Friday, September 28, 2012

Nothing Like the Real Deal

If you're any sort of a sports fan you're aware of the NFL's replacement referee saga. At last I can finally breathe and say it's over. Due to rifts in negotiating better wages, schedule and retirement benefits the NFL barred it's referees from officiating games. To solve this problem they brought in "replacement" refs. I realize that these men were doing the very best job they could, but unfortunately it was pitiful. It was almost painful watching NFL games with these replacement refs. But in last nights NFL game we saw the "real" refs for the first time this season, and they were even given a standing ovation as they took the field. This whole referee fiasco has honestly made me look at my Christianity and who I really am in Jesus. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who look like they're following Christ, but when you look a little more closely you realize they're not what you thought they were. Jesus used the word "hypocrites" on several occasions to describe people who weren't really who they said they were. It's a term that was originally applied to actors on a stage who simply played a role assigned to them, that in no way was who they really were. As a Christian I want to be the real deal, whether I'm having the best or worst day of my life. I want Him to be my Rock! And I want others to see Him in every part of who I am. I want to be the same man in private that I am in public, and this should be the declaration of every Christian. When people see me and get to know me, I want there to be no doubt that I'm the real deal, a follower of Christ :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Starts WIth Leading Yourself...

One thing I frequently hear is how people wish they could be a leader. I personally think every Christian is called to be a leader in some way or another. However, being a leader does have a starting point. It begins with leading yourself. Honestly, how can you lead others if your own life is out of order so that others couldn't follow you? How is it possible to help others in ways and areas that you don't even have a handle on yourself? Let me say it one more time, being a leader starts with leading yourself. Now does that mean you have to have every in your life nailed down? No, but I definitely think you should be taking steps to grow in those areas. According to the dictionary, a leader is someone who, "leads, guides or inspires others." When I look at this definition, I'm very encouraged because it's something anyone can do, especially inspiring others. This can easily be done through your words and actions. Today, will you choose to be a leader? Will you lead and guide where needed? Will you take a moment to inspire others? You can do it :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

What Should Men Always Do?

As I've been reading the Gospel of Luke recently, and let me tell you there are some incredible verses in it. One that has really challenged me is Luke 18:1 where Jesus is saying, "...that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." When I think about two of the biggest battles people face is prayerlessness and discouragement. And usually when someone is discouraged or has lost heart, prayer is the last thing they'll choose to do. I even think how this verse can apply to our nation. Think of how far our nation has slid throughout the years. I once heard someone say that if God doesn't judge this nation for its wickedness and sin, He will need to forgive Sodom and Gomorrah for what He did to them. Yes, our nation is in difficult times, and I believe that there are even worse days ahead. However, there are many times in the Bible where situations looked bleak, but when God moves incredible things happen. All things are possible with God. Our part in this season is to heed what Luke 18:1 encourages us to do. We must be a praying people. Prayer changes things and moves the hand of God. We must also not lose heart and get discouraged. Don't walk by what you see, but choose to walk in faith in God. Believe Him and trust Him that He is able to move in our nation. As we choose to do these, let's see what God does...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Don't Compare Apples to Oranges

Last night I watched the Boise State football team somehow manage to win over BYU, 7-6. Yes, BYU did have 5 turnovers and couldn't do anything offensively for 90% of the game, but for BSU to win by only a point. It was one of those painful viewing experiences for BSU fans who have had so much to cheer about over the past decade. Then it hit me. Last year we lost 21 seniors, many of them who are now playing in the NFL. How could I be comparing the team of the past few years with the team I watched last night? I'm used to hearing names like Moore, Martin, Iloka and McClelin. But now I'm hearing names that don't even ring a bell. I've made the classic mistake a lot of people make. I'm trying to compare last year's team with this year's team, which is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they wear the same uniforms and play the same positions, but they are so different. If people try to compare like I was they will only end up disappointed. It makes me think of people who become "born again," making Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. The person they once were passes away and they become a new person with a new nature, in Christ. Colossians 3:9-10 tells us, "...for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." When a person gets saved, don't compare the new man to the old man they once were. They are very different and comparing them is also like comparing apples to oranges. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Second Chances From God

Our Genesis class in HITC has been so much to teach. We're having some lively discussions and has been a joy going through the first book of the Bible. One of the things that's jumped out at me so far has been the many times God gives people second chances. One such instance is in Genesis 4 where Cain brought an offering to the Lord that was unacceptable. God did not respect Cain or his offering. In verse 5 it says, "...but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected." Even though this offering and what he did wasn't acceptable, God gave Cain a chance to make things right. In verse 7 God says, "You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." Yes Cain was given an opportunity to make things right, but if he didn't, God also gave a serious warning. When I look back on my walk with the Lord, I have plenty of times where I've messed up. And thankfully I serve a God who's full of mercy and grace. As I come to Him, He makes things right. In fact, every person has second chances when it comes to God, the question is whether or not we'll take them. Can chose not to, but we don't have to make the same mistake :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Beauty of Changed Lives...

