Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Year, a new you?

In 2009, we spent time talking about the 3 things that constantly get us into trouble:

Lust of the flesh - passion, pleasure; Lust of the eyes - possessions, materialism; and the Pride of life - position, status.

We all are tempted by them, even Christ. But unlike Him, we've all given in and been "infected" by them, poisoned by them so to speak. We need an antidote, a substance which can counteract the poisoning. Our faith tells us the cure is Christ and that as we grow in our attitude to be like Him, we become resistant to these poisons. But how do we grow towards that?

When Jesus was tempted, with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, He confronted all three with "it is written".

So we will "kick off" 2010 by going to "the written" and studying the book of James, which is a manual on becoming mature, complete, perfect…having the attitude of Christ.

Here's what we are asking you to do:

The book of James has 5 chapters and the month of January has 5 Sundays, so we will cover one chapter each Sunday during our services. Since there is so much in each chapter, we will only be able to hit on a couple of highlights each week.

Here's your part: we want you to make a commitment to get into God's word during this time by studying the book of James with us.

We will provide on-line tools (links, blogs, Facebook post), text updates, and people (Life Groups and study partners) who will help you do this.

Will you commit to join us in this journey?

Monday, March 9, 2009


Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58

If you started to make a list of the "I am's" out of the book of John, this one seems to be the most radical.

Think about it, what would you think if the person standing in front of you right now claimed to be God? Not a god, not god like, but the One and only true God.

You would think they were crazy, probably.

Not only is Jesus claiming to have been alive 2,000 years prior, but He was the great I AM.

When Jesus says "I am" He is using the most personal name for God in the Scriptures; "Ego eimi" in Greek, YHWH in Hebrew. One of the places we find Yahweh (it appears over 6,800 times in the OT) is this passage out Exodus; God has commanded Moses to lead the people of Israel out of captivity and Moses wants to tell them God's name.

Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"  God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I am has sent me to you.'" Ex 3:13-14

"I AM WHO I AM" has been studied, examined, picked apart for centuries and the result, well let's just say it's inconclusive. I personally like what a Dutch scholar named Vriezen suggested; "I AM WHO I AM' means, 'I am there, wherever it may be…I am really there!"

I AM is the uncreated one, who does not change, who is everlasting, who is all powerful, who cannot grow faint or weary, who is infinite, who is simply who He is and not who we make Him out to be.

Christ is He.

The Trinity is where I believe the church will come under the most attack in the days ahead. We live in a culture that says that all gods are the same, where the fastest growing religions deny the co-existence of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. This statement will bring about anger in some in the days ahead; it did so when Jesus declared it.

At this, they picked up stones to stone him… Romans 8:59

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Who is He?

Sorry for the delay, I had computer issues for awhile, but I also felt like God said "rest". That has been difficult to do…there's that word…we are so caught up in doing, that often we forget about being.

In our culture even to mention that it's more important to be, rather than do, people tend to have a negative. Ok, that's a blog for another time.

I wasn't sure where God wanted me to go after 1st Samuel and "Launch the Love", so I've been waiting. I think I have found some clarity this morning.

We are in a series called Jesus –Revolutionary; looking at some of the revolutionary statements, concepts, ideas, about Him in the book of John. So this morning I went to 1 John…"didn't you say JOHN?" Yes, but I wanted to look a little further at John's writings and here's what struck me:

 1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:1-2

John was so certain about Jesus, he had no problem proclaiming and testifying about Him.

What about you?

That was the ultimate question He asked in His ministry:

15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Matt 16:15

I think that question more than others defines you; how you answer that defines your beliefs, values, attitudes, purpose and destiny.

But instead of us saying this is who Jesus is; I'd like to look at some of the most radical statements Christ made about himself.

To start here's what I'd like you to do; open your Bible to John and make a list of the "I am" statements Jesus makes about himself.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This past week has been a reminder to me about the change that happens when Christ comes into our lives.

