prepare a scheme of Scripture reading, in which as many as were made willing by God might agree, so that the whole Bible might be read once by you in the year, and all might be feeding in the same portion of the green pasture at the same time."
D.A. Carson provides a great resource to help us understand the Bible as we read it.  This is the resource I will be using -  Vol.1 of "For the Love of God" and doing the reading plan over 2 years. 

Why I chose this option:
-  It's available for free online
-  It gives a small portion of commentary on a large portion of scripture rather than the opposite, like many devotionals.
-  Carson is a brilliant expositor of Scripture,  and many times I walking away from reading wondering what exactly I just read...Carson's commentary will help with that.
-  During year 2 I will use Vol. 2 of his book
-  This plan follows M’Cheyne's reading plan that has you read in 4 different places of the Bible each day, however I will be only reading 2 and then picking up the other 2 in the second year to help keep up.

The resource is further explained and available free in PDF format HERE.

May you press into the Lord in 2011 in ways you never have before...and May you never be the same!

Pursuing Him with You,

Thursday, December 9

A friendly rebuke

Yesterday we had an unplanned visit from some good friends of ours who needed to borrow our car.  During their time at our house we had some very God-ordained conversation which basically consisted of them calling us out on some things.  Their biggest concern was that we had been neglecting to walk out some very specific things the Lord spoke into our life about a year ago.  Their challenge was filled with love and encouragement, yet stern and truth-filled.

If I could sum up their words, it would come from Acts 4:29, "We must obey God rather than men."  Lately in many ways, I have been obeying man.  I have been more concerned with how people view me and my ministry, instead of knowing my acceptance in Christ and being freed up to not be concerned with man's thoughts toward me.  The Apostles in this passage were able to walk in massive amounts of obedience because their focus was on the greatness of their God and his mission for their life, and not on those around them, namely the religious authorities who were telling them not to preach the gospel.

I believe part of the answer to this problem of living to please man is found in Acts 4:32 - "And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

What is it that enabled the Apostles to endure the abuse and opposition of man?  They were fully engaged in the Spirit, to the point where even to consider obeying man and not living out Christ's mission was not even on their minds.  Why?  Because their minds were full of the Lord and their spirit (The Holy Spirit) was filled with His power to walk out God's calling on them.

Questions to consider:
1.  Who is speaking Truth into your life?
2.  Are you allowing them to walk with you in what obedience looks like?
3.  Is your focus on YOUR abilities/inabilities or HIS ever-enabling Spirit?
4.  What's keeping you from walking in obedience?

Surrendering with you!