Sunday, December 23, 2012

Connecting with God at Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time to connect with God because its the moment God chose to connect with us.  “She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23b  Let’s make the time to focus on God this season and follow the examples of the Bible characters in the original Christmas Story.

  • Listen & Obey - Mary found herself with an overwhelming calling.  Joseph found himself with a difficult decision.  Both listened and responded positively to God and His leading.  (Luke 1:38; Matthew 1:24)

  • Worship & Give - The Wise Men also listened and followed the leading of God both through the star and an angel.  Their journey of obedience ended with them worshipping and offering gifts to the newborn King. (Matthew 2:11)

  • Reach Out & Invite - Shepherds were considered the “least of these” in their culture.  Because of their status in society they weren’t even allowed to give testimony in court.  And yet, God chose them to be the first witnesses to the newborn Savior. (Luke 2:20)

Make time this Christmas to listen and obey, worship and give, and reach out and invite.  You (and He) will be glad you did.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Celebrate Christmas

(The angel) said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10

I love celebrating Christmas!  The food.  The lights.  The decorations.  The trees.  The food.  The cookies.  The family gatherings.  The presents.  The pageants.  The carols.  Did I mention the food?  I love it all!  

For many, Christmas is anything but a celebration.  In fact, maybe reading through my list is causing you unneeded stress or sadness.

I get it.  Too much to do.  So little time.  And for what?  Really?

Christmas needs to be a celebration.  It’s all about the good news that brings great joy.  How you celebrate isn’t the important part.  In fact, some of our celebrating may get in the way of the true reason for the season.  But, none the less, it is a time of celebration.  The new King has come and our lives will forever be changed!

“For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He'll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” Isaiah 9:6 (The Message)

Thank you for being a part of our Christmas celebration at Christian Life!  My prayer is that you connect with God today and prepare your heart for the coming of Christ this Christmas. 

Monday, December 03, 2012


We have entered the Advent season on the Church calendar.  “Advent” in Latin comes from a word that means “coming.”  We celebrate and prepare our hearts for the coming of our King Jesus.  We remember his coming in the past as a baby in the town of Bethlehem.  We celebrate the present as Jesus comes into our heart.  And we look to the future as He comes as King to establish His new Kingdom.

In the front of church we have an advent wreath with candles.  Each week we light a new candle which symbolizes the expectation of our coming Messiah.  

Week 1 - (Purple Candle) Represents HOPE, signifying the hope that we have in Jesus when we allow Him to lead us out of darkness into light.  

Week 2 - (Purple Candle) Represents PEACE.  Jesus came to bring peace.  From the words of Zecharias in Luke 1:79….”He will guide our feet into the way of Peace”.

Week 3 - (Pink Candle) Represents LOVE.  We are reminded that He is Love and that He loves us with an everlasting love and that we are called by Jesus to love others.

Week 4 - (Purple Candle) Represents JOY.  The angel in Luke 2:10, "...I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”  As the day of celebration draws close we become excited with anticipation and joy. We are reminded that a life with Him is one full of Joy! 

On Christmas Eve a final white candle is lit.  

This Advent let us all prepare our hearts for the coming of the King.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

10 Sentences That Will Change Your Life

I recently read this post from Scott Williams’ blog.  

These sentences by themselves are quite simple, yet if the true essence of them is truly embraced, the results will be profound.

These 10 Little “I Am’s” Will Change Your Life.
1. I Am A Follower Of Christ
2. I Am Created For A Purpose
3. I Am More Than A Conqueror
4. I Am Held Accountable For My Actions
5. I Am Defined By What God Thinks Of Me and Not What People Think
6. I Am Called To Love and Make A Difference In The Lives Of Others
7. I Am Characterized By The Potential and Not My Past
8. I Am Writing My Testimony
9. I Am A Work In Progress
10. I Am Born To Manifest The Glory Of God Within Me

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obedience to God

My soul follows hard after You...
Psalm 63:8 (KJV)

If I asked the people closest to you what characteristic best describes you, what do you think they would say?  What if I asked God the same question about you? What would He say?

When you examine the men and women mentioned in the pages of Scripture, you can define their lives in one of two opposite characteristics.  They are either characterized by OBEDIENCE or DISOBEDIENCE to God.  The mark of the Christian life must be obedience.  We are called to be followers of Christ, and following assumes obedience.  

Is obedience to God the prime characteristic of your life?  As a follower of Christ it should be.  Examine your life, dive into the Word, and follow hard after God!

Click here to listen to this weekend's sermon on obedience taken from the life of Ruth.

The spirit of obedience gives more joy to God than anything else on earth... When the love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5), I am possessed by the nature of God, and I know by my obedience that I love Him.  The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies, but its obedience. “To obey is better than sacrifice.”
Oswald Chambers

Sunday, November 04, 2012

You are the pastor of your home.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of having lunch with Pastors Phil and Kari Vance of Living Faith Fellowship in their home in Pullman, Washington.  One of their adult sons was eating with us and when we had finished praying for the meal Phil, in a loud voice announced, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”  To my surprise everyone at the table began to cheer.  They could tell by my silence that I didn’t understand their unique family custom and went on to explain that from the time their children were very young this is something that has been done during the prayer time at every family meal.  What’s great is this tradition now extends down to their grandchildren.

