Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Matthew 22- Jesus Questioned About Taxes

In Matthew 22:15-22 Jesus is questioned about paying taxes.  This story is about our dual citizenship on earth and Heaven, but I want to look at another major point of the story.  In this story we find what God expects of us.

The Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus with a question to make the people angry at Him.  They ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.  Now this was, as taxes always are, a hot topic of the time.

Jesus replies "Show me the coin used for paying the tax... Whose portrait is this?  And whose inscription."

They reply, "Caesar's"

Then He said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

Jesus was saying a lot more in this story than, "Pay your taxes".  He is saying that; but He is saying so much more.

Jesus says that the tax must be paid because Caesar's image is on the coin.  Hense, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's."  Jesus also says, "And to God what is God's."  But what is God's image on?

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

We are imprinted with and made in the image of God.  So, give to God what is God's means to give your whole self to God.  Jesus is saying, "Pay the tax to Caesar and give God the rest."

So, give to Uncle Sam (if you live in the U.S.) what is Uncle Sam's and to God what is God's.  Don't cheat our God by giving less than all that you are to Him today.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Matthew 22

Matthew Chapter 22 is packed with stories about the religious leaders trying to trap Jesus.  I want to look at the one parable that doesn't deal with that.  So, take time to read this chapter, but I'm going to focus on the Parable of the Wedding Feast.

In this parable we see a king preparing a wedding feast for his son.  The king sends out servants to get those who were invited to come to the feast.  The invited people refuse the king and in some cases kill the servants who come with the message of the wedding feast.  The king becomes upset and tells his servants to invite people off the street, both good and bad, to come to the feast.  The table was filled with guest, but the king noticed one man who wasn't wearing wedding clothes.  The king had this man tied up and thrown out where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

That is the quick version of the parable.  In this parable I see three ways we can react to God's invitation to the wedding feast, the banquet that lasts eternally.

1) Some refuse God's invitation.

Some, like the nation of Israel, were invited to share in God's glorious feast and refused Him.  Some, like maybe you, have heard God calling and pursuing you and have chosen to ignore Him.  God wants these people at His feast for His Son's wedding; however, there comes a point when God stops pursuing and lets these people live with their choice.

2) Some accept the invitation, but not the wedding clothes.

In those days it was custom to give guests clothes to wear at a wedding banquet.  Throughout the Bible God speaks of the clothes He want us to wear.  Below is one example.

Colossians 3:12-14 "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

God has invited you to His banquet table, but He's also provided us with clothes to wear.  If we refuse to put on His virtues and righteousness we will be thrown out of the feast to where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  This does not mean that works save us; it does mean that we cannot refuse to be clothed with His righteousness and think we can be at the wedding feast for eternity.

3) Some accept the invitation and the clothes.

I hope this is you.  If it is you, rejoice.  You are at the wedding feast of His Son!  You were invited whether you were good or bad, it had nothing to do with how good you were but rather how good He is.

So, make your choice.  Which of these three are you?  Choice to accept God's invitation and to be clothed with His virtues and righteousness today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Letter to my Child

Today I got the pleasure of meeting Elisha Baker.  Little Elisha is just a day old and is the beautiful son of my friends Jay and Becky.  Thank you Jay and Becky for letting me hold your little guy today.  As I held little Elisha I couldn't help but thinking about my child.  No, I don't have a child yet, but I thought about him/her.  So, I want to write a quick letter to him/her.

"Hey bud,
I can't wait to finally meet you.  Oh, I should introduce myself, I'm your dad.  You don't know me yet, but I want to tell you a few things you can expect from me:

I will be there for you.  I'll be there to hold you when you are scared.  I'll be there to provide food, clothing and shelter for you.  I'll be there to teach you to ride your bike, play sports, tie your shoes... all that important stuff.  I'll hold you on my shoulders so you can see the concert or fireworks.  I'll tell you Bible stories and pray with you every night.  I'll answer any question you ask.  I'll try to be worthy of your adoration, but I'll be ready when you think I know nothing.  I'll introduce you to Jesus.  I'll love you, even while I discipline you.  I'll teach to drive.  I'll love your mom until the day I die.

