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Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas Sermon YOU can preach

Well, this has certainly been a great Christmas Season so far as I've been trying to focus my attention on what really matters most.

It still amazes me that we get gifts at His birthday party. I mean try pulling that one off at anyone else's birthday party and you'll be shown the door...pronto!

As I think about the gifts that He gives us it's so incredible that we have such a gracious God.

We have the gift of Hope through the birth of His Son, the gift of meaning for our lives and the gift of JOY, just to name a few.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I don't get it


In my relationship with the Lord one of the ways that He has always seemed to communicate an important truth to me is by nailing me with an overarching theme that I just can’t get away from.

This theme usually gets reinforced to me in the scripture I’m reading, the music I’m listening to, the sermons I’m hearing and in my personal quiet times.

It’s pretty cool how, when I actually slow down enough to pay attention to what He’s sending my way the messages begin to get connected and I‘m able to walk away with a Lesson that God wants me to process and hopefully learn.

I love how God has taken the various and sundry experiences I’ve had, and in my little pea brain summarizes them in a phrase or a theme so that I can apply the lessons to my life.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tarnished trophies?


A while ago I took a trip down memory lane as I was visiting my home town. I had some time to kill, so I visited some places that hold a special place in my memories.

I'm talking about The Little League, Babe Ruth and Thorne Street Basketball parks in my old stomping grounds of the booming metropolis of Horseheads, NY.

Three parks that bring back so many memories every time I just drive by, and now this time I actually got out and walked around, and observed the very places that my brother and I along with many friends spent tons of hours growing up.

I remembered some of the pep talks I received in the dugout, as well as some of the trash talk I dolled out on the court. Those were good times, good times for sure.

As I strolled down memory lane though, I realized that the things that motivated my energies and efforts of 25-30 years ago, have failed to materialize for me, I mean I was like every other kid playing and working on those fields.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Change the Subject

We’re good at making excuses and changing the subject when we’re confronted with truth, or when we mess up, or just about any time we’re about to look bad aren’t we?

I mean I think we’re born with the ‘change the subject” gift, we don’t even need to be able to talk and we can change the subject with people.

I remember when my son was about 18 months old, he had no fear! He started walking at about 8 months, and began running, jumping, diving, and tackling at about 8 months and 1 day.

He was in the living room watching a certain kids TV show with 4 extremely wealthy 40 year old Australian men who do a lot of, shall we say wiggling while they “sing” their incredibly deep lyrically challenging songs to packed stadiums around the world.

These composers are credited with songs like “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy”, “Get ready to Wiggle” and my son’s personal favorite “Quack Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, Cock-a-doodle-doo”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rickety old Table

Do you have a place in your past that you recall where everything and everyone on the outside said “we love you, appreciate you and respect you”, but based on the actual appearance of things and actually the configuration of the table and chairs; a very different message was being communicated?

I know I do and what I’m talking about is Thanksgiving Dinner, at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house, sitting at the Kid’s Table!

You know the kid’s table don’t you? It’s the broken down, rickety old, cob web covered card table that your grandparent’s drag out each and every year for occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Graduation celebrations.

In theory I understand the concept of the Kid’s Table; its purpose is to provide a place for the young ones because the big table doesn’t have enough room. Ok, I understand that it’s usually due to a space or seating issue that the kid’s table is needed, but let’s think a moment about what message it’s sending.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Immense in Mercy

"It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. 

You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. 


It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chasm no more...

Death-Dealing Sin causes a Chasm, the Life-Giving Gift bridges the gap says former "followers of the Way" hater...

12-14 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Motives...

Playing Monopoly with my daughter when she was 5 was alot of fun (for me anyway), but it was also very eye opening especially when she said,

“Daddy, how come you keep saying you’re winning? I’ve been counting, and I’ve been around the board more times than you have.” I said “what?” and she went on to explain to me her assumption (she didn’t use that word) of the rules of the game.

