Is God ‘Able’ or is he ‘Willing?’

There’s a difference between what God is ABLE to do and what God WILL do.

His ABILITIES are limitless.  He knows no boundaries.

His WILL, however, does have limits.  This is because it has purpose.

You remember the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, right?  In the 3rd chapter of Daniel these 3 guys boldly refuse to worship the golden idol king Nebuchadnezzar made.  After the king calls them to him, he gives them one final chance (warning) to bow down or he will have them thrown into a fiery furnace.

Their response in verse 17 is bold, and contains two messages in it.

“…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.”

First, they are proclaiming God’s power and ability by saying that he definitely CAN deliver them from death by fire…if he chooses to.  They didn’t say God would.

Second, they made it clear to the king that God is going to remove them from the grip of his hand.  Think about this.  If they are put to death, the king no longer has control over them.  And if God does happen to save them from the fire (which he did), this too proves that Nebuchadnezzar has no control over their lives by failing to kill them.  Either way…not allowing fear to dictate who they worship secures their fate.

What fears are you allowing to challenge your faith in God’s abilities?  

God is calling me to lead our church’s first satellite campus this year.  Do I have fears come and go about my ability to lead this new body of believers well?  Absolutely.  But I have to constantly remind myself that God is the one who will give me what I need.  We obey…He equips.  Period.

How about you?  Join the conversation, leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

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What’s so ‘good’ about Good Friday?

My son asked me recently, “What’s so ‘good’ about Good Friday?  Isn’t that when we remember Jesus hanging on the cross?  That doesn’t sound good to me.”  

Easter

I love this!  His heart is in the right place.  Absolutely, this was not a good day for Jesus.

But….in a much larger sense it really is a very good Friday.  By Jesus allowing his brutal death to occur he assured his purpose was directly in the middle of God’s will.  Isn’t that where we all want to be….in His will?

And for you and I, Good Friday was the most amazing act of selfless love in human history.  If Jesus had not given himself in this moment, eternal life and a mended relationship with the Creator would not have been possible.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.    Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

Fully aware of the unbearable pain,  the ridicule, the rejection, the shame…..Jesus gave his life for you.

He gave it for me.

Willingly.

Because of this, you can know Him today.  All you need is to believe.  The relationship grows from there.

If you want to know the person of Jesus today, ask someone.  Ask a Christian neighbor, co-worker, or relative.  Find a pastor to talk with, or feel free to connect with me on Twitter.  

Share this post with someone you know.  Also, join the discussion and leave a comment below.

God Bless

 

 

 

 

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Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fear

Most of the things  we fear are unrealistic.  They consist of the ‘What Ifs’ in life.  We also fear the unknown, don’t we?  These are unhealthy fears, especially for believers.  Take a look at this…

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.    Psalm 115:11

photo by: imperfectspirituality.com

photo by: imperfectspirituality.com

The word for ‘Fear’ here is defined as worship and reverence.  So, to truly fear the Lord is to attribute significant worth and respect for him.  To do this, we cannot put our trust in our finances, our circumstances, or our own abilities.  Being human, most of us tend to focus our attention on the tangible and obvious realities…the things we can measure and even project.  But God would rather we remain in the present with him, and have such a respect for his part in our lives that we can fully trust him with all of our unknowns….all our insecurities.

This applies particularly to God’s call on us.  When we’re in God’s will, transition tends to be a regular theme.  Are you facing significant changes in life…right now or in the coming future?  My family and I are.  I’ll admit, sometimes it is easier to make a long list of concerns about tomorrow than it is to recognize all the ways the Lord is moving and providing today.  But then God reminds us….

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.    Matthew 6:34

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?    Matthew 6:26

Personally, I need to trust God in my leadership abilities.  I wrestle with some insecurities related to launching a satellite campus this Fall.  What will this look like for our kids?  How will this effect my ability to be a good father and husband?  Our home finances are going to change.  What will this look like?

Where do you need to place higher trust in the Lord today?

May you take notice of God’s blessings today, and experience trust in him for tomorrow.  

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Even though _______________, I will have joy!

Is life challenging for you today?  Not necessarily in a bad way.  Life can feel heavy whether we are facing unfortunate things or really great things.

smile

The Lord recently led me to this passage during our church staff prayer time.  At the time it seemed kind of random.  Then it appeared again two days later in a devotional book I had not picked up in a while.  I’ve learned over the years that when things like that happen it’s more likely to be God trying to get our attention than simply irony.  So I felt I should write about it.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!     – Habakkuk 3:17-19  (NLT)

Do you see how many times the author says, “Even though?”   3 times.

Even though (insert negative situation)….YET I will rejoice in the Lord!

I wanted to share mine with you today.

“Even though God is calling me to something overwhelming…..”

“Even though I find myself falling short at home, work, and in my health…..”

“Even though despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to get caught up…..”

In the midst of all that, YET I WILL REJOICE!

I’m sharing this to be authentic, hoping it might encourage others.  Now it’s your turn.  Take a minute to complete 3 of these for your self.  “Even though __________________________

So…if you are feeling overwhelmed by either horrible or great things today, let me encourage you.  Our God is our strength!  Period.  End of story.  Our circumstances are always changing.  God, however, does not.

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ROFL at God

photo by: dubsism.wordpress.com

photo by: dubsism.wordpress.com

Have you ever laughed at God?  Be honest.  Has he ever asked you to do something so ridiculous or promised you something unimaginable that you literally laughed out loud at God?