Bottom line is I'll always love you.

I can't wait to meet you.  Between that day and now I'm going to keep preparing myself to be ready for you.

See you soon,


I'm sorry to have wasted your time with this post, but I'm allowed every once in a while to use it as my personal journal.  I'll be back in the book of Matthew next time.

Appreciate your Heavenly Father, who never fails you, today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

For God So Loved You

Fill your name in the blanks:

"For God so loved_________that He gave His one and only Son, that if__________ believes in Him __________ should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

This verse is so awesome and so true.  But how can it be true for you?  It's as easy as ABC.

A= Admit.

Admit that you are a sinner in desperate need of a savior.  Admit that you can't do it on your own.  Admit that your best isn't good enough.  Admit that Jesus is enough.

B= Believe.

Believe that John 3:16 can be true for you.  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  Believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified, died, was buried and was raised from the dead.  Believe that Jesus defeated death and sin.

C= Commit.

Commit your life to God the Father, Son and Spirit.  Make your life no longer yours but God's.  Commit to running the race God has set before you.

It's easy as ABC.  Just pray a prayer like this.  "Lord, I need you.  I tried doing it on my own and I've realized I can't.  I believe that you died for my sin as a perfect sacrifice and that you were raised from the dead.  You are my God.  I want to give you my all.  Use me, because I'm yours."

If you pray something like this, look out because God is going to do amazing things in your life.  You will receive the Holy Spirit and you are guaranteed to spend eternity in heaven with God.  If you prayed this prayer and meant it, I'm so happy for you.  Now, go find a church that preaches the Gospel.  If you go to a church and they don't open the Bible, don't go back.  However, find a good church and let the pastor know the decision you have just made so that he can be used by God to help you start your race as a young follower of Christ.

Start your new life with Jesus at the helm today.  If you are already a believer, use this time to make sure Jesus is the captain of your life today.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Words: Bill & Gloria Gaither

He lives today!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What if Jesus Just Died for our Sins?

Yesterday was Good Friday.  Yesterday we celebrated Christ's sacrifice for us on Calvary, Jesus dying for our sins.  Good Friday is an important day in the Christian Calendar.  However, what if Jesus just died for our sins?

If Jesus just died for our sins He would be remembered as a good man.  He'd be on more par with Martin Luther King, Jr.  If Jesus just died for our sins He'd be a good guy, but it would be pointless for us.  I mean, He'd be a great teacher and example but I'd still be going to Hell.

1 Corinthians 15:14-17 "And if Christ had not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead... if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."

The death of Christ as a perfect sacrifice is very important, but without the resurrection who cares about it?  Plenty of religions follow a martyred leader, but our hero has defeated death.  Death could not hold Him.  He was too awesome for even Old Man Death.  Jesus took our sin on the cross and defeated sin and death in His glorious resurrection.

So praise Jesus for dying for your sins out of love for you and the Father.  Praise Jesus for defeating death and sin in His resurrection.  Prepare your heart for tomorrow's Easter celebration today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Take today to reflect on the Savior's love for you.  Think about His love for you as He hung on the cross.  Think about the pain that He endured to win the day for you.  Think about His obedience to the Father.

I know you know about the cross.  I know you are familiar with it.  So, I leave you with a song.

"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, Oh, Oh Sometimes, it causes me to tremble
Tremble Tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"

Does the murder of our Lord cause you to tremble?  It will if you realize that you and I were there when they crucified my Lord.  You and I had our sin draped over the perfect body of Christ.  He was bruised for our transgressions.  He was crushed for our inequities.  By His wounds we are healed.

Tremble for your slain Savior today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Overcome Evil with Good

Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Saturday is the funeral of National Guardsman and Shell Rock native Don Nichols.  Nichols was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside I.E.D.  He died serving my country.  He was only 21 year old.

