Thursday, July 30, 2009

Road Trip - Roadblocks and Detours

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

We have been talking the last few weeks about being on a “Road Trip” with Christ. The highway of life can’t always be straight and smooth; there are hills, construction, rough spots in the road and even “Roadblocks”.

“Roadblocks” are obstructions in the road that keeps us from growing and going in Christ… Anything that can slow our pace in getting closer to God and our goal is a “Roadblock”. Either the enemy places them in front of us to slow us down, or maybe we place them there ourselves (Self Pity, Pride, Guilt, Unforgiveness, Envy, Anger… and many more)… Your “Roadblock” may be different than mine, but they are there. We can allow these “Roadblocks” to become stumbling blocks in our lives, or we can turn them into stepping stones and go on to the next level. I could stay right here all night, but…

Just like “Roadblocks”, there are many “Detours” may come our way.
We all have experienced traveling down the highway and came across a sign that said, “Highway Closed. Follow the Detour Signs.”

Life and our “Road Trip” are very much like that at times. Maybe we go along for months and everything is going good and smooth, then we have some trouble and we have to take a “Detour” in order to get back on the right path… So, here are some things that I have noticed about “Detours”:

Sometimes “Detours” appear suddenly and without warning. I am reminded of our youth trip to Shabbach Youth Conference in Myrtle Beach… we were headed down 501 and all of a sudden, our vans came to a sudden stop. There was a power line down across the road and traffic was stopped. We ended up turning around and taking a “Detour” in order to get back on the main road. It is very hard to prepare for troubles and “Detours” that may come our way, even though we know that sooner or later, they will be there.

We don’t know how long the “Detour” will be. When the highway sign points to a “Detour”, we take it not knowing how long it is going to be. They always seem to take us out of the way and delay our arrival to our destination. When life’s “Detours” appear, we don’t know how long we will have to suffer, but we are hopeful that at any moment we will be back on the main road.

“Detours” can have good results. Sometimes while on a “Detour”, I see some of the most beautiful scenery and coolest things I have ever seen. Getting away from the billboards and bright lights of the highway, there are great things to see. Just like we talked about a few weeks ago… Exiles… getting away from the things of the world allows us to see great things from God.

On a “Detour”, we must drive by faith. The “Detour” road is one that we may have not been on before. We have to trust the signs that they will lead us back to the main road.
In the same way, We Must Trust God! He may be leading us in a direction or ministry we have never been in before. He will work it out!
Remember, Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Usually, we do one of three things when we face these “Detours”?

We can turn and go back… But Philippians 3:14 tells us, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Don’t give up and turn back… keep moving, pressing toward the goal. Don’t be afraid, He will guide you.

We can take the “Detour” but grumble and complain about it every step of the way… A lot of people press through their troubles, but they complain and tell everyone they meet how bad it is… It is hard to be around those people. I almost become depressed myself. I want to be encouraged not discouraged, how about you? 2 Corinthians 4:9 tells us, “…persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” God will take care of us, we will not be destroyed! God has called us to be a GOOD witness for Him.

Or we can accept the “Detours”, be of good Cheer and learn from them… Look at the apostle Paul. If anyone had to endure “Detours”, it was him. Paul wrote a lot of the New Testament from jail. He wrote in 2 Timothy 4:16, “No man stood with me, but all me forsook me.” But yet he kept going. He never let the “Detours” keep him from going where he was supposed to go and preach what he was supposed to preach.

So, even though we come across “Roadblocks & Detours” and we spend a lot of our time being “Backseat Drivers”, there really is only “One Way” we can go on our Christian “Road Trip”… We must Follow Him!

John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”

Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Road Trip - Back Seat Drivers

For some reason, we all have different agendas why we get on this “Road Trip” with Christ. Some, and most obviously, start this trip because they want to avoid Hell. Some get on board to please their parents or their friends; it is what is expected of them. Others jump in because they sincerely want more of God, they want to Follow Him (Matthew 4:19) where ever He leads.

