Archive for November, 2017

Well I finished the writing of my new book “ENOUGH.” a few days early. (yes I know the period will look like a punctuation error, but it is there on purpose, as if to say “enough. it’s over, complete, I am enough.”)

With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) you get the thirty days of November to write a 50,000 word book, and there is a great website to log your progress as you work through. Now I did not write a novel per se, but it was really helpful in getting my nonfiction book finished, at least as far as the rough draft stage.

This concept really worked for me. It gave me a goal to shoot for every day and watching the little bar graph climb to the goal really incentivized me to get it done. There was a great sense of accomplishment as I crossed that 50,000 word line.  It was a great experience, that I highly recommend to anyone who can carve out some time. It’s not easy but it is doable. It actually relates to a concept I have been trying for quite some time. Accomplishing a large project, by breaking it down into smaller manageable steps. If you feel like you have a book in you, why not give it a try?

A nice side effect of this for me was this project has also spawned a couple of sermons for my church and will also become several speaking presentations in the coming year. Now I plunge into the hard work, of formatting, editing and making this thing into a real book.As well as the fun work of illustration. Keep watching for updates.

Last night at church we looked at the 3P’s of Thanksgiving, Giving thanks for God’s Provision, Protection and Propitiation (a big word for the Saving work of Jesus on the cross). Pretty much everything we have to be thankful for falls under one of those categories. Happy Thanksgiving. Have a blessed day!

I thought I’d be writing on my experience with NaNoWriMo today, but to be honest, I am still processing some of that while trying to get ready for our Thanksgiving Eve Service tonight, and that piece will take a little more time. I did however get a chance to grab a little lunch today and while eating, I was reading a great new book.

My friend, Marlita S. Hill has written a new book called Defying Discord. She sent me an advance copy to review and it’s wonderful. Defying Discord is a book for Christians with “secular” art careers. Basically it relates to how creatives called to create outside the walls of the church can glorify God. It has been a real blessing so far, be on the look out for it soon. I found this gem that I thought I would share. All my readers need to read and consider this.

“There’s a difference between asking God to bless what we’ve already set in place, and letting Him lead us in the actual deciding: from what we do, to how we do it , when we do it and with whom. There’s a difference in asking Him to lead us in what we’ve conjured up, and seeking Him about what we should be doing in the first place. This doesn’t mean we can’t make plans, it means we have to be flexible enough to receive adjustments, or replacements, to our plan if God has another way.”

This is so true. When we let God take the lead, we may not be sure where He will take us, but we know we’ll end up in the right place. In the very center of His will.

Well I did it, I crossed the finish line on 50,000 words. Now onto editing and waiting to hear from a few people on how to proceed. I’ll share some thoughts on this adventure tomorrow. In the mean time here is today’s excerpt from near the end of the book.

Am I Good enough? part 3

As we near the end of this book, I wonder where you are today. Are you still discouraged? Have I written something that will make you think you’re not good enough. Well you need to know, no matter where you are, you’re good enough to start. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Maybe today is the day to make that first step.

Are you doubting because of something you have done, or maybe something you’re continuing to do? Maybe today is the day to turn around and turn to Jesus. Give your sin to HIm. He already bore it to the cross. Ask Him to forgive you and ask Him to help you leave your sin there at the foot of the cross and never take it up again.

Are you wondering because you don’t compare to someone else. The answer to that is simple, stop comparing yourself to other people. They are on their journey and you are on yours, and while in Christ they all end up at the same place, heaven, the paths between here and there are varied and different. Instead, compare yourself to Jesus. Make no mistake, if you do, you will come up lacking. He’s perfect, you’re not, but He is the best example you can follow. Better than any example this world has to offer. So many people struggle with the will of God and what it is for your life. The first thing to consider is totally biblical but not found in the Bible. It’s found in something called the Westminster Catechism. It says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We glorify God when we do our best in Him to honor Him in whatever He puts before us, pointing people to Him as the source of our strength and goodness. We give Him glory when we live to honor Him.