Westboro Baptist Church is a hateful group of people (falsely labeled as a church).  They protest the funerals of servicemen and women who gave their lives for my country.  They believe that the death of every soldier is God's judgement on my country's tolerance of homosexuality.

Don Nichols' funeral is scheduled to be protested by Westboro Baptist Church.  This is embarrassing to me as a Baptist and as a Christ follow.  True Baptists and Christ followers do not do this.

My community is faced with a choice.  Choice A: we could resist hate with hate.  Choice B: we could resist hate with love.  I'm proud to say that my community has decided on Choice B.  I believe that the grace of God allows this choice to be made because my gut wants Choice A.

My community is organizing 1,200 volunteers to hold 400 large flags and line the street in tribute to our fallen hero as his body is taken from the high school gymnasium to the cemetery.  People have decided to ignore the hate of Westboro Baptist Church and instead lavish love and respect on the late Don Nichols and his family.

I'm humbled to say I'm going to be a part of this outpouring of love for a family confronted with pain, loss and hate.  I hope, if you're in my community, you will do the same on Saturday.

Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Overcome evil with good in your life today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reasons Jesus Came to Die

Easter is this Sunday and Good Friday is just two days away.  I want to use this time to continue to explore reasons Jesus came to die.  These reasons are from pastor John Piper and the Bible.

1) Jesus came to die to reconcile us to God.

Romans 5:10 "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.'

2) Jesus came to die to bring us to God.

1 Peter 3:18 "Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God."

3) Jesus came to die so that we might belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price."

4) Jesus came to die to give us confident access to the holiest place.

Hebrews 10:19 "We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus."

5) Jesus came to die to become for us the place where we meet God.

John 2:19-21 "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?'  But He was speaking about the temple of His body."

Remember the story and reason around this week's celebrations.  This is called Holy Week for a reason.  Think about God's sacrifice for you.  "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price."  Meditate on that today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ladies, You are Beautiful

I've experienced this for too long and again recently; women and girls do not know their worth.  Ladies, you are beautiful.  You are God's daughters that He prizes enough to die for.  Yes ladies, you all are to die for.  You are beautiful.

You are beautiful, so do us guys a favor.  Dress modestly.  I know a high school girl who is going through her closet tonight and getting rid of immodest clothing she owns.  That is a good example to follow.  You women and girls are beautiful and we guys will notice that, but don't help us lust by dressing immodestly.

1 Timothy 2:9 "I also want women to dress modestly..."

1 Peter 3:3-4 "Your beauty (women) should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

So, ladies take care of your bodies and try to look and feel good.  However, modesty and inner beauty are far more important to the man you want as a husband.  And yes he is out there if you haven't met him yet.

Guys, look for the type of women described in 1 Peter 3:3-4.  If these godly women do what is right and then you spend all of your time lusting after slews God will see that, and you will get what you deserve: a slew.

We guys need to encourage the women and girls around us.  We need to show them how beautiful they are.  How special they are.  Real men look for real beauty... are you a real man?

I know it's Holy Week and this may seem to have little to do with Easter, but I think it has everything to do with it.  Jesus didn't die so that the ladies of this world wouldn't understand how He sees their beauty.  Jesus didn't die so that the guys of this world would continue to be less than Men of God that know how to view and treat women.

Women and girls realize how beautiful you are because Jesus thinks you are to die for.  Guys, man up and start seeing the ladies around you like Jesus does today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Only a few more days until Easter

I've got to admit, I'm exhausted.  Sometimes we are just tired and worn out.  You feel it sometimes, don't you?  You feel tired, right?

I'm glad when I feel tired.  Sometimes reaching the end of our physical, emotional and mental ability is what we need.

That is where I am at the moment, I'm just tired.

Here's the good news in this post.

Isaiah 40:28-31
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

I have an end to my strength, but God does not!  Trust in the one who's strength is everlasting tomorrow, yesterday and today.