It was so beautiful to watch that needless to say I wanted to bring this tradition home to my family.  While awkward the first couple of times our boys now love it!  They quickly remind me if I forget, or even ask if they can say it at the end of the prayer.  And now our house is filled with plaques that read, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

This powerful statement about a family commitment to serve the Lord comes from the life of Joshua.  Joshua was one of the few Bible characters that started and finished well.  Not that Joshua was perfect but he was committed to the call of God on his life, his family, and his people.  Joshua followed Moses, spent time with God, was a mighty warrior, and led his 
family and people into the promised land.

You are the pastor of your home.  Like Joshua, God has called you to lead.  Make that commitment to follow God and live for Him.  Be the lead for your family and those around you.  Declare today and each and every day, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why Should I be a member of a church? (Part 1)

In today's society of independence and self-reliance, the thought of becoming a member of a local church seems unnecessary to a lot of people. Also, many Christians feel that being a member of the Body of Christ is sufficient for them to please God. The following confirms the necessity and benefits of belonging to a specific local church.

Church membership keeps your fire burning for the Lord. If a coal in a fire is removed or isolated, it’s flame will eventually go out.  The same is true for the Christian.  Membership provides opportunities for refueling, kindling, and staying connected to the fire.

Church membership protects us from self-deception. James 1:22 says to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. It's easy to think we are walking in truth when in actuality we can be fooling ourselves. In right relationship with other believers, any deception will be recognized. Remember, whatever we possess in our relationship towards God that doesn't translate horizontally into our relationships with people isn't genuine.

Church membership leads to maturity. In the case of our natural families, some of the hardest lessons of life were learned from the conflicts with our brothers, sisters, and parents. If you had good parents who disciplined you and taught you to resolve the differences in your family, then you know that you are a better and more mature person today because of your family environment. The same is true for the church family. Listen to Proverbs 18:1, "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment" and Proverbs 12:1, "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." Commitment to a local church gives God the leverage to mature you as His child. This isn't always easy, but it is necessary and proper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Church Membership - activ8

On Sunday, October 28 we will be having a special baptism and membership service.  You were created to be a part of a local church family.  Perhaps you’re newer to Christian Life but want to be an active part of our church family?  We want you to feel welcome to become an important part of what God is doing at Christian Life.

Jesus commissioned his church to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) and that is a calling we take very seriously.  Last year at Christian Life we went through our discipleship program called activ8.  The videos of these sessions are available to borrow in our Welcome Center and are available for you to watch 24/7 online at, just click WATCH NOW and then choose activ8.  

The name activ8 came from a number of discussions within our church leadership on what it meant to be a disciple.  There were eight principles that kept coming up again and again in our talks, and it wasn’t good enough just to know about these eight principles of discipleship, we needed to be active in each of these as we follow Christ as modern-day disciples.  Here is the list of our activ8.

  • Active Love 
  • Active Attending 
  • Active Devotional Life
  • Active Learning 
  • Active Serving 
  • Active Evangelism 
  • Active Giving
  • Active Integrity 

Take time this week to do a discipleship check up on yourself.  Are you active in each of these?  Be a part of Christ’s church means being an ACTIVE disciple!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Can Hear The Voice of God

At Christian Life Church we believe that God still speaks today.  We are honored to have Steve Sampson as our special guest this weekend.  Steve moves in a prophetic gift that is spoken of in the New Testament.  Steve wrote the popular book, You Can Hear the Voice of God.  I hope you pick up a copy today after the service.  Here is an excerpt from the book from the section, The Voice of the Spirit.

Factually speaking, few individual Christians really know and discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.  God is always willing to speak to His people, but His voice is often undiscerned and unrecognized, because we fail to understand the way of the Spirit.

To learn to hear from God is the greatest ability and Christian can possess.  Well-intentioned Christians make “Kingdom” decisions that are derived from man’s perspective and not God’s.  These decisions are frequently made from information and logic and not based on knowledge given by the Holy Spirit to the believer.

Certainly everyone had seen misuses and abuses by those who claim to have heard God.  But it is normal Christianity to walk in fellowship with God that is intimate enough to enable us to hear from Him on a daily basis.  Jesus didn’t say that His sheep would listen to tapes, read books or memorize Bible verses, although these things are all good.  But He did say, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adoption - Christian Life Daily Devotional

Are you reading and sharing the Christian Life Daily Devotional?  It is important that you experience God’s Word each day in our lives and share it with others.  If you don’t have a copy or want to share a copy with someone you know, you can get extra copies in the lobby following the service or you can email me and request a devotional and I'll send you one.  The following is an excerpt from a reading this week.

