Well...it seems like every year on this same day, I find myself before my computer putting together new resolutions for the new year, and also contemplating and reflecting on the past year.

Every year it seems that I resolve myself to writing more, and maybe this year with a little more free time in my office, I might be able to do so, but as I think about it, I wonder how many other things each year I resolve to do, and never actually do them. For example, pray more, study more, read more, write more, get out and witness more, etc...

They all are ambitious things to do, but maybe I need to not so much focus on my own personal desire to do these things, but more upon the admonition and command I have from Christ to do those things.

As a pastor/shepherd/bishop I have the responsibility of bring fresh "grass" to my flock, so how can I do such a thing if I am not first fed regularly as well? How can I ask my flock to be witnesses, if I have failed to do so myself? How can I ask my flock to seek the Shepherds face in prayer, if I have not taken the time myself to do so?

This year, rather than resolve to read more, write more, study more, "get out" more, etc... I resolve to be more like my Shepherd Jesus Christ.

To know Him, to seek Him, and obey Him. To allow Him to mold me, use me, and further me.

To allow Him to take me to places I have never been, and place me upon plateaus that I have only dreamed of. I resolve to allow Christ to have His church, and to use me to guild and direct it.

Often times I've despised the start of a new year, and although I may be a little nostalgic now that 2013 is coming to a close, I have to honestly admit that 2014 stands wide open with what appears to me to be many exciting opportunities for personal growth as a pastor, husband, and father!

See you on the other side!!!

5:09 pm 12/31/2013

God Made Appointments

I have spent much of my afternoon today, trying to "sync" the calendars on my Ipad to my new Iphone, along with my paper wall calendar, so I know where I'm supposed to be, and when I'm supposed to be there in the next few months.

One of the hardest things about changing ministries for me, is trying to get used to a new calendar schedule! Certainly the dates on the calendars stay the same, but the events on those calendar dates can change a lot!

Its interesting as I think about my calendars and the appointments that I need to make and keep, to think about some of the appointments that our Savior had to make, and keep.

I shared these thoughts with my deacons several nights ago during out last deacon's meetings, and thought that I might share them on my blog of thoughts as well.

Oddly enough, the appointments that Jesus had to make though were not doctor's appointments, or financial advisor appointments, but they were about appointments that He made with people, either preplanned or just randomly on the spot. Yet, each of the appointments that He made, consisted of time spent often with those considered outcasts of society.

The first appointment that comes to mind is the time that Christ had dinner with a tax collector.
Luke 19, finds us introduced to a man named Zacchaeus, whom the Bible tells us was the chief of the tax collectors. Today we might call this position the supervisor or manager of the tax collectors. He hears that Jesus is coming, and being a shorter individual he climbs quickly up into a tree, because he wants to see this man named Jesus who is coming down the road. Crowds of people have gathered, and he can't see Jesus, so he climbs up to get a good glance of this "special" man. But it is there while he is in the tree, that Jesus walks over to the tree, calls out to the man and says, "Zacchaeus, you need to come down. I have intentions of going to your house today so that I might eat dinner with you." Imagine the shock that might have crossed Zacchaeus' face! Here is a man that first of all knows his name, and not only that but He wants to invite Himself to dinner? Nobody ever came to dinner at a tax collectors house except for other tax collectors, not to mention the fact that he is the Chief tax collector! We need to understand that Jesus had a reason for wanting to take time out of His schedule for this society outcast. If you remember correctly one of Jesus' followers Matthew was also a tax collector, and Jesus said to him, "Follow Me.", and he did! Society may not have accepted the tax collectors, but Christ sure did, He loved them just as He loves you and me.

Another appointment that I can recall was when Jesus healed a leper man. Mark 1:38-45
Jesus was preaching throughout the land, and is approached by a leper man. Now, a leper was an individual stricken by the disease of leprosy. A disease that often times caused sores upon an individuals body that oozed, and often times caused body parts to eventually actually fall off. According to the Old Testament law to have leprosy made one unclean, and there were special things that had to be done by those that had leprosy. The first thing that happened was that the leprous individual had to leave town and often went to live in a leprous colony, filled with others that had leprosy. Whenever they were walking down the road, and someone was coming from the opposite direction they were to cross the road and call out, "Unclean! Unclean!" So that others knew to avoid them, and then if and when they got better, they had to go before a priest for a physical examination in order to be deemed "Clean" again.
Talk about humiliation! Yet, Jesus we see takes time to speak with this man, and heal him. Notice not only does He speak to the man, but He also "Touches" the man. Talk about an ancient taboo! Could Jesus not have just healed the man by using words? Yes, but here He reaches out and physically, lovingly touches the unclean man.