Also, shameless plug.  I know many people don't get a chance to read this blog on the weekends, but I think you'll enjoy the post "I am Mephibosheth" from two days ago.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday.  When I think of Palm Sunday, I think of confusion.  Folks didn't understand what Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to do.  He was coming to die and here's why.

1) Jesus came to die to give us a clear conscience.

Hebrews 9:14 "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

2) Jesus came to die to obtain for us all things that are good for us.

Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?"

3) Jesus came to die to heal us from moral and physical sickness.

Isaiah 53:5 "Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed."

4) Jesus came to die to give eternal live to all who believe on Him.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

5) Jesus came to die to deliver us from the present evil age.

Galatians 1:4 "He gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."

Today, Palm Sunday, celebrate the real reason Jesus paraded into Jerusalem.  Love Him more today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I am Mephibosheth

2 Samuel chapter 9 has a great story about David and Mephibosheth.  In the story you and I are Mephibosheth.  Take time to read this chapter.

At this point in David's life he is the king.  Now, in those days when a king was part of a dynasty change the first thing he did was destroy the family members of the old dynasty.  David was a warrior and we would expect him to do this, but David was a promise keeper so he didn't.  Remember, that David promised his best friend Jonathan, the former king's son, that he would always love Jonathan and Jonathan's family.

In keeping with this promise David asks if there is someone of Jonathan's family still around that he can show kindness to.  And there is one.  This one is Jonathan's crippled son Mephibosheth (the crippled were seen as worthless in this day).  David finds him and gives him everything the king's son deserves, including a spot at the king's table for the rest of Mephibosheth's life.

In this story David represents Jesus (although David doesn't always live up to this standard) and Mephibosheth represents you and I.  Let's look at why we are Mephibosheth.

First, we are Mephibosheth because we were crippled in The Fall.

If you read 2 Samuel chapter 4 verse 4 you will see that Mephibosheth was crippled in a fall he took.  We were crippled in The Fall.  The Fall of man made it so that you and I are less than at full capacity.  We are crippled by sin.  Because of this crippling Mephibosheth, you and I are little use to either king David or King Jesus, right?

Secondly, we are Mephibosheth because we deserve to die.

Romans says, "The wages of sin is death."  Mephibosheth was on the wrong side of a dynasty change and was supposed to die.  So are we.  Right now Satan has rule over the earth.  When Christ enacts His dynasty change He will destroy the old ruling house.  Mephibosheth should have died but didn't due to the mercy of David.  We should die but don't due to the mercy of God.

Lastly, we are Mehibosheth because we are saved to something great.

Mephibosheth did not just have his life spared, he was considered a son of the king.  We Christians don't just have our lives spared, we are considered a son/daughter of the King.  How awesome is that?  We are seated at the King's table like Mephibosheth was seated at the king's table.

I am Mephibosheth and so are you.  We were crippled in The Fall.  We deserve death.  We are saved to be sons/daughters of the King.  Remember that.  Love that.  And continue to find yourself and Jesus on the pages of the Old Testament today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh, How He Loves Us

We continue with reasons why Jesus came to die

1) Jesus came to die to complete the obedience that becomes our righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

2) Jesus came to die to take away our condemnation.

Romans 8:34 "Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died... more than that, who was raised... who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us."

3) Jesus came to die to abolish circumcision and all rituals as the basis of salvation.

Galatians 5:11 "But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision... the offense of the cross has been removed."

4) Jesus came to die to bring us to faith and keep us faithful.

Jeremiah 32:40 "I will make with them an everlasting covenant... And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me."

5) Jesus came to die to make us holy, blameless and perfect.

Colossians 1:22 "He has now reconciled you in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him."

These five reasons are five more reasons to love God, because oh, how He loves us.

Tonight at Grace Baptist in Waverly at 7:00 you can see this love depicted in the performance "The Great Saga."  If you miss tonight be sure to catch it at 7:00 on Sunday and Thursday at Grace and/or on Good Friday at Heartland Vineyard in Cedar Falls.