And finally if you want to know the will of God, Paul tells us what it is in Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Now when he says offer your body as a living sacrifice, it is not some sort of ritual that will involve your physical death. Jesus already paid that price, once and for all. Instead, it means to die to your selfish desires and submit yourself to God instead. If we truly do this we will be holy and pleasing to Him, which should be our goal. It means, once again that we turn from our sin and give Him all we are. This is the essence of real worship, submitting to God in every area of life, and anything less is, in fact, a form of idolatry.

Further he tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world. The reason for that is simple, the world is a mess. It runs under a different system, a system that has things upside down and backwards from the way they are supposed to be—completely opposite of the way God intended. This system was set in place by the one who came to steal, kill and destroy, the enemy of your soul, Satan himself. The effects of sin are running rampant everywhere, and they’re trying to drag us into it’s wake, but there is a better way. In order to get to that better way, we have to take on a radical non-conformity. We have to be different than the world. This way of thinking is really nothing new. Your mom probably showed it to you in not so many words when she said, “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you do it?” The smart answer to that question is “No!” Instead you would go a different way, a way different from the pattern of this world.

Here’s a possible design for the book cover. What do you think?

Well I dropped the writing ball a little on Saturday and Sunday. I knew I would, so I worked ahead and today I played a little catch up. Saturday I was in training all day to do disaster relief work with children and yesterday, I preached in the morning, came home, loaded the van and spoke at another event last night. I am over 47,000 words and should finish the 50,000 word challenge tomorrow, Lord willing from there is a lot of editing, and some additional copy. Here’s today’s excerpt.

“Here’s the problem, excellence is like greatness and enough. Its a sliding scale and a slippery slope. How do people become excellent? They learn and grow. How can they learn and grow if every opportunity for learning and growth is choked out in the pursuit of excellence. We wonder why the church has a consumer mentality. I can tell you why, no one has the opportunity to contribute except the talented few that can meet the sliding scale of excellence. The rest come to the church to sit in their seats and watch the show, Why shouldn’t they be consumers when all we will allow them to do is consume? The other side of this is how much do we excuse in the lives of the “excellent” simply because of their talent? For example. If “Joe” is a virtuoso guitarist but he’s living a sinful mess of a life, how long are you going to put him up in front of the congregation. His talent is excellent, but where will his example lead. Excellence can be a very bad thing.

But what if we considered excellence differently? What if instead of only using the people who’ve arrived, we gave the inexperienced the opportunity to learn and grow. What if we considered excellence to be the best you can do today? What if we let people start where they are, and help them to demonstrate faithfulness in the way they work toward growth? What if character counted more than talent? By the way character does count more than talent, especially in the church. If we looked at excellence in this way, we wouldn’t constantly looking for people to serve, there would be a point of entry for the talented beginner and the person who just wants to try, character flaws could be worked out and everyone could start to feel “great” about where they are in the journey.”

Well I’m up to 42,315 words in NaNoWriMo, which is amazing to me. The goal they post is 50,000 words. With less than 8,000 to go, I don’t think that’s going to be quite enough to say all I want to say. My goal is to finish the writing before Thanksgiving and dig right into the edits and illustrations. My goal is to hit publish to Amazon by Midnight November 30, but more important I want to make sure it says all it’s supposed to say and it’s done right. Today’s passage is something I’ve been working through for a while. I hope it blesses you.

In this world we all face temptation and we all fall to that temptation and when we do, we fall into sin. I have long looked for a way to illustrate this and I think I have found it. I know you’ve seen those commercials. There’s a closeup of a person, you can usually see no more than his or her head and shoulders. All of the sudden there appears an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other. The devil starts off trying to tempt the person to indulge in something, usually some decadent dessert, and the angel tries to talk them out of it. It usually seems like the angel loses out. Now these commercials are usually humorous, at least to some degree, but they are taking this way too lightly. Temptation is very real and it’s a huge battle, not between two little imps on your shoulders, but between the two most powerful forces in the universe. The battle is for your soul. Your life is a line.