I was stunned! She was comparing the rules from her vast Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Sorry, experience to the rules of Monopoly. In essence she believed that whoever goes around the board the most times wins! UH, WRONG PHILOSOPHY!

I stopped my hostile takeover for a second and thought about a guy in scripture who thought his system would work in the system Jesus was talking about.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rooting for the Rival?

Several years ago I had the chance to return to a former ministry that I served in NH, they invited me to preach in the morning and present the mission I was working with at night. It was so cool to be back with them and sense their excitement for what God is doing in our ministry.

I was there on the weekend when the Red Sox had to win 2 games to make it to the World Series, so needless to say tensions were high! Now those that know me well, know that I'm a die hard Yankees Fan, which is great when you live in NY (AKA The Evil Empire according to Red Sox Fans). But when you're deep in the heart of Red Sox Nation it's like being behind enemy lines...then when you factor in the fact that I'm there to minister God's love to these people you start to weigh your priorities pretty fast.

I did some quick evaluating and realized that at least for that weekend I was actually rooting for the Red Sox to win...I know I can't believe I said that either, but here was my motive. If the Red Sox won on saturday night then the congregation that I was going to be ministering to on sunday would be in a great mood, and more likely to engage whole-heartedly with what I wanted to communicate from God's Word.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Walk His Trail...


A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador on an Operation Christmas Child distribution trip. To say the least it was amazing!

In just a few short days my team and I had the opportunity to take part in six different distributions in the Manta and Puerta Viejo region of Western Ecuador.

We visited churches, a Samaritan's Purse Hospital, a woman's Prison and a school, and in every location we gave out gifts that were used like a boombox proclaiming to the children that JESUS LOVES YOU!

I wish you could have seen the faces of the children and experienced the joy of the leaders who love these children. The use of a simple gift was just astounding to me, as I saw the power that it packs when given in the name of Jesus!

The whole time I was in Ecuador I kept thinking about how amazing it was that in this very country some 50 years ago one of the single most tragic missionary killings took place not far from where we were.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Soli Deo Gloria


The more I get to know God in my relationship the more I'm realizing that He is just as much interested in the "little" things in my life as He is in the "big" things.

I remember one time I was planning a Bible study devotional and was all set to share it with the group when I learned that one of our cell groups was going to serve at the homeless shelter in our city the same night I was scheduled to bring the devotional.

I really love going to the shelter and showing God's love in a tangible way, so I arranged for another person to cover for me that night and I went to the shelter. So, on the night that it was my turn to share the study in the place of the guy who switched with me I was getting ready to go to the church when my daughter came home from school and shared an answer to prayer with me, that was such a vivid example of how God cares about all things.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hang On


One of my heroes in ministry was killed in a car accident in 2003. I had just returned from one of the annual conferences that his ministry hosted every year, and like the thousands and thousands of other Youth Pastors he and his group encouraged along the way I was shocked and saddened!

Mike Yaconelli was his name and he was known for being radical, crazy, fun-loving, challenging, wild, envelope pushing and down-right awesome!

Every Youth Pastor I knew gobbled up his resources like candy and couldn't wait to put them into practice in their ministries.

I guess looking back on the Mike Yaconelli era of YM the thing that inspired me the most about him was that he was so counter-cultural, so anti-establishment and so "little-guy" in YM uplifitng.

I came across an article that he wrote many years ago that I remember sending to my youth leaders as a way of encouraging them that the ministry they were involved with was making a difference even though the rest of the church may or may not "get it".

I recall saying something like "God get's it, He's proud of you and the students you've impacted for eternity thank you as well!"

So, I thought I'd re-post it again, and pray today just like I did over 12 years ago when I first sent it out that Mike Yaconelli's rant would inspire and challenge the tired, doubting, beleaguered and often mis-understood youth leader to "Just Hang On"...


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Me & Jesus...