Baptism is a symbol of that change; from burial of the "old self"
and its ways, to a "new birth" in Christ and the ways of the Kingdom.

We should, by His Spirit, be putting off the "old" and starting to wear the "new".

Have you experienced that change?

Reading the third chapter of 1 John, here's the verse that struck me:

14We know that we have passed out of death into life…
1 John 3:14 (a) (ESV)

I think many of us might say, "Not sure I understand that, but I've got my ticket to Heaven," and then we go on living just like we used to, just like the rest of the world.

As someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ, we should be changed; our lives should be different. Look at the difference:

14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15
Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.

 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person?

 18 Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the
truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident
when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

 21 Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.
22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

 23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. 1 John 3:14-24

Wow, read that again, slowly and let it sink it!

Experience that re-birth and live in the power of His Spirit – Be Changed!

"Launch the Love!"


Monday, February 16, 2009


What an incredible week!

I've had the privilege of
baptizing 6 incredible people in the last 5 days!

They are all coming to understand what it means to be
reborn, remade, reconciled, and regenerated IN Christ!

What struck me as I was reading 1 John and thinking about last night's baptism was how

The fact that we can have a
relationship with our Creator is incredible by itself, but then He takes our earthly relationship to a whole new level!

I love doing baptism in the fountain on campus, here's why.

First, you never know who will walk by and the testimony it gives to the world!

Secondly, you are at an institution of higher learning; ok, what does that have to do with it?

We are commissioned by Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

disciple is a learner, someone who has a deep intimacy with Christ and is learning His ways.

We are baptizing at an institution that is teaching the ways of the world and by our baptism we are proclaiming we are learning what it means to be a part of our Father's Kingdom!

Lastly, and this might seem like sacrilege to Seminoles!  On a campus that prides itself in being the "Unconquered", baptism is saying to the world
my sins have been "Conquered" by Christ and I am surrendering to Him!  I will not be conquered by evil!

Last night Drew went with me and as we left he said, with some disappointment,
"Sure were a lot of people here for only 3 people getting baptized!"


How INCREDIBLE is that?

"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10

The Heavens rejoice over one, shouldn't we?

Wednesday night and last night were an awesome display of how God is making us a family! 

Thanks for allowing me to be a part!

1 John 1

As we continue to Launch the Love we challenged you to read a chapter
a day from 1 John.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.

Walking in the light

 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John

Not sure what exactly jumped out at you when you read the first chapter of 1 John, but here is what hit me.

If we profess to follow Christ
our faith needs to be tested.

5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
2 Cor 13:5

  • Is my life different
    than before I started following Christ?
  • Has my attitude, priorities, values and desires changed since following Christ?
  • Are there issues in my life that I feel powerless to overcome?
  • Is there a desire to spend more time getting to know God?
  • Is there a desire to spend more time doing the will of God?
  • Is there a feeling of joy when among others who believe?
  • Am I finding more joy?


I would hate for any of us to miss it!

Scott spoke yesterday about a religion versus a relationship that brings about life change. Maybe you've been religious but when you answer the questions above there are no vital signs. My challenge to you would be to read the story of the great, but unsaved, religious leader Nicodemus (John 3:1-10) and see what Jesus has to say to him.

More our joy be complete!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Today we rejoice in truth.

My prayer is that over the last week you have encountered God and have experienced His love for you! As you've come to understand just how much He loves you, you've learned to love Him with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and strength.

Today we gather to praise our God, the one and only true God, for who He is and what He has done for us!

We gather in His name, a name above all names!

We gather to praise Him because He is not distant, but a loving, relational God; Abba – our Father; Immanuel - God which walked with us; the Holy Spirit – God in us!

We gather to rejoice in the truth because He is!

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

We gather because nothing can separate us from His love!

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

We gather because His love for us is extravagant!

"Keep company with God and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His
love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
     Eph. 5:2 (Mes)

We gather because He is!