The Bible says, “[We] received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 15-17 NKJV).  Adoptive parents understand what it’s like to have emptiness in their hearts, to search, to set out on a mission, to take responsibility for a child with a troubled past and an uncertain future.  And that’s what God did for you.  Knowing full well the trouble you’d be, and what it would cost, He sought you, found you, paid the price for you, took you home, gave you His name and the right to call Him “Abba,” which means “Daddy,” a term of endearment.  Adoption isn’t something you earn, it’s a gift you receive.  You’d never hear adoptive parents say, “We’d like to adopt little Mary but first we want to know—does she have a house, money for tuition, a ride to school in the morning and clothes to wear every day?”  The adoption agency would say, “Hold on, you’re not adopting her because of what she has, but because of what she needs.  She needs love, hope, a home and a future.”  You don’t earn the Spirit of adoption, you receive it by faith.  That’s important because if you can’t gain it by your stellar efforts, you can’t lose it through your poor performance.  How reassuring!  And it gets better; you’re an “heir” to all your Father owns.  That means you’ll never have a need He cannot or will not meet.  How good is that?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to Church Sunday

I recently saw a website that listed 52 Practical/Scientific Reasons To Go To Church from various academic studies. So, in honor of Back to Church Weekend let me list just a few of the reasons to go to church. 

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Happier marriages
  • More affectionate parents
  • Fathers spending more time with children
  • Better maternal influence
  • Better behaved teenagers
  • Healthier behaviors 
  • Reduced delinquency 
  • Better personal health
  • Greater resistance to cancer
  • Faster healing
  • Greater longevity
  • Less alcohol abuse
  • Better sex life
  • A sense of purpose

While these are all great “benefits,” the bottom line is we aren't meant to be spiritual orphans, we need our local church family. Our second mission at Christian Life is to connect people to people. You aren't meant to be a Christian all alone. You need the family of God surrounding you week in and week out with encouragement, prayer, and accountability.  You need your church family!  There is something powerful when we gather with likeminded believers in the local church to worship God.  Don’t miss out on what God wants to do in your life as we worship God together.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


For everything there is a season... 
Ecclesiastes 3:1a

During my walks this week I’ve noticed some of the first leaves starting to change colors.  The kids are back in school, Labor Day is here, it must be time for the fall season to begin.    

Every season brings change. And while I love the fall, I’m not always thrilled with change.  Change can be uncomfortable, sad, difficult.  No one is immune to the effects of change.  

It seems life is full of constant change.  Just when you feel as though everything is working, you’ve got your routine down, something changes.

While everyone’s life is full of change, believers know that God, who never changes, is with us each step of the journey.  Romans 8:29 reminds us that through process of change we are being conformed into the image of Jesus.  And the verse just before that reminds us that even in most difficult change God is at work, making it good in our lives.

God’s plan for our life is good (Jeremiah 29:11).  Therefore, allow that change in your life to produce the growth and maturity God wants to see.  And always remember the God who never changes, who’s love never fails, will be with you even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).  This week meditate on the promise of God, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." (Hebrews 13:5)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)

I recently read that 80% of people take their cell phones to bed with them.   Chances are the last thing they do at night before falling asleep or the first thing the next morning when waking up is check their messages, emails or troll Facebook or Twitter checking out the status of others lives.  At first I was shocked.  Even a bit appalled.  Then I realized I was a part of the 80%.  I had a problem.

Checking messages, emails, or social networks isn’t necessarily the problem.  There are things that deserve our attention and response.  I think the problem lies in the timing.  We are stewards of our time and attention.  As a follower of Jesus my heart and focus should on what God’s will is for any given day.  When I check messages or emails before I check with God I may be allowing others to plan and prioritize my day before I ever talk with God or look at His Word.  

Before you visit your inbox visit with God.  Trust me, that email about a 25% sale or that funny picture on Facebook can wait.  Begin and end each day on your knees in prayer and remember to keep the conversation running with God throughout the day. (1 Thess. 5:17)  Scripture teaches the principle of sowing and reaping.  When you put the right stuff in, you get the right stuff out.  Unfortunately the opposite is true as well.  Be wise.  Be disciplined.  Be focused.  You will never go wrong putting God first!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

“Be My witnesses.”

“Be My witnesses.” -Jesus (Acts 1:8)

Our first mission as a church is to connect people to God.  One’s relationship with God is the most important relationship they will ever have.  It is the relationship that not only transforms this life but is the relationship that determines one’s eternal destiny.  The Bible is clear, this necessary relationship with God is only available through Jesus. (John 14:6)  Whether for the first time, or a prodigal coming back home, or in an ongoing growing relationship, our core purpose as a church is to connect people to God.

This idea of connecting people with God can also be found in our activ8 discipleship series that you can review at and click Watch Now.  As followers of Jesus we are called to be involved in active evangelism. Some of the final words of Jesus are a command to you and me, “Be My witnesses.”  Everyone you know would be better off with God at the center of their lives.  There is not one person you know that wouldn’t benefit from having that essential relationship with God.

Next Sunday, August 26th at 6PM we will be hosting the Greg Laurie Harvest America at Christian Life.  For 22 years Greg Laurie has held crusades around the country sharing the Gospel, inviting people to connect with God, and this year he is inviting churches across America to open their doors and to bring in a live simulcast, in order to proclaim the gospel on One Day, as One Church, with One Message.  Who can you invite to this very special event?  Who in your life needs Jesus?  Take time to make a special invitation this week.