When I demonstrate this I set two easels up on the far ends of a stage. On one end of that line is a portrait of Jesus, on the other a portrait of Satan, because ultimately that’s the battle. Jesus is on one end and Satan is on the other. On one side is love, on the other, hate. On one side is life, on the other, death. On one side is light, on the other, darkness. You get the idea, polar opposites battling over you. You are somewhere in the middle, somewhere on the line between the two and faced with a choice. Satan begins to do what he does best. I don’t ever like to give him any praise of any kind, but there is something I must concede. He is good at what he does and what he does is tries to lure us into temptation. He knows just where to hit us and what to dangle in front of us to get us to turn toward him. We see the temptation, and too often we are off to the races, running headlong toward our own destruction. Remember that’s his ultimate goal. His end is secure. He is headed to eternal destruction. The only thing he has left is to try to destroy what God loves most, and what God loves most is you. He tries to lure to your destruction. Now if you already belong to Jesus, your ultimate destruction is off the table, but He will still try to destroy your witness, so that others won’t see your life and leave the path to destruction. Before we go any further look at the picture below, look at the man and his position on the line. Look at the direction of his body. In order to turn toward temptation, in order to turn toward sin, so you see what he has to do. Yes, He has to turn his back on God and that is precisely what happens. When you turn toward sin, you are turning your back on God, and you are ultimately turning toward your ruin, every time, all the time no exceptions.

Now let’s suppose your on the dead sprint to death, heading to your own destruction, when you hear a little voice. The still small voice of God, of the Holy Spirit and He’s saying, “Please stop. You’re not going to like where this ends. It’s painful. It’s going to hurt a lot. I have something better for you. I love you.” You hear that voice, and you hit the brakes and in that moment you turn around. You turn your back on sin and you turn to Jesus. That act is what we call repentance. Jesus gave His life to buy us that privilege, the privilege to turn around and turn to Him and to be rescued.


There is one last thing we need to cover here and that is the topic of rest. If you ever find yourself feeling guilty for taking a break, chances are awfully good that your priorities are out of whack. If you think everything will stop unless you keep going, you are desperately out of balance. Remember all the way back in Exodus, when God gave us the Ten Commandments? Do you remember the one where He said “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…” (Exodus 20:8-10A NIV) God did that on purpose. If you go further into the law you will see that the penalty for breaking the Sabbath in the Old Testament was death. Sounds like God takes Sabbath pretty seriously.

Now I don’t want to dwell on the legalism of the Sabbath. Jesus fought that enough in His earthly life and ministry. Jesus proved He was Lord of the Sabbath and more importantly that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. That last part is key. The Sabbath was made for you and me. A day of rest was planned in the order of the universe from week one, because the God who made us, knew we needed it. A good deal of Sabbath has to do with worship, but there is something more. Put very simply, it’s love. The God of the universe knew that if we were not ordered to take time off, we would find a way to fill every minute of our time. We would start to put other things in front of Him, destroy our relationship with Himself and work ourselves into an early grave. That is not at all what God desires for us.

The thing we all need to remember, in our quest to be enough, by doing enough and working enough, is that God is already enough and we can depend on Him in every aspect of our lives, This is huge and crucial. It means that it doesn’t all depend on us and that we can trust Him to keep going what needs to keep going while we give our bodies, as well as our minds and souls the rest that they need to function in God’s world.

Ephesians 2:10, a verse you will no doubt see again several times in this volume says that we are God’s workmanship. Consider all that He has made and yet He made humanity last and best. If you are His workmanship, you are a masterpiece. People say God can do anything and everything and that is not entirely true. There are a few things that are outside his nature. For example, God cannot fail. Everything He makes works by His perfect design and He made you. The rest of the verse says we were created in Christ Jesus. We were created in and by our perfect Savior, and we were created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. He created you individually, on purpose for a purpose. That purpose is a big part of the meaning of you life. He equipped you to do something good in this world, and He put in you, what you need to do what He has called you to do.

You might see a flaw in what I just said, “I feel called to do “x” but I don’t have this thing, trait or quality that I need to get it done.” That may be true, but did you notice the verse is plural. His plan is not for us alone. We were also created to be in community. We will cover this more in a later chapter, but for now suffice it to say, God will put into your life the components you are lacking. through people, new gifts or a multitude of other ways. Our duty today is to take the next right step, trusting that God made you to be enough and that He is more than enough.

