Tag Archives: Savior

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.

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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’m not who I was…

22 Mar

I am currently reading Surprised By Grace by Tullian Tchividjian.  It is a great book so far.  It is following the story of Jonah and drawing the parallel between it and the lives of every person in the world.  I see so much of myself in Jonah at times.  I can look back on the past year or so of my life and see where I totally identify with the events that played out in Jonah’s life as well as the events that other characters in the story experienced as well.  

There are times where I identify with the sailors on the ship to Tarshish.  They were caught in a storm that was a result of someone else’s sin.  There had to have been a point for those sailors where they thought to themselves, “For real?! I am having to go through this because of this guy who has stowed away on our ship?  This is crazy.”  And to some extent they would be justified in that response.  However, I love what Tullian writes.  He states, “Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether your affliction is your fault or someone else’s.  You need not blame others or live under the guilt of self-blame.  The real question is: Are you responding by crying to the Lord for deliverance?”  I love it!  How true!  There were times over the past year when I asked God why He was leading me through what we were going through. However, I can now look back and see that I was missing, or glazing over, the answer within the actual question.  He was leading me through it!  It was what God wanted me to go through in order to prepare me for the place I am now.  Tullian relates what one of his friends wrote, “If we are really seeking to serve God, we will be willing to wait on Him through the darkness, so that when it lifts, He will have turned a lump of coal into a shining diamond, so that we will have a peace, an unflappability, and a strength that we did not have before and would not have had if we had not gone through the darkness.”

We won’t reach a point where God stops molding us until we are face-to-face with him at the edge of eternity.  How could we think then that God would not possibly take us through some difficult times in order to shape us more into the image of His Son, Jesus.  I can look back and see that I am not who I was just a year ago, but that is a great thing.  I want to be constantly moving more and more into a deeper relationship with my Savior and thereby into His image.

It’s all about love love love love love…

14 Feb

Being that it is Valentine’s Day I can’t help but think of the many things that I love.

I love my Savior!  Jesus is amazing when you think about Him.  (Who am I kidding, He is amazing all the time!)  I am totally blown away when I consider the love that was poured out for me at the cross.  To see the intersection of God’s holy hatred for sin and His unfailing love for sinners is altogether captivating, terrifying, and uplifting at the same time.  I love that I can approach Him at anytime that I need Him.  I can approach Him even when I don’t have a request.  I can approach Him when I simply want to be near Him.  God is breathtaking in His scope and unbelievable in His immanence!  I love you Jesus.

I love my wife!  God has blessed me with such an amazing wife!  I love She-wood completely.  She is my helpmate, my best friend, my support, and my partner.  I cannot imagine life without her.  We have been through so much together in almost 12 years of dating (including almost 7 years of marriage).  She makes me a better man.  The way we are able to glorify God together with our relationship, the way we manage our family, and the ministry we do together is a blessing for me to experience.  God is so good to let me enjoy her, and I do truly enjoy my wife.  Everything about her gives me joy from the way she tucks her bangs behind her ear to watching her teach our children.  I love my wife.

I love my kids!  Wee-wood 1 and Wee-wood 2 are the craziest kids I have ever met, but they are a constant source of fun and love.  I never knew that having kids could be both one of the most frustrating and fulfilling things in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that having children is a huge God-given responsibility.  I love that Wee-wood 1 looks to me as her buddy!  The amount of emotion that wells up in me just thinking about that is great.  She loves me, and I am so grateful for that.  The way that Wee-wood 2 loves to cuddle and snuggle with me makes my day!  She is one of the most affectionate people I have ever met.  I cannot help but think of the little boy that God has for us as we are in the process of adopting.  I don’t even  know the little boy yet, but I know I will love him.  I so look forward to meeting the little man that God has for us.  Oh God you know that desire of my heart to meet him soon. I love my kids.

I love my church!  God has led us through a crazy past year in our lives both vocationally and ministerially.  However, looking back on the past year, it is blatantly obvious that God was guiding ever step in His amazing sovereignty to get us to where we are today.  I love the friendships we have built here and the minister that is taking place.  I love the heart of the rest of the staff for a proper mix evangelism and social justice.  I love that the people here love us and support us in many different ways.  I love that God has led us here.  I love my church.

What do you love?  Please let us know how God has blessed you and what you love today.

I wanna be in the light…

4 Aug

Hear these great and encouraging words from Charles Spurgeon.

“The joy of the saints in heaven is comprised in this: Jesus chose us, loved us, bought us, cleansed us, robed us, kept us, glorified us…Nothing of beauty is left when the light is gone.  Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceeds from the pearl; and so all beauty of the saints above comes from Jesus…In heaven our knowledge will be perfect, but the Lord Jesus Himself will be the foundation of it…Whatever there may be of transcendent splendor, Jesus will be the center and soul of it all.”