Dwell on how much Jesus loves you today.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've recommended this book before, and I'll do it again.  Check our "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.  It's an easy read that gets to the heart of real Christianity.  Nothing in the book is truly groundbreaking but it can be life-changing.

Chapter 8 is called "Profile of the Obsessed".  I want to share with you a couple of the profiles in this chapter.

"People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly, without censure.  Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back."

This is an awesome profile.  Obsessed people love those who hate them.  I used to believe that loving those who hate you meant to tolerate them.  However, love and tolerance aren't the same.  Love is so much more than tolerance, we are commanded to love not to tolerate.

Frederick Buechner says in "The Magnificient Defeat" (I'm taking this from "Crazy Love" too) "The world is always bewildered by its saints... love for the enemy... love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens and inflicts pain.  The tortured's love for the torturer.  This is God's love.  It conquers the world"

Do you love your enemy?

"A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently.  Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them."

Paul says in Philippians chapter 3, "Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven."

We need to remember where our citizenship lies.  We should be as foreign here as a foreign exchange student is here.  People should recognize that we aren't from around here; we are just visiting for a short time.

Do you think about heaven?

"People who are obsessed with Jesus do not consider service a burden.  Obsessed people take joy in loving God by loving His people."

Chan writes, "I question whether many American churchgoers are really in love with God because they are so hesitant to do anything for Him."

Do you love to serve?

Be a lover of all people, think about heaven, look for ways to joyfully serve and be genuinely obsessed with our Lord Jesus today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charlie Sheen vs. the Easter Bunny

I'll take a short break from the reasons Jesus came to die.  Today I'm a little upset about how we Christians have let Easter become marginalized.

I speak with a lot of business owners for my job and this Easter season I've heard one thing frequently.  Easter really isn't that big of a deal.  Now they mean for business.  Now, I'm not arguing for the commercialization of Easter.  But to most, Easter means maybe going to church, eating lunch or breakfast, looking for Easter eggs, maybe an Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Eggs  and then nothing more.

Easter is so much more than that.  Why have we Christians allowed a tradition like that to be a tradition?  I'm not saying the Easter Bunny is evil, I'm saying that it is a ridiculous way to celebrate the greatest event in history.

Easter is not about having a casual day, or about the Easter Bunny, it is, to quote Charlie Sheen, about "winning... duh". You don't have to have tiger blood and adonis D.N.A. to figure that out.

Christians, Easter should be our biggest celebration of the year.  Yes, Good Friday can be sad and convicting, but Easter needs to be a party.

Easter is about "winning... duh."

1 Corinthians 15:54-58: "'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Jesus defeated death, sin and Hell in His resurrection. He won, and He gives us the winnings.  All we have to do is accept Him for who He is... the Undefeated Champion of the Universe and Beyond.  Jesus on the cross and in the resurrection was "winning... duh."

Celebrate this amazing victory with all your might today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Reasons Jesus Came to Die

I'll continue, in the spirit of Easter, with reasons Jesus came to die according to John Piper and Scripture.

6) Jesus came to die to show His own love for us.

Ephesians 5:25 "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her."

7) Jesus came to die to cancel the legal demands of the law against us.

Colossians 2:13 "And you, who were dead in your trespasses... God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This He set aside, nailing it to the cross."

8) Jesus came to die to become a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45 "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

9) Jesus came to die for the forgiveness of our sins.

Matthew 26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

10) Jesus came to die to provide the basis for our justification.

Romans 5:9 "We have now been justified by His blood."

Here are more reasons why Jesus came to die.  Think about how Jesus was obedient and loving enough to come and die for you, even when He knew what the plan was.  Jesus could have ran.  He didn't because He loves you.

Feel alive because of the blood of Christ today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Jesus Came to Die

Before I begin to write about why Jesus came to die, I'd like to get some info from Mr/Ms. Anonymous.  I've been praying for you and I feel lead to give you something, so if you would write your address as a comment I'll send it to you.  Don't worry, I'm not going to go Unibomber on you or send a religious tract or a Bible, It's just that I am supposed to give you something.  I'm sure you'll like it, but I'll understand if you don't want to give out your address.  And if you get it and don't like it  you can send it back.

