Wednesday, December 19, 2012


     As crazy as it may seem to any normal person reading this, my wife was not madly in love with me the first time we saw each other.  I know what you're thinking "she has got to be crazy."  You're right! I think so too!  How could she not want me immediately?  Exactly my thoughts! Oh...that's not what you were thinking?

     The truth is this.  Allison and I were friends for five years before we ever started dating.  We had a great time hanging out together, laughing and just having fun with our friends and each other.  Our friendship was great, but there was a point that I had to make a conscious decision.  I had to pursue her.

     Our relationship with God is the same way.  There are a number of Christians that go to church, and they wait for the entertainment to start.  If it's a good sermon or there is really good music, then they are happy.  Then they go home and wait until the next time they go to church  to have their next experience with God.  The sad thing is, for many Christians that's the sum of the Christian life.....boring and lifeless.  I want you to know, that is not what God has intended it to be like.

     In Isaiah 55:6 it states, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near."  God calls us to a life that is centered on pursuit of Him.  What does it mean to pursue God?  It means that we are daily seeking Him and choosing to honor Him with every part of our lives. It means that Jesus becomes the central focus of everything that you do.  Have you ever asked God to give you a hunger for His Word?  Have you ever really asked God to use your life for His glory?  Have you ever prayed that God would use you to make an impact for His kingdom?

     I'm a bigger sports fan than anybody.  I am. I love football, basketball, baseball and tons of other sports.  But there is a problem when Christians are more excited about their sports team than their creator.  There is a problem when they're more concerned with their team winning a game than they are with whether or not their friend knows Jesus.  The problem is that many Christians have bought into the lie that pursuing their hobby is more exciting or more fulfilling than pursuing God!  Don't buy into that lie!

     The creator of the entire universe, the God who spoke life into existence, calls you to come after Him.  It's time to not just read about Jesus.  It's time to not just read about His miracles.  It's time to stop playing church.  God is calling to you and saying follow me.  It may not be safe, and it may not be easy, but you could never imagine the joy and the adventure that God has planned for you if you choose to pursue Him.          

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Truth is....God is not cool with 20 year old babies

As new parents, my wife and I are kind of learning along the way.  There are a lot of changes occuring in our lives.  Our sleep schedules have definitely been altered, and I've learned when the diaper is being changed  the gun must be covered (if not the outcome could be rough).  Sometimes our eating schedules have to change if Jude gets hungry, and we definitely drive more carefully.  Movies have even been interrupted by explosions of poop that call for immediate bath time and pretty much our whole lives revolve around taking care of our son. 

This is nothing new for parents.  Our son will be 4 weeks old tomorrow, and even though he is growing like crazy, he can't take care of himself.  Jude can't raise his head on his own or roll over, much less change his own diaper or prepare a bottle for himself.  Why?  Even though I consider my son to be very advanced, he's still a baby! 

Now, lets take a look into the future and imagine that Jude is 12 years old.  What if at 12 years old Jude is still crying loudly in the middle of the night for us to come bring him a bottle?  What if at 12 years old he's still setting in a wet diaper and waiting on us to change him?  What if he's still the same size, and you still find my wife and I holding him in our laps, patting him on the back to ensure he burps, and he still coos, but he's never spoken a single word?  Wouldn't it be crazy to see my 12 year old son still riding in a car seat?

If my son, never grew from 4 weeks to the age of 12, there would be something seriously wrong.  We all know that it's normal for individuals to develop both physically and mentally as we age.  Although we all develop at different paces and in different ways, growth is a normal part of life.  Mental development is something that is always occuring and none of us get to a point where we've arrived, until death. 

It's been over 12 years since Jesus Christ completely changed my life.  I definitely don't have all the answers, and God's still teaching me everyday.  I can say that Jesus Christ is faithful, and I've experienced more joy and fulfillment in him then I have experienced or will experience in anything else in my life.  His grace is real.  His forgiveness is real.  His love is real.  His judgement is real.  His power is real not just for the afterlife, but to experience now.  I've found that I can be my completely screwed up flawed self without any fronts or shows, and he accepts me the way that I am and offers a personal relationship with the creator of the universe.

One problem that I've noticed in the church is that many people have decided that it is pefectly fine to walk an aisle at one point in their life, pray a prayer and then the rest of their spiritual growth will be determined by listenting to the pastor.  Somewhere along the way, that's become acceptable?   Like people are putting in their time by listenting to a pastor (the Professional Christian), so there's nothing else required of them, and so people set in church for 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years and that's the basis of their Christian life.  So we have Christians that are essentially still babies.  These are followers of Christ that say that God is the most important thing in their life, but they never spend any time with him.  Christians who say that God is the most important thing in their life, but they've never shared their faith with a non-Chrisitan.  People who claim that they are Christians (little Christs), and there is no differnce between the way they live their lives and the lives of non-Christians.

Hebrews 5:11-14  "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need sometone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

Just like physical and mental growth is natural part of life, spiritual growth is an essential part of the Christian life.  Spiritual growth is  not something that can be manufactured and it's not something that happens overnight.  I'm not talking about being a moral person cause we're all screwed up, and we all know that we've got baggage.  I'm talking about placing your hope and faith in Christ on a daily basis, taking up your cross (Luke 9:23), daily dying to yourself and allowing God to shape you and mold you so that you can bear fruit (John15:5) and become more like Christ.

