Monday, May 23, 2011

eat the Word

Ezekiel 2:8-10
"But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you." And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

Ezekiel was commanded to not simple read but eat a scroll of lamentation, mourning and woe. Far too often I read the Word of God and allow the words to remain on the page. God would rather that I consume His Word, take it in, taste the bitterness of rebuke, feel the weight of woe, experience the fullness of holiness. It is this type of consumption that enable one to truly experience the fullness of God's truth and empowers one to boldly live into that truth.

God, fill me with Your Word. Enable me to experience it's fullness and empower me to live fully into it. Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Mark 16:15 & 20
"And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.' - - - -
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs."

When we are faithful to "go" and "proclaim," He is faithful to "work" and to "confirm."
How is God working and confirming in, around and through me as I proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ? If I don't see the powerful, transforming work of Christ and the confirmation of that transforming message through miracles and answered prayer I must ask myself if I have faithfully pursued the lost and proclaimed the Gospel. I must ask myself if I have boldly proclaimed and courageously trusted in the promises of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. I must ask myself if I have chosen to live a safe, socially acceptable, quiet life so that I don't offend my neighbor, friend or family member.
If I am going to see the powerful, transforming work of Jesus Christ in the lives of those around me and experience His miraculous confirmation, I must live my life boldly so that the only possible resolution is His intervention; whether by transformation or intervention, by conversion or by confirmation.

Jesus, I want to live my life so boldly for You that my only option is to trust You to confirm Your Truth through me. I want to see lives changed, miracles performed, relationships restored and Your Truth confirmed through powerful signs. Strengthen me to live boldly that Your Gospel might be confirmed through me. Amen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

looking for the kingdom

Mark 15:43
Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

What would it mean for me to be "looking for the kingdom of God?"
For Joseph it meant bold courage to act against his association with the Jewish Council and in cooperation with Pilate to preserve the body of Jesus. For Joseph, it meant divorcing himself from what he thought he knew and even who he thought he was for the possibility of understanding just a little more about Jesus. For Joseph, it meant the costly purchase of a linen shroud and the costly sacrifice of his own garden tomb.
What would it mean for me to look for the kingdom of God as Joseph did?
What bold courageous act might I be called to?
What association or identity do I need to divorce myself from?
What sacrifice do I need to make in order to discover a little more about Jesus and His kingdom?

Father, teach me to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Help me to trust You to strengthen me, guide me, guard me and reveal Yourself to me. Amen.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The testimony of sacrifice

Mark 14:9
And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

The act and sacrifice of this sinful woman so powerfully pointed to Christ and His sacrifice for the world that it echoed throughout all of time along with the Gospel. To her it was a simple sacrifice. To Jesus, it was a bold and true proclamation of the world's need and His sufficiency. To her it was a worthwhile sacrifice. To Jesus it was priceless sacrifice that pointed to a great sacrifice. To her it was a humble sacrifice. To Jesus it was a "beautiful" sacrifice.
Is my life marked with such simple, worthy and humble sacrifices that others are p0inted to the Truth of the Gospel? When people close to me hear again of the sacrifice Jesus has made on our behalf, does my life come to mind as a powerful example of one effected by and demonstrating that sacrifice? Do I pursue simple, selfless acts each day for the benefit of the Gospel? Do I set myself aside for the sake of lifting up Jesus? Does my life testify of His?

Jesus, teach me to sacrifice. Teach me to recognize little opportunities to give myself away daily. Teach me to humble bend my knee and break my flask. Let me give of my whole self, holding nothing back, that You may be glorified and Your Gospel proclaimed through me. Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Mark 13:13
And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

If I am to be hate by all for His name's sake, I must live my life for His name's sake.
To walk with Jesus, to follow Him, to take up my cross will lead to difficultly in this life.
If I lack difficultly, if I lack opposition, am I really walking with Him, in His step?
Am I willing to take a stand, issue a warning, buck the system, go against conventional wisdom and speak words of controversial Truth? Am I willing to live sacrificially, to leverage the wealth of this world for the work of His kingdom? Am I willing to live so wholly for His name's sake that the world around me is offended by my actions, standards, words and wishes?
If I am to be hate by all for His name's sake, I must live my life for His name's sake.