But then there are those who go because they want access to a “Vending Machine God”. They like the idea that when they want something or have the craving for something, they can go, make their selection and “poof” there it is. The problem with that is when it doesn’t happen or they don’t get everything they want, they begin to question God and doubt creeps into their mind.

God says for us to just trust Him and follow Him, that’s all… God wants us to give Him control of our lives. So, here is what we do, we jump in the back seat and allow Jesus to take over (I know what you are thinking… this is not a line from a Carrie Underwood song). We begin to say things like, “Where ever You lead, I will follow” and “I’ll go where ever You take me”. Then for some reason, we begin to do something else. We become “Back Seat Drivers”. We begin to ask and say things like, “Why hasn’t God blessed me yet?”, “What is taking so long?”, “Just pull over and let me do it!” or even “Are we there yet?”. Does this sound familiar? For some reason, we try to blind fold Christ and tell Him which way to go and what He is doing wrong. Maybe we try to tell Him how we would have done it, if we had the chance.

But, we are not alone… The twelve who were with Christ the most, they were also “Back Seat Drivers”. Look at Matthew chapter 26. We all know the story of how the lady anointed Jesus with the very expensive oil. But look at how the disciples acted… verse 8, “When the disciples saw this, they were indignant.”Why this waste?" they asked.”

Let’s look at the disciple for a moment. Maybe they were ready for some “Big Movement” where Jesus was going to become the “King” He said He would. They were probably ready for Him to rule over all. Or maybe they thought Jesus had no structure, He obviously didn’t care about money and He was always offending the Jewish leaders. I can here them asking, “What is He doing?” They began to get upset with the situation and, yeah you guessed it, they became “Back Seat Drivers”. They just thought they would tell Jesus what He should have done… verse 9, "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

But look at what Jesus did. If you are a parent like me, you have been here before. Jesus said to them… in verses 10 through 13, “"Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Basically, you know when you are on a long trip and your kids constantly ask the question, “Are we there yet?”, well, Jesus gave them the same kind of answer we would give to our own kids. Now this is the PS translation of course but I believe Jesus turned around to them and said, “Just sit back and be quiet!” That is awesome! The disciples, for a moment, were blinded about what and how Jesus should be and what His mission was, and He let them know about it.

Are we so different? How many times do we, as Christians, try to tell Jesus what to do? How often in our own live do we try to be a “Back Seat Driver” to Christ and just give Him a little nudge in the direction we think He should go?

All Jesus said was to “Follow Him”. If we follow Him, He will take responsibility for the outcome. He is not going to steer us wrong. Always remember, He knows the way! We must try our best not to be “Back Seat Drivers” and allow God to lead us on the path He has for us.

So, give God control of the wheel and just sit back and enjoy the ride…

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Road Trip - One Way

Our Christian walk is like being on a “Road Trip”. After all, didn’t Christ Himself say, “Follow Me” and “Go”? The first thing we must learn about this trip is, there is only “One Way” to go to get to our destination.

My wife and I live on a cul-de-sac… there is only one way to get to our house from the entrance of our subdivision. In the same sense, there is only “One Way” to get to Heaven, our one true home (1 Peter), remember, we are just passing through. Check out this scripture:

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." -John 14:6.

Have you ever been on a trip and had to ask for directions? Were you able to under stand them? Did they get you where you wanted to go? It can be frustrating when we receive directions but they are so complicated that they are hard to follow. What we ask is a simple question, but too often a simple answer is not what we get in return.

There are many people who give life directions from their own ideas. The best directions usually come from those who are familiar with where you are and know where you are trying to go. There are those who are trying to find the way to God. They are going through life, but have no idea which way to go. Many have decided to stumble through life, hoping they will stumble upon God and happiness. Some have even asked directions from others who have steered them in the wrong direction and left them confused and even lost. And unfortunately, because of that, some have stopped looking altogether.

