Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You Don't Need to be Perfect For God to Use You

I'm so thankful that when it comes to people doing God's will, He isn't looking for perfect people. In fact you may have heart the quote, "God doesn't call the equipped. He equips the called." This quote is very true. In our HITC Genesis class we've been studying Abraham, who's known as the father of faith. As you look and study Abraham's life, you see situations where Abraham, by his actions, was definitely not the father of faith. Yet God continued to form and mold Abraham into a man who would be full of faith. Looking at one of the greatest tests of Abraham's faith, the sacrificing of his son Isaac, Abraham's faith was unwavering. How did his faith become rock solid? By seeing God's faithfulness throughout his life and learning from his mistakes. Abraham was not perfect. In fact he wasn't even close. He definitely didn't start off as the father of faith, but became the father of faith. It's the same way with us. Too often we wonder how God could ever use us as we are. But just like Abraham we must learn and grow. Because God sees the beginning and the end, He saw Abraham as the father of faith, even when his actions didn't line up with the title. When God sees you, He sees the man or woman He's called you to be. Our only responsibility is to trust Him. Our faith must be in Him and not in ourselves. Will you have faith today in the fact that God has a plan for you, in the place you're at, that's amazing?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and God

It's been very interesting watching the massive and oncoming storm, Sandy. It's a huge and dangerous storm that's being called a perfect storm. The storm of the century due to several massive opposing weather fronts colliding together. It's amazing as I watch the news images and footage of this storm. Powerful winds, huge seas, inches of rain and snow, as well as much more fury along the East coast. My heart goes out to all of those whose lives are in harms way and pray that everyone is kept safe. But what storms like this make me think about is how powerful God is. Yes, storms like this are mighty and incredible, yet don't even come close to the power of God. You may be facing struggles, impossibilities or difficult situations, but don't lose hope. We serve a God who is able to do the impossible, just as Matthew 19:26 tells us, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Sandy is a massive storm, but pales in comparison to our God.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Way to Go HITC!

Every now and then you've got to let others know what's going on and that's what I'm going to do today. This year I have the privilege of being around 11 incredible, amazing and astonishing people on a daily basis. Our HITC students continue to grow in leaps and bounds, accomplishing things they never thought they could. Last year our goal was to help them see they could do so much more than they could ever imagine, and this year we're seeing the fruit of it. They are the bomb! I'm so proud of this year's students. Whether things are going smoothly or not, they seem to rise to the occasion. We're coming to the end of our first trimester here at HITC with only two more remaining. I wait in eager anticipation about what God is going to do in each of these 11 students. All I know is that it's going to be great! Way to go HITC students, continue to be all God's called you to be :) I'll end with a great quote from Zig Ziglar for you, "Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to be successful."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Recently someone asked me what were some of the things I thought were important to growing and maturing as a Christian. Obviously there are many important things that will help someone grow and mature in Christ. Some of these things may be obvious, some are simple, some are easy and some will rock your world. Yes, I have been saved by God's grace, through my faith in Him, not by anything I've done, but it's His gift to me (Ephesians 2:8). However, I must still walk out my faith, fulfilling the call to be salt and light in a dying world. My response to the question I was asked was simply be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. It's taken from Ephesians 4:32 which tells us to "be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Being kind, tenderhearted and forgiving are three things which can go against the grain of our culture. In no way am I saying there's nothing else that should be done to grow, but for me each of these are home runs. If growth and maturity as a believer is your goal, what are you doing to grow? These are things that I can apply daily in my life. For growth to occur they must be applied consistently, regardless of how easy or difficult it may be. I've chosen to grow, have you?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Want the King As Your Friend?

The Bible is so practical for your life today. As I was reading Proverbs 22 today I came across something that everyone can learn from and grow in. In verse 11 it says, "He who loves purity and the pure in heart and who is gracious in speech—because of the grace of his lips will he have the king for his friend." In these few simple words are some very important principles. As Christians we're encouraged to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord, holy and pure. And this verse also encourages us to love purity and those who are pure in heart. Are you someone who loves purity and the pure in heart? I think we all have those little areas that constantly try to worm their way in to our lives with the goal of bringing us down. If we will live to please Him in all we do, holiness and purity will be something we desire for our lives. Next it talks about those who are gracious in speech or have grace on their lips. People can be easily turned off by someone who isn't gracious in their speech. Those who are harsh, constantly critical and sharp with their words will constantly run into challenges and push those around them away. Our words are to be always full of grace according to Colossians 4:6. The cause and effect of this verse is amazing. Purity of heart + grace with your speech = the king as your friend :) Try it...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Would God Really Use a Blind Pug to Help Me Grow?