Well friends, I just went over 30,000 words in this project in 13 days, all while doing other things. Yes, I know my schedule is a little more flexible than most, but this has also been one of the busiest seasons of recent years. I share this only for this reason. You can find time to write. You might have to fit it in here and there but with a little planning and preparation, you can do what you really feel led to do.


Some of you need to forgive God. I can almost hear your blasphemy detectors going off from here. You’re thinking, “How can he say that? God is perfect. God never sins. God never does anything wrong.” By the way, I agree with every one of those things, so let me ask a follow up question. They why are you mad at him. Because many people are. I know I was.

When I was forty years old, I was pastoring a church plant and I was working like crazy. The church couldn’t sustain my income so I was what they call bivocational. As a little aside, my spell check always highlights that word. Maybe for good reason. Bivocational should be temporary. The workman is worthy of his hire, but I digress. Bivocational was my reality. I worked all day at a day job, and spent most of my remaining time working on the church. I would get up early and go to bed late and it took it’s toll. One day, after having been sick for a few days, I began having pains in my chest. I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t excruciating, but it was Saturday, and I was supposed to go on a lengthy trip the following Monday, so I decided to go to the E.R. to get checked out. I figured I would get some meds, go home and take them and be ready for my trip. My symptoms were so mild, I was shocked when they said, “Mr. Weiss, do you realize you’re having a heart attack?” “I do now!” I thought.

As they rushed around, figuring out how to keep me from going into a much worse situation, I got more and more scared. Then conflicting voices came into the back of my head. I heard the voice of a woman years before who questioned the salvation of a friend because in the midst of an illness, she feared death. That voice put questions in my head “Is there something wrong with my faith?” “Am I really saved?” I heard all kinds of other stuff, guilt and condemnation. I thought of my sons. My oldest was just about to be married, would I live to see the wedding. My youngest was ten, who would care for him, and what would happen if I died.” Fear and anxiety were manifesting in big ways and then a new emotion came—anger. I would have understood all of this that I was going through back in the day when I was mistreating my body with alcohol, but now I was working hard for the Lord, and how could he let this happen to me?

Theologians call it the retribution principle and it’s really easy to fall into. The basic idea is good people deserve good and bad people deserve bad, and in my mind at that moment, God was unjust. I didn’t deserve this. Right now theologians want to scream at me, so let me just be clear. My rational mind know that the retribution principle doesn’t always work in the Kingdom. I also know that Jesus came so that we would not get what we deserve and further I know that God is good regardless of what happens. My rational mind knows all of that stuff, but at that moment I was not rational. I was sad scared and mad and it took a long time to get over all of them. I felt like God had let me down. Pair that with a medication, that was causing my surface chest muscles to tighten at the slightest provocation and you get the idea. It was a really bad time for me. I was mad at God and I was trying to pastor a church while I sorted it out. Not an easy thing to do.

And then one day, it broke. I realized I couldn’t go on like that anymore, something had to give so I did something that seemed ridiculous even to me in that state of mind. I forgave God. Now to be clear, I knew He didn’t need my forgiveness. I knew in my heart all of this was actually my problem. but I went to God in prayer and said something to the effect of, “I don’t know why you left this happen, but there’s a wall between us and I’m pretty sure I put it there. God I still love you. I still trust you, even if it doesn’t look like it and I know you don’t need it, but I don’t know what else to do, but I forgive you.” That was when the healing really began. In my spirit, I began to hear the still small voice of God. He was saying things like “David, did I ask you to work that hard? No, I didn’t. That was you. Did I tell you you couldn’t rest? No, I didn’t. That was you.Who asked you to work like it all depends on you? It wasn’t me. It doesn’t all depend on you. It depends on me and you depend on me.” He took me through my questions. He reminded me that as much as I love my sons, He loves them more and that He can be depended on to take care of them better than I can and when it was done there was one last thing to do. I needed to ask God to forgive me, which was kind of the point all along.