Monthly Archives: October, 2015

Hayride Excitement

As I was walking the dogs tonight, I saw something you do not see every day. It was the first time I saw this in my neighborhood. There was a hayride going down my road. It was bizarre. I never saw something like that in my area. But one group road by, and then another passed by thereafter. It was adorable seeing the kids waving.

The kids on the hayride were waving at the dogs. The dogs could care less. I told Max to look at the kids; however, he was busy doing his own thing. Marci was looking in an all-together different direction. The kids kept waving and waving, and only I was excited. Only I waved back.

So often in life, we get excited and we wave to others for attention. As we do, our waves are not returned. It is because we are waving at those who aren’t interested or do not care. We waste our “waves” on those who couldn’t be bothered. Even so, we have a God we could wave at any time and He would pay attention. He already is watching. Why do we wave when we need help, when we have a prayer request, when we are hurting, but we do not wave when we are having a good time? We share our troubles, but we don’t share during the blessed days.

Who are you waving at today? Are you trying to get attention from someone who doesn’t pay you any mind? Why not fix your eyes on your Creator? Did you know He’s your number one fan? He’s reaching for you. Reach back.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3b [NIV]

Colossians Study: Good Words

[Colossians 4:1-18]

5- 6 [CEV] “When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.”

  • Always make good use of time
    • Walk in wisdom.
    • Use your head. Don’t miss a trick.
    • Remember it’s when you act the fool that all eyes are upon you.
    • Be honest (we all need Jesus) and point to Jesus in all you do.
  • Be pleasant & hold their interest
    • Be gracious in your speech – grace stoops down and brings up
    • Speech seasoned with salt (salt elevates)
  • Choose words carefully
    • Words can build up and tear down, encourage or kill
    • Consider the motives for your words before you speak
    • Grace with Truth. Not one or the other.
    • Consider what God’s Word says—and say that!
  • Be ready to give answers
    • Always be prepared to answer questions.
    • One is prepared to answer questions from Bible reading & study, daily prayer, and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s Word that gives the answers and God’s Spirit which leads the way. You aren’t in this alone.
    • Don’t fear being asked questions. No one knows all the answers. When in doubt, admit you don’t know and seek answers together. It is better to say you do not know and look together than to be proud and pretend you know and lead someone down the wrong path. Stand for truth at all cost. Seek the Truth always.

Bible Study Questions:

1) The Bible says we are to make good use of time, walking in wisdom. What does that mean? Do we always have to be so serious?

2) The Bible says we are to be pleasant and hold the person’s interest. What does that mean?

How do you hold someone’s interest without trying to entertain them with the aim of making Jesus “more exciting”?

What does “speech seasoned with salt” mean to you?

3) The Bible says we are to choose our words carefully. What happens when our speech is all truth? What happens when our speech is all grace?

How can we use words that build up instead of tear down whenever we speak?

4) The Bible says we are to be ready to give answers. Does it mean we always have to know the answer? What does it mean to be ready? If we don’t know the answer, what are some ways we can respond?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Oh Everyone Makes Mistakes

Oh everyone makes mistakes. Oh, yes they do; Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too; Big people, small people, matter of fact, all people! Everyone makes mistakes, so why can’t you?

I used to sing that Sesame Street “Everyone Makes Mistakes” song as a child. It was the first song I learned. When I sing that song (and I still do today), I cannot help but consider Romans 3:23, as this song is definitely a song about us all falling short of the glory of God. No matter where we live, who we are, how young or old, etc., we all fall short. We all are sinners. And we often make mistakes.

Some mistakes can easily be forgiven. Some mistakes cut a little deeper. But no matter what the case, a mistake is a disruption of the glory of God for He cannot look at sin for He is holy. Thankfully God made a way to bridge the gap caused by sin. Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose again so that we could have new life through Him.

We will continue to make mistakes, but it is important to not focus on those mistakes. Instead, focus on your God. He is an awesome God. Where sin abounds, His grace abounds more. Though hate and judgment can cause discomfort, His love wins. Where there is only weakness, we see His strength on display. Our mistakes show our brokenness, but the blood of Christ washes us white as snow. Today, let us not focus on the sins and transgressions that have broken us—instead, fix your eyes upon your God. Follow His will. Focus on His purpose.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” – Proverbs 4:25 [NIV]

Lights Out

Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.