9 Gather the nations together!
      Assemble the peoples of the world!
   Which of their idols has ever foretold such things?
      Which can predict what will happen tomorrow?
   Where are the witnesses of such predictions?
      Who can verify that they spoke the truth?

 10 "But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the Lord.
      "You are my servant.
   You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
      and understand that I alone am God.
   There is no other God—
      there never has been, and there never will be.
 11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
      and there is no other Savior.

Isa 43:9-11

Rejoice in that truth today!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love is not self-seeking

Valentines is all about giving reminders of how much you love someone. May I remind you of the greatest love gift ever:

 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself

      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!

Phil 2:5-8

He surrendered His rights, became a servant, and then became the Sacrifice for you!

He Loves You!

Will you have that same attitude today?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wear love today!

Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Phil 3:16

Today we practice - Love that does not act unbecoming (rude,behave unseemingly, act improperly)… or rejoices in unrighteousness (evil, iniquity, injustice, wrongdoing)

He is
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Isa 6:3

Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:21

Today is a chance to practice who you are in Christ, not who you once were.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and declared that you will follow Him and His ways alone, then you are not who you once were; you are being remade, reborn, reconciled, renewed!

As disciples, followers of Jesus we should be learning who we are in Christ.

Look at this passage:

 1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not
on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Col 3:1-4

Your life is now in Christ, you are a new creation!

Here's your old way of life:

 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b]
7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Col 3:5-10

Today take off the old self and put
on the image of Christ!

Live the life you have already attained!

Your old nature is dead, it wants to pull you down, don't let it!

 12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,

Let that sink in…

clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Col 3:12-14

Wear love today – Wear His name!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday – no boasting!

Today is about not boasting or being proud. It's all about humility.

Think about this verse:

He isvery nature God…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, Phil 2:7

God, who had every
right to boast, made Himself "nothing",
NOTHING, NOTHING…let that sink in…I on the other hand, am always trying to make something out of myself!

Put yourself in situations that will humble you, yes, I said humble you!


Because He did.

Look at all of that verse:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself

      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!
Phil 2:5-8

Our attitude should be the same!

We shouldBe good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Romans 12:10 (MSG)

Here are some suggestions:

Don't steal someone's "ego-food".

What's that mean? You know, it's when someone is telling a story and you can't wait for them to shut-up so you can tell your story that is way better than theirs, DON"T DO IT!

Listen more than you talk!

God gave you two ears and only one mouth! Listen twice as much!

Make someone feel greater than you.

Walk away from every encounter today asking yourself, "Did they feel more important than me?"

Ask for help.

Especially if you are a guy, there is nothing that humbles you quicker than saying you don't know how to do something!

Confess your sins.

AHH, really, you had to go there? Yes, this is about practicing humility! I think this humbles you more than any other, when we finally admit who we really are. It is also the most freeing thing; you won't have to wear a mask with person any longer!

Have an awesome
day being humble!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Envy or Jealousy

On Wednesday we will practice not becoming jealous:

This is who He is…
a jealous God.  Exodus 20:5

There is a great difference between our jealousy and God's. God is jealous over that which belongs to Him. We are jealous over that which belongs to someone else and not to us. God is jealous over what He has; we are jealous over what we do not have that someone else does have.

If we don't understand this, we can become a really bad witness for Him. Because of our envy we basically tell the world "He doesn't own it, it's mine!"

So, we should…Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have.  Eccl 6:9

Love does not envy."  It is impossible to envy someone and love them at the same time.  So, what is envy?  It's resenting God's goodness to others and ignoring God's goodness to me.  That's what envy is.

The Bible tells us real clearly that envy is behind most other sins. In James 3:16, it says, "
Wherever there is envy you'll find every kind of evil.

Anorexia: People starve themselves because they envy skinny people
Adultery: People envy somebody else, their spouse, so they steal them.
Bitterness: You resent people things that you wish you had achieved.
Complaining, Conflict, Dishonesty.
Exaggeration: People overstate accomplishments out of envy.
Gossip: We build ourselves up and tear other people down out of envy.
Hypocrisy: We kiss up to those we envy then talk behind their back.
Insecurity, Judgmentalism,
Manipulating: It causes us to scheme and want to get our own way.

