#GivingTuesday

givingtuesday2016_blog

Many years ago I read the book, The Blessed Life written by Robert Morris where he recounts story after story of how he generously gave extravagant gifts, selflessly and willingly. It absolutely revolutionized what I thought about giving.

Growing up in the church and with Christian parents, I was taught to give my first ten percent of everything I earned back to God, because it belonged to Him in the first place. We called it a tithe. But what I never remember being addressed, was the other ninety percent.

Wait a minute…doesn’t it all belong to God? Isn’t He calling us to a life of generosity rather than obligation? Aren’t we to steward what has been so graciously given to us? This spanned way beyond my bank account to a heart issue – because, “where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will also be” Matthew 6:21. I knew my heart was in the wrong place, and if I could get that right, my mindset would change as well.

Continue reading “#GivingTuesday”

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Even though Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday on a church calendar, I enjoy it, dare I say, more than Christmas and Easter. All the hoopla and trappings of Christmas are about to roll over us, and it will again be a battle to find “God with us” amongst all the layers we have added to the holiday.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving”

Bitterness and Surrender

bitternessandsurrender_blog

“Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
Colossians 3:12-15

“Let it go.”

I hear these words turning around in my head. I know they are from the Lord, but I feel like I can’t do what He is requesting.

The older I get, the more I realize how weak I really am. I see all the things Christ has brought me through and given me strength to accomplish, and sometimes I just forget.

Continue reading “Bitterness and Surrender”

Sunday Morning Heathens

nochurchonsunday

My wife and I absolutely love our church’s Saturday night worship service. It is just perfect for us. How do we love thee, let us count the ways!

Continue reading “Sunday Morning Heathens”

Get Your Feet Wet

feetwet_blog

I remember the exact moment. I remember what I was wearing and what the air smelled like. I normally have a pretty crummy memory but this day has buried itself in my head. It was seven years ago, and it was the day of my regional track meet. I had been training for six months to run the 1600 meter race. I was nervous out of my mind and got about twelve minutes of sleep the night before. Instead of pumping myself up to run the race, fear began to infiltrate every thought I had. I was scared of losing. I was scared of not being able to finish the race. I was scared of not making my parents proud. I was scared. Now this isn’t something I’m proud of, but I decided that it would be best if I told my coach I was sick and couldn’t run the race. As much as she tried to talk me out of that decision, I insisted that there was no possible way I could run even after all the countless hours I had put in to train.

I let fear get a foothold on my life that day.

Stories like that weren’t uncommon in my growing up years. Unfortunately, fear was something that I let make decisions for me. I’m not surprised that the Lord has used the last two or so years to weed a lot of deep-rooted fear out of my life.

Continue reading “Get Your Feet Wet”

The Unusual Hero

scriptureshoes

Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’  Jeremiah 9:23-24

I toed the line at the annual Toronto Marathon that I had trained many months for. I wrote verses on my shoes, prayed about my upcoming race and goals I had set and gave it all over to the Lord as we made our way to the start line the morning of. Some people don’t understand running, and that is ok. But for me, running is a way that brings me closer to God. I feel His love and heartbeat for me in moments of pain and find His joy and protection in the moments of simplistic beauty that surround me on each run. To me, running is my unique time spent with Jesus. My own special way to worship Him.

On this particular day, I felt complete peace about this race. Usually, I am very nervous and can’t seem to keep food in my system. But this race felt different. I knew I had given the long months of training my all. I had worked hard, struggled with injury and enjoyed every moment. Even if I didn’t meet my goal, I had peace.

Every one of us longs to be a hero. God has engraved this in us. We know that we are made for more and long to accomplish the biggest of feats for Him and for His glory. Sometimes along the way we lose sight of the One who we are serving. It feels good to succeed and to do it all “for His glory.” As we begin to excel, flattery can so easily creep in and seeds of pride can be planted. But what about losing for His glory? What about not accomplishing what you hoped you would, for His glory?

Continue reading “The Unusual Hero”

God’s Royal Law

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Last week, my wife and I took our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids to WaterColor, Florida for Fall Break at the beach. The gulf water was so blue, the beach so white and the sky so beautiful that it made me wonder who could look at such spectacular scenery and not thank God for His creativity? I also thank Him for the fun we had in the sun and surf—playing with grandkids that are almost 2, 5 and 8 years old keeps us young at heart but stiff in the joints! We swam, built and destroyed sand castles, battled the waves, rode bikes, canoed in a coastal lake and sampled as many Seaside restaurants as possible.

And that brings me to the point of this blog. We, as a family, were out in public for almost every daylight hour of the trip. We interacted with lots of people from all over the country, and not one of them commented on the fact that our nearly 5-year old grandson doesn’t look like the rest of us. You see, he was adopted from Ethiopia and my daughter and I have skin coloration similar to Casper the ghost. While the rest of the family tans well, our grandson definitely wins the game of “which one is not like the other ones.”

Continue reading “God’s Royal Law”

Truth Through Earbuds

truthheadphones

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I need to do more preaching to my own soul, to get truth sown deeper into my heart and mind…especially during the difficult times and circumstances of life. Well, sometimes, I struggle with this.

I can tend to get into such a place that it would take more mental and emotional where-with-all, strength and stamina than I have at that moment to even know where to start. The scriptures that had once brought comfort and peace and that strengthened me, that I wrote on my bathroom mirror and have on my screensaver and put as the wallpaper on my phone, fall flat. I can read them and have friends speak them to me and even meditate on them, trying to squeeze out the same results that I had before when that scripture brought me new life, but to no avail…I’m still just as broken or hurt or hopeless.

I have learned that for me, in those times, I need a little something else before I am able to absorb the truths that I know in my head but that are having a hard time penetrating my heart…and it’s not because the truths are not as true this time or that the effectiveness of scripture has changed. Typically for me, it is because I am spent. (You know, when it’s not because I’m being rebellious and outright ignoring or rejecting truth.) I’m mentally, spiritually and emotionally exhausted, and I can’t even think of how to approach preaching to myself. But because my God is faithful and gracious to me, He has given me a tool to use when I can’t make myself function, when I need to stop trying to fix myself and just rest in His presence. For me, that tool is worship, songs of truth that can wash over me in comforting waves and that I can proclaim when I can’t find the words for myself.

Continue reading “Truth Through Earbuds”

Into Light

darkness_light_blogWe have all experienced some form of darkness. We know what it feels like to be too far gone, not enough, or completely forgotten. But there is hope. Continue reading “Into Light”