The way is not complicated... Follow Christ! As Christians, we can rejoice that we have found the right directions to heaven and God. Jesus, who has been there and lived here, has shown us the way. With Christ as our tour guide, we know exactly how to get there from here (or where ever we may be). That's why we follow Him and take no chance of getting lost, He knows the way! My family and I go to Garden City Beach just about every summer. I could drive there from Greenville with my eyes closed; I wouldn’t, but, you know what I mean… This year, I decided to come back home a different way because the traffic was unbelievable. So I asked for directions. Luckily, the guy I asked was also from Greenville. He knew exactly what to tell me and which way to go because he had driven it many times before… he knew!

So, while on your "Road Trip" called life, look to the One who knows the right way to go. Remember, there really is only "One Way"! So, don't get distracted and veer off course, going "One Way" really is that simple!
Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hello everyone. It has been a while since I had been on here, I apologize. The family and I have been on vacation and really busy with my son’s baseball (practices and tournament).However, while on vacation, I met a group of students who called themselves “Exiles”. As I begin to talk to them, I found out that they had come to S.C. from Minnesota and beyond to spend time with God, kind of in “exile” from the world they were used to. As I thought about this, God led me to 1 Peter chapter 2…
1 Peter 2: 11,12, “ Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (NKJV)
Wow, as Christians, we are called to be “Exiles”… sojourners, pilgrims, strangers, aliens to this world in which we live in. We are called to be different! I believe, just like the group I met, God wants us to “get away” from everything of this world and draw closer to Him. In doing so, we are preparing ourselves for our true home… our home in Heaven.
The scriptures show us that everyone who lives by faith is an “Exile” here on earth…
Hebrews 11:13-22, “Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, "Your descendants shall come from Isaac." Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that's what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar. By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau. By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph's sons in turn, blessing them with God's blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff. By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.” (The Message)
Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, we are to, as “Exiles” …
First, SEEK and look for our true home and secondly, DESIRE God and be after a far better place.
The words to a popular worship song we often sing (“Rescue”) says, “This world has nothing for me…” Nothing can ever compare to Christ and the place He has prepared for us in Heaven! A lot of times, we may think this world has something to offer and that it can satisfy our needs, but don’t be deceived! The truth is that we as Christians are just passing through and the things of this world are just temporary.
Listen to Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” I wonder how many of us are truly “eagerly waiting” for our Savior to return… Or are we just too busy being entertained and distracted by the things of this world? Remember, an “Exile” living by faith is desperately “seeking and desiring” another home, not just settling for this one.
The awesome thing I discovered about living the life of an “Exile” is, that is when God usually gives us our greatest revelations. It is there where God reveals His plan for our lives. (ex. You know… John…Isle of Patmos…Book of Revelation… Ha Ha) God wants us to get away from all this junk and grow closer to Him.
But don’t be confused, getting away doesn't mean that we are to go into hiding. He doesn’t want us to put on a disguise and hope no one knows we are a Christian. We are to lead others to the life of an “Exile”, we are show EVERYONE that there is a far better place for them too.
The life of an “Exile” is not easy, but it is required. Are you willing to live for Christ? What do you need to give up in this world to become an “Exile” and draw closer to God?
Listen to 1 Peter 2:11,12 again in the Message translation, “Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”
The choice is yours!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plank Eye

Why do we do what we do? Have you ever looked at the choices you have made and asked yourself, “What was I thinking?” The fact is circumstances occur all around us everyday and we have to decide how we will react to them. In short, we all have choices to make…what to wear, what to eat, where to go… you get the point. However some decisions are not as simple as others. Let’s take a look at just a few we need to really be careful in making.

1) Who (or what) will we serve? Ask yourself what is your primary focus in your life. Is it money, pleasure….God? Luke 16:13 tells us that, “No one can serve two masters... you cannot serve God and man.”
2) What friends will we hang out with? Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Here is a statement that I hear all the time… “Well, they just got involved with the wrong crowd…” My response always is… Who chose to be with the “wrong crowd”?
3) What (activities) will we do? Everything we do has consequences – not only do they affect the present, but they also affect the future and everyone around us. Like it or not, we will always have to answer for what we do. Ecclesiastes 11:9 tells us, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.”