I have.

There was a time years ago when God was calling me into full-time ministry.  I had all the excuses in the world…and good ones.  I had a shady past.  I was a licensed EMT and had a secure, good-paying job at a hospital.  I had not gone to seminary (and didn’t plan to, either).  I wasn’t perfect, we all know that pastors are perfect (insert sarcasm).

You name it, I had every reason in the book to not do what God was asking of me…and laugh in his face in the process.

Well, thankfully I’m not the only person who’s ever done this.  There’s a relatively small character in the Bible.  You might have heard of him.  Abraham  (more sarcasm)?  God had a specific plan for mankind in this piece of history, and he was going to use Abraham and his wife, Sarah, to do it.  They screwed it up the first time by taking things into their own hands.  So this was round two.  God (again) tells Abraham that he and Sarah will have a son.   Abraham was 100 years old at the time, and Sarah was 90 when this passage comes into the picture…

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”   Gen. 17:17

See, ROFL  (rolling on floor laughing) was started by Abraham even before Twitter.

So, has God made you a seemingly ridiculous promise lately?  Is he asking you to do something for him that is way beyond your own capabilities and imagination?  If so, I’ll pray for you.  I’m in that season myself.  Recently, God has been calling me to transition into a Campus Pastor roll as our church begins moving toward a multi-site church model.  Intimidating?  Yes.  Beyond my own capabilities?  Oh, yeah.  But…

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.   2 Cor. 9:8

God will come through when you and I are in his will.  He is able.  Do you believe it?

May you have the courage and faith to say ‘YES’ to his call on your life today.

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No need to kiss up to Jesus

The other day my wife and I were out shopping when she said to me, “Ha,ha, did you see that?”

Me:  “No, what?”

Her:  “That little girl over there just gave her mom the sweetest, biggest kiss…”

Me:  “OK?”

Her:  “…and then asked her mother if she would buy her something!”

If you’re a parent you’ve been there, right?  And most of the time we say ‘NO.’  But once in a while that cuteness gets to us and we give in.  We cave.

This incident got me thinking immediately.  Isn’t this how we often approach Jesus when we need him to intervene in our life?  Especially when we are the reason things are the way they are.  If we’re really honest, we know this isn’t how Jesus works.  But for some reason, we make him promises and try harder and harder to live ‘perfect’ lives so that he might be more apt to do us a favor.

Here’s the thing.

Yes, Jesus wants you and I to live holy lives….but mostly because he knows that’s the only way we can really be happy, healthy, and safe in this life.  We’re his kids, and he wants to bless us and give us gifts more than our earthly parents want to.

Like earthly parents, however, Jesus can see right through us when we are kissing up.  So just do your best at living for him and come to him as you are.  Do it today…right now.  Just admit to him the areas you need to work on, and then tell him where you need help.  By the way, we need his help in a BIG WAY in EVERY PART of our lives.  So, rely on him in every portion of your life instead of just the difficult or empty parts.  If you do this I’ll bet you will notice a huge difference in how you see your life today and where it is headed tomorrow.

So don’t kiss up to Jesus…give up to Jesus!

Comments are very much appreciated.  God bless.

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One Word for the Entire Year

Screen shot 2013-12-27 at 4.01.39 PM

If you could choose just one word to hold on to throughout all 12 months of 2014, what would it be?  What would your focal theme for your life be this year?

In January of 2013, I wrote a blog post on my #OneWord365 for the year.  It was so effective that I’m doing it again this year.

As I pondered and prayed over the past few weeks about what my #OneWord365 for next year might be, I think I’ve figured it out.

intentional1

Let me honest with you.  Last year my word was STRIVE.  And I did.  I strove toward some great goals and made amazing progress in those areas.  But I was not highly intentional with every key aspect of my life.  So, what does INTENTIONAL look like for me?  It can be summed up in two key areas.

INTENTIONAL in my eating patterns – Back in October, I experienced what it was like to really eat healthy foods.  It was through the Daniel Fast, a 21-day special fast allowing only a few natural foods.  I was able to be successful with this extremely restrictive diet plan.  Now it’s time to put some intentionality to work for the long haul.  Losing some inches around my waist by eating wiser will increase my self-image, improve my health, and give me more energy.

INTENTIONAL with my time management – This one involves many other pieces.  Last year, I learned how to schedule things that led to accomplishing some Spiritual health and physical goals.  And it worked.  Now that those things have become routine (meaning I no longer have to schedule them), I’m excited to implement this practice with my work in the ministry.  In many ways, 2014 will require more faith and intentional time management of me than previous years.  This will mean scheduling events on my calendar for personal study, writing, communications, and investing in the lives of my leaders and others around me.

So, what do you do once you have your #OneWord365?  

Blog about it.  Post it all over social media.  Design a graphic for your word, then set it as your desktop on your computer, tablet, and smart phone.  And finally, tell others.  Letting others know our goals causes us to take them more seriously.

One more thing.  In January, schedule times to re-evaluate your progress throughout the year.  Select a day and time, about every 3 months, to spend a good hour or two reflecting on your original goals.  Put this in your calendar.  Set reminders.

What is your #OneWord365?

Join the community.  Follow myself and #OneWord365 on Twitter…and share your word.

May 2014 be a year of health, improvement, and inspiration for you.  God bless.

Comments are welcome below, or you can leave me a voice message HERE.

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