Ask God to reveal the envy/jealousy behind your struggles.

The Bible says that envy can make you power-hungry, rude, sarcastic,
spiteful, stingy, stubborn, unforgiving,
ungrateful, unkind and vain.

Not a pretty picture.

The Bible says that envy can turn you into a worrier and also into a workaholic. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, "I've learned why people work so hard to succeed. It's because they envy the things their neighbors have."

    The Bible tells us in Proverbs 14:30 that envy is like bone cancer. It will eat you alive. It starts inside, and it makes you miserable.

Is it worth it?


Nothing destroys friendships faster than envy. It can destroy families. It can destroy businesses. It can destroy neighborhoods. It can even cause nations to go at war with each other. Simply out of envy. This is one destructive sin.

Dang, that is scary stuff! So, how does it start, how do we prevent it?

Comparing is at the root of all envy. The Bible says over and over again, never compare yourself to anybody else. The Bible says it's foolish. The Bible says it's dumb, unwise. You're never to compare the way you look, your income, your intelligence, your kids, your husband or wife or your job or anything else. The Bible says do not do that.

So, today try not to compare yourself with anyone! God made you unique!

Besides all the things listed above it also keeps you from entering into the joy of other people. You miss out on a whole lot of joy in life you could be enjoying.

So to help you not miss the joy:

Enjoy something you already have that you may take for granted.

Celebrate with a friend who did better than you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love is kind...

Today we practice being kind!

We do this to remind us who God is, let it change us to be more like Him and then to represent Him well in the world!

God iskind…good…merciful, this God of ours! Psalm 116:5

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4

We shouldBe kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Patience is passive, kindness is active and it is really love when it is directed at those who are our enemies…that’s what set Christ-followers apart!

Kindness always begins with the eyes – the way you look, the way you see. It always begins with your vision, the way you observe things, the way you are sensitive to the needs of other people. Kindness starts with your eyes.

If you’re not aware of needs, you can’t care about those needs. You have to see the need first. The Bible says in Luke 10:33, “When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him.” That is the starting point. If you want to learn to become a kinder person, you’ve got to change the way you look at the world. You’ve got to expand your vision, you’ve got to become more observant of the needs around you, be more sensitive.

Today look around; I’m sure God will put someone in your path so you can practice His kindness!

In my quiet time this morning here is the verse I “chewed on”:

"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:1-8

Here are the things that jumped out at me:

...to be ready to do whatever is good!

...at one time we were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures - AT ONE TIME?

...His mercies our new to me each day!

...I am one of the "washed", who is being made new daily!

...do what is good, because kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4) and pushes back evil (Romans 12:21)!

...it's for the good of everyone!

Remember He is kind to you; be kind!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Launch the Love

This week we are “Launching the Love” in Tallahassee.

We will be practicing 7 attributes of God and love found in 1 Corinthians 13.

As a reminder of why we are doing this - it’s all about His glory!

As a Christian when you accept what Jesus did for you on the cross, He saves you, but it doesn’t end there, if it did He would take you to Heaven immediately. He sets you apart, makes you godly, holy, we say he sanctifies you by conforming you to His image. This is the process of being made new, learning to die to yourself, picking up your cross, becoming like Him. He does this to send you out in the world as His ambassador, His witness to show the world what He is like to bring more people to Him, which brings Him more glory.

God’s purpose in saving you is to make you godly, which is for your good and also for His glory.

So in every situation in our lives He will turn it for good by making us like Christ, so that the world will know what He is like.

So this week we want you to put yourself in a situation where you do what God commands, so that you will be reminded that it’s about Him and not you. And as you are in that situation you let it change you to be more like Him, and then let it reflect who God is.