Several years ago as I was on a plane heading to Malaysia I had a lot of time on my hands (25 hours of flight time to be exact). So I watched a few movies, followed the in flight map, tried to sleep and gorged myself with succulent airline cuisine.

The whole time I kept thinking about the pain and hardship that the people of the world are faced with as a result of poor choices that are made without guidance, input, advice and especially the standard of God's Word.

I had also been wondering why God led me to get involved in the prison ministry like he had, when all of my ministry involvement over the years had been with young people, and as I was 30,000 feet in the air somewhere in Russian airspace it hit me.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Worst Ever?

So I’m sitting on my couch, eating some chips, drinking some soda and watching re-runs of Saturday Night Live. This particular episode was a “best of” collection, and featured some of the funniest clips from over the years. Sandler, Murphy, Nealon, Carvey just to name a few…all of those guys were hilarious, they even had the famous “Cowbell” sketch with Will Farrell (“I’ve got a fever, and it can only be cured with more Cowbell”). If you haven’t seen it it’s very funny.

As I sat there laughing and eating all of a sudden one of my all time favorite sketches with the late Chris Farley came on. It was the sketch where he is the host of his own show called the “Chris Farley Show”, and in his sketch he welcomes famous guests on to interview them, and dialogue about various things in their lives. The only problem is that he is extremely nervous about interviewing them, and always asks them such obvious questions that you just laugh because it’s so stupid.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Identity Gift

Recently a tiny little phrase caught my attention, and helped me to realize all over again the simple truth that God is HUGE and I'm not even blip on the radar screen yet He desires a relationship with me. Who am I that He would create me, save me, have a plan for me, bless me, not destroy me?

I don't get it, I never have and I never will, that's what makes God and His plan so _______________...I can't think of a word to insert here, because "amazing", "awesome", "incredible", "super fantastic" and any other describing words just seem to fall way short, and I'm left with this shrinking question in my mind..."Who am I?"

The Psalmist actually added some depth to the question as well when He said "When I consider the works of your hands, the sun, the moon, the stars. What is man that you are mindful of him?"

Well, the phrase that caught my attention is actually found after He created the Seas and Sky and Sun and Moon and one of the reasons I love it is the way it's listed in the sequence of events and I love the way it almost reads as an "oh by the way" or "oh yeah...almost forgot...He also did this..."

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I've had a few...Regrets


I have this little problem that has haunted me for years. It’s a problem that has gotten me into lots of trouble. I used to think that it was just a problem of immaturity, you know when I grow up to that magical age of “whatever”, it will go away.

The older I get though, the more I realize that it’s not a matter of physical and emotional immaturity it’s more a matter of spiritual immaturity.

You see, my problem is that I often say the first thing that comes to my mind, and even though I can come off as witty and clever at times. There are other times where the statement forms right about at the top of my cranium, and like a bolt of lightning flashes down to the tip of my tongue, and if I’m not careful before I know what’s happening, boom…the statement is out there, flapping in the breeze!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Innovation Driven by Inspiration

The more I read my Bible and follow the steps of Jesus, the more I realize that His ministry was all about restoration and expansion. Everywhere He went He preached a similar message, a message of hope and repentance to restore us to a right relationship with Him.

I also see that He didn’t settle down in one spot. He moved around and left instructions for His followers to spread the message as well.

He was about building His Kingdom, but the only difference was that His Kingdom was meant to be in the hearts of His people, and His people are all around the world.

He truly had an innovative Kingdom mentality that was meant to be expanded, not focused on one people group, in one city, one country or even one continent. I also notice that Jesus used various means, and methods in His delivery, yet His message remained the same.

I mean have you ever wondered why He went with Jairus to heal His daughter when he could have just thought it and accomplished the same outcome. Or how about when He healed the dangling paralyzed guy in the middle of a newly roofless house. Why did he forgive his sins first, and then heal His infirmity? And I’ll tell you what, one of the first things I want to know when I get to Heaven is “why mud in the eye for the blind guy?”