As you can see, we all have choices to make. However, most of us don’t want to take any responsibility for any of them or even deal with them. A lot of times, we try to justify what we did, push them under the “rug”, or even, and this is what Jesus chastised us for, try to put the attention or blame on someone else. When I was young and broke something in the house, I would tell on my little brother for something he did. To, hopefully, get mom’s attention on him instead on my issue. Let’s take a look at what Christ had to say about that in the book of Matthew.

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV)

Now check it out in the Message translation…

“Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”

Most of the time, we can’t deal with our own problems because we are too busy judging others for theirs. God wants us to deal with our own so we can get to work fulfilling the “Great Commission” and helping others. Look at what Jesus said in verse five. “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” We must remove it, deal with it, then maybe we can help someone else!

God wants to use everyone one of us. The fact is, he has a plan for each of us in His perfect will. But the “Choice” is ours. Do we allow Christ to become the center of our lives? Or do we keep doing the things we are doing and hope God doesn’t notice as we push them under the “rug”? Whatever you may be dealing with because of choices that were made, God can help.

Don’t walk around as a “plank eye”. Remove the issue and then you will be able to help others for Christ!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stay Awake...

First of all, I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and, I also hope you spent some time thanking those (men and women of our armed forces) who make this nation so great and gave us the very freedom we enjoy.

Now, my typical “blogs” are usually highlights or outlines of messages I have spoken on Wednesdays at Renovate. But today, I want to just encourage you to… Stay Awake… and Pray!

Mark 14: 37-41 says, “Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

Wow, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to found “sleeping”, when Christ has asked us to “watch & pray”. All of us have something in our lives that needs God to intervene in. Something only He can help with. With so much going on around us, now is the time to “stay awake” and talk to God about these situations.

This Friday evening (May 29th) beginning at 8PM at our church offices, our student ministry (Renovate) is hosting a 24 hour pray time. Students are going to coming throughout the night and day praying for various things. But most importantly, I hope, they will be drawing closer to God! Believe me, there were some puzzled looks as if to ask, “Are you kidding?” when we first announced this idea. Then I posed this question, and maybe you should ask yourself this as well, “What are you willing to give up to see God do something miraculous in your life, or the life of someone around you, your favorite TV program, your nap time, your favorite book or even plans you have made with your friends?” For an adult, that is though, but imagine what is being asked of a student. God has called us to do just that…

So, as we pray for our nation, families, church and needs around us this week, I want to encourage you to find some time to push away from your “normal routine” and “watch and pray”. Remember, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Be strong and allow God to meet your every need.

May God bless you and everyone around you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Going to Gethsemane... a Call to Prayer

Luke 11:1, “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

How many of you have ever felt as though you didn’t know how to pray? Ever asked yourself, “What do I say?” or “How do I say it?” It’s ok, even the disciples needed help.
I sometimes feel as though we, as Christians, “pray” just enough to say we did. To somehow make us feel good about our “walk”. But, unfortunately, that is not good enough. I believe God is calling us to “Go to Gethsemane”…

Read Mark 14:32-42

Jesus became “troubled and deeply distressed”. He said that His “soul is exceedingly sorrowful”. The same story in the book of Luke tells us that “His sweat became as great drops of blood…” But even so, Luke 22:44 also tells us that Jesus “prayed more earnestly”. So, I wonder… when is the last time we truly got on our face and prayed, “troubled and deeply distressed” over a situation or a person in our lives? When is the last time we had a Gethsemane experience? How many of us have actually prayed and grabbed a hold of God just like Jacob did and said, “I am not going to let go until you bless me?”
Mark 14:38 says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” God is “willing” to bless us and meet our needs. However, we are the ones who are “weak” and usually give up too soon. We must grab hold and not let go until we hear from God!

James 5:16, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Listen, prayer is as important to our lives as breathing. We must have it! Prayer is not an option for a Christian…

Allow me to leave you with one last truth…
John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” We all like the “ask what you desire” part of this scripture. But look what Jesus says… “abide in Me”. We must first, Live for Christ!

