Tag Archives: Jesus

Spirit of the Living God we just wanna hear Your voice. We’re hanging on every word…

20 Feb

I wonder how many of us can truly say this. How often do we come to God with our requests but never stop to listen to what He has to say to us? I know I am guilty of it. I am in such a hurry with the trivial things of life that I don’t make time to sit and listen to what the Lord has to say to me. I am ashamed to admit that, but there is also a sense of freedom in that admission.

I want more and more of God. I want to hang on His every word. I want to sit and simply listen to Him, and I want to let Him speak life into me. I know that I can’t continue without Him doing so. I am committing to seeking after God more earnestly in times of prayer. I don’t mean simply praying more. I mean praying more intentionally, and carving out time to sit and listen. Why are we so afraid of silence as a culture? (That’s a topic for another post) I want to be cognizant of making sure that I am using the time I have wisely. And what more wise use of my time than to sit and let the Lord speak over me?

What is keeping you from spending time with the Lord and hanging on His every word? Is it the television? Is it some form of social media? Whatever it may be, it’s not more important than talking with the Creator of the universe. Take time to listen to Him today.

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May We All Cling to the Vision of Christ

18 Jun

Vision.  It is something that can difficult to find.  It is something that is absolutely necessary. It is something that, at times, can be downright elusive.  It is something that you must have as a leader.  It is something that people need.  It is something that we must cling to even when there is no tangible evidence of it.  Vision.

Proverbs 29:18 teaches us, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” When there is no vision, or prophetic teaching, present then the people become ungovernable or rebellious.  I think it is vitally important, though, that we take this down to an individual level and not just stay up at a corporate level.  If I am not clinging to the vision that God has placed in my heart through the Holy Spirit, then I am blowing in the wind and tossed about as I go through life.  Each follower of Christ is imbued with a vision of purpose and calling at the point of salvation.  Now certainly, it may, and usually is not, immediately be completely clear.  However, rest assured that as you grow in your walk with Jesus, the vision of Christ will become more and more clear to you. You will begin to understand new facets and components of what God has uniquely gifted you as His adopted son or daughter to do.

This is the point at which you face a life-altering decision.  Jesus will call each of us out of a comfort zone at one point or another.  It is possible that He will call you out of your comfort zone on multiple occasions.  So, will you stay true to what is familiar and comfortable, or will you take the step of faith and get out of the boat as Peter did to go after Jesus?  

It’s not always easy.  In fact, it usually isn’t easy.  However, if we follow after the Lord, we will be in the best place possible.  It is when we are following after the Vision of Christ in our lives that we will be most stretched, most pushed, and most challenged in our faith, but it is also when we will most grow, develop, and advance in our walk with Him. And if God has placed a vision in your heart and promised to lead you in a certain direction it will come to pass.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 reads,

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

So, what will you do? Will you stand frozen in fear of leaving what is comfortable and familiar, or will you follow after the vision that God is calling you to in Him?

You’re the one that I want…

18 Jan

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat, I have an awesome wife!  We just all have to go ahead and agree on that, cause it’s the truth.  That being said, I think I need to tell you a little about her.  She is, quite simply, amazing! She is an awesome friend, a great mother to our children, a throw down chef, and a good teacher.  She is truly my helpmate, and exhibits the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman.

My desire is that I can be the husband back to her that God has called me to be.  Paul lays it out for me in the letter to the Church at Ephesus when he writes, 

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
(Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV)

I want to love my wife sacrificially.  I want to put her before myself.  I want to encourage her and lift her up.  I want to help her to grow into the follower of Christ that God has called her to be.  However, the fact of the matter is that I can’t do those things for her.  But, Christ in me can!  Thank God for sending His Spirit to help me (and all Christians for that matter) to be the people that He created us to be.  I pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can be the husband that She-Wood needs.  She is a wonderful woman, and I love her madly.  I want to honor her as my wife and the mother of our children by being the type of husband that is described in Ephesians.