The Great Commandment says we are to love God…we do that by obeying what He has asked us to do 2 John 1:6, “Love means doing what God has commanded”…that brings Him glory.

He uses those situations to makes us in His image, which is to our good, which is all that matters - “If you are a follower of Christ Jesus all that matters is your faith that makes you love others.” Galatians 5:6

As we’re made in His image we become His ambassadors or witnesses. “Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.” John 17:18

So many times we preach a “false Gospel” with our lives, we take a bad image of who He is into a world that desparately needs Him.

Launching the Love” has a “3 step process” basically; reminding us what God has done FOR us, what He is doing IN us, and what He wants to do THROUGH us, to bring Him Glory!

Today (Monday) is all about putting ourselves into situations that teach us patience!

Love is patient or “longsuffering”!

God is…compassionate and gracious…slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, Ex 34:6

“…even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls” Romans 9:22

We should…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19

As you are in situations that require patience today be reminded of how patient He is with you, let it transform you, then be His representative to those around you!

“Launch the Love”!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The end, or is it…

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.

 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me."
      But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

 7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.

 8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

 11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard of what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men journeyed through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. 1 Samuel 31

Wow, the end of a journey in so many ways! I believe it was in July that I felt God ask me to read
1 Samuel daily and write out my thoughts, well after 130 blog post I've reached the end. I really had no idea it would take me this long and how much God would reveal to me during the journey! If you have been following along it has been my pleasure to be your guide and share with you the things that God was revealing to me through His Word.

So here we are, at the end of what many would say is a wasted life. But God has used Saul's story to teach me about obedience, to remind me of my responsibility as a leader, and revealed areas in my life that still need work.

Here's what I got out of this last chapter:

As a leader if your heart is not in it you are easy prey.

There are some battles you must fight on your own, no matter how dependent you've been on some warriors who have served with you. (David was not allowed to fight in this battle.)

God's will trumps my desires. (Saul died the way God said he would.)

If the leader is taken out the people will scatter.

As a leader you must not fear the enemy more than you fear the Lord.

Leaders do not die alone; they take many innocent followers with them.

It's not only the leader; the people's disobedience can take out a whole nation also. ("Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away." – 1 Samuel 12:25)

As a leader people remember what you do for them. (Saul's first act as king was to rescue the people of Jabesh Gilead.)

Always wait for God's timing. (Saul thought he was done and tried to kill himself, but he couldn't – 2 Samuel 1:6.)

Disobedience, even in the slightest, will bring about tragedy.

Well, it's the end of this journey and the beginning of the next!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Radical idea

26 When David arrived in Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, "Here is a present for you from the plunder of the LORD's enemies."

 27 He sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Racal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach 31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where David and his men had roamed. 1 Samuel 30:26-31

Yesterday's blog was about "the church" being the body of Christ and sharing so that no one had need. Look at these verses:

16 This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer [a] for each person you have in your tent.' "

 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. Exodus 16:16-18

34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Acts 4:34-35

13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." 2 Cor 8:13-15

I know that is hard to grasp
a church doing that in today's culture, but I want to push it a lot further…what if the churches did that with each other?

Think about what David did in the passage above. He sent some of "the plunder" to friends and elders in other places, to people who were his kinsman.

What if the church did this today?

What if we saw ourselves as "brothers" and not competitors? What if we saw ourselves as connected to Christ instead of independent? What if we realized when one of us suffers, the "body of Christ" suffers?

I think the church takes way too much credit for what God is doing and therefore feels it has a right to gather more manna. As we gather more, there is the tendency to rely on "our work" for security; think about how many churches have huge "stockpiles" for the "just in case".

Do we not trust in God for our manna, our "daily" bread?

May God turn our hearts to His ways!

57The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, 58that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. 59Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, 1 Kings 8:57-59

Friday, January 30, 2009


16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, "This is David's plunder."

 21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Ravine. They came out to meet David and the people with him. As David and his men approached, he greeted them. 22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David's followers said, "Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go."

