Monday, April 29, 2013


Being trapped is one of the most horrible feelings as person can experience. Nowhere to turn, nowhere to go and no way of escape. I think everyone from time to time encounters this demoralizing place or at least has an opportunity to. The settings for being trapped are as varied and different as the sand on a beach, but the one thing they all have in common is the sinking hopelessness they bring. The temptation we face is one of discouragement, hopelessness, apathy, anger and more. Usually when we're at this place, it's easier to choose one of these options instead of choosing to trust the Lord. I can't help but think of the gold found in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and He will show you how to escape from your temptations." In a lot of situations it's not the trapped feeling that does the damage, but it's the attitudes and responses we choose and whether or not we'll choose to trust the Lord. As this verse explains, the Lord knows what we can handle and that there will always be a way of escape for us. Next time you feel trapped don't let hopelessness and his friends join you. Instead know that Lord is with you and He does have a way out for you if you'll keep your eyes on Him :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who's Gonna Love Me?

Every now and then I come across a story that tugs on the heart and challenges you to the core. In this case it's the story of Ronny "Tony" Porta, an Iraqi war veteran whose body was horribly burned and transfigured in a roadside bomb. As he was telling his story he said something that really shook me. He said, "Who's gonna love me?" I will be honest, I got a little choked up. This man's physical scars are obvious, and there are people in culture like him. But there are also others who have scars that others can't see that are emotional. These people are also asking the same question Ronny "Tony" Porta asks, in who is going to love them? What every person must know is that the Lord loves them. Maybe you're one of these people who's asking this question. If you are, the Lord truly loves you and cares about you. And not only the Lord, but there are others who love you, regardless of what you look like or what you've been through. I'm inspired byRonny "Tony" Porta and his incredible courage. As Christians we must never forget 1 Corinthians 13:13, "For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love." Will you love the unlovely? Jesus does :) Please take a moment to watch his story here

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If Jesus Is Building His Church, What's My Role?

Yesterday I watched some of the Exponential Conference via the web. It's the largest gathering of church planters in the world and they had a lot of wisdom to share. There was some amazing speakers and sessions that I watched and look forward to more today. But there was one thing that stuck out at me, probably because it's so easy to do. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus Himself said, "I will build My church..." The question I must ask myself is why are people trying so hard to build His church when Jesus said He was building it? And if building the church is something Jesus is doing, what in the world am I meant to do? The answer is simple according to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world."What an unstoppable team if Jesus builds His church and we fulfill our role of making disciples. Do what God's called us to do and be a disciple maker :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

God, We Need You!

The past week has included so much tragedy and grief. There was the town West in Texas being leveled by a fertilizer plant blast. There was the bombing and destruction caused at the Boston Marathon and the paralyzing events that followed. And on top of that you have the immense flooding in the Midwest, leaving homes filled with 6 feet of water and which continues to rise. How do you even try to wrap your mind around such a week of tragic events? One Bible verse I seem to keep going back to is Psalm 46:1 which says, "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." It actually implies that He has an availability of abundant help for whatever you need. I think about all the families involved in the events I previously mentioned. I pray that God would comfort them, watch over them, being their strength and refuge as they need it. I pray that fear and anger wouldn't consume them but the peace that passes all understanding would fill them. I don't have answers as to why, and even if I did it wouldn't help what people are going through. But what I do choose to do is fix my eyes upon the Lord, trust Him and know that He is ready to move on our behalf in ways that only He can. He is our refuge and strength and always ready to help. For this I'm truly thankful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Blame Game

He did it! She did it! It was them! It was their fault! Maybe you've heard statements like this before, or perhaps you've even said them. I guess part of the problem with doing this is that it's so easy to do. It's easy to point the finger at others and let them take the fall for something.But as easy as it is for people to blame others for something, I wish it were that easy for people to take responsibility for their shortcomings and mistakes also. The first example we see of the blame game is found in the Garden of Eden when God confronts Adam and Eve. We see in Genesis 3:11-13 the story unfold, "Who told you that you were naked?" the Lord God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man replied, "It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it." 13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, "What have you done?" "The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That’s why I ate it." It can't but call it a game because that so often what it becomes. Pointing fingers at others and blaming them for things is easy to do, but be just as quick yourself to take responsibility for things you need to. I think blaming others for things will never stop, but one thing I can do is to cause there to be one less person on the planet who chooses to have wisdom in this area and not just go around pointing fingers. Will you choose to do the same today? It's time to put your fingers back in their holster :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Gold That's Found in Failure

Yesterday my son played one of the best tennis matches I've ever seen him play. The ridiculously windy conditions made you want to stay inside. He played some amazing tennis and only a couple of points made the difference in him having a win over one of the state's best players. After an epic 3 hour match, he shook hands with his opponent and then began to think about what might have been. I could tell he was viewing his loss from a failure standpoint, when in reality, he had played one of the best matches of his life. I think a lot of us do this from time to time. Now think about this for a moment. If your focus is only on the outcome of something, you'll only view what happened as a fail. However, if your focus is on the journey and not simply the outcome, you can learn, grow and take great strides in going where you want to go. Failure is so often seen as fatal and final, but we all know people around us who have not let failure define who they are and their future. Some of those people are us. My son took great strides yesterday even though he lost the match. He learned so many things and it was a valuable growth experience for him. Will you choose to have the same attitude and view when you fail at something? Will you learn to view a loss as an opportunity? You will if you want to grow and learn :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Busy or Simpler Life?