Lord, teach me what it means to live for Your name's sake and strengthen me for the task. Amen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Truth hurts... but doesn't have to.

Mark 12:12
And they (Scribes & Elders) were seeking to arrest him (Jesus) but feared the people, for they (Scribes & Elders) perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

The truth hurts.
The Scribes and Elders there in Jerusalem perceived that Jesus told the parable of the violent tenants against them. Ironically, they sought to arrest Him and, in doing so, would inadvertently fulfill the parable. But at the core of their anger was a truth that truly hurt. They were supposed to be stewards of the vineyard, the kingdom of God, but instead they were abusing their privilege and the people were beginning to figure it out. Yet, rather than accept the truth, they chose to fight, distort it and destroy it. And again, confirmed this truth (as well as the parable) rather than concealed it.

Have I ever felt the painful sting of truth and chose to resist it rather than receive it? My resistance only served to confirm my state of wickedness and perpetuate my state of desperation. I need my eyes opened by a Holy Teacher. I need my heart softened by the Holy Spirit. I need my mind transformed by His holy truth. I need my flesh humbled by a holy rebuke.

Father, humble me and soften me that I may receive Your truth and Your rebuke. Amen.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Mark 11:24-25
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

How often has forgiveness (Mt. 6:14), or the lack of it, stood in the way of my prayers? Have I ever prayed for physical healing yet harbored hatred in my heart? Have I ever prayed for unity and refused fellowship with a brother or sister? Have I ever prayed for provision and yet horded my blessings? How often has my sin or unwillingness to extent forgiveness for another's sin stood in the way of God's desire for my life?
If I truly understand the forgiveness extended to me at the cross I cannot possible withhold forgiveness from a brother or sister who is covered by the same blood of forgiveness as I. And if I truly understand the sinful state of rebellion against God from which I was called, I cannot withhold compassion and even sorrow for someone at odds with me.
Who do I need to forgive?

Father - give me Your heart of forgiveness and help me to also ask for forgiveness. Let my prays of confession and forgiveness be lifted up and answered first, before my prayers of provision and supplication. Teach me to respond to others as You have responded to me. Amen.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Jesus, love languages & children

Mark 10:13-16
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

In this passage Jesus defended children, called them, took them up in His arms, touched them and blessed them. I can identify each of the five love languages in these actions (service, words of affirmation, quality time, intentional touch and tangible gifts). First, Jesus serves these children by defending them; doing for them what they could not do for themselves. Second, Jesus uses his words to affirm them, calling them to him while brushing back the crowds and even His disciples. Third, Jesus takes the children up into His lap. I like to thing this is quality time. He didn't just call them to be near Him but truly with Him. Fourth, Jesus touches them. This intentional touch conveyed not only Jesus blessing but also His desire to meet what we know today is one of a child's deepest needs - to be touched. Finally, Jesus blessed them. I like to think this is a tangible blessing, not simply a quaint benediction that we might put on a wall plaque or deliver at the end of a funeral or wedding. I believe this blessing opened these children uniquely to the treasures of heaven and to the favor of God the Father.
So as a youth pastor, as a father, as a man, how do I bless the children God puts in my life?

Monday, May 2, 2011

What am I mindful of?

Mark 8:31-33 (ESV)
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

I would guess that Jesus' response to Peter left him surprised and confused. Peter's words were probably motivated by good intentions, love for the Master and a desire to see Jesus ministry continue but they were not guided by truth. Whatever is not guided by Truth is a lie and therefor comes from Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44). Jesus wasn't rejecting Peter but the lies that he professed.
Am I ever guilty of choosing good intentions, good will or a gracious response at the expense of truth? If so, my intentions, will and grace are not good, they are wicked lies and leave my hearers worse off in the end. Am I more mindful of the temporary or of the eternal, of this world or His kingdom? Am I seeing the world through the selfless, sacrificial eyes of Jesus or my own. Am I willing to deny myself, take up His cross and follow Jesus Christ in truth?

Jesus - give me eyes to see Your plan, ears to hear Your will, a mind to perceive Your truth and a heart strong enough to deny myself, take up Your cross and follow You. Amen.