Okay, so John Piper wrote a book called "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die".  With Easter approaching I think it's fitting to take a look at a few of these reasons.

1) Jesus came to die to absorb the wrath of God.

1 John 4:10 "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

2) Jesus came to die to please His Heavenly Father.

Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief."

3) Jesus came to die to learn obedience and be perfected.

Hebrews 5:8 "Although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered."

4) Jesus came to die to achieve His own resurrection from the dead.

Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will."

5) Jesus came to die to show the wealth of God's love and grace for sinners.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

Here are five of the fifty reasons Piper lists that Jesus came to die.  Meditate on them today.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


As we approach Easter we need to be in prayer.  Much of America can be categorized as "Chrieasters".  "Chrieasters"are those folks or families that go to church two times a year, Christmas and Easter.

Going to church or hearing about God and His love two times a year is not enough.  But it could be enough for God to change hearts.  Pray that all the churches in our nation have God's word to reach the "Chrieasters". Pray that we Christians that have the tendency to have the "been there, done that" mentality with Easter do not get in the way of God's word for our "Chrieaster" friends.

So, be in pray for these services.

Also, what did you learn in your church service or time in the word today?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Psalm 118:22-29

"The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this,
 and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O Lord, save us;
O Lord, grant us success.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God,
and He has made His light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt You.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever."

Without Jesus becoming the capstone of the new building, the Church, we have no reason to celebrate as Gentiles.  But since Jesus is the capstone of the new building, the Church, we are guaranteed all the promises of the Old Testament that were first given to Israel.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.  Be thankful for our great God today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Matthew 21:33-46

Take time to read this section of Matthew 21.

Jesus tells the Parable of the Evil Farmers.  In the parable Jesus is basically telling those who are plotting to kill Him that He knows exactly what they are up to.  Jesus is not going to be surprised by their plot and this made them more determined to kill Him.

So, what does this section of Matthew 21 mean for us?  I think the most important part for us is found here:

Verses 42-44, "The stone the builder rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'  Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.  He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."

Jesus is the stone the builders rejected that has become the capstone.  Jesus was killed, but after His death He was exalted as the capstone.  He is the capstone of His Church.

Jesus as the capstone is the Truth.  People respond to Truth in really just two ways.

Some people will build on the Truth.  These folks are buildibg on a firm foundation and can rely on its strength.

Some people hate the Truth.  These folks will be crushed by it.  They will be broken to pieces.

We are all given the opportunity to build on the Truth.  God's amazing grace gives us this opportunity and if you take it you will be building a home for eternity... no doubt about it.  If you reject this opportunity in this life you will be crushed... no doubt about it.  God's grace is amazing, but it does have an expiration date; when you  expire, so does it.

How have you responded to the Truth?  Have you built on it or will you be crushed by it?  I pray that you all choose to build on the Truth because it is the only logical option.  Why would you want anything else?  Begin to build on the Truth or continue to build on the Truth today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jesus Paid it All

This is a hymn that has been in my head for quite a while now.  I hope you enjoy it.

  1. I hear the Savior say,
    “Thy strength indeed is small;
    Child of weakness, watch and pray,
    Find in Me thine all in all.”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus paid it all,
      All to Him I owe;
      Sin had left a crimson stain,
      He washed it white as snow.
  2. For nothing good have I
    Whereby Thy grace to claim;
    I’ll wash my garments white
    In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
  3. And now complete in Him,
    My robe, His righteousness,
    Close sheltered ’neath His side,
    I am divinely blest.
  4. Lord, now indeed I find
    Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
    Can change the leper’s spots
    And melt the heart of stone.
  5. When from my dying bed
    My ransomed soul shall rise,
    “Jesus died my soul to save,”
    Shall rend the vaulted skies.
  6. And when before the throne
    I stand in Him complete,
    I’ll lay my trophies down,
    All down at Jesus’ feet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Silly Things

On Wednesday we have youth group at church.  I love going to youth group, it re-energizes me for the week just being around the kids.  It also re-energizes me because I get challenged in my faith.

