Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


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.
thereason


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.
allfouryeshua


I love art, always have, and few activities in my life bring me more joy than making art.
But that’s not what it’s all about.
I love traveling all over the country, painting my pictures and telling my stories.
But that’s not what it’s all about.
I love pastoring my church and creating new ways to preach and help people get it,
and that’s closer, but that’s not what it’s all about.
I get paid to paint pictures and tell stories and I have made friends all over the world, and that is amazingly cool, but that’s not what it’s all about either.

So what is it all about?

It’s all about Jesus.

It’s about helping people come to know Him.
It’s about following His leading.
It’s about answering His call.
It’s about learning all that He has for me, the easy stuff and the hard stuff.
It’s about telling the story of what He has done for me.
It’s about speaking His truth to whoever will listen.
It’s about trying to honor Him for all that He has done for me.
It’s about knowing the price He paid
and it’s about knowing I am completely unworthy and completely and perfectly love.

It’s all about Jesus, and if I keep Him as my focus, honor Him as Lord, worship Him as Savior, everything else will work out.

Jesus is life. Life is Jesus.


This one is almost inexplicable to me. I mean I guess I kind of get the concept but I have never ever liked it. I just recently saw a preview for the new Suicide Squad movie. You should know, while I am familiar with some of the characters, I know nothing about the overarching concept, beyond this, it’s a bunch of villains brought together to do something good while being bad. This has always troubled me. Tell me you’re doing the wrong thing for the right reason and I will have to come back to the fact that you’re doing the wrong thing. I also don’t like the idea of being bad for good, with the possible exception of a few rising up against a bully stories, but even these almost have to be cautionary tales because this can and usually will go horribly wrong the vast majority of times. Don’t even get me into the lesser of two evils because I am trying to refrain from commenting on this years presidential election. The only thing I will say is the lesser of two evils is still evil.

I never liked horror movies. I’ve only ever seen one and it was edited for television and still too much for me. Visual people have great visual memories and putting horrible videos before them is a really bad idea. The movies I hate the worst though are the ones where the “monster” your Freddie Kreuger’s, Michael Myers’ and Jasons have long multiple movie story arcs. These movies make mass killers the heroes of the story, or as some people call them “antiheroes.” Let’s be clear. An antihero is not a hero, an antihero is evil and we should never ever applaud evil, ever. I can’t stand this concept.

Our world needs real, actual heroes. People who stand for “truth, justice and (the best of the) American way.” We need to broadcast their stories. We need to create their stories and share them with the world. Creatives of the faith, this is something we need to be working on. We need the underdog stories, the self sacrificing heroes who lay down their lives for their friends. We need the heroes who rise against injustice and stay good while the rest of the world goes evil. We need great stories of people who live, act and love like Jesus. Come to think of it, that’s also the way we need to live.

Antihero is a lot like antiChrist and we don’t need anymore of that in our world.

Let’s create something better, something we want people to emulate.

Let’s create some heroes. He have a great pattern to build from.