Jesus has a repertoire, and a very creative one at that, He is open to new methods to deliver His message. He modeled it for us in the very way He lived His life on this earth, and He is definitely all about expansion of His Kingdom. So why does it seem that we His children get so caught up with our little “kingdoms” and lose sight of the big picture?

The more I’m around Pastors and missionaries and just about anyone in ministry, the more I see that many times our focus is on buildings and numbers and bank accounts instead of life change that comes through Jesus, whether it be in Rochester, NY or Kathmandu Nepal, life change is life change and that needs to be what our ministries are all about.

The whole method vs. message debate basically is a belief that is lived out when we consciously or subconsciously say something like this…”well, we never did it that way before”, and many times is at the heart of why churches and Christians stagnate and in the process bring the Kingdom expansion progress that Jesus wants, to a stand still. I’ve seen this lived out, I’ve heard those words directly spoken, and if I’m honest with myself, I’ve often thought them as well.

So as I take a little pause and reflection time today I'm reminded that His message never changes, but His methods and His messengers do. We need a Kingdom mentality that is not halted by “we’ve never done it that way before!” We need to Innovation driven by Inspiration that comes from God.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Momentum...

Lately it seems like I’ve been giving out a bunch of gifts. Every time I turn around I’m handing someone a souvenir from a trip, a present for their birthday, a momento for an anniversary or a thank you note for their thoughtfulness.

All this giving has caused me to spend some time contemplating the whole concept of gift giving and gift receiving, especially as it relates to our relationship with God and His purposes for our lives.

Every time I travel to another country I look around for something to bring back for my wife and kids, you know something that represents the country I visited and will also be something they will appreciate and enjoy.

For my wife I like to bring back a nice piece of clothing, a necklace and some chocolates (she always shares!). For my daughter I look for a doll or a bracelet, or something dainty and precious, and for my son a soccer jersey, a ball cap and more chocolates.

I always look for specific things for them based on what I know they like and based on what I know represents the country I’m visiting. This has been my mode of operation as it relates to gift giving for quite some time now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Success through Failure

Failure is one of those things that none of us really wants attached to our name, our identity and definitely not our legacy.

In our culture it has a real stigma attached to it. A stigma that can sidetrack, sideline and totally knock out, the best of the best from achieving greatness in their sport, business, education, relationships and ministry.

Failure is something that we are taught to avoid at all costs, but recently as I thought back to an inspirational poster that I had hanging on my office wall for years, I began to wonder if we have the failure idea all wrong.

Now I’m not talking about purposely going out there and tanking a shot, or blowing a ministry opportunity. No I’m talking about doing the absolute very best that we can at all times, but when we do fall short realizing that it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow and get back out there to do it better the next time.

I realize that there are circumstances that people fall into that will take them out of eligibility for a certain role because of a moral decision that caused them to fall. Ministry is a perfect example of that. I mean how many times have we heard of a Pastor or ministry leader of some sort making choices that have morally compromised themselves and disqualified them from ministry? Too many times that’s for sure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Greater Than...

It seems like I've been sharing alot of these illustrations in various conversations with people recently...so I thought I'd re-post one of the most difficult and at the same time eye-opening and freeing reflections I've ever pecked out on my computer.

It's called "Do you trust me?" and it was written as a reflection of the events of 11 years ago, and it's a reminder all over again that Peace is Greater than doubt!

Man it seems like lately God is just nailing me with thoughts, and concepts through the tunes in my mp3 player. He does that some times, I think it's a cool variation that He uses to get my attention with something He has for me to ponder and pray about.

I love my time in His Word, it's always so fresh and new, but it's amazing to me how God in His mighty repertoire can use things like music to get through to me as well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Star of the Scar

Since 2006 the month of March has become an interesting month for me. It was a month that tested my faith, challenged my beliefs, made me question some things and created what would become painful memories.