What awesome and encouraging words from an amazing man of God!  After reading those words yesterday morning, I found my thoughts clouded by them for the rest of the day.  I am fascinated by the thought of living in the presence of a living Savior whose own glory is so radiant and bright that there is no need of a sun or moon.  In Revelation 21:22-25 John writes, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there.”  I simply cannot wait to get to that point in eternity.  How amazing will it be to experience that kind of intimacy with our Savior?

Let the imagery of Revelation 21 captivate your mind and thoughts today.  If you are a Christian, let it encourage and uplift you; excite and enthuse you.  If you are not yet a believer, let it intrigue and challenge you; move and salvationcompel you.

Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done…

24 Jun

I am finding great encouragement this morning in the book of Isaiah.  Chapter 43 begins with one of my two favorite passages in the whole Bible.  God reminding Israel of the fact that He is their one and only Savior, and He intends to protect and guide them brings me great encouragement and insight into the character of God.  In conjunction with that truth, this morning I am also being encouraged and challenged by verses 18-19.  In which, Isaiah reports God as saying, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  I read a commentary on this passage that made a statement that struck me as quite profound, but very true.  The writer said, “God intends our past to be a guidepost not a hitching post.”  How true is that statement!

God had done amazing things in Israel’s history, and the nation look to those things to keep them going.  Who can blame them for remember the things that God had done up to that point in history?  He had brought them out of slavery in Egypt.  He had led them to conquer the Promised Land.  He had sent them judges, kings, and prophets to guide them through daily life.  God had done amazing things in and through Israel.  But, God did not want the old things that He had done to become the driving force and focus of the people of Israel.  I believe the same can be said for us.  God is my one and only Savior who has done amazing things both in and through my life.  However, I can’t hold to those things of the past simply because they were great in the past.  God still has great things to do in and through me: great, new things.  He has called me as a witness (Is. 43:10) for Him in my context.  I have been entrusted with a message that must be proclaimed.  I cannot let my remembrance of the former things He has done prevent me from doing the new things He is calling me to.  While what God has done in the past was, and is, great and awesome, I cannot pine for the old things.  I must press forward knowing that God has great things in store for His glory.

How Great Is the Love the Father Has Poured Out on Us That We Should Be Called the Children of God

18 Jun

With Father’s Day only two days away I have been thinking a lot about fatherhood and my relationship to the Heavenly Father.  He truly has lavished His love on us!  How often to you truly take the time to think about that?  Sure, I am just as guilty as the next guy of taking my relationship with God for granted, but lately I have made a concerted effort to not do so.  While watching the live stream of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors Conference on Monday evening I heard a story an saying that both strongly convicted and greatly encouraged me.  The guy at the podium was talking of how when they first brought home the latest child they had adopted, every night when they tucked him into bed he would say, “I’m going to be a great son for you!”  When I heard those words, and even now as I just wrote them, I was convicted.  The illustration and analogy to the way I should feel in my relationship to God the Father was not in any way lost on me.  I do want so badly to be a good son for Him.  I can’t even express the deep desire I have in my heart to make God proud of me.  I completely understand that there is no way for me to gain any greater love or standing in God’s economy.  After all, the only reason that I can live and breathe in the first place is because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me when I didn’t even know I needed a Savior. However, I do want to please Him in every way possible.  The conviction I feel comes from the fact that I know there are numerous times each day that I displease Him.  It pains me to no end to know that God made the ultimate sacrifice for me in Christ, but I can’t even follow a couple of rules for Him in return each day.  How wretched am I?

That being said, however, how good and merciful and loving and gracious is God that He would still look on me and call me His own?  God is the perfect Father, and I, as a father myself, should be reflecting that back to my children.  Of course, it will never be a perfect reflection, but at least I can try.  There are times when I get so frustrated with the wee-woods, and I know I blow up when I should not.  It is in those times, as I look in retrospect, that I am strongly reminded of God’s eternal and immeasurable mercy.  Can you imagine how frustrated God must get with us at times?  He sets one simply task in front of us and yet we are unable to even attempt it correctly.  It is in that moment of failure on our part that God’s mercy and grace shine though in glorious fashion.  It is in our weakness that He is strong, and it is in our failure that God succeeds.  He is the perfect loving Father.

So this Father’s Day spend some time reflecting on the goodness that we are shown on a daily basis from our Father in Heaven.  Also take time to thanks and love on your earthly father for the love that he has shown you in trying to reflect God’s example to you.  Happy Father’s Day everyone!