We will be hosting a picnic as well as a great kid’s event during the Harvest America Sunday.  Take time to visit the church’s website for more information and keep next weekend in prayer.  Let’s believe God for a great harvest here and across America!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Abiding and Asking

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
John 15:7

Abiding with God is a key ingredient to revival.  Want to see revival in your life?  Abide with God.  All day.  Every day.  You’ll see revival.

But something BIG happens when we abide with God.  God’s Word says when we abide with Him, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.”  Wow!

The other day I was planning some quality time with one of my boys.  I said we could do whatever he wanted.  I was thinking of an overnight trip to a hotel with a water park, Six Flags, perhaps a baseball game, but definitely something BIG.  His response, “Let’s go to McDonald’s.”  McDonald’s?  Don’t get me wrong, I love McDonald’s, but that’s the BIG thing you you want to do with dad?  I felt like saying, “Hey kid, it’s me, your Dad you’re talking to.  I would do anything you wanted to do.  Give you anything I could give you.”

Remember who you’re Father is when you pray.  And if you’re asking for only the “little” things ask the big question, “Do I really know my Heavenly Father?”  God is love. (1 John 4:8)  He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)  As an earthly father I want to bless my children.  I want to spend time with my children.  How much more does our perfect Heavenly Father wants to bless and abide with His children? (Luke 11:13)  

Abide with God this week.  Get up on your knees.  Go to bed on your knees.  And in the meantime, keep a running conversation with God going. (1 Thess. 5:17)  Abide with God and see what He puts on your heart to ask for.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Full-Time Revival

While there aren’t a lot of verses about Caleb in the Old Testament there is a phrase which follows him throughout his life as it’s recorded in the Pentateuch... “Caleb wholly followed the Lord.”  What a statement to describe your life!  Who wouldn’t want to be a person who was said to “wholly” follow the Lord?

As we talk about revival this summer at Christian Life it is clear that revival will not be a part-time part of our life.  Revival isn’t easy.  It isn’t convenient.    Revival will be all-encompassing.  Revival will come when “all” of me wants “all” of God.

Caleb followed God when he was young AND when he was old.  Caleb followed in the wilderness AND in the Promised Land. Caleb followed God when no one else would.  Caleb wasn’t afraid of a giant or a battle. Caleb followed God with an undivided heart and never turned back no matter how long it took to see God’s promises fulfilled.  “Caleb wholly followed the Lord.”

I’ve been saying it each week, revival is not a weekend thing.  We can’t come to church, experience God in a powerful way, and then go back to life as usual during the weekdays and truly experience revival.  A divided life will never produce revival.  Our relationship with God needs be a 24/7/365 thing.  Start fresh with God again today.  Live with and for Him each and every day.  Live in such a way that when it’s all been said and done they will say of you, “________, wholly followed the Lord.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pray Always

D.L. Moody once said, "Every great movement of God can be traced to a single praying, kneeling figure."  There is no doubt that prayer is a key to revival.  So during this Summer of Revival at Christian Life, let me ask you, “How’s your prayer life?”  Now before you start feeling guilty or making excuses, let me give you a suggestion.  Why not start and end each day on your knees.  Literally.  When you get out of bed, get on your knees.  Before you lay down, get on your knees and pray.  What should you pray?  Pray the word...

This day belongs to the Lord!  Let's celebrate and be glad today.  We'll ask the Lord to save us!  We'll sincerely ask the Lord to let us win.
Psalm 118:24, 25 (CEV)

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. 
Matthew 6:9-13 (MSG)

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 (ESV)

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Exodus 33:14 (ESV)

Use these prayers in the morning and evening and then throughout the day follow 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and “pray continually” with a running conversation with God.  Try it out this summer and see what happens.

Click here to listen to our most recents sermon on prayer at Christian Life Church.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


At Christian Life Church we are in a Summer of Revival!  We are looking for and expecting God to revive us and awaken our hearts to Him.  Here are a few scriptures from God’s Word for us to meditate on during our Summer of Revival.

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Psalm 85:6

Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!  As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble.  Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!  When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.  And oh, how the mountains quaked!  For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
Isaiah 64:1-4

I have heard all about you, LORD.  I am filled with awe by your amazing works.  In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by.  And in your anger, remember your mercy. I see God moving across the deserts from Edom, the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.  His brilliant splendor fills the heavens, and the earth is filled with his praise. His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.  Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden. Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind. When he stops, the earth shakes.  When he looks, the nations tremble.  He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. He is the Eternal One!
Habakkuk 3:2-6

Do you have a favorite Scripture on revival?  Send it to me.  I would love to read it!  For more verses and our most recent message on revival visit

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Abraham Lincoln's Prayer

During the Civil War a friend of Abraham Lincoln was a visitor at the White House. "One night I was restless and could not sleep. . . From the private room where the President slept, I heard low tones. Instinctively I wandered in, and there I saw a sight which I have never forgotten. It was the President kneeling before an open Bible. His back was toward me. I shall never forget his prayer: "Oh, Thou God that heard Solomon in the night when he prayed and cried for wisdom, hear me. . . . I cannot guide the affairs of this nation without Thy help. Hear me and save this nation.'"

