Category: Pastor Blog


“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21.

Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Ruler was always a sad story to me. His riches were too precious to give up. I must beware of being attached to riches.

While that lesson is present, we can easily miss an important contrast if we stop there.

When Jesus told Matthew to follow him, “…he left all, rose up, and followed Him.” – Luke 5:28. 

When Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow him, “…they forsook all, and followed Him.” – Luke 5:11. 

Matthew left behind a steady job working for an empire that would last another four hundred years.

The other four left a fishing career that had just seen their biggest catch.

By saying “follow me”, Jesus invited the Rich Young Ruler to be one of his rabbinical students. Just like he did with those five guys.

Something most Jewish father’s dreamed for their sons.

And Jesus didn’t ask anything of the Rich Young Ruler that He hadn’t asked from the others. But do you see the contrast?

They chose a life with Jesus, and He chose the life he already had.

Call to Discipleship

The Rich Young ruler isn’t so much about riches or privilege. It’s about answering Jesus when He calls you. We can know this is true because Peter brings up the contrast  afterwards.

“Then Peter answered and said to Him, Look, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” – Matthew 19:27.

Peter’s puffed-up question is a subject for a different time. But the point stands.

Do I believe following Jesus is of greater worth than following myself?

Jesus may not be asking me to give all my stuff to the poor. But what is He asking me to do? Am I willing to leave behind whatever I must to do what He wants me to do?

I’m so thankful that the Lord promises a reward to those who follow Him. I am very grateful for the examples of godly men and women who did leave valuable things behind to be obedient to the Lord. I’m thankful I got to watch how the blessings of God are greater than anything I can achieve on my own.

Maybe take some time today to ask the Lord if there’s anything He wants to you leave behind? And when He puts His finger on something, lay it down, knowing that “you shall receive a hundredfold now in this time…and in the world to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:30. 

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Thankful for Conversion

“Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3.

Conversion is a dirty word in my culture.

Many profess their own goodness, and therefore see no need to change.

I’m fine how I am.

I like who I am.

Who are you to try and change me?

Conversion

Can I make a confession?

I’m not fine with my selfishness. I’m not happy with my flaws and failures. I want to be different.

I want to be better.

And I can’t think of anything sadder than telling myself I’m fine when in reality I’m not.

Dictionaries define “conversion” as “changing something from one form to another, to transmute or transform”.

That’s what Jesus is in the business of doing. Taking people that aren’t okay and turning them into something beautiful.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”Psalm 139:23-24.

I’m so grateful that Jesus didn’t leave me alone because I thought I was fine. I’m thankful that He loves me enough to keep working in me to transform all the ugly things in my heart into things that reflect His love. That when I ask Him to search my heart, He does, and doesn’t leave me where I am.

Maybe take some time today to thank the Lord for the cross and to ask Him, like David did, to search your heart for things that don’t please Him, so He can transform you.

 

 

“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith…” – 1st Timothy 2:2.

Sometimes, when it’s completely quiet, and I’m alone with my thoughts, I get a panoramic vision of my life.

That usually evokes a question.

God…you’ve been amazingly good to me. Why?

The answer is simple. He loves me. He’s good. It’s who He is.

But one of the reasons I feel like my life has been a fairy tale is because of all the mentors I’ve had.

Mentors

I had loving and supportive parents who spurred me to be all God wanted me to be, even when those steps of faith probably made them worry about me.

I’ve had amazing Pastor’s who taught the scriptures faithfully week after week and then told me the truth one on one. Even when it was hard to hear.

I have an awesome wife who speaks into my life in areas no one else ever could. Things I’m too caught up in my own complexities to address on my own.

I’ve always had older brothers and sisters in the faith who’ve encouraged me when I’m down, challenged me when I was wimping out, or simply obeyed God when they had no clue what I was going through.

“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 122.1.

I’m so thankful I’ve been a “son in the faith” to many good people. I’ve so glad for the influences that shaped me to be the man I am today. I’m grateful that God has sent folks to pour into me.