It was a month that reminded me of a statement that I’ve used for many years with students and adults that I’ve ministered to. It’s a statement that packs an incredible punch when you think about it, because if we really took it to heart and used the purpose of it to empathize with others, what a huge difference we could make in this world. The statement is “every scar tells a story!

It’s true isn’t it? You and I have all kinds of scars that we carry with us, physical scars, emotional scars; spiritual scars…all kinds of scars. I’m learning more and more that pain happens; you can’t avoid it, and with painful things comes scars. It’s what we do with the pain as it’s healing, and once our scars have formed, that’s the key.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lead or Lead?

Many years ago, I began my Master's Degree studies in the field of Organizational Leadership. The first class in that program was called "Philosophy of Leadership."

I found it interesting then, and still to this day agree that a person's philosophy shapes who they are and drives where they're going.

My personal philosophy of leadership comes from an understanding that leadership involves a lifelong process of developing skills and abilities necessary for becoming the most successful leader I can be. I need to keep learning and growing if I’m going to effectively influence and mobilize people to accomplish mutually accepted goals. Leadership is a huge, seemingly indefinable concept, but the acrostic below captures the key points of my personal philosophy of leadership.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fullness...

"Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. 

They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. 

But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christand the emptiness of the universe without him. 

When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Encounter of HOPE

One of the most hope filled encounters that I will not soon forget was a face to face sit down conversation with one of the most amazing guys I've ever met!

This guy has had such an incredible ministry of encouragement over the years that every time I'm with him I leave a richer, deeper, better person in the Lord because of our time together.

His name is Brian and besides being one of the most spiritually in tune people that I know, a regular prayer warrior, and an unbelievable truth giver, He also has Autism, Tourette Syndrome and OCD.

He can't communicate through spoken word, but when He sits down at his Dynavox machine, and his mother holds his wrist to calm his movements, and he begins to peck with his pointer letter after letter to form the sentences He needs to deliver...I stop and listen, and listen good!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

God Lasts

Isaiah 40:25-31 (The Message)

25-26 “So—who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.

Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name.

—so magnificent! so powerful!— and never overlooks a single one?

27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,

God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?


Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.

He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.

And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.


                                                                                                            (Photos courtesy of Paula Gattine)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Either/Or

Pondering the application of the message to the Church at Thyatira and how it rings true to the “church” today in many ways.

  Revelation 2:19-20 - "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants…
 
• With God it’s either/or – either repent and be forgiven or be rebellious and face judgment

• With “Prophetess Jezebel” it’s both/and – “you can be a follower of Christ and do whatever you want, whatever feels good to you…after all who am I to judge?”

• Jesus slams the church for tolerating false teaching by “so-called spiritual leaders” That’s the issue.

• The church isn’t at war with non-Christians, it’s at war with the deceiver.

“God, please help me as I follow you to have love and faith and service and perseverance and keep living and loving in your Name but Lord, help me to know the truth that comes loud and clear in your Word and hold tightly to it every day not a leader, a President, a King, a Court or anything other than You Alone.”

Friday, June 12, 2015

Known...

I'm reflecting today on how people young and old want to be known, loved, respected and appreciated and I'm pretty sure we all want to go “where everybody knows our name.”

Maybe that's why the the show “Cheers” was such a huge hit back in the day. Sure, the show was set in a bar, and sure, much of the conversation that took place in the show and in most bars for that matter, is not really what I’m about, but man there’s a lot of truth in the lyrics of the theme song…

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got; taking a break from all your worries Sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came; you want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rescue...

I've been thinking a lot about faith in the midst of difficulties and trials lately.

Maybe it's because of the really heavy load that people in my sphere seem to be carrying these days, or maybe it's just God trying to get my attention that no matter what He's right beside us every step of the way.

I was reading in Colossians today and when I got to verses 13 and 14 in chapter 1 it hit me all over again. God did so much for me and He's not about to leave me hanging!