When the leaders of our country assembled to write the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin proposed that each session be opened with prayer. Franklin said, "I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth—that God governs the affairs of men."

Our nation is great because it was founded upon God's Word and prayer. But today prayer has been replaced by political intrigue, materials and a mistaken notion that our private and national affairs can be run without God.

The Bible exhorts the Christian to prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1-6: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Taken from

Sunday, June 10, 2012

25 Things a Dad Should Teach a Boy

You won’t want to miss Father’s Day weekend at Christian Life!  Our men’s ministry, Men of Valor, will be hosting two very special services.  Saturday’s service will be a showing of the hit movie, Courageous.  Sunday morning will include a message by Ted DiBiase, former professional wrestler, The Million Dollar Man.

To get us ready let me share with you 25 Things a Dad Should Teach a Boy from A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas.   

  • Speak in public — there's power in the spoken word
  • Read good books —leaders are readers
  • Play an instrument — especially because of the discipline required
  • Play individual, two-person and team sports
  • Build a fire
  • Camp out — pitch the tent, cook stuff over the fire, the whole thing
  • Carve a turkey
  • Light a grill
  • Jump start a car
  • Tie a knot — and a tie
  • Use basic tools —hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver           
  • Paint a room — trim and all
  • Handle a gun and a knife — for safety, protection, sport and hunting
  • Skin an animal
  • Be a gentleman — open doors, stand when a woman approaches at dinner, etc.
  • Grow stuff — and not just a Chia pet
  • Iron a shirt — and do laundry and other work around the house in a manly way
  • Manage money — keep a balanced checkbook, show generosity, and learn basic saving and investing
  • Shake a hand — strong shake and look 'em in the eye
  • Give a man hug — skip the side hug, and go arms spread eagle with bold back slaps
  • Keep vows
  • Dress like a gentleman — appropriately to the occasion
  • Tip 
  • Serve others — shovel walks, help with heavy loads, etc.
  • Handle loss — sports and games in preparation for loss in work and relationships

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Joel Osteen's Prescription For Stronger Families

In the April 2012 issue of Guideposts Magazine, Joel Osteen shared his prescription for stronger families.  With so many pressures pulling families apart these days, lets look at these practical suggestions that can lead to having a strong, successful family.

Show up. Life is busy but family members need to show up for each other.  They go to the game, the recital, the play, the open house.  They show up for dinner.  Whether in the big things or little, stay close to the people God has put in your life.

Don’t keep up with the Joneses.  Try to be the best parent you can be, but remember, its not a competition.  Stop comparing yourself to imaginary rivals.  Pray for wisdom and strength and do your best!

Have fun together.  Couples and families that laugh together stay together.  When was the last time your family had fun together?  It doesn’t have to be a big deal or cost a lot of money.  Be creative and have some fun!

Pick your battles.  Being stubborn or unreasonable will kill any relationship.  When in that battle about your pet peeve ask yourself, “Is this really important?  Is it worth the fight?”  How much tension are you bringing into your home unnecessarily?  You may win the fight but will it be worth the stress?

Spell it out.  Every day tell your spouse, your children, those who mean the most to you, how much you love them. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking our families know we love them.  No matter how busy you are take a break, make that call, send that note, do something to let your family know you love them.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Take Time Alone

Take time alone, with God a part
Take time - take time - oh restless heart,
Lest rushing so, you headlong spin
Into fruitless work that should never have been.
A busy day?  Take time alone,
To gird yourself at Heaven' throne,
Lest stumbling on, you lose your way
And in your own strength you will end in dismay.
Take time alone - oh enter not
On work for God - 'til Him you've sought.
Lest working thus without His plan
You will work for the eyes of your fellow man.
A burdened heart for one you love?
Take time alone, with God above.
Lest speaking first to that lost soul
You will lose the bliss of the Spirit's control.
When sorrows come - take time, my friend,
With Him, Who sticketh to the end.
Lest trusting in the things of time
You will never know His comfort sublime.
Take time alone - in quiet hush -
Take time - oh shun that needless rush:
Take time with God, in Him confide,
Take your place 'neath His wing, and there abide.

A poem from my Grandma Mary Merrill
November 21, 1939

Sunday, April 29, 2012

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 
Romans 10:17

Faith comes by HEARING!  You were never intended to only need God's word occasionally. Your faith needs to grow every day!  Faith is never built from what you heard yesterday.  Faith comes by what your hearing today.

We need daily digestion of God’s Word.  It’s good to READ our Bibles, but its also good to LISTEN to the Bible.  Listening to the Bible is the greatest daily habit any believer can birth and maintain. 

When it comes to the Bible, some people regard listening instead of reading as “cheating.”  Earlier generations of believers NEVER read the Bible.  They could only hear it.  The printed Word was rare.  Many couldn’t read.  Those that could would never be able to afford a Bible.  They would have to go to church to hear the Word of God read out loud.  Owning and reading a Bible is something accessible only in our modern history. 