Thirdly, the last appointment that I want to touch on briefly, although hundreds of other accounts are also applicable to this posting, is the account of the Samaritan woman at the well. John 4

After leaving Judea, Jesus is traveling to Galilee, but He decides to walk through the land of Samaria.
Now at first we do not think this odd, but to a Jew it would have been the last thing they would have done. The Jews despised the Samaritans, thinking of them as "half-breeds". These Samaritans were Jews that had been left after the captivity and had since married "outsiders" so they were not full blooded Jews, so they were also considered outcasts by society. A Jew would have gone an extra days journey to avoid traveling through this land, but the Bible says to us that Jesus had "needs to go through" or as I would put it, "He had a divine intervention appointment".
You see, Jesus travels into the land, and He stops at a well where He asks a woman for a drink of water. This sparks a conversation where Jesus is able to present himself to a Samaritan woman as the Son of God, the Living Water.
Here again, Jesus has had an appointment with a societal outcast.

If Jesus is to be our example, how often do we reach out to those that are considered, "Society's Outcasts"? The weak, the feeble, strong, and mighty, both young and old. We are surrounded daily by those that need the Lord, but are we to busy to make time in our schedules to meet with them? Are we so caught up in our rush of life, that we cannot take time to speak with those that need a word of encouragement? What about the cashier at the grocer? What about that telemarketer that calls at only inconvenient times? Does the individual that walks past your home need someone to talk to? Have you said a kind word to your neighborhood postal worker or neighbor recently? Have you struck up a conversation with just someone in an aisle at Wal-Mart?

I believe that God has set up for us many different "appointments", but the problem is, is that often times we find ourselves late for them, or ignorant of them.

As a man, when I go my doctor appointments, I know that I should be truthful in my aches and pains, etc...but how often when the doctor says, "Do you have any questions?" Do I just keep my mouth shut? Do I do the same in my God set-up appointments as well? Do I keep my mouth shut for fear of what might come next, or do I take that step of faith, and give an encouraging word or build a relationship?

God, help me to take steps to get outside of my comfort zone. Help me to realize that I am surrounded by outcast individuals, all in need of a Savior, and help me to be that light that shines as a beacon of truth and love. Amen.

Sunday...The First Day of the New Week

I’ve spent the better part of the day trying to figure out what to post today. Obviously today is the day that we commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, but what could I post, that has not already been said?
I can only think of one thing, so I will share it nonetheless.
I think the one thing that really shocks me more than anything about the resurrection story, is the fact that after reading each account of the resurrection story in the  different gospels, we are often reminded of the fact that the people that witnessed the empty tomb, or were told about the empty tomb, all “marveled” at the fact that the tomb was empty.
For years Christ had told his followers that He was going to suffer, die and rise again on the third day, yet even after being told countless times, when He did die, they were all under the impression that that was the end of the story.
Have you ever had a sports team on a winning streak? Then finally that fateful day came and they were beat? The attitude often turns to that of one being, “Well it was fun while it lasted.”
I almost think that that is the way that the followers of Christ felt. “Well that was a good run.”
They had all witnessed His death upon the cross, and all had been given the promise that He would rise again, but on that third morning, when the ladies came to place perfumes on a dead body, they did not find a dead body, but instead they found an empty tomb…which is ACTUALLY what they should have been coming to look at in the first place!
What about us? How many times has God given to us promises that certain things were going to happen in our lives, but when they actually happen we have to ask God why they are happening to us?!
We are told that God will never leave us nor forsake us – Hebrews 13:5, but when we feel all alone, why do we ask God where He’s gone to?
When we are in need why do we fail to turn to God when he has promised to meet all of our needs?  – Philippians 4:19
We have so many promises that we can turn to, and often times still forget!
Would we have gone to the tomb that morning expecting to find a dead body, or expecting to find an empty tomb?
I believe that 2,000 years later after this wonderful event occurred, Christ is still asking us to trust Him, and place our faith in Him.
So often we place our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and we trust Him with our eternal destination, but it seems like the other promises that he’s given to us are oddly “up in the air” as if they might happen or might not.
When will we say that we are either “All In” when it comes to Christ, or we are “All out”?

The Saturday of "Holy Week"

Usually we think of Saturday as being a quiet day during the Passion Week...a day where nothing happened, but if you study the scriptures carefully, you will find something that many miss...