 23 David replied, "No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike." 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this. 1Samuel 30:16-25

If it only worked that way today…"All will share alike."

Sound familiar?

42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

Why don't we continue this today?

Probably the same reason they didn't want to, their pride.

They thought the provisions were a result of their work, but think about this.

Did they do anything to convince the 4 commanders to send them back to Ziklag?

Did they provide the guidance to pursue the Amalekites, or was it God?

What about God's provision of the Egyptian slave in the middle of nowhere?

What did they do to get the Amalekites fat, drunk and scattered?

What did they do in helping the Amalekites raid other villages so their "spoils" would be greater?

This was not their victory, it was God's!

We do this in "the church" all the time; we take credit for God's work. We may have taken part in it, but it was what God has done.

"But at least we did our part!"

Ok, think about when the 200 said we can't go any farther. Don't you think it helped them out? They could leave all their stuff on the other side of the ravine; they could travel lighter and faster and be fresher for battle.

The church is a body and everyone plays a significant role, no one is unimportant, but we forget that.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Cor 12:21-26

    "…made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this."

When did we become exempt from this?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


11They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13And David said to him, "To whom do you belong? And where are you from?" He said, "I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire." 15And David said to him, "Will you take me down to this band?" And he said, "Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band." 1 Samuel 30:11-15

Did you miss it?

Maybe you didn't even know you missed it. We have a tendency to go through life focused on the big things, the major things
in life and often we miss it.

Over the last few years I'm learning how God works in the small, the mustard seed, the yeast, etc. But, we are so focused on the big we overlook the small.

Ok, so what does that have to do with this passage…everything.

Think about it, David and his 600 are probably emotionally spent at the loss of their homes and families; they are physically exhausted because they are so focused chasing after their attackers that 200 can't go anymore.

How easy would be to overlook that one lone, homeless, hungry boy?

"We don't have time, our families are at stake? We must be about God's will, he told us to pursue them!"

They didn't miss the small, the seemingly insignificant. They also offered compassion and gave him food and water that he so desperately needed.

It was in the small that David finds the specifics and God's provision. In the big, he only knew a general direction in which to go after the Amalekites, but in the small he was able to focus and pursue God's will.

My calling is to plant seeds that future generations will harvest, that's the big general direction, but it actually happens daily in the small, private, seemingly insignificant conversations that I have daily with the people God brings into my life.

Look for the little, seemingly insignificant things today, who knows, you might find God in them!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?"
      "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue."
1 Samuel 30:7-8

Would you?

You come home and your village has been burned to the ground and your family taken; would you stop to pray about whether you should go looking for them?

Would you
trust God's answer?

What if God's will was determined by "rolling dice"?

Would you keep rolling them until you got the answer you wanted?

Or, would you trust God's sovereignty?

Tragedy always seems to turn David's heart back to God. He hasn't used the Ephod to determine God's will since chapter 23, nor has he mentioned the name of the Lord since chapter 26.

At a time like this we would cry out to God to save our families, but he is turning to God for direction, His will for David.

I hear a lot of people say, "I just want to know God's will for my life".

Would you trust in getting an answer the way David did?

Here's where the "rolling the dice" thing comes into play. Look at the verse again, David asked for the Ephod, no not an iPod!

The Ephod was an apron type garment worn by the priest to consult God. In the book of Exodus you find that it had a breastplate where you would find the Urim and Thummim. These were used to cast lots.

So, David at the point of tragedy, wondering if he should go after his family, basically trusted God in what would appear to us as "drawing straws" or "rolling the dice".

Have you ever seen that in a church business meeting? Seriously, stop and think about the business meetings that you've been a part of; didn't all the questions have to be all answered rationally before you took a vote?

It seems to me that we have removed the mystery, the awe, the reverence, out of the ways of God so that we can rationalize or justify it; so that we can get our minds around it.

God is so much bigger than that!

David trusted even when it didn't make sense…I think we call that faith.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Look, is that smoke?