I urge you to download the Bible today to your computer, iPod, phone, etc.  You can purchase the Bible on CD as well.  The YouVersion app allows you to LISTEN to various versions of the Bible for free.  Remember, listening has a different reward than reading.

Whatever you do... make God's Word your highest priority.  The rewards will be spectacular!  Start by reading the blessings found in Deuteronomy 28 and  then check out this verse in Joshua...

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Be Still

Be still, and know that I am God. 
Psalm 46:10

Life has been crazy lately.  All good, but crazy.  I don’t remember a time when I’ve been busier.  I seem to have every day booked solid and I’m still looking for moments to squeeze in a few more things.  I have a feeling I’m not alone.  This appears to be a reoccurring theme in a wide variety of people.  Our obligations with work, home, church, life, etc. are piling up quicker than we can handle.  This is a problem.

When we get busy we usually make cuts in our personal time with God.  At the point we need Him the most, we seek God the least.  In John 10, Jesus likens our relationship with Him as a sheep with its shepherd.  Sheep know (verse 14) the voice of the shepherd, listen (verse 27) to the voice of the shepherd, and follow (verse 27) the the shepherd.  I know life is busy, for all of us, but its imperative that we make time for our shepherd.  If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves lost, sick, and dying. 

God gives us a ton of promises in His Word.  These promises and commands are God speaking to us.  Its His voice.  Do we know His voice, His “nudge”?  And if we are listening, do we obey?  Or are we to busy?

In the midst of our busy lives, we must make time for God and stay sensitive to His voice.  Remember what God is telling us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  Being too busy for God will lead you in a direction you DO NOT want to go.  Staying close and obedient to Christ is the key to true abundant life!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Investing In Your Children

This weekend is our After-Easter Egg Hunt!  This is one of the most exciting annual events for our children’s ministry.  We are called to be good stewards of the children God gives us. What we do for our children is one of the most important investments we can make in this life.  We want our children to love God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength.  But how do we accomplish such a big task?

Here are some suggestions to help raise our children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

  • Make God and your family your priority.  You will give your time to the things that matter most to you in life. What possibly could be more valuable than the most important relationships you will ever have?
  • Tell your story.  Talk about what God has done and is doing in your life.  Share your testimony.  Share about your life experiences.  Your story is important in the lives of your children.
  • Be an example... at home, at work, at church, in your spiritual disciplines.  Remember, everything you do, both good and bad, is the example you are teaching your children.
  • Teach wisdom.  The Bible is God’s blueprint for life and godliness.  Let it be your guide. Speak and live the Word.
  • Show grace. Teach them that grace is always greater than sin. Teach them that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  Teach them that there is nothing that can separate them from the love of God.
  • Encourage.  There is no greater motivator in the life of a child than encouragement.  Show them you and God believe in them!  God created them for a purpose.  Push them toward that purpose with positive regard.
  • Pray together.  Pray often.  Take time each day to pray a blessing over your children.  Teach them when there is a need, go to God first. Teach them how to listen to God during times of prayer and how to hear His voice.
  • Never give up.  Overwhelmed? Be faithful no matter what!  Parenting is probably the most important and most likely the most difficult calling you will ever have.  No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up.  If God calls you, He will equip you and give you strength to accomplish your calling!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

It truly is a happy Easter!  God blessed us at the Ascension Convention (thanks to everyone for your help… you guys are awesome!) and today we get to celebrate our risen Lord and Savior!

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith.  Some may ask what is the historical evidence that Jesus actually rose from the dead?  Christian apologist Josh McDowell provides six facts that prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ in history. 

Fact 1 – The broken Roman seal
Fact 2 – The empty tomb
Fact 3 – The large stone removed
Fact 4 – The Roman guard goes AWOL
Fact 5 – The graveclothes
Fact 6 – The appearances of Jesus after His resurrection

I don’t  have room to go into all of the powerful details of each of these facts, but if you’re serious about looking into this evidence or know someone who is, take please visit and click Evidence for the Resurrection to get the whole story.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Connecting With God

Richard Foster, in his book The Celebration of Discipline, provided the following list of Biblical spiritual disciplines.

Inner Disciplines
The Disciplines of Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study

Outer Disciplines
The Disciplines of Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service

Corporate Disciplines
The Disciplines of Confession, Worship, Guidance, Celebration

While practicing these disciplines no doubt shape our lives in profound ways, the point of spiritual disciplines is to connect us to God.  Simply put, it’s all about relationship. 

It’s not whether you pray for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour, it’s whether or not you connected with God in your prayer time.  It’s not whether you read a verse, a chapter, or an entire book, it’s whether or not you heard God’s voice through His word.  This same connection principle is true in our worship, church attendance, service, etc.  It’s not about “doing your duty” or “fulfilling a requirement,” it is all about connecting with God in relationship.  You were created for a relationship with God and when you make that connection, that’s when you find true fulfillment. 