It was the next day, the day after the preparations, that the religious leaders went to Pilate and asked him to please set a guard before the tomb of the "King of Israel" so that no one might come and steal the body from the tomb, and declare that this "Messiah" had arose from the dead as he had foretold.

Everyone knew that people couldn't raise from the dead whether he was a "Wondermaker" or not, nobody had ever risen from the dead (save Lazarus and a couple of others but mind you in the minds of the world those were just mistakes). 

But just to make sure that Jesus stayed inside the tomb and that everyone else stayed out, Pilate allowed them to block the entrance of the tomb and seal it so that nobody except Pilate could break the seal.

How many guards were at the tomb? This is a difficult question to answer. Most pictures we see show only two soldiers, but the Bible tells us that 'some' of the soldiers went to tell the religious leaders that the body was gone. 'Some' indicate two or more, so certainly they would not leave the tomb unguarded! Others argue there were four which makes this argument a little bit better...but even in the book of Acts Peter is followed by four 'troops' of four men each so he is guarded by 16 soldiers! If one man needed to be guarded by 16 soldiers how many would be needed to guard the body of Jesus from 11 men?!?

Not to mention the fact that one of those men was flailing a sword just a few nights before like a madman! Or also the fact that all of Jerusalem just a week before had been praising this man who had ridden into Jerusalem on the back of a colt, what could happen if they were excited and stirred again?

According to a 1st century historian Flavius Josephus Pilate placed 30 roman guards at the gate, but do you suppose that the Jewish leaders were happy with only 30? No they were not, so in addition to the 30 roman guards, the religious leaders also placed there 1,000 Jewish guards! So all together there were 1,030 men guarding the tomb of a dead man! And as we will see tomorrow, not even THEY could keep Him in the tomb! PRAISE THE LORD!

But what about us? This blog this past week has been an attempt to be both interesting, but also applicable.

We praise the Lord that Jesus Christ died upon the cross of Calvary and paid the punishment for our sins...but the world went to so much trouble to keep him in that tomb!

Why is it that often times in our lives, even though we have been bought by the precious blood of Christ, and we look to Him for our Salvation and forgiveness of sins, as well as our daily provision and abundant blessings...why can we say sometimes that we are guilt of trying to keep God in our lives locked up in a box?

Have you ever noticed that? Many people today seem to keep God in a box and only allow Him into their lives at certain times. Times of discouragement, times of despair, times of "Church Worship"...have you ever noticed this? So often we don't allow God to interact with us all day long, but only when we seemingly want Him to.

Much like a genie in a bottle, we only allow him to come out when we want him to come out, otherwise we keep him locked up in the bottle.

The guards were trying to keep Jesus in the tomb and not let him out...are we guilty of not allowing Jesus to come out into our entire lives?

Back when I was in college, I was required to read a little booklet called, "My Heart Christ's Home" by Robert Boyd Munger. In the little short read, it portrayed the idea of what a visit from Christ might be like, should Christ one day ring the bell of your home and ask to be invited in. What might He find there? Books you were ashamed of owning, television shows you shouldn't be watching? Objects in your home that shouldn't be there, internet sites that should not have been visited? Friends that you don't want to introduce to Christ... You see too often we are guilty of only allowing God to be apart of our lives when we want Him to.

When we need Him to heal us, when we need Him to intercede for a loved one, when we need Him to give us direction and guidance, or often most when we go to church. It is during those times that we let Him out of the box.

From this day forward may we resolve to allow Christ every area of our lives, not just when its "convenient for us".

30 Romans and 1,000 Jews

The Friday of "Holy Week"


There is much that happens today... three different trials, crowds crying "Crucify Him", mocking, beatings, crosses, forgiveness, the giving of Jesus' mother to John, and ultimately Jesus' death.

But rather than try to pull everything apart, and retell this famous story, let's focux on something else real quick today.


Who is this speaking of? The disciples...

Upon the arresting of Jesus, the disciples run, scattering for their lives. Peter does follow from a distance, but we know that he rejects Christ, saying, "I don't know him".

With the realization of what Christ has done for us upon the cross of Calvary, and that the sacrifice that was given, and the blood that was paid was on our behalf, I wonder...do we still 2,000 years later still abandon Christ?

Think about it for a moment, and then answer honestly. Not "Do we 'Forget' about Christ" and what he does in our lives on a daily basis, but more about do we 'Reject' Christ on a daily basis?

Let me try to explain. Often times in our lives we forget that Christ is active in our lives giving us life, breath, blessings, and so much more that we don't deserve, but even more so, when we find ourselves in certain situations, often times we find ourselves "rejecting Christ" by trying to solve our own problems and situations.