I realize everyone hasn’t had my experiences. But God doesn’t leave any of us alone. Maybe take some time today to thank the Lord for the influences He’s brought into your life. Or maybe take some time to repent because you’ve shut out the people God sent. Maybe you just need to get back to church so you can be poured into again. Whatever your case may be, all are good reasons to spend some time with the Lord right now 🙂

Thankful God is true

“… let God be true, but every man a liar… ” – Romans 3:4

Paul uttered those words when asked if people’s wickedness proves God’s unreliability.

There are moments where life is filled with so much evil, it’s understandable why someone might ask the question.

But it’s in those same moments I remind myself that I won’t find goodness or answers by looking at or to humanity.

I am thankful in these tragic days that even when every man is a liar, there is solid ground. I am grateful God is always true. I am thankful He’s given me His Word so I can know where the firm ground lies.

Please pray for the community of Sante Fe High School. God IS true so prayer does help.

Jesus, come quickly.

 

Thankful for Awesome Moms

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” – Proverbs 31:28.

I’ve had an abundantly blessed life because of all the mom’s I’ve been around.

First, there’s my mother. She taught me to fight for something that’s right. She taught me that God’s Word was the final authority. She taught me that God makes all people beautiful.

Even me.

Those things have shaped me into the man I am.

Awesome Moms

Next, there’s my bride. She loves our kids no matter what. She embraces her call to be a mom even though she’s so talented she could be successful in anything she set her mind to. She makes our home a place I long to be more than anywhere else.

Her life consistently challenges me to become more than I am and to be faithful to the very end. She brings so much joy to me and all our kids.

And then there’s all the older women who’ve made me a special meal, exhorted me obey the Lord, wrote me an encouraging note, and hugged me when I was having a rough day.

All of you fuel my desire to finish well in order that I might hear “well done good and faithful servant” when I stand before the Lord.

“Honor your father and your mother.” – Exodus 20:12

I’m so thankful for all the moms that have poured into my life. I’m grateful for the women who’ve been a Godly example to me, and who’ve eschewed the pull of the world to put self before others.

Mother’s Day is soon. Most of us fail to take appropriate time to honor anything in our lives. Maybe take some time now to jot down the reasons you’re thankful for the moms in your life. Whether you will or won’t see them this Sunday, you can make the holiday more meaningful by honoring those special ladies with your thoughtful time now.

“And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus said unto them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? And they said unto Him, yes, Lord.” – Matthew 9:28.

I am not a mountain climber.

Oh, I enjoy hiking out in the wild with loved ones. But I’m not fond of the soreness that settles in halfway up.

My normal physical regimen (which is non-existent) doesn’t suit me well for those moments.

And so, it’s very easy to think to myself. We’ve climbed far enough. We can head back down now. We don’t need to reach the top.

What usually keeps me going is the realization that I will miss an opportunity to see what’s at the top if I turn back. Being very competitive (and stubborn), I usually press on.

 

Faith Opportunities

 

Sometimes when the Lord challenges me to climb a spiritual mountain, I fail to view it similarly. Instead I say this to myself.

There’s no way I’ll make it over all these obstacles.

I’m worn out.

The climb isn’t worth it.

“Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened…” – Matthew 9:29-30a.

I don’t want to miss out on the miracles Jesus wants to do because I view faith opportunities as worthless or impossible obstacles.

So, today, I will be thankful for those faith opportunities. I will find gladness in the fact that it’s Jesus who’s led me to the mountain He intends to eventually remove. To find rest in the companionship I find with Him as I follow His loving plan.

Maybe you’re facing some faith opportunities today, but you’ve been looking at them as problems. Right now would be a good time to change your perspective 🙂 Spend some time with Jesus soon so He can open your eyes too.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth, nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” – Matthew 6:20.

Treasure makes me think of pirates, adventure stories, or pots of gold.

The Bible has other things in mind when it speaks of heavenly treasure.

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus says the people who respond to His offer of salvation are a treasure to Him.

Jesus told the rich man in Matthew 19:21 that investing in the lives of others equated to eternal treasure.

Proverbs 2:4-5 compares finding wisdom to treasure.

Seeing people saved, investing in other’s lives, and growing in wisdom are certainly good pursuits for the eternally-minded person.

But Paul said there was a prize to this great journey we’re on. The greatest treasure.

“That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” – Philippians 2:10.