The truth is God is not cool with 20 year old babies!  God has so much planned for your life. He wants you to grow from being a new baby in Christ, to becoming a powerful man or woman of God!  I'm right there with you.  I've got pride and laziness and all sorts of idols and sin issues I'm battling on a daily basis.  I'm far from perfect, but you and I can never experience the life that God has planned for us without staying connected to Him through prayer, study and following him on a daily basis and allowing him to work in and through us!  So if you're a believer, meaning you've made the decison at one time or another to place your hope and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, take a step toward Jesus tonight. He loves you exactly how you are but he cares about you so much that he doesn't want you to stay that way.  He's faithful, and he's good!  

Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ!"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fatherhood and Adoption into the Family of God

I've always been so excited at the idea of having children.  My dad was such an amazing father, and there was never any doubt in my mind that he loved my mom, my sisters and me.  I've always wanted to pass on the love he shared and the countless number of lessons that he and my mother taught me.  I can't wait for the opportunity to see Jude take his first steps, say his first words, here him laugh for the first time, read stories to him, tell him jokes, teach him to throw a ball, take him to his first ball game, pray with him, teach him to ride a bike, take him fishing, take him to the zoo, take him to church and explain to him how much God loves him and let him know how much we love him.  There's so much I want to say and do with my son.

Allison started having weekly ultra sounds and checkups a while back and it was so cool to see images of our son even before he got here.  He has tons of energy like me and sometimes he squirmed and moved so much that the nurse had trouble keeping up with him.  We could see his brain activitiy, his blood flow and his heart and all sorts of cool intricate stuff.  It was so awesome to hear his heart beat for the first time and see him grab his foot.  We joked about how hairy he would be and sure enough the ultra sound picked that up too.  Ha! 

We were expecting Jude to come on June 10th, and I thought that he couldn't get here soon enough, even though I knew I wasn't ready.  On Thursday May 19th at 5 a.m., I woke up to Allison screaming to me from the bathroom.  It was actually the third time she had to wake me up, because I thought I was dreaming, and I kept going back to sleep.  She thought her water broke, and after calling the doctor and getting our bags together, we headed toward the hospital.  It was a pretty crazy day!

Allison started having contractions in the car on the way to the hospital, and the entire time I felt like I was still in a dream.  We got there, and they had to give her medicine to speed up the process because she was only dialated 1cm.  It was a little intense at times, and for those considering having children or expecting, an epidural is a great option! :)  The labor went on all day, and Allison did awesome!  I can't imagine the pain that she went through for our son.

The nurse said that she thought the baby would be here within about 30 minutes of Allison pushing but at maximum it would take an hour and a half.  My wife's amazing, because there's no way I could have done it.  You could ask the labor and devlivery nurse, because I almost didn't make it through Allison doing it.  At one point the nurse said, "You're not going to pass out are you?  You look a little pale."  Thankfully that didn't happen.  Allison pushed for an hour and 40 minutes!     

Then all of sudden at 9:10 pm there was our son.  He was so amazing with his cone head and all.  I couldn't stop looking at him and thinking, "Wow! That's my son!"  It was the first time I had seen him, and I already loved him so much.  He was so amazing!  Allison and I prayed with Jude as a family, and there was nothing like it.  I couldn't help but cry tears of joy.  I can't describe to you what it felt like, because it's really beyond words.  People had told me there was nothing like it, and they're right. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about, it's incredible.  There's nothing that I wouldn't do or give for my son.

Not only has the birth made me think about my love for Jude, but it's also made me think about how much God loves us.  These are just a few verses that have really hit home for me.  It makes me so grateful for the love of Christ and the hope, peace, meaning, reconciliation, life and forgiveness I've found in Jesus.  

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." Ephesians 1:4-5

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:11-13

For many people, they think about God, and they're immediately turned off by thoughts of some lifeless, joyless, religious system that's full of rules and regulations and all it brings to their mind is chains that keep them from enjoying life.  Others get a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach, because they're tired of religious hypocrites who say they love God, but there is no evidence of a love of God in their life.  Like many of us, they're tired of all the noise and unless they see love in action it's all a stupid, pointless facade.

This isn't about a religious system, and this isn't about the hypocrite who gets on your nerves.  This isn't even about being a good person or a bad person, because when you get right down to it we're all completely screwed up.  We've all been hypocrites, and we've all done things that we no are awful and we'd rather others not even know about all the junk we've got hidden in our closet. 

This is about a God that changes everything!  A God, who has seen us from the very beginning, who knows the number of hairs on our head and was there when we were put together inside our mothers' womb.  A God who knows exactly where we've been and knows about all our junk, but he loves us anyway, regardless of what we've done.  He loves us so much that despite our mistakes and our screwups he died for us anyway, and he longs to adopt us as his children.  As much as I love Jude, God loves you and me even more, and he waits in eager anticipation for you to place your faith and trust in Him for salvation and be adopted into His family.