Feb 10, 2009


Twenty years ago on this day was one of the worst experiences of my life.  Watching your mom die unexpectedly is something no child should ever have to witness.  But three children did that day, and it has changed our lives forever.

The mom I knew was soft, gentle, extremely talented, and more loving than anyone on earth.  

I miss her terribly.

Looking back, it is only by the grace of God I have become who I am today.  He has shown me more mercy than I ever deserve.  I often wonder if her death was an act of God's mercy upon my life.  It was her death that was a catalyst for me to know Christ and put my trust in Him.

God works in weird ways, but I still trust Him.  And I can't wait to see mom again.

Jan 25, 2009

New Toy

An anonymous and generous friend handed me a gift-wrapped box this morning on their way into church.  After waiting a bit, I went into my office, and couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the box.

I've been wanting this gun for a while, and this person heard about it, and thought it best to get it for me.  It's a Kal-Tec P-3AT handgun that weighs only 8 ounces but pulls the punch as it fires .380 shells.

This is a great weapon for concealment and protection, and just a great gun to have for any collector.  

So thank you to the person who thought of me.  I'm grateful and excited!

Jan 23, 2009

Thinking of Others Ahead of Ourselves

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." - Philippians 2:3-4

Is this really possible? Of course it is. God would not have given it to us in Scripture if it were impossible to obey. In addition, there's no better example we can find than Christ Himself. As an innocent man, Jesus suffered excruciating pain while on the cross. It was in this act that all of our sin was transfered to Christ and God's wrath was violently poured out upon Himself! This is sobering to say the least.

But what also is incredible to see, that in this moment, every one of us believes He would be totally justified to think about His own needs first. Instead, He puts Himself second.

We see this as He spoke seven times while nailed to the cross.

His first three words are about OTHERS:

1. Forgive them. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

2. Paradise. "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

3. Son and Mother. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' (John 19:26-27).

His last four words are about HIMSELF:

4. Drink. "I thirst" (John 19:28).

5. Abandoned. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).

6. Accomplished. "It is finished" (John 19:30).

7. Death. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46).

Jesus truly humbled himself to the point of death. But even while dying, he counted us more significant than Himself. He looked to our interests before His own.

May we follow His example this week.

Jan 16, 2009

Sermon Series blog

At the start of 2009, I began preaching a 3-month sermon series on the spiritual disciplines that will take our church through Easter Sunday.  Each week the notes and audio will be available at a new blog I've launched where your own experiences of practicing the disciplines can be logged as you follow along.

I hope you find this material to be practical and helpful as you follow Christ.

Nov 30, 2008

A Father's Gift to His Son

I've always wanted one of these to keep some of my reference books open that I often use. It's a Jefferson's Revolving Bookstand, invented and used by Thomas Jefferson.  I noticed that they sold reproductions online, but I knew they would be too expensive ($618) to purchase.

I sent an email of the picture to my dad, who buys and sells antiques, to see if he ever came across any.  Several months later, after forgetting our conversation, my father hands me my Christmas present...a Jefferson's Revolving Bookstand.

Now, the most amazing thing is that my father handmade this version (different from the original).  Thomas Jefferson never patented it, so he made some adjustments (which I think are more suited to my needs).  It's solid oak, and is pretty close to what the original is.  

Knowing that my father made this makes it even better.  It means everything to me to know how much thought, travel, research, and detail he put into this.  I'm blown away!

NOTE: If any of you pastors, professors, or students are interested in purchasing one for your office, feel free to contact me.  My father will be building more of these and will be selling them at a much cheaper price than the one originally stated.

New Sermon Series starting 2009

Beginning the first Sunday in 2009, I will be preaching through a year-long series called "Saints and Scoundrels: 50 People You Should Know."  Starting with the book of Genesis, we'll learn from the lives of the major characters found in the Bible.  

I've chosen to do this for a few reasons...

1. Each week will be fresh and new since each person's life story is different.

2. I want our church people to be immersed in the Scriptures.

3. It's important to see ourselves in each person's shoes.

4. We can learn from their mistakes and be challenged by their example.

5. We can learn to share our own story about what God has done.

Here's a list of who we'll be studying throughout 2009:

Jan 4 - Adam/Eve
Jan 11 - Cain/Abel
Jan 18 - Enoch
Jan 25 - Noah
Feb 1 - Abraham
Feb 8 - Isaac
Feb 15 - Jacob
Feb 22 - Joseph
Mar 1 - Moses
Mar 8 - Aaron
Mar 15 - Caleb
Mar 22 - Joshua
Mar 29 - Rahab
Apr 5 - PALM SUNDAY: Jesus
Apr 12 - EASTER SUNDAY: Jesus
Apr 19 - Hannah
Apr 26 - Samuel
May 3 - Saul
May 10 - David
May 17 - Solomon
May 24 - Samson
May 31 - Gideon
June 7 - Ezra
June 14 - Nehemiah
June 21 - Esther
June 28 - Job
July 5 - Isaiah
July 12 - Elijah
July 19 - Elisha
July 26 - Jeremiah
Aug 2 - Ezekiel
Aug 9 - Daniel
Aug 16 - Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
Aug 23 - Uzziah
Aug 30 - Jonah
Sep 6 - Hosea
Sep 13 - Habakkuk
Sep 20 - Haggai
Sep 27 - John the Baptist
Oct 4 - Matthew
Oct 11 - John
Oct 18 - Peter
Oct 25 - Martha
Nov 1 - Paul
Nov 8 - Barnabas
Nov 15 - Timothy
Nov 22 - Philemon
Nov 29 - Mary
Dec 6 - Joseph
Dec 13 - Zechariah
Dec 20 - CHRISTMAS: Jesus
Dec 27 - Aquila/Priscilla

Please pray for me as this will very challenging, as some of these people cover numerous books of the Bible at a time.  

Advent Motifs

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a time of year when Christians prepare for the birth of Christ. While thinking about what to preach on, a few motifs come to mind.

Motif #1: Political
First we begin in 1 Samuel 8:4-7, where the Israelites rejected God as their king.  They wanted to be like "all the other nations" who had earthly kings, and even though God was protecting and providing for them, they wanted worldly status.

From there, it all went wrong, until God promised through the prophet Isaiah (9:2-7) that a child would be born who would be established as king and whose government and peaceful reign would have no end.    

Finally, in the book of Matthew, we repeatedly find that this child is not only the king promised from Isaiah, but God in human flesh, who has come to save his people from their sins and to establish his reign over all the earth.

The question then becomes, do we still allow God to be king over our lives, or do we exchange him for other rulers and authorities to reign over us?  Christ was born to be the supreme authority in our lives.

Motif #2: Warfare
Soon after the Fall in Genesis 3, God promised that the serpent would be crushed by the seed of the woman.  This is known as the first gospel by many theologians, because it speaks of Christ crushing the head of Satan the serpent.
This is one of the reasons Christ came into the world, to disarm the rulers and authorities of their power...to crush Satan, sin, and death.

Motif #3: Relational
The obvious benefit of Christ's birth is that we are brought back into relationship with God.  1 Timothy 2:5 makes this clear, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..."  Without the incarnation, there is no cross and there is noredemption.  Without the incarnation, we remain as God's enemies, but with it, we become His friends...His children!