As many of you know our family has three dogs, with two of them being pugs, Oliver and Taz. Just like most of you, I can live at the speed of light and be unaware of the hard-to-notice things going on right under my nose. In recent months our black pug Taz, has been losing her sight. In fact it's getting pretty bad. She runs into walls, doors, furniture and can't even see food right under her nose. However her sense of smell is still doing well. We all know that God can use very interesting things or ways to help us grow and I must say He's using Taz to help me :) It's caused me to slow down and be aware of her needs. I understand she's only a dog, but Proverbs 12:10 tells us, "The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel." Yes it means helping her around, picking her up every now and then and even carrying her at times, but it's something I must do because she needs the extra help. Now I know Taz is only a dog, but can you imagine if we as Christians had the same burden for those around us? The same burden for people in our own communities. I challenge you to slow down, keeping your eyes and ears open to the many needs of those around you. It's amazing the things that love can cause us to do :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Real Me

Have you ever considered who the real you is? I mean the person that only God sees. The person you are when no one else is around. So take a moment to think about who you really are. I'm a man who needs God's grace every single day. I'm a man who continually needs to grow in my love for people, loving those who Christ loves. I'm a man that needs to be emptied of self and filled up with the Holy Spirit daily. I'm a man who needs to find great contentment with the Lord even when loneliness can surround me. I'm a man who needs to cast my cares upon the Lord as soon as they appear. I'm a man who needs always needs to be thankful for others, regardless if it's ever reciprocated. I'm a man who must trust the Lord in every situation, even when everything else suggests I shouldn't. I'm a man who doesn't need to know the answers to every question, but I must stay close to the One who does. I'm a man who must trust God completely through difficult situations, even if I don't see a solution. I'm a man who can do nothing on my own, yet can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I'm a man who has forsaken all to follow Christ. If it wasn't for Him, I don't even want to think about the man I might be. Who is the real you? The person that no one else sees? I'm the man described in Psalm 138:1-3 says, "I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;  I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me;     you encourage me by giving me strength." This is the real me...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stop Freaking Out!

Believe it or not, but there are many people who live every day full of worry and anxiety. In other words they live a "freaking out" lifestyle. Do you have any idea how draining, wearisome and stressful living like this can be? Why do people live full of worry and anxiety? Because of a lack of trust in the Lord. Yesterday I heard a wonderful message from Pastor Rabonda who really made me think about this topic. If you live full of trust in the Lord then worry and anxiety will have no opportunity to enter your life. Psalm 94:19 says, "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." All of us have the opportunity to open the door to anxieties and worry, however, when we trust the Lord there's a peace and comfort that flow from Him that can be found nowhere else. I'm not saying we won't encounter difficult situations. What I am saying is that as you do encounter them, keep your eyes on the Lord and allow His peace and comfort to fill you and give you grace to walk through your situation. It's time for some people to stop freaking out at everything and enjoy what the Lord has to offer :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Best "But"

Occasionally I'll come across a picture or a friend from my past, prior to me becoming a born again Christian. Today I have so much contentment with how much my life has changed and with the man I've become. One of the best passages of Scripture to describe who I once was, where I came from and who I am  today, is found in Titus 3:3-7. It describes the man I used to be in verse 3, "Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other." I was a foolish and disobedient slave, full of lusts, evil and envy that were my master. In verse 4 you'll see a commonly used word which totally turned the tables of my life's direction. That simple word is "but." This word bridges the gap, taking me from the place I was at to a whole new world. Verses 4-7 continually encourage me and lift me up by saying, "But—“When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” Could it get any better? I was transformed from being a man bound and chained to a man of freedom, hope and eternal life. Will you receive the blessing and benefit of a "but"? I did and it was the best thing that ever happened to me :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Worry Is Your Enemy!