My hope is built on nothing less…

19 Dec

“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of truth, the gospel” Col. 1:5

As I think back over the events that our country has gone through over the past week, I have come to some conclusions and made some observations.  According to many people, our world is coming to an end in just over 24 hours.  If we believe the Mayan prophecy conspiracy theorists, the apocalypse is imminent.  However, we as Christians know that no one knows the day or time when the end of this world will be over.  Also, we are now dealing with living in the wake of the incredible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT last Friday.  Such unthinkable evil occurred to such innocent children.  It made me hug my children a little tighter, and wonder at what good God would be able to bring from the situation.

Now there are many people who are saying that all hope is lost and the world is coming to an end.  There are those who will say that God has forgotten us, or that God has turned away from us to let all sorts of bad things happen to us.  But, as I heard a pastor say earlier this week, which God are we talking about?  Are we talking about a god that we can put in our back pocket and bring out to make us happy whenever we want?  Are we talking about a god that we can control and will give us everything we want to make us happy?  Are we talking about a god who bends to our every whim and is solely concerned with making sure that we are comfortable?  Or are we talking about the God and Creator of the universe who is bigger than we could ever imagine, more awesome than we could ever think, and more sovereign than we could ever comprehend?  This is the God whom I worship.  This is the God in whom my hope is found.  As Brother Paul preached tonight from Isaiah 8:17:

I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I WILL HOPE IN HIM.

I hope in a God who is faithful beyond measure.  I trust, and hope, in a God who teaches me to trust beyond my understanding.  I trust in a God who I have watched bring my wife and I through the process of adoption and see him be faithful to the end as we finalized it legally earlier this week.  I hope in a God who has blessed me with the three greatest kids a dad could ask for.  I hope in a God who blessed me earlier this evening with the incredible privilege of serving communion to my wife.  I hope in a  God who allowed me to experience the joy that my daughters got from picking out gifts for me at Journey and then seeing the joy on their face as I opened the present.  I serve a good God.  I serve a God and hope in a God who loves me and cares for me.  I also know that God allows us to go through tough times, and yes even times of suffering, in order to form us into the image of his son.  As Paul writes in in Romans 5:3-5:

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

This is not a god that we can control and manipulate to do as we please.  A god that you can control is a god that is too small to have the power necessary to help you in the first place.  As C. S. Lewis wrote, “He is dangerous, but He is good!”  We, as Christians, serve a good God!  He is more awesome, terrifying and wild than we could ever imagine, but his love for us is more ferocious and fierce than we could ever fathom.

Let’s place our hope in the God of all creation.

Mr. Big Stuff, Who Do You Think You Are?

11 Dec

God has called me to lead His people in worship. I would love nothing more than to be able to lead the people that God has placed me in front of in a way that they don’t experience me, but rather they experience Christ. This is my goal week-in and week-out as I lead here at church and other venues. I dream about creating music that the church can use to voice what Christ is doing in their hearts as an offering of worship back to Him. There is incredible power to be found at the center of a worshiping church that rallies around the cross each week, and I want to be a part of leading people to that experience. I also want to mentor the next generation of believers/worshipers so that long after I have gone on into eternity with Jesus, they are still worshiping the same Creator and Savior.  My identity is found in Jesus and Jesus alone.  It is not in music, an instrument, a certain church, a given preacher, a style, or a preference.  I am first, and foremost, a follower of Christ and worshiper of Him.

I’ve been waiting a long time for the moment to come…

11 Sep

Umm…yeah, so the last 6 days have been an absolute whirlwind to say the least!  This time last week She-wood and I were recovering from the end of the previous week when we had prayed really hard and felt God telling us to pass an opportunity for our adoption profile to be shown to a birthmother.  We were broken.  We were questioning God about the timing of this whole thing (adoption, that is).  We were wondering what God was trying to teach us through this two year long process.  We had come to the conclusion during the incidents of the previous week that we had to quit trying to force God’s hand into giving us a child.  Rather it was God who was the one in control, not us trying to help God understand what we needed.  (You know in writing that even now I realize how dumb that sounds, but walk with me for a minute as I let you inside our hearts for a minute.)