Colossians 1:13-14 says ...For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Now I've read these verses hundreds of times but apparently the Holy Spirit wanted me to grapple with some descriptive verbs that seemed to just jump off the page (or actually the screen from my Bible app) and smack me around with a powerful reality when I'm down or grumbling or whining or tempted to book a venue and cater my own pity party.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Doors...

Recently God opened a new door for me and my family. We'll be moving back to New England where I'll serve as the Senior Pastor at Union Church in Rockville, CT.

The hard thing about new doors opening is that in order to walk through the new door you need to walk out of the one you are currently in.

This past Sunday I read my resignation letter to the Church where I have had the honor of serving for the past 5 years.

It was difficult for sure, but the thing about God's work is that to go through a new door doesn't mean totally closing off the old door because as Christ followers we're all in the same family!

I'm looking forward to what God has in store through this new door, but I'm also praising God for what He's done...so, for those who weren't at my church on sunday here's the statement I read to my church family at MHCCC...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stand Up

Convert, Pay the Tax, Leave … or Die 

In northern Iraq, radical Muslims painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N,” (referring to the Nazarene...Jesus) on the homes and businesses of Christians. The property owners were publicly identified as Christ-followers, and yet they refused to deny their faith. A symbol of accusation became a mark of identity and commitment. 


Visit the Voice of the Martyrs for more information on how you can stand with the Persecuted Church around the World.

I've been thinking a lot about persecution these days, especially persecution that comes from sharing the gospel with people. 

Well actually I've been thinking more about the lack of persecution that many people face because they just fly under the radar and keep the "mystery of the gospel" exactly that...a mystery.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lock in & Go

The first time we went rappelling, I was absolutely scared out of my mind! Of course I couldn’t let anyone know it, I mean after all I was the Youth Pastor, and was the one that actually convinced the Parents of my students to sign the assumption of Death…I mean Risk form that even allowed them to come on the trip in the first place.

So I did what any self respecting, ministry minded, students first Youth Pastor would do…I volunteered to take pictures…for posterity!

The whole day, student after student stepped up, locked in, looked down and not only walked down the cliff, but actually bounded and sailed down the rock face and into the great unknown…it was the coolest thing to see nervous, timid and downright scared young people step up and face their fears and with an active understanding of what faith really is…step off and experience it first hand!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Life Change is Life Change

The more I read my Bible and follow the steps of Jesus, the more I realize that His ministry was all about restoration and expansion. Everywhere He went He preached a similar message, a message of hope and repentance to restore us to a right relationship with Him. 

I also see that He didn’t settle down in one spot. He moved around and left instructions for His followers to spread the message as well. He was about building His Kingdom, but the only difference was that His Kingdom was meant to be in the hearts of His people, and His people are all around the world. He truly had a Kingdom mentality that was meant to be expanded, not focused on one people group, in one city, one country or even one continent. 

I also notice that Jesus used various means, and methods in His delivery, yet His message remained the same. Have you ever wondered why He went with Jairus to heal His daughter when he could have just thought it and accomplished the same outcome? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Promise...Solidified

I remember one time several years ago I was working on some things in my office getting ready to go out on one of my teaching, and preaching excursions when I heard a loud ruckus coming from down stairs.

It was really loud, and definitely had the sound of a major argument going on. Someone was displeased and didn't mind letting the other participant know about it, and quite boisterously at that!

Lots of things came to my mind then, and as I ran down the stairs to investigate the current uprising I overheard, I soon realized that one of those things that I hoped would make me stand up and confront someone was happening in my very presence, with my kids!

As, I swooped down the stairs and rounded the corner, I ran right into another royal rumble of sorts, only this time there were no chairs being thrown, only loud words and lots of tears coming from my daughter, met with a smug little smile and look of accomplishment from my son.

As I tried to intervene and find out what was happening, Serena said “Ethan didn’t keep his promise to me, he said he would do something and he didn’t”…then she said, “HE EVEN THUMB SWORE AND BENT IT!