But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.

Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]

She Went to God

Rebekah was barren; Isaac prayed hard. God answered his prayer. Isaac’s wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25 says that the children were inside her tumbling and kicking. The children were so active within that she questioned why go on living. She went to God. She went to God, the Bible says, to find out what was going on.

God let her know what was happening within her. He told her that there were two nations in her womb and they were butting heads with each other within. He even let her know that the older child would serve the younger, the opposite of the normal position in society.

So often we have things happen in life, but we turn elsewhere instead of first turning to God. Today, may Rebekah’s example remind you of the importance of going to God first. He knows all. He sees all. He created you—He knit you together. He knows what is for your best. Only He can show you your purpose in life. Only He can give you wisdom. Only He can provide you with a peace beyond understanding. Only He is always ready to listen when we turn and speak. Take it to God my friend.

God Sees to It

In Genesis 22, we read in verse 14 the term GOD-Yireh. The Message translates this to “God sees to it.” To see to something, one makes sure it will happen, that whatever is needed is provided. In this case, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his treasured son Isaac on the altar. Abraham did exactly what was commanded, taking Isaac and binding him to prepare for the sacrifice.

As Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stepped in and we read of an angel calling out to stop the sacrifice. This attempted sacrifice showed Abraham feared God. After the angel interruption, then God provided another sacrifice—a ram that got caught in the thicket by his horns. God saw to it that there was something to sacrifice. In the same way, He sees to it that all our needs are provided.

Today realize that not only does God sees all, but He also sees things through to completion. When you think that there is no other way, there is a ram in the thicket. When you think that you cannot take anything more, there is a ram in the thicket. When you are struggling, in need, tired, or not well, there is often a ram in the thicket. If God called you to it, He will see you through it—with His strength to achieve His plan and finish the race focused on His purpose and for His glory.

Colossians Study: Worship Works

[Colossians 3:22-25]

“What you think about you care about

What you care about you chase”

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (v. 22-25 MSG)

  • Do your best
  • Work from the heart
  • Remember Who you serve

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NASB]

Anything you do can be an ACT OF WORSHIP

“The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love

– Psalm 147:11 [CEV]

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The passage speaks about working from the heart. This phrase “from the heart” translates in the Greek as “the soul” or “life” or “self” – “the breath of life.” What does that mean for us?

2) What is the difference between working for men and working for God?

3) Romans 12:11 says we should not be lazy. Instead we should work enthusiastically. What should we do if we find ourselves not working with enthusiasm?

4) The Bible says we should serve with joy (Psalm 100:2). What can we do if we find ourselves serving but not with joy? If we are not serving with joy, with what are we serving?

5) What does it mean when Paul says “do your best”? What is your best? How do you know it is your best?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Only Chance

I’ve lost count of how many times I listened to the words “only chance.” Time and time again, we get to a point when we have the opportunity to trust God to do something big in our lives. At times we hear these words – “it’s our ONLY CHANCE.” We listen. We take things into our own hands. We make heaps of messes.

In Genesis 19, we read about Lot settling in the mountains with his daughters. They had been safely escorted out of Sodom only for Lot’s daughters to cling to these words – only chance. They design a plan of drunken relations to continue their father’s bloodline. We also read of Abraham and Sarah caving to what they perceived to be their only chance for a child. This only chance became an interaction with Hagar, which was not part of God’s plan for the promised decedents that would be numbered as many stars that fill up the sky.

Following God’s will is difficult, especially when we start believing it is our only chance to do something we desire. What if we miss our one opportunity? Understand that God has a better plan that you can ask or imagine. You may believe that this is your only chance; however, if this chance isn’t coming to surface at this moment, perhaps God is working on something better. There is always a good reason. Trust and patience are increased as we continue to rest in Him.


I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com

United We Partake

Message delivered on 10/4/15 – World Communion Sunday

The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence REVIEW

I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com