We had begun to become so impatient with this process.  We thought to ourselves, “God we have done everything that needs to be done.  What are You waiting on?”  How arrogant!  To think that we were waiting on God to get His act together and make this adoption happen.  I honestly believe that God has been waiting on us to get to the point spiritually where we were at a point that we are fully relying on Him and His provision.  For so long we have been hustling to do everything in our power to make this adoption move, but in actuality God has had a plan for us in place since before the foundations of the earth were laid and He is working out that plan.

Little did we know last Monday that our lives would be changed in less than a week.  We received a call Wednesday that there was a child for us.  A little boy who was, at that time, 6 days old, and that the at risk period to terminate maternal rights would be over at 5pm yesterday.  We were elated, scared, excited, and expectant!  We got to meet the little bugger on Friday.  It was surreal!  Holding this little boy in my arms that didn’t even weigh 6 pounds.  Trying my best to guard my heart from becoming too attached, knowing that there was the possibility that the birthmother could change her mind in the next three days.  But already, in my heart, falling in love with this perfect little guy.

We left the adoption agency office Friday afternoon, and I’m pretty sure that She-wood and I actually floated to the car.  Could this really be happening?  Were we really going to become a family of 5 in just three short days?  Would we be able to maintain our sanity for the weekend?  Would I have a stress ulcer when I woke up on Sunday from wondering about all of it?

Well, as of 5pm Monday September 10, 2012, we are now He-wood, She-wood, Wee-wood 1, Wee-wood 2, AND Wee-wood 3!!!!! God is so good!  After all of the paperwork, all of the classes, all of the doctors appointments, all of the fingerprints and background checks, and after all the waiting we were actually driving home with a little boy in our back seat.  And he is our son!

There have been times over the past 2 years that I have wondered if we had made the correct choice.   There were times when I had to question what God was doing.  There were times when I wondering if all of this was really worth it.  But this morning at about 5:15am as I sat there staring into the eyes of this perfect little boy and he smiled at me, any question of worth that I had was answered by God with a resounding, “YES, it was more than worth the past 2 years.  Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

I now have a better understanding of Romans 8:28.  “God works everything for the good of those who are called by His name, according to His purposes.”  That in no way means that everything is always going to be fun.  The past 2 years of waiting have been very difficult at times.  But it does mean that God will work everything in the end to His glory, and that is the good that I seek. His glory.

So if they wanna reach us with Jesus they gotta do it better than some screaming preachers…

21 May

Where do you strike the balance?  How do you strike the balance?  How do you get to the point that you are able to tell somebody that you love them and care for their soul, but very strongly disagree with their position on a certain subject without them immediately getting defensive?  How do you share the gospel with someone who has an undue and unreasonable hatred toward you simply because of something you stand for or against?  There is a tension that we must realize and live with in this “already, but not yet” kingdom that we live in as Christians.  It is something that I believe that God is working on within me.  We must stand firm on subjects that are contrary to God’s Word while loving those who are on the opposite side of those subjects.  It’s hard though.  We are called to love those around us and preach the gospel and make disciples, but often times the people that we are preaching the gospel to are hostile in nature toward us simply because we identify ourselves as Christians.  I honestly believe that young, reformed Christians in my generation (those born after 1980) are trying to figure out how to wade through the misconceptions that Christians are massively and overarchingly judgmental.  Granted, there are some “Christians” who are incredibly judgmental and they should be ashamed for it.  I have witnessed it myself and wanted to nearly pull my hair out in frustration.  However, every Christian is not judgmental, and I wonder where along the way that the Christian community was so judgmental that that label was seemingly permanently applied to all Christians.  I want to show gracious and merciful love to a community that is starving for it, but it seems so hard to do so when there is a huge wall of previously judgmental attitudes and ungracious interactions with people who called themselves Christians.  God show me how to make an inroad, and give me the patience and understanding to show love and share the gospel.