So often Christ is plan B...or honestly Plan C or Plan D when Plan A has failed us because we have tried to use our own knowledge and understanding to solve our problems.

We look at the disciples and grimace sarcastically thinking about how "Unfaithful" the disciples were, but what about us? We call our Savior, 'Lord' and yet we fail to turn to Him. We fail to turn to Him in our times of need. Just when we might say that Christ 'Needed' His disciples they abandoned Him. Its so wonderful to know though that Christ will never ever abandon us! Hebrews 13:5 tells us that Christ said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Praise the Lord that although we might abandon Him, He will NEVER leave us!

What do we need to do to prepare ourselves never to abandon Christ again?

The Thursday of "Holy Week"

Imagine if you will that this is your last day to live….
What would you be doing?               
Are you spending time with your spouse and children? Maybe you’re out with friends? Maybe you are meeting with a lawyer to set up your will and get your estate in order. Maybe you’re out skydiving or cliff jumping…whatever you are doing, most likely you are not washing the feet of your friends, or crying in a garden somewhere.
But those two events along with others make up the very crucial moments of the last 24 hours of Christ’s life.
READ MARK 14:17-31
Here Jesus is participating in the Passover meal with his Disciples. The Passover meal was a special commemorative meal celebrating and remembering God’s deliverance of the nation of Israel from the Egyptians and the angel of death in the 10th plague.
Reclining at the table, Jesus takes the elements of the Passover meal and institutes what we call today the “Lord’s Supper’, “Communion”, or to some what is called the “Eucharist”.
This meal went from being a remembrance of what God did for the Hebrew children, into what God was going to do with His Son upon the cross of Calvary.
Taking the unleavened bread he declared that it would be a reminder to those that took part of His body that was broken for us.
Taking the juice he declared that it would be a reminder to those that took part of the blood that was to be shed on our behalf.
It was there in that upper room that he instituted this meal.
READ JOHN 13:1-20
It was at the end of this same meal, that Jesus took up the basin of water and washed the feet of each of His disciples teaching them, that if they truly want to be followers of Jesus Christ they must also become servants of Jesus Christ.
READ MARK 14:32-44
And then came the end of the day, that fateful moment while praying in the garden of Gethsemane, that Judas appeared with his cohorts to arrest Jesus.
A busy day for the Savior, but a day well spent.
If it was your last day, what might you do? How would you spend it?

PSALM 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

The Wednesday of "Holy Week"


Tuesday evening ends with what is called the "Olivet Discourse" which is a message that Jesus delivers to Peter, James and John about the history of both Israel and the world. A warning comes that the days are short, and there is a time that God will bring an end to this world. Warning about the abominations of desolations, and wars and rumors of war, and so forth, much of what Daniel prophesied in the book of Daniel.

But night comes on at the end of the day, and a new begins on Wednesday.

The historical account of Christ on Wednesday is silent along with that of the disciples, except for one.

It is today Wednesday, 2,000 years ago that a particular man named Judas Iscariot plans to betray his "portrayed leader".

READ MARK 14:10-11

For a simple 30 pieces of silver or approx. $190, Judas had made the decision to sell out Christ. Ironic as it may seem though, we know that tomorrow night, Jesus will allow himself to be arrested, because we read of numerous other times that he simply disappeared, "Because it was not yet His time."

The scarey question I ask today is this... "How much would it take for you to sell out Jesus?" No, I'm not asking how much would you want to lead the guards to Jesus to have him arrested, I'm asking today in 2013 this day March 27th, what will it take for you to "give him up"? To tired for devotions so you "sell out" to sleep? To grumpy to praise God so you "sell out" to your emotions rather than praise Him? Have to many other things to do rather than attend church so you "sell out" to housework, car maintenance, relaxation, sports, television, internet, work, etc...?"

You see, sadly I think we actually sell out our Savior every day to worthless meanial things. We might scoff at the fact that Judas sold Jesus for $190...at least I did. But when we realize that we too sell out Jesus or pass up on him everyday for stupid worthless things, we realize that we too are guilt of the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The Tuesday of "Holy Week"

READ MARK 11:20-25

On Tuesday morning as the disciples and Jesus are once again on their way to the temple for the second day in a row, they pass by the fig tree that Jesus had stopped at the day before to find a bit of fruit to satisfy his hunger and found none. Upon finding no fruit, Jesus cursed the tree saying, that it would “Never bear fruit”.

As they walk past the fig tree, they see that the tree is actually shriveled and dead, thus the disciples realized that Jesus still had power of creation, but also showed how significant the symbolic prophecy that Jesus had given about the tree played a part in the future of Israel.