So, take a trip to Gethsemane and turn up your prayer life and see what God begins to do in your life!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Facebook...Building Integrity

How many of us use Facebook? Facebook is awesome. I sometimes catch myself spending hours looking through page after page. I find it a wonderful place to catch up with old friends, and new friends. I like looking at all the pictures and profiles. The profiles tell me a lot about a person, their likes, dislikes even their hobbies. They tell me exactly who they are.
God wants to ask us that very question… “Who are you?”
Read Luke 11:37-41
As Christians, our lives are kind of like a Facebook profile that people are looking at to see who we really are, what we really believe and, like it or not, they watch how we act.
With that said, God wants us to live a life of integrity, a life committed to Christ, both publicly and privately! Integrity is who we are when no one is around to see us.
Titus 2:7 says, “In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing integrity, reverence and incorruptibility…”
One thing that I have noticed is most non-Christians have more integrity than we Christians. Let me explain… I have seen their Facebook profiles and seen how they live their lives. It is like they are saying, “What you see is what you get!” They don’t try to hide anything. They don’t just tell me what I want to hear. As Christians, we must live what we say! The world is dying to see authentic followers of Jesus!
2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “…do not grow weary in doing good…”
So, “Who are you?” What do people see when they look at your life, when they see your “Spiritual Facebook Profile”?
Ephesians 4:1 tells us to, “…walk worthy of the calling…”

Be careful how you live and what you "post" because the world is watching!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Broken... But Not Out!

Read John 4:7-26

This woman had a life of "Broken Relatioships". When she spoke with Jesus, He pointed out the fact that she needed to focus primarily on her relationship with God.

Have you been trying to find permanent satisfaction in others when you should have been pursuing your relationship with God instead?

There are 5 keys to be seen in this passage of scripture about how we are to handle our relationship with God...

1) God loves you, no matter who you are! (John 4:9)

2) This relationship is for WHOEVER! (John 4:14)

3) It is up to you... your choice! (John 4:15)

4) Jesus knows where you are in your life and He understands! (John 4:16-18)

5) Our main focus should be on worshipping God the Father! (John 4:23)

Sometimes we feel Broken, or that all of our relationships seem Broken... But remember, we are never out!

Read Psalms 31:9-12, let King David's prayer be your prayer today!

Broken (Relationship with Christ)

The most important relationship we can have is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Alot of us, because of sin, have broken that relationship with Him.

Read Joshua 7:10-26

Wow, I'm glad God is more merciful today than in the days of the Old Testiment because of His Son Jesus Christ!
The good news is that we can repair that broken relationship by doing three things...

1) Doing Away With The Sin - address it and deal with it. God can not even be near sin. So if we don't deal with it, it makes it impossible to be near God!

2) Prove Our Love For God - James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."

3) Have Self-Control and Resist The Devil - The self-control we need to fight temptation is to submit to God everyday. If we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. He will cleanse us of all of our sins if we submit to Him.

James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded;" Let's draw closer to God than ever before. Because, let's be honest, all He wants is to have a closer relationship with you!!!

Marked: Living In Satan's Crosshairs

Luke 22:31

For those of us who love the Lord and walk according to His plan, we are "Marked" by the devil... The Bible says he wants to "sift you as wheat". That means he is out to "steal, kill and destroy" us (John 10:10). But there is GOOD NEWS! Luke 22:32... The One who conquered death, hell and the grave is praying for you! And the awesome thing is that we are also "Marked" by the Lord. We are "Marked" for...

1) Victory (1 Corinthians 15:57)

2) Greatness (Mark 16:15-18)

3) Eternity (2 Corinthians 6:18)

So, take joy if you have been "Marked" by the enemy, when you have made his hit list, for you have become a threat to him! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Christ gives the strength to overcome the devil's attacks! Focus on Christ, trust Him and follow after Him, He alone can give you the victory!