The greatest eternal treasure – the best part about heaven – is something I can begin to experience now.

Knowing Jesus.

Experiencing the death of self and becoming more like Him.

I’m so glad that Jesus always calls me deeper. And that when I reach out to Him, even in the most pathetic way possible, He receives me. I’m so thankful that by His grace, He changes me by touching me with a bit of heaven each day.

Whether you’re feeling far away from God or close to God today, don’t forget to take some time to open your Bible, listen to His words, and experience a touch of heaven.

This song has been my prayer as of late. I share it here in the chance that perhaps its beautiful words will become yours too.

 

 

“…and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” – Matthew 5:22

The word “Raca” is an Aramaic word, the language most Jews spoke in Jesus’ day. It means “empty head” or “stupid head”.

Obviously we can’t go around saying that to people, no matter how much it might seem true.

But if you do slip up and say something, the danger is temporal.

You’ll be brought before the authorities for losing your temper and mistreating another. This will result in a fine or some other form of discipline so you remember to exercise self-control in the future.

What fascinates me in this verse isn’t the word Raca though. It’s the next two words.

Thou Fool.

Literally, it should be translated “More, Fool”. We get our word “moron” from this. It implies that you believe there is no hope for this individual. That there’s something broken about them that’s not fixable.

And thus you’ve written them off.

 

NeverGivesUp

 

That is the exact opposite of God’s love.

“….bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8.

The very nature of love is that it’s undeserved. That means my showing love to them isn’t conditioned upon them doing anything.

That is very freeing.

I’m so thankful that even though I make some empty-headed decisions, God’s love never gives up on me. That He keeps working on me and promises to make me more like Him. And I’m glad that He gives me the privilege of showing that same love to others.

Maybe there’s someone you’ve written off. Or maybe you’ve written off going deeper with your spouse or child or friend because you don’t think they’ll ever change in a certain area. Take some time now to thank God for the never-failing love He’s shown you. Then commit to showing it to that person from now on 🙂

“You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” – Malachi 3:14.

So much changes with time. When I was a kid, the crazy dream was that someday we’d be able to see each other when we spoke on the phone.

Those days are here.

But much also stays the same. When I read this passage, I realized that our frustrations are similar.

In the times of Malachi, they didn’t have social media, but the people raged against the government, the culture, and their spiritual leaders.

If they had Facebook and Twitter, I’d wager my feed would be full of angry complaints.

But all complaining is ultimately against God. Even more so when we scream at the ether of the internet for all to see.

Because the only one guaranteed to see those complaints is the Lord.

So when I do this, I’m saying the same thing they did in Malachi 3:14.

God, You’re not doing enough. What good is it to do things Your way when You won’t stop those who don’t?

Justice

“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” – Malachi 3:16. 

I’m so glad the Lord sees my love for Him and is pleased. I’m thankful that He will right every wrong in His time. That I can rest in peace no matter how unfaithful the government, the culture, or the church might be. That my God is true to His name.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.” – Psalm 145:17

If you’re angry or frustrated today because everything looks like it’s headed for a cliff, take some time to thank the Lord that He’s never near the cliff. And then tell someone else so they can be encouraged too 🙂

Thankful I Can Be Holy

“In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD…” – Zechariah 14:20. 

Jesus’ kingdom is going to be so cool!

No violence. No crime. No hate. Everything will be good and right.

So much so that this phrase “Holiness unto the Lord” will be a bumper sticker on everyone’s mode of transportation.

Holiness is simply a life devoted to God. A life that obeys and pleases God. A life that is connected to God.

Everyone in Jesus’ kingdom will embody that. And our world will be an awesome place.

But that doesn’t mean I have to wait until He returns to live this way.

 

Holiness

 

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1. 

That God commands us to be holy shows that I can live this way now with His help.

Even if others around me aren’t.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to let the mood of social media sway my behavior. That I can be kind and calm when others are cruel. I’m so glad that I have God’s Word to keep me on the right track when the currents of life pull at me to live for myself. I’m so thankful that Jesus lives inside me today.

If you feel beaten down by your sin and failure, take a moment to open up your Bible. Let God’s Word steer you back onto the path of purity. Let His promise that you aren’t a slave to sin become your firm foundation.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14.