1 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.

 3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David's two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:1-6

Can you imagine the scene?

You were just spared from fighting against your own people and no loss of life, no shame; the emotions are running high and you're "high fiving" each other!

Then you see it, the smoke, your heart sinks and you start running to your families. But, they're not there, nothing is left.

You go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

You weep until there is nothing left of you.

Then, the questions; "why?", "who's responsible?"

"David! He brought us here and had us bring our families! He's the one that ticked off the Amalekites! He's the one that inducted into the Philistine Army!"

"Our families are gone, he deserves to die!"

Here's what I was reminded of today.

David had not been seeking the Lord's guidance for awhile now and was taking God's grace for granted. They were apparently not asking God to go
before them in battle, so I assume that they weren't asking for God's protection over their families either. The enemy loves to attack in the places we are most vulnerable, so I must pray daily for God's protection over my family.

When God tells you to do something, you better do it. Saul was told to "wipe out" all of the Amalekites, because he didn't it had devastating consequences for others.

Your sin cannot be hidden and has consequences. God will not be mocked and you will reap what you sow. David was careless, arrogant and did not seek God before he ran to safety and protection in the land of the Philistines.

It always should cost more for the leader. I changed that because I do believe that are some in leadership who won't pay the price. Here is what I'm getting at, leadership is tough, and most people want the position
without the responsibility. I forgot who said it, but I've used this phrase for some time now, "Leadership is about making decisions other people choose not to make." Every decision you make is for something and against something else, and usually you will leave a good number of people unhappy about your choice. If your choice turns out bad, well you guessed it; you might have people picking up stones! I must ask for wisdom and guidance on everything! Really, everything? Yes, it always turned out bad for them when they thought they could handle the battle!

Accept responsibility for your sins and turn back to God for strength. This is what separated David from Saul; David found his strength in the Lord, Saul consulted a witch; David repents, Saul doesn't.

Those are the things that God reminded me of, what about you?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Divine Comedy

 1 The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, "What about these Hebrews?"
      Achish replied, "Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him."

 4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with him and said, "Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master's favor than by taking the heads of our own men? 5 Isn't this the David they sang about in their dances:
       " 'Saul has slain his thousands,
       and David his tens of thousands'?"

 6 So Achish called David and said to him, "As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until now, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don't approve of you. 7 Turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers."

 8 "But what have I done?" asked David. "What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can't I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"

 9 Achish answered, "I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, 'He must not go up with us into battle.' 10 Now get up early, along with your master's servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light."

 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel. 1 Samuel 29

Divine Comedy, wasn't that a poem written by Dante?

Yeah, but that's what I thought of while reading this passage, let me explain.

Here's the comedy part:

There are 5 Philistine lords consolidating all of their forces to attack Israel and who is in the rear? David and his men!

The forces that were put in the rear were usually the bravest, most highly skilled
warriors to protect from enemy forces attacking from the flank. Who's there David, the future king of Israel!

Well, the other lords are not happy with this and insist that David and his men be sent home. Ok, there is a poem here…

" 'Saul has slain his thousands,
       and David his tens of thousands'?"

Can you imagine what the other lords are saying about Achish? "Has he lost his mind?"

Achish, a pagan, uses "church talk", which is pretty funny. Terms like Lord, actually Yahweh, that means one true God and angel of God.

What's up with him?

He is enthralled with David. Little does he know that David has been deceiving him all the while, for well over a year.

David protest, really?


Then , it's as if he tries to talk them out of their decision.

So far this is a really bad comedy!

Here's the Divine part:

David is rescued from an improbable situation; he is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Think about this; David would have had to fight against his own people, his king, and his best friend Jonathan, who he loved more than life itself.

What seemed like a good idea, fleeing from Saul to the land of Philistines has now put him into a tough spot.

God rescues David through and unlikely source, four Philistine commanders.

Where will your rescue come from?

Will you look back and laugh?