Do you ever feel like your life is so busy that you're always running without any chance of catching your breath? I know we live in a busy culture that always seems to be pulling us in every direction. One thing that I notice when life is busy and go, go, go is that you don't get the opportunity for the simple things. Is your life so busy that you can't stop at a coffee shop, find a comfortable chair, and sip on your favorite drink? Is it so busy that you miss your child's soccer game or music recital? In a go, go, go lifestyle your time dictates what you do. But can you imagine a lifestyle where you dictate what you do with your time? I know we all have a lot of important things that need to get done, but let me remind you that some things can wait. They'll still be there tomorrow screaming at you. Today I challenge you to look at your life and make it simpler. What things do you make a priority that shouldn't be? What things aren't a priority that should be? If you need help, find someone who can bring a clear perspective that will help you decide. Will your life be a busy, busy, busy one, or a simple, simple, simple one? What's so amazing about this is that we personally have a lot to do with it :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Surprise Surprise

Life is full of surprises! Some are small while others are not. I can't help but think about how many surprises a day can hold. I guess the question isn't if surprises will occur, but more like when they'll happen. When surprises happen to you how do you respond? Or is it more of a reaction? Sometimes you can laugh at them, while others you might be brought to tears. The thing we must never forget when surprises come your way is that your never alone. The Lord is always with us and we can trust in Him. Today may be one full of surprises, but whether big or small, you won't need to go through them alone. Enjoy this clip about a man and his surprise :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Battle Over Generosity

The definition of generosity is, "readiness or liberality in giving; willingness or liberality in giving away one's time, money, etc." In studying the early Church in Acts, the generosity of the Christians is woven throughout and very obvious. Where there were needs, others willingly helped out to meet those needs. There was a complete and pure willingness when it came to generosity and also many opportunities to put it into practice. I know there are still many generous people in our culture, however, I do feel as if generosity has taken a back seat with many. I realize that the economy is struggling and many people do everything possible to make ends meet, however, generosity shouldn't be dictated by the circumstances of those involved, but is more of a heart issue. A generous person will be generous period, regardless of anything because it's who they are. Unfortunately stinginess seems to have worked its way into many arenas. Everyone has the opportunity to generous or stingy. We have a clear and yet challenging example laid out for us by the early Church, the question or not is whether or not we'll choose to follow it. Generosity, without expectation of anything in return, is one of the most amazing things that can be said about a person.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Things to Avoid

In reading Proverbs 8 this morning it's easy for us to see the importance and value of wisdom. But as I dig into this Proverb, I can't help but notice the words found in verse 13. It says, "All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,  corruption and perverse speech." If you have a healthy fear of the Lord, there are some things that you will avoid at all costs. Why? Because He  hates them too. Do you hate evil? And I don't mean dabbling in it here and there, but staying as far away from it as possible. How about pride and arrogance? These two things are so commonplace. Is there anything you do or say in your life that would come across as proud or arrogant? If so, the Lord hates it. What is pleasing to the Lord is not pride or arrogance, but humility. And to conclude He hates corruption and perverse speech. His desire is for us to be upright and righteous in all things with not even a hint of corruption. And as far as what comes out of our mouths, let us heed Ephesians 4:29, "Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." If you're a person who fears the Lord, live in a way that pleases Him, not doing things that He hates.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Once In A Lifetime

Whether Boise knows it or not, this weekend's Davis Cup tie with Serbia is probably one of the biggest events to ever come to the valley. It's being televised to over 70 countries and is huge! Even for those who aren't tennis regulars, to see the most dominant player over the past 2 years and world #1, Novak Djokovich, and the most successful doubles team in tennis history, the Bryan brothers, here in Boise, is simply amazing. What makes Davis Cup so special for players and fans is two-fold. Firstly, the pros play on a team, in a usually individual sport. Secondly, they are playing for their nation in an event that means so much. This weekend players will give their all for their team and their nation. I can't help but think of us Christians being called to do the same thing. We are no longer living for ourselves, but for Christ, being on His team, and fighting to see the kingdom advanced. Just as it's a privilege to represent your nation, as Christians we represent the Lord daily, so play your part well :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Webster defines surrender as, "To give oneself up into the power of another especially as a prisoner." As a Christian it's what I've chosen to do. To surrender my life to the Lord and to do His will. I think everyone knows from time to time this can be a challenge. When things are going well, smooth or steady, it seems easy to surrender. But how about when things are going well, smooth or steady? All too often we want to take the steering wheel and drive. Yet a surrendered life is one of trusting the Lord and allowing Him to steer the vehicle of your life. Surrender also take humility. Pride is one of the opponents of surrender, and I'm so thankful for the example of Jesus in this area. James 4:7 simply tells us, "Surrender to God!" Living a life of surrender is not a sign of weakness or even foolishness, it's a daily decision to live a life of trust in the Lord. I say daily decision because the kingdom of self and pride always seems to be trying to find a way into your life. Will you raise your white flag in surrender to God today? It's the best decision you could ever make :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

What's Your Hope In?

Yesterday, being Easter, all I've been thinking about is hope. And my hope is Jesus Christ. This weekend we've celebrated Christ's death, burial and resurrection. And because of what He did, I can have hope. Paul said it clearly in 1Timothy 1:1 when he said, "God our Savior and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope." I couldn't agree more with Paul. Jesus is the one who gives us hope. It's not in what we have, who we know, or anything else. Hope only comes from Jesus. I can make it through today, not because of what I see or feel, but because Jesus is with me and has given me life eternal. Because Jesus lives, I live. Because He conquered death and the grave, I too can now spend eternity in heaven with Him. Jesus is my hope! He's all I need :)