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


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!