This past weekend I saw something that I just can't get enough of. I saw lives touched and changed after coming face to face with Jesus and His cross at our Harvest Church Encounter. Hearing people tell about strengthening their relationship with Christ and what He chose to do for them was amazing! Sometimes as Christians, it's easy to forget about the joy of our salvation, the cross that Jesus died on for us, and the freedom we now have because of it. I don't ever want to forget about my salvation and the joy that I have that's because of it. I don't ever want to take anything for granted when it comes to my salvation and walk with the Lord. When I met Jesus in early 1989, it was the life changing event of my life. Things have never been the same, only for the better. I know many lives were changed at the  Encounter because they encountered God's love for them and came face to face with the reality of the cross. Thank you Jesus my my great salvation and for verses like John 4:14, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

Friday, September 14, 2012

He's Running Towards Me...

How could anyone read the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and not be moved? Each time I hear it, it's easy to see the son was me. Doing my own thing, how I wanted and when I wanted. Pig pens became my life. There had to be more to life than this? And there was! I returned to the Father a humble and broken man. My proud ways had brought me pain, hopelessness, discouragement and emptiness. Sure the world said they were the right choices, but in the midst of living them how could anyone even think they might be the way to life? As I returned to the Father, He saw me from a long ways off, because He was watching for me. And when He saw me, He ran to me. Once He reached me He threw His arms of love around me. My sins were washed white as snow. My pain, hopelessness, discouragement and emptiness was gone in an instant. And as the Father in this story said in verse 24, "for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." Ands this is the very same thing He said over me and desires to say about you...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Would You Be Able to Forgive?

On my blog over the past year I've written several posts about forgiveness, unforgiveness, the consequences of it and what the Bible clearly says about the topic. As as Christian, forgiveness is imperative. Forgiveness should be one of the characteristics of a follower of Christ, especially according to Jesus' words in Matthew 6:14-15, "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. I do think most of us would say that it's easier to forgive others for some things over others (and am very glad that God doesn't have this mindset). Yesterday I read a story from the sport's world which I think is tragic, and coincidentally, it involved a New Zealand athlete. Belarusian female shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk won a gold medal in the recent London Olympic games, beating world champion, New Zealander Valerie Adams, who won the silver. After winning the gold medal, Ostapchuk was stripped of her victory for testing positive to a banned substance and being banned from the sport for a year. After emphatically denying it, news just came out that her coach put the drugs in a drink of hers without the athlete's knowledge. The gold medal was stripped and the ban is in effect. But now Ostapchuk has to make a choice. Will she choose to forgive her coach who sabotaged her career? Or will she hold on to bitterness, anger and unforgiveness? Each day we all have the choice to forgive others. Sometimes it's over smaller things, and as is in this case, it can be over bigger things. My choice is to forgive others, because of Matthew 6:14-15. To check out more on this story go to

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Few Changes I'm Making...

This time last year I felt the Lord tell me to start blogging, and so my blog "Insights from the HITC Pastor" began. In this past year I've had 13500 hits from 69 countries. I've had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and comments, along with a few negative and nasty ones, but that's part of blogging. Blogging has been so much fun and a window for me to encourage others in their daily walk. I must say that blogging is in my blood now. I've thought about what I should do with my blog as my goal was to blog six days a week for a year, which I have done. So what I've decided is to continue blogging, but cutting back a little to three times a week instead of six. Now and then I may do an occasional extra post :) I'm also going to make a few changes with my layout and presentation so be looking for those. I'm so thankful for everyone who has taken time to read my posts. My goal is to be simple, to the point, and encouraging, helping people's walk in Christ become stronger. Today I'll leave you with one of my favorite verses, Psalm 63:3, "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You." Have a blessed day :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Your Words Speak Volumes About the Person You Really Are

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to say something, especially as a Christian? Whether it's something that's not completely accurate? Or something that's negative or critical? Or even straight up lying? Ephesians 4:23-25 is very clear when it says, "Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body." As Christians we should put a close guard on what comes from our mouth, especially since the Bible says we'll be giving an account for our words. Something we do in our home is to use the acronym "THINK" when it comes to our words. We use this acronym before we allow things to come from our mouth...
T...Is it true?
H...Is it helpful?
I...Is it inspiring?
N...Is it necessary?
K...Is it kind?
If you were to use THINK would it make a difference with your words? The average person speaks between 8-18000 words a day. What if those words were true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind? I think it would transform the world we live in :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Need Your Help

