Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pray. Vote. Change.

Change is coming. This week our nation will elect the 44th President of the United States. No matter what happens on November 4th, there will be new leadership in Washington, DC.

Our Tuesday ballots are loaded with profound consequences for the future. As Americans, we have a right to vote. As Christians, we have a responsibility before God to pray and vote according to the witness of His Word. Proverbs 14:34 says, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. It is important, to the best of our ability, that we do things God’s way. The future and God’s blessing of our nation hangs in the balance.

If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country…
Deuteronomy 28:1-3

As we begin this historic week don’t forget to pray, don’t forget to vote, and don’t forget to remember that God is in control. On November 5th God is still in control of the universe no matter who is elected president. As we have been learning in our study of the end times Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords and His kingdom is without end. Never forget, we were made for eternity, we belong to God, and heaven is our real home.

As you pray (and possibly fast) this week for the future of our nation read Joel 2 and allow God to speak to you from His Word.

You can also check out my blog and most recent teachings at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said About You, Your Life, And Everything Else

My Book Shelf

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said About You, Your Life, And Everything Else.

Every now and then I like to share with you what I’m reading. My hope is that it will be a blessing and help to you as well.

Since 1993 I have taught Life of Christ at Christian Life College. It is by far my favorite class to teach. There is something special about diving in and studying the words and works of Jesus. It’s as though you receive your abundant life as you study His.

I try to stay fresh each semester by reading the latest books on the life of Christ as well as the Gospels. This fall I found a great new book called The Greatest Words Ever Spoken by Steven K. Scott. I’ve never seen anything like it. It takes all of the sayings of Jesus (over 1,900) throughout the New Testament and organizes them into over 200 different topics Jesus addresses. It’s like being able to ask Jesus any question and get His perfect answer. I have used the book to study Jesus’ words on the End Times for our current sermon series. A wide variety of topics are covered such as: prayer, forgiveness, eternity, anger, temptations, relationships, grace, and many, many more.

There is a great introduction to Jesus’ life and words as well as short introductions to each topic. This is one of the most exciting resources on the life of Christ I have found in a long time and can’t wait to use it as a text for my course next semester. Reflect on this verse next week and allow the words of Jesus to guide you in life and into eternity.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.” John 5:24-25 (NKJV)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ungrateful Children

Last Sunday we celebrated Mark’s 5
th birthday. There is something special about a child’s birthday. Their excitement is off the charts. For weeks Mark was announcing his birthday to anyone who would listen. The day of he made sure everyone knew. Since it was a Sunday he may have even stopped you at church and let you know with a grin, “Today is my birthday.”

The weeks leading up to his birthday Mark let us know what presents he wanted. As the days passed the list grew and grew, and unfortunately, we did get almost everything he wanted. At the end of the big day after all the gifts were opened he looked sad. I thought it was because the special day was coming to end, instead he announced he wanted more presents. More presents? MORE PRESENTS!?! Doesn’t he understand how much we had spent? How hard we worked to make his birthday special? More presents?

As I have thought about Mark’s attitude toward his birthday, I can’t help but think about our relationship with God. God is our good and perfect heavenly father. He knows exactly what we need and He faithfully provides every good and perfect gift. And yet, it seems like we always want more. We never are satisfied, acting like a child after he has opened all the presents and still wants more. I was so challenged by Steve Sampson’s Sunday evening message to us last week on “Being Thankful.” I think we should all listen to it again, especially as we move toward the Thanksgiving season.

How do you see your life? Are you focused on what God has provided and is doing in your life or are you always complaining about what you lack? Take time this week to reflect on the following verse.

The Lord has done great things for us, And we are glad. Psalms 126:3 (NKJV)

Friday, October 10, 2008

False Security

I was reading a number of statistics from Barna Research online this week and I came across one that kind of surprised me. Only 2% of people in the United States believe that when they die they will go to hell. Beyond reaching that 2% with the Gospel, we probably need to warn the other 98% that they may not be as ready for eternity as they think especially since most people spend more time planning their next vacation than they do preparing for eternity.

I think one of the reasons many people feel they will make it to heaven is they think one makes it by being “good.” We then determine our “goodness” by comparing ourselves to other people. We look around and feel as though we are at least as “good” as everyone else, if not a little better. But comparisons can be dangerous.

The comparison game can lead to a false sense of security. Comparisons should not be made against others but against who God is and what He says in His Word. We should get uncomfortable when we compare ourselves against God and His Word. We just don’t measure up. That’s the power of daily Bible reading, prayer, attending a small group, and coming to church every week. It may be uncomfortable at times but it’s good to face the truth. We just aren’t “good” enough. But God is good and His grace and love outweigh our ugly sinfulness.

The Good News is simply that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, to take our eternal penalty of hell upon Himself. In return, we can be forgiven our sins and have a relationship with God for this life and all of eternity. Take time this week to get uncomfortable with your “goodness” and then mediate on these two verses.

You… must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him! Mark 13:35-37 (NLT)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My Book Shelf – For Young Men Only

Every now and then I want to share with you what I’m reading. Hopefully, it will be a blessing and help to you as well.

Right now I am reading a helpful little book by Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice, For Young Men Only. Jeff’s wife, Shaunti Feldhahn, is the author of the popular “ONLY” series of books, For Men Only, For Women Only, For Parents Only, etc. It’s an amazing series of books that really help to increase our understanding of each other.

As a father of a junior high boy, I have been looking for all the help I can get in raising a moral and godly son. Perhaps you’re in the same boat as a parent, or teacher, or youth leader. This book is great. It is probably geared more for a teenage/high school boy but it has been a tremendous help to me.

Here’s one write up on the book…
Drawing on a fresh national survey of 600 teen girls, as well as hundreds of personal interviews, For Young Men Only reveals the real truth about what teenage girls think, what they want, and how average teen guys can build healthy friendships with high quality girls. Full of surprising revelations and practical advice, For Young Men Only delivers help straight from the girls themselves in a fun, easy-to-read, easy-to-talk about format.

Warm, witty, and honest, authors Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice tell plenty of personal stories and draw on solid biblical principles to guide young guys through the often daunting world of the opposite sex. Their goal is to help teen guys build self-confidence and understanding, and show them how to pursue a relationship with a girl while giving her the respect and protection she deserves.

Check it out and the other books from the “ONLY” series. We all need all the help we can get.