Have you ever noticed how much people worry about things? Worrying about this and that. The world is full of worrywarts. Webster's Dictionary defines a worrywart as someone "who is inclined to worry unduly." Worrying can negatively affect your appetite, lifestyle, relationships, sleep, job performance. It also seems to increase your chances of smoking, overeating, and the use of alcohol and drugs. We live in such a stress induced culture where the walls always seems to be closing in on us, which in turn produces a constant level of stress and anxiety. The Bible clearly addresses the worry we constantly seem to face in Matthew 6:25-34. Verse 25 throws out a great question to us by asking us, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?" Isn't life more than food, us and our clothes? It certainly is. It's too easy for us to worry ourselves about things we shouldn't. Our focus should always be on the Lord. When my eyes are off Him things around me suddenly seem to be impossible and overwhelming. Yet when my eyes are on Him, I can find peace in the middle of a storm. Today, you will have the opportunity to worry and open the door to anxiety. But you also have the opportunity to trust in the Lord and let His peace fill you. He's aware of what's going on, what needs to take place, the best way to do it, and in the best possible timing. Don't let worry plunder you today. Instead relax in His peace, knowing you're way more valuable to Him than anything else :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Incredibly Challenged By Jesus' Words...

As I read the words of Jesus I can't help but feel completely challenged. Not only are His words counter-culture, but they're so often opposite of our will and what we'd do. His words are so radical as they oppose traditions and the norm, that they cause you to examine your very own heart and motives for doing things the way you do them. Take for instance this passage of Scripture in Matthew 5:38-44, "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..." These few words contradict everything that we hear in culture. It contradicts the norms and everything else. However, if I call myself a Christian, how I live and what I say shouldn't remind others of what everyone else does. It should remind people of Jesus. My prayer today is that I could live as Jesus did. Living the words He spoke by God's grace. Yes His words are challenging to the core, yet in them is found truth and life :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Jesus and Leadership

When most people think of leadership, they often tend to think of someone being in charge telling everyone else what to do. But I don't think this is a very accurate picture of Biblical leadership. To Jesus, leadership was all about serving others. One of the best examples we have of Jesus demonstrating servant leadership is in John 13 where He washes the feet of His disciples. Foot washing was usually done by a servant or child as a sign of hospitality to travelers entering a home. But in this case, although there was a basin of water and towel, there was no servant or child in the room to wash feet. Jesus modeled servant leadership to His disciples by washing their feet and not only that, but He challenged them to go and do likewise. In John 13:14-15 Jesus tells His disciples, "And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you." To a group of men who were always arguing about who among them was the greatest, Jesus laid out a pretty clear model of greatness. A model of serving. The greatest leaders are those who serve others and not the other way around. If you consider yourself a leader in any way, today I challenge you to be a servant leader. Serve those around you and follow the pattern Jesus gave to us. I know I'm challenged to become a better leader, and I think this is where it starts :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Who Are You?

I think most people from time to time face the battle of self-worth, value and significance. I think it's very easy to become overwhelmed by the negativity, criticism and views of others. Many people can get to the place where they are so bombarded by this "junk" that they lose all perspective of who they really are and what they're called to do. I'm so thankful for the Bible. In the midst of trials and storms it's there as our steady anchor and rock. Ephesians 2:10 is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me of who I am and what I've been called to do. It's words are kind, full of hope, inspiring and comforting as it proclaims, "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Think about it for a moment. I am and you are God's masterpiece. I'm His product and the work of His hands. And yes, my flaws may be obvious to some, but I can never forget the fact that I'm His masterpiece. Not only that, but I've been made new through Jesus Christ so I can do everything that I've been called to do. If I keep my eyes and focus on what God says, I'll be unstoppable in being the man God created me to be :) Are you ready to be who God's called you to be? See yourself as God sees you and lay hold of everything God has for you...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Genuine Concern & Sincerity

Yesterday I was trying to take care of something that needed to be done. It was a task that needed my full attention. All of a sudden someone I knew appeared in front of me. I was kind of in a hurry to get my task done, but I needed to take a moment to say a quick hello. Well I guess that's what I thought. The person then began to ask me a few questions. These were everyday common questions, but there was something very different about this person. This person was asking me questions and not only that but they were very sincere. They truly wanted to know my answers because I could tell they truly cared about me. Have you ever noticed how we can stop to talk with people but it's more out of duty rather than out of genuine concern or love for the person. We can be so focused on our tasks or even self that we blow by people as if they weren't even there. This person who talked with me yesterday took a moment to be truly interested in what was going on in my life. It makes me think about how much more I need to do this. Jesus gives me such a great example to follow. He came to earth for one reason--people. He came out of His love for people. He was never too busy to talk to people. He was always genuine, always caring and always sincere. I pray that others would be able to say the same about me and other Christians :)