Suffering. It’s all around us. You see it on the faces of people you pass at the grocery store, see it in the stories posted on the news and social media, and see the pain it causes in the lives of those you know and love. We live in a broken world, but it can be hard to make sense of all the pain and suffering we see and experience. How can a good, loving Father allow us to go through hard times? As born-again believers, shouldn’t we be free from the ravages of a sinful world? If God is truly sovereign, why does He allow us to walk through suffering?
I am very excited to announce the release of my very first published book! Independently published and now available on Amazon, this book is a compilation of all the blog posts from the Colossians Bible study I wrote in the fall of 2017. This project has been in the works for a while, but I have finally finished it and released it to the world.
Reflection. Prayer. Repentance. Intercession. That’s what today is all about. It’s a day for the Church of Jesus Christ to gather and fill heaven with prayer and intercession. It’s a day of intentionality, as we make a point of coming before the Lord on behalf of our country. It’s a day of meditation, as we ponder and repent for the sins of our nation. It’s a day of action, as we humble ourselves