Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


Today is Ascension day. It’s the day we commemorate the ascension of Jesus. This is a day of tremendous hope, because just as Jesus ascended into heaven, one day so shall all who believe. Jesus was crucified, died and was buried, but on the third day he rose again and over the course of the next 40 days, He appeared to His disciples and to hundreds of others, proving He is risen. At the end of those 40 days, Jesus was with his disciples on a mountain top and then they watched Him ascend to the sky.

It appears that His disciples stood there sort of bewildered looking up into the sky. Acts 1:9-11 records the account. “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

In all the days since, we have been awaiting His return, and the question of the angels still remains. “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” This was never Jesus, desire for His church. Rather we should be doing the last thing Jesus told his disciples (that’s what we are church!) That they should wait for the Holy Spirit and then they would be His witnesses… to Jerusalem, and Judea and to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Well friends, the Spirit has come and it’s time to be witnesses.

Jesus is ascended, the Spirit has come. Take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!

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First of all Easter is never really over because Jesus is Risen. That being said, the day we celebrate the Holiday has passed, so now what? Well for Christians the answer should be obvious. We take what we’ve been given and we share it. That’s what this image represents. We take the light that is in our hearts and we reach out, using our gifts to bless others and our lives to encourage and comfort others. The hand reaching down represents reaching to help someone else up. Then finally the hand pointing to heaven is to remind us that with all we do, we are supposed to point to the One who came to set us free. This is a major part of what it means to follow Christ.


Nearly every week I am blessed with an awesome opportunity to be creative. There are a lot of other people who get what I get to do every week too, and quite a few of them don’t see what they do as creative. I respectfully submit those people are wrong. I’ve seen people bring such amazing perspective to their work week in and week out and yet they don’t believe they are creative. What is this activity? Preaching the Word of God.

Maybe it’s because they have a skewed perspective of what creativity is. A lot of people can see creativity only in the realm of art, yet preaching and especially preparing to preach is an art. Others would shy away from calling our work creative because they fear that people will think the are straying from the unchanging Word of God if they consider their work creative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some also don’t want to say they’re creative for fear that their work will be seen as frivolous and some worry that if they see their work as creative, they will attract attention away from the Creator. I think this perspective is skewed as well.

Here’s how it happens for me. I pray seeking God for the idea, the text, etc. When I am led to something I study and I pray some more. God gives me all I need, and then I seek Him for the way to help the people He has given me to take the message He has given deep into their hearts. I don’t want to do this just so people are entertained. I desire life change and I think God does as well. I bring all the creativity (which God gave me) I can muster to the task at hand and through the Work of the Spirit, I try to bring my people the best message I can. I don’t mess with the message itself. God’s Word is perfect. I just do my best to bring the best presentation I can to what God has given. Preaching is the most creative thing I do all week. God and my congregation deserve no less.

God made you creative. Use it to His glory!


Someone dear posted about a struggle she is having over the use of the light of the world passage in the inauguration. I actually didn’t see it, not because I was boycotting or anything, but simply because I was working and didn’t have time to get away. I’m sure we come at things from different points of view. I’m older and somewhat more conservative and yet I could understand her angst. If you’ve been following this blog you know I think the election was sort of a no win situation and wonder if our two choices don’t reflect a nation under judgment. Nonetheless, her post spawned this response.

“Here’s what He [Jesus] said, “You are the light of the world, A city on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before people that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Politics is part of the world system, and while occasionally people go in there and shine, government is not usually where the light comes from. At another point in Scripture Jesus said He was the light of the world. We reflect His light. We need to pray for our government, but we can’t wait for it. We need to shine. We need to do good for others in God’s name, whatever the government does and even in spite of the government sometimes. Darkness doesn’t exist. Darkness is the absence of light. When you find yourself in darkness, the best thing to do is shine.”

Regardless of your political position, what’s done is done and our job remains the same. We Christians are in this world to reflect the light of Jesus. Once you cast your vote, your part in the process largely came to an end. It is time to get back to shining the light by doing good and working in faithfulness to live a life of blessing and grace. If we are faithful to our calling, God will be glorified and when God is glorified, in big and small ways, things change.


People do a lot of talking about the real meaning of Christmas and I wonder how many people actually get it, so I made this really simple chart. Christmas is really important. It’s the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus but the reason for the birth is the cross, Jesus came to lay down his life for you and me and of course the reason for the cross is the resurrection. Jesus rose again and because He did, if we place our faith in Him, we get to rise too.
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I decided I needed a little something more for a Christmas program at church and I thought back to a script I wrote in 2001. At the time I was a church youth leader. Much is made of the fact that Mary the mother of Jesus was probably quite young, a teen, not much different than many of the students I was working with. Before long a strange idea hit me. If Mary and Joseph were in my youth group and told me the story of Mary being with child what would have my reaction been. What came out of that thought was one of the favorite things I have ever written. I really wanted to use it, but there was a problem. The computer I wrote that piece on has long since been recycled and I changed web hosting providers. There was a good chance the piece was lost forever, but I thought to Google it. Fortunately it came up, unfortunately it came up on a paid content site, having been uploaded by someone else. Someone else is profiting from my content.

What was my reaction? Well I thought about lodging a copyright complaint with the service, but that didn’t feel right in this case. I’d rather have it out there helping people than lost forever which it might have been. In the long run, I decided to just be grateful that people are still seeing it, and secondly, I decided to post it here for free. If this sounds like something that might bless you or your group. please feel free to use it. I call it Mary and Joe’s Counseling Session. I pray it blesses you. Click here to download your copy.


I want to talk about the debates today, but relax this is not a political post. My first confession is that I did not watch the debates. I had a great night preaching revivals last night and didn’t want to ruin my mood by watching the two people my nation has inexplicably decided to put up as the best candidates from their party. I still shake my head in disbelief, but that is a different story for a different day, and probably a different blog since I really can’t stand politics. My exposure to the debates came today when I hit my social media. OH MY WORD!!!

The fact that I have so many friends who actually believe either of these people will make a good president boggles my imagination. Rest assured, I will follow my God’s admonition to pray for whichever one wins and further I will go to the polls to vote for the people I believe will advance the causes that are near and dear to my heart, but at this point I am thinking I will either skip the top slot altogether or write in Yeshua Hamaschiach as a symbolic gesture. I have been more down about this SNL sketch turned reality called the 2016 election than I must have realized. Then today my friend Chuck Kieffer from the Foundry Church posted a question to Facebook that got me back on track.

You get to pick one.
(A) A Christ centered life where you are spiritually blessed but have troubles that cause you to fully rely on Him.
(B) the perfect political leader and system of government that you get what you want.

Sometimes I wonder if Christians really understand what this life is all about. You get one choice choose wisely

Well said, Chuck! That command to pray for our leaders came at a time when someone far worst than either of our current candidates was the political ruler of the world. I say “political ruler” because in reality Jesus already rules the world. Believers we need to keep that in mind. Trump or Clinton will end up in the White House, but what matters so much more is God is on the throne. If you feel so led and one of these people inspires confidence in you, vote for them. If both of them depress you, do something else, but remember this. Our first call is to Jesus. Cast your vote and get back to work. Let’s live a better story and tell the world the story of the only One who can actually save it.

That’s what we’re here for.
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