Tonight one of the things we talked about was how silly the things we care about are when compared to God.

I began to think about sports. I love sports, maybe too much.  I love to watch sports, play sports, talk about sports, research sports.  My job is even focused on sports much of the time.  But sports are silly if you really think about them.

Monday night I watched the NCAA championship even though it was an awful game to watch.  I have watched pretty intently for the entire month of the tournament, but when you really think about it basketball is silly.  I have spent much of my life obsessing over 10 guys running around, bouncing a ball and trying to throw it through a ring.  When these guys are really good at it, people say "You're national champions."  Do the champs really get anything (other than the coaches)?  No.  I mean it is kind of silly, but I will study the game, shout out loud when somebody dunks it, and talk about Monday night's game for a solid week.  I mean, how silly is that?

Or think about this.  I love Cubs baseball.  I listen to Pat Hughes on the radio, I watch Len and Bob talk about it on TV and when I can I go to a game.  When I go to a game I spend serious coin to do so (or I should say my parents do most of the time).  The process of going to a game cost up to or at least a hundred dollars when you start to add it all up, and that's if you get cheap seats.  I mean the ticket, the hotel, the gas, the food at the game, the Cubs shirt... I mean I invest a lot into what is really silly.  I invest all that to watch grown men play a kids' game.

I'm not saying don't do things or have stuff.  What I'm saying is realize that all these silly things don't compare to God.

I invest all this money to see the Cubs but when the collection plate for those in need around us is passed I'll give a couple bucks.  I'll cheer loudly when two teams I could care less about are playing basketball, but I'll shut up when God wants me to say a word for Him. I mean, I should flip-flop my life.  I should cheer loudly for our awesome God and give generously to His children, all while reading the box score once a week on a Sunday for all my sports.

God is great.  Everything else is really just silly.  Now act like that's true today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If You Ain't Gettin' Blocked...

So I got some feedback on the last post from someone anonymous and I'd like to thank you to that person.  This person seemed a little upset at my last post and I'll admit that it wasn't my best.  But, thank you Anonymous for your feedback.

Matthew 5:11-12- "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Now, what Anonymous wrote is probably not real persecution or a real insult if you ask most of the world, but I want to thank him/her anyway.  Jesus says that anytime we face insults we get a reward in heaven.  So, I hope to pile up more rewards.

Also, I remember my high school football coach (sorry to  those who hear me use this all the time).  Coach Mac would say, "If you ain't gettin' blocked you're going the wrong way" (actually he hardly ever said "ain't" but it sounds better that way).  If a defensive lineman isn't getting blocked he should be shouting "Screen, Screen!" to his teammates because he is going the wrong way if he keeps running to the backfield.  If a linebacker goes left and isn't getting blocked, it's because the play is going right most likely.

So, if you ain't getting blocked as a Christian you are probably going the wrong way.  Satan doesn't mess with Christians heading oposite of the play side of action.

Thank you anonymous.  You are a road sign that says, "Right Way.  Continue Running".

Finally, Anonymous, and maybe I'm wrong, but it's nice to know this blog isn't being read by just a bunch of Christians.  I love writing to my brothers and sisters, but I really hope that the Holy Spirit uses this blog to convict and transform those who don't yet know Jesus.

Thank you Anonymous and know that I'm praying for you.  And brothers and sisters rejoice and be glad when you are insulted today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Great Saga

I am blogging every day during Lent this year.  I'm doing this instead of abstaining from something during Lent.  So far it has been a great process.  I've felt closer to God and more in tune to His voice during this Lent.

So, I want to encourage you to add some discipline to your life this Lent even though we are halfway through Lent.  Maybe, you could add some prayer time or Bible reading.  Perhaps, you could add family time or some sort of service.  I don't know what God wants you to do, but maybe you would benefit from observing Lent in this way this year.