The prophesy or curse we might say, was representative of Israel in that Israel was not bearing fruit for the glory of God, and because of that, they never would! The “plant”/”nation” would shrivel up and die because of its decision to reject God, and we know that in 70 A.D. the nation of Israel and city of Jerusalem were literally struck to the ground…and it has only been in the last century that Israel has been raised from the rubble in the form of a new nation, and yet still has chosen to reject its Messiah who came for them.

During the afternoon of this particular day Tuesday, Jesus and the disciples are in the temple being “Quizzed” one might say.

READ MARK 11:27-12:44

It is here in this temple that the Pharisees and Herodians try to trip Jesus us in his words to be able to call him a blasphemer, and the questions of, “Should we pay Caesar tribute?” who’s wife would she be if she was married to seven brothers in the afterlife?” ,  and then came the greatest question of all.

“What is the greatest commandment?” Expecting an answer from the ‘Top Ten’ as some call them or the Ten Commandments, they plan to trip Jesus in his words, because all ten are highly regarded, but instead, Jesus says, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

The greatest part of this conversation comes right on the heels of his response, because before anyone else can say anything Jesus continues by saying, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Do we love the Lord God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?

I’m so very grateful that Christ did, because had Christ not loved the Lord God with all of his being, then most likely he never would have been obedient to the Father, and endured the cross and shame.          


What about us? Would we be willing to die for the Master?

The Monday of "Holy Week"

MARK 11:12-14
It’s Monday morning, and Jesus and the disciples are on their way to the Temple to worship, and along the way they pass a fig tree. Jesus, being hungry wants to find out if there is any fruit upon the tree to eat satisfy his hunger. Yet, getting to the tree he doesn’t find any fruit upon it, and with that he curses the tree, saying that the tree will never bear fruit.
This picture is symbolic of the picture of Israel having rejected their God, and not bearing fruit of their own for the glory of God. We will see what happens to this tree tomorrow, but until then we will leave the tree along the side of the road, and travel on to the temple, where Jesus finds, not what he expected, but in fact a market place that has moved within the courts of the temple.
READ MARK 11:14-16
It was there in the temple that Jesus finds the temple to have been turned into a marketplace of money changers, and sellers of animals for sacrifices. Having a special agreement with the priests of the temple who were getting a portion of the profits the merchants were selling their “wares” in the temple, which was not where God had intended them to sell their merchandise. The temple was a place of sanctity, prayer and worship, not a place of money making. In righteous anger, Jesus overturns the tables of the merchants and chases the money changers out of the temple proclaiming that God had intended for the temple to be a place of worship and prayer, not a den of thieves.
What about our lives? The Bible tells us that our bodies/lives are the temple of the Holy Spirit…do we need a radical change in our lives to repurpose ourselves back to true worship and prayer? Are we guilty of having filled our lives with meaningless things that exist without purpose, or are we still dedicated like the temple had been originally dedicated to the worship of the one true God?
I challenge you this week to turn back to true worship if this is a need of change in your life.
Remember…Sunday is coming!

The Sunday of "Holy Week"

READ MARK 11:1-10

Yesterday was the triumphant entrance of Jesus into the glorious city of Jerusalem...the city of God. Finally the King of kings has entered the gates of the city, and surely now is the time for Him to set up His earthly kingdom! Or so thought His disciples.

For years the prophecy had been given in Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey."

For years the children of Israel had watched and waited for this sign, and yesterday, the first day of the week of Passover enters a man, a man that they know has the ability to work wonders and miracles, arrives at the city gates and enters upon the back of a unridden colt! Entering the city gates, people immediately recognize the symbol and remember the prophesy and begin to shout at the top of their lungs, "HOSANNA! HOSANNA! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!" You see the people were under the hand of the ruling Roman Empire. And FINALLY they believed their "King" was coming to set up his kingdom to rid them of the Romans and give them their freedom.

They begin to break palm branches off the trees, and lay their outer garments upon the street creating almost a royal "red" carpet for the new "King". The word "HOSANNA!" is very important here as it means "Save Now!" So they were actually shouting "SAVE NOW! SAVE US! OUR DELIVERER HAS COME!"

Its amazing how quickly though in just a matter of a short period of time how the people go from shouting "SAVE NOW" to in fact, "CRUFICY HIM!"

This week join us each day via email or via the blog to find out something new about that day during the "Holy Week". Coming shortly will be Monday's post...after this great day of rejoicing and festivities, what did the next morning bring? Check back and little later to find out more!