Friday, April 3, 2015

It's friday...

It’s Friday...but Sunday’s coming...

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

All about Easter

1 Corinthians 15:1-19

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ch Ch Changes...

When I think back on the journey God has brought me through to this point, I’m continually overwhelmed with the question, “who am I, that God would bless me like this?”

You see God has been hard at work for 47 years in the heart and mind of this old codger, and as I reflect on the work He has had to do, it truly is amazing. He has widdled and carved, and at times sand blasted my attitude plenty over the years, and He’s still at it.

I remember when I was younger, I really struggled with anger, and even though I came off as a pretty level headed, calm and easy going guy there were times when even the littlest thing would make me lose it.

I mean you could mess with me all day long, but even though my brother and I were fighting like cats and dogs, if you messed with him you were in trouble.

Or, talk about how tall and skinny I am all you want (yes, it’s true I used to be very skinny, in fact the nickname “beanpole” comes to mind as I’m writing this…aw those were the days), but say one word about my mom, and watch out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Charms?


When many people think of St. Patrick, the first things that come to mind are shamrocks, leprechauns, and maybe pinches for people who don’t wear green. What’s easy to miss in these celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day is the fact that the real Patrick was a devout Christian and a missionary.

Patrick was a Roman Briton, born to wealthy parents. His father was a deacon, but Patrick wasn’t particularly religious. 

Around the year 430, when Patrick was sixteen, Irish raiders kidnapped him. Patrick became a slave, watching his Irish master’s sheep. 

In his loneliness, he turned to the God of his father and entrusted his life to Jesus Christ.
Six years later, Patrick escaped from the Irish and returned to his family—but soon
afterward, a dream changed his destiny. He saw an angel, and the heavenly messenger
told him to go back to Ireland.

For fifteen years Patrick studied theology and Scripture; then he returned to Ireland not
as a slave but as a missionary. He used familiar Irish symbols to explain Christian
theology—the three-leafed shamrock, for example, became a metaphor for the Trinity.

This video clip from Rose Publishing helps give some good insights into who Patrick was and how He was used of God.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All I have...All I Need

Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John and an early church leader whose life ended when he refused to betray his Lord. 

Asked one last time to disavow his Christ, the old man replied, 

"Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I speak evil of my King who saved me?"

Here is his martyr's prayer, as recorded by the historian Eusebius. 

"Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of You, I bless You that You have counted me worthy of this day and hour, that I might be in the number of the martyrs. Among these may I be received before You today in a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as You have beforehand prepared and revealed. Wherefore I also praise You also for everything; I bless You; I glorify You, through the eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, through whom, with Him, in the Holy Spirit, be glory unto You both now and for the ages to come. Amen." 

Eusebius adds: "When he had offered up his amen and had finished his prayer, the firemen lighted the fire." 

All Polycarp and thousands and thousands of martyrs down through the centuries had is Christ, and truth be told that's all they Needed. It's All I have today as well, and as this world continues to spin out of control and claim what is wrong as right and what is truth as lies, the more we need to cling tightly to All we have in Him.

This video clip nails it for me..."How can someone like Polycarp or Jihadi John's latest "infidel" stand straight up for their Savior? Realizing that in the beginning, in the midst and in the end all that matters is Jesus. 

Do you know Him?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hope


This article was written a few years ago, and as I look around at our world today I can't help think about the question posed herein...

I recently returned from an extensive teaching, preaching and training trip to Ukraine, which is a place that I have become very familiar with over the last few years.


It’s a place that I always enjoy returning to, and a place that connects with me, and impacts me in different ways every time without fail!

My latest trip to Ukraine was just as amazing as the other times, but as I reflect on some of the reasons why, I keep thinking about a theme that kept recurring in my mind as I was there.

The theme that kept popping up everywhere I went was a question…”In whom does my hope lie?”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Least of These


Matthew 25:21-20  (The Message)

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. 

Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:


I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’