What an amazing HITC intern's Orientation. 3 wonderful and powerful days up in Cascade. I have so much I want to say about it but will save it for another time. However, there was one thing that stuck out to me while we were doing some of our team building activities. Regardless of how talented, athletic or intelligent a person is, there are just some things they can't do alone. Yet when operating as a team, tasks could be successfully accomplished. If there are some things where we need the help of others, why do we not ask for their help? Even if not asking means failing? As people, God created us to be dependent on Him. But He also gave us others so we might help them, or that they might help us. When people work together they can usually accomplish what none of them could by themselves :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being Perfect

Being perfect isn't easy. In fact, if you're not God it's impossible. Then why do so many Christians try to be perfect? We read in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."Is Jesus emphasizing perfection in His followers? Absolutely not! The word perfection here isn't referring to sinless perfection or flawlessness. It's talking about growing in maturity of godliness and having visible fruit of it. Essentially it's all about your growth in God. Everyday there should be a little more growth in God. We should be a little farther along today as a Christian than we were yesterday. Sometimes this growth can be measured in miles, yet at other times in inches. The bottom line is growth. Even Jesus grew according to Luke 2:52, And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." If Jesus was had a growth mindset, shouldn't we? Enjoying growing in Him today :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Journey Begins Today...

It's hard to believe that another year of HITC begins today. We head out of town for an action packed Orientation retreat with classes beginning next week. It seems like only yesterday we were at last years Orientation. I'm excited to see all the Lord's got planned for this year's class of students. I know there will be lots of stretching, strengthening, encouraging, training and growth. God has so many wonderful plans, and probably surprises, for this class of students. I can't wait to see these students as they stand at graduation next year. I know they'll be different than the people I see today. This group has so much potential and opportunity ahead of them. If you happen to think about them, pray for them. Pray that they would become all God's called them to be :) Here's the verse God put on my heart for this class, found in Philippians 3:12-14, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You Telling Others?

Usually when someone does something for you, it's natural to want to tell others about it. I feel the same way when it comes to telling others about what Jesus Christ has done for me :) He's washed away my sins, given me a future and a hope, is my strength and many other things. In Luke 8 there's a story about a man who was demon possessed. But this man was miraculously healed by Jesus. Then Jesus tells him in Luke 8:39, "Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him." This is exactly what we should do too. Wherever we go, people need to hear all about Jesus and what He's done in your life. When you do, people around you will be encouraged and want to know more about Him. Today you will have many opportunities to tell others about what Jesus has done in your life, just like the man in the story. Will you?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hamstrings and Relationships...

So last week I was jogging over to the offices and for fun I started sprinting. After a few seconds I immediately felt the pain shooting up my hamstring. Having a history with my hamstring I knew I'd strained it. Just to be safe I haven't run on it this past week, just to be careful. I was pretty excited about my run this morning but after about a mile I again felt the sharp pains in my left hamstring. I couldn't believe it hadn't completely healed and was humbled by having to walk the rest of my course to make it home. Just like physical wounds are relational wounds, where a person has been hurt by something another person has either said or done. We think that time will heal all wounds, but I don't think this is the case. How do you know if you have a relational wound? Maybe you can only say negative things about the person to others? Or if you see them you just have this churning and bitterness inside because of your experiences. I'm glad that my hamstring is going to heal and I'm also glad that any relational wounds I've had in the past have all been healed because of my choice to forgive and the healing touch of Jesus Christ. Matthew18:21-23 are some of the key verses in my life, "Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!" I must be willing to forgive others and let whatever happened sink into the sea of forgetfulness. I'm thankful to the Lord for being my healer, whether physical or relational :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

So Quick to Jump Ship...

Just like many others in the Treasure Valley, last night I watched the Boise State Broncos play Michigan State. For a team who had many huge shoes to fill from last year, I just hoped they'd hold their own. The game wasn't a pretty one. Our defense did OK while our offense struggled. Even so the game was a pretty close one. In fact, the Broncos had many chances and were oh so close to pulling off a huge upset over a team 12 ranking spots ahead of them. In an 80000 seat stadium, where a majority were rooting for the home team. What surprises me this morning is how many people seem to be jumping off the Bronco bandwagon after the first game of the season. I guess the chances of playing in a BCS game are gone, along with the big national rankings, but this is our team. It may be easy to do with a sports team, but hopefully we don't do it with other things in life when they don't go well? When your kid has a bad day at school, or you have a bad day at work, don't you remain faithful? I'm so thankful the Lord stays faithful to us and loves us regardless. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us "I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself." Just because someone has a bad day, that doesn't mean you should give up. Just because you have a bad day, don't give up. Just because your team has a loss, don't give up on them. And thank you Lord for never giving up on us :)