This week take time to partake in at least one spiritual discipline and when you do have only one goal...connecting with God.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

21 Commands for the Christian

21 Commands for the Christian from Romans 12:9-21.

  • Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. 
  • Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
  • Love each other with genuine affection. 
  • Take delight in honoring each other.
  • Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
  • Rejoice in our confident hope. 
  • Be patient in trouble.
  • Keep on praying.
  • When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. 
  • Always be eager to practice hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
  • Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
  • Live in harmony with each other. 
  • Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. 
  • Don’t think you know it all!
  • Never pay back evil with more evil. 
  • Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
  • Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
  • Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
  • If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
  • Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inviting People To Church

With Easter coming up on April 8, now is an excellent time to begin to invite people to church.  Our mission at Christian Life is to Connect People to God.  Each of us is called to share our faith and what better way than to invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to the place where you connect with God.  Here are a few helps for inviting someone to church.
  • Big days. Days like Christmas and Easter are perfect times to invite someone to church.  Also, watch for other days throughout the year that lend themselves to inviting someone.
  • Special events. There maybe a breakfast, seminar, outing, etc. that peaks someone’s interest.
  • Kids. We have an stellar children’s and youth ministry at Christian Life with a wide variety of regular and special activities.  
  • Lunch. Don’t forget to take your guest out to eat after the service.
  • Share a card.  Take a blue card from the lobby and let them know how they can connect with the church for a service, online, or on the radio.
  • Check out our website.  Share our brand new website in order to let people know about our church.
  • Just ask.  Research teaches us that most people will come to church if they are invited.  Just ask!
  • Pray.  Pray about who you should invite and that God would make their hearts hungry for Him.
  • Keep asking.  God honors perseverance.  
AND, remember the A, B, C’s of inviting people to church.
A - Always look for opportunities to invite others. 
B - Be ready to seize the opportunity when it arises. 
C - Communicate in such a way that says you care. 
D - Don’t be pushy; there will be future opportunities.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

This past week I was a contestant on the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”  It was a crazy yet marvelous experience, but the thing I enjoyed the most was the encouragement and cheers I felt from my family and friends.  While I didn’t win a million dollars, I realize more than ever before how rich a man I am with all of you in my life.

Today I thought I would blog about some LIFE LESSONS I learned through my “Millionaire” experience.
  • The game is always easier when you’re watching.  The difficulty seems to increase when you’re actually playing.
  • Play to win.  Don’t play NOT to lose.  There is a big difference.
  • Be ready.  Plan.  Have a strategy.
  • If you fall behind don’t get down and don’t beat yourself up.
  • If you need it, ask for help.
  • Manage unrealistic expectations, don’t let them manage you.
  • Cheer others on.  It creates a positive atmosphere.
  • Enjoy yourself.
  • Don’t over-think the easy stuff.
  • Learn and grow.
  • Money can make people stupid.
  • Know when to walk away.
  • Sometimes you only get one chance.
  • Your value doesn’t come from how smart you are or how much money you have.
  • God puts you wherever you’re at for a purpose.  Live for His glory.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Church

“I will build my church.”
- Jesus (Matthew 16:18)

This is Vision Weekend at Christian Life Church.  I believe more than ever that God is building His Church at Christian Life!  Every week God is blessing our congregation in fresh new ways and I enjoy seeing the growth God is bringing in our church family.  

While the Bible teaches that every Christian is a member of the Body of Christ, the Bible also tells us that it is important for every believer to commit themselves to a specific body and become a member of the a local church family.  

Just as a plant needs to remain in one place long enough to get it’s roots down deep before it will bear fruit, so it is with the Christian.  Membership in a local church is absolutely necessary for accountability and growth in the things of God.  The times we live in dictate more than ever that we put down  roots in the Lord and into a local body of believers.  

Additionally, in our roles as Christ’s bondservants we should do whatever we can to advance His Kingdom, to invest our resources and time in His church, to get under the heavy end of the log and help lift it.

As Christians embrace their identity, employ their spiritual gifts, sacrifice out of a servant mind-set, and love and honor one another, that’s when there’s a cohesive unity of purpose within the church.  That’s when an audience turns into a powerful, organized army. 

Monday, February 27, 2012


Here are 12 prayer maxims from Mark Batterson’s newest NY Times Bestseller, The Circle Maker.

  • Prayer is the difference between YOU FIGHTING FOR GOD and GOD FIGHTING FOR YOU.
  • Prayer turns appointments in DIVINE APPOINTMENTS.
  • Pray like it DEPENDS ON GOD and work like it DEPENDS ON YOU.
  • If you don’t establish a PRAYER HABIT you’ll never break the SIN HABIT.
  • Prayer is the difference between THE BEST YOU CAN DO and THE BEST GOD CAN DO.
  • The more you HAVE TO DO the more you HAVE TO PRAY.
  • You are only ONE PRAYER away from a totally different life.
  • The MORE YOU PRAY the MORE YOU DREAM and the more you dream the more you HAVE to pray.
  • WHO YOU BECOME is determined by HOW YOU PRAY.
  • 100% of the prayers you DON’T pray WON’T get answered.
  • God honors BOLD PRAYERS because BOLD PRAYERS honor God.
  • The greatest tragedy in life are the prayers that go UNANSWERED because they go UNASKED.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
- Jesus (John 10:10)

Last week on 180 WITH KARL CLAUSON, a new program in the afternoons on AM1160, they were discussing how NOT to experience the overcoming Christian life.  That if you want to live in lack, depression, and an overall defeated life, just live the “HALT” way.  Want to be defeated in life?  Just live...