Also, this Lent I'm part of an awesome production called, "The Great Saga: an Easter Passion Mime."  This is a great show and I encourage you to attend.  The show is very worshipful and is in Cedar Falls and Waverly.  It is at Nazareth Lutheran in C.F. at 6:45 on Wednesday the 13th.  Then, it is at Grace Baptist in Waverly at 7:00 on Friday the 15th, Sunday the 17th and Thursday the 21st.  Finally, it will be the Good Friday service at 7:00 at Heartland Vineyard Church in C.F.

I encourage you to attend this or another passion play or watch "The Passion of the Christ" (I've only seen that once when it was in the theatre.  I'm not sure I want to watch it again.).  Do something this Easter season to remind yourself of how much God loves you.

Think about God's amazing love and sacrifice for you today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Line-dancing, Paul and Timothy

So last night I got to go line-dancing.  It was a lot of fun, even though I was awful at it, and I got to think a little about Paul and Timothy while doing it.  I know what you're thinking, "How does line-dancing make you think about Paul and Timothy?" or "You are a messed up, dude."

Yes, it is a little messed up, I guess, to think about Paul and Timothy while line-dancing but recently God has spoken very clearly to me more often.  I suppose I'll credit my Lent challenge for that.

Anywho, back to line-dancing, Paul and Timothy.

The other day my little brother wrote a short blog about how every man needs a Paul and every Paul needs a Timothy.  This is the basics of discipleship.

Well, as I was line-dancing I found a Paul named Curt.  No, we didn't talk about Jesus at all, but Saturday night Curt was my Paul.  As I attempted to line-dance I watched every move Curt made.  I swiveled my head as we did our turns so I could watch Curt dance.  You see, Curt was the best dancer out on the floor and when you line-dance you should watch the one who knows what they are doing.  When I was able to watch Curt I was able to somewhat line-dance... somewhat.

We need to take line-dancing lessons in our walk with Christ.  Find a Paul to watch.  Pauls are Christians that are further along in their run toward Jesus than you.  These people need to be watched and studied.  Of course they are not the ultimate example, Jesus is, but they can help you visualize what it really looks like to run the Christian race.

I have so many Pauls in my life and I am thankful for them, even if they don't know I'm watching them.  I also am very aware that I may be someone else's Paul without knowing it and that makes me very careful not to lead unknown Timothys astray.

So remember that every person needs a Paul and every Paul needs a Timothy.  Line-dance for Jesus on your run today.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jesus Pooped

I've been thinking a lot about the incarnation of Jesus.  This is such an amazing miracle that Jesus would choose to become like us.

Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross.  That is amazing, but let's not forget that Jesus humbled Himself to be like us.  When Jesus was a baby, He was helpless.  When Jesus was learning carpentry from Joseph, He probably hit His hand with the hammer.  When Jesus walked, He got blisters.   When Jesus needed to go, He pooped.  Jesus became like us.

Remember, that Jesus was forever.  He was there at creation.  He is God, yet He chose humility.

When Jesus became one of us it was like a parent getting on His child's level to scoop up the child and say, "I love you."  Jesus bent over to our level and said, "I love you," unlike anyone ever.  And when we die He scoops us up and carries us in His arms back inside His house.

Think about the beautiful incarnation of our Lord today.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Matthew 21:23-32

Please read this section of Matthew 21.

Verses 28-31 "What do you think?  There was a man who had two sons.  He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'  'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing.  He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.

'Which of the two did what his father wanted?'

'The first,' they answered."

God honors service not lip service.

Be doers not talkers.  Talking is only good if accompanied by action.

You might remember this quote from dc Talk's "Jesus Freak" CD- "The single greatest cause of atheism in our world is believers that profess Jesus with their mouths yet deny them by their lifestyle."

Phony people suck.  Don't be a phony person.  Do God's will, don't just talk about it today.