HUNGRY - Live life continually running on empty.

ANGRY - Forget peace and love.  Live mad.

LONELY - You don’t need anyone else bothering.  Stay isolated.

TIRED - Rest is for wimps.  Keep the pedal to the metal.

The host and guest were obviously having some fun with the listeners but the point is well made.  If we want to live the abundant life God promises we have to live life God’s way.  God’s Word teaches how to live the overcoming life.  We can’t live according to how we feel at any given moment we have to live a life of faith saturated the Word of God.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Active Discipleship

“Follow me...”
- Jesus

Following Christ requires action.  There is no such thing as an absent or passive disciple.  I remember at the end of one semester when I was asked to turn in a grade for a specific student.  I remember telling administration that I didn’t know who the person was.  They informed that this individual had signed up and paid for the class and thus needed a grade.  There is only one grade that can be given for a student that doesn’t show up or do the work for a course.

Jesus provides the ultimate discipleship teaching for His students in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7.  Jesus deals with a wide variety of life issues as well as the attitude of our hearts.  Jesus didn’t say IF, He says WHEN you pray, fast, give, etc.  Jesus is assuming our action as apprentices of the master.  Actively living out the Sermon on the Mount is one way of following and becoming like our teacher Christ.

Our job as a church is to teach all the Jesus commanded us to do. (Matthew 28:18-20.)  Last year we launched our activ8 series.  Eight active practices that true disciples partake in.  You can borrow the DVD’s from this series in the Welcome Center in the lobby to help you continue on the road of discipleship.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lifelong Learner

Matthew 28:18-20 - The Great Commission
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The church’s core mission is to make disciples.  This call of discipleship is offered to everyone who is willing to follow Jesus.  Jesus’ invitation, “Follow Me,” is found throughout the Gospels and continues through the centuries to this very day.  But what does it really mean to “follow” Jesus?  How does the church teach disciples “to obey all the commands” Jesus gave us?  If this is our church’s main assignment, how do we do it well?

The word disciple would best be understood today as “student.”  Actually, I like to use the term, “lifelong learner.”  There is an understanding that we will be in a continual growth mode toward maturity as we seek to obey all Christ commands His disciples to do.  It’s not about perfection, its about growth.  This maturation process is often called “spiritual growth” or spiritual formation.”  

Dallas Willard defines spiritual growth as the, “process of an individual taking on the character of Christ.”  He goes on to define spiritual formation as, “moving from conformity with this world to conformity with Christ.”  I like to think of it as moving from the 1.0 version of ourself to the new upgraded 2.0 version.  However you define or think about it discipleship needs to be an active process in your life. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

Since we are embarking on reading through “The Story” Bible in a month, here is an email that's been making the rounds. How does it strike you?

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? 

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? 

What if we flipped through it several times a day? 

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it? 

What if we used it to receive messages from the text? 

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? 

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled? 

What if we used it in case of emergency? 

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities'? 

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill.  

And no dropped calls!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year

With a New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions.  Since they are quickly broken far more then they are kept, we often neglect to make them anymore.  Who wants to be discouraged by unkept resolutions?  But the New Year is an excellent time for assessment, and an opportunity to write down a vision for your life.  A New Year allows us a fresh start, an opportunity for God to do something new in your life.

Here is an exercise I do with our church staff each year that can help you work on your goals for 2012.  I ask each staff member to take out a sheet of paper and write four words on it: KEEP, DROP, CHANGE, ADD.  They are given private time to think, pray, and meditate on what they are going to keep, drop, change, and add in their life and ministry.  You can’t just do a couple or even three you have to do all four in each area of your life.  It takes a little effort, time, and thought but is definitely a worthwhile exercise.

I have taken time to work on my personal goals for 2012.  There were a wide variety of areas I considered: personal goals, family, professional, health, etc.  Then came the spiritual goals.  When I began to think about it I quickly realized that each category of life should reflect a spiritual goal.  I am first and foremost a disciple/follower of Jesus.  I should be living life the way He wants me to.  I need to order my life according to God’s will and plan in EVERY area of my life.

A corporate goal for our Christian Life family in 2012 is to be men and women of His Word.  God tells us everything He wants us to know in His Word.  It is all we need for faith and practice.  That is why at the beginning of this year we are going to read through the Bible in a month.  Pick up a copy of The Story (Zondervan - ISBN-10: 0310936985, ISBN-13:978-0310936985), read twelve pages a day, and you will read through the Bible in one month and one day.  You won’t regret making this resolution.  It will take time and effort, but I can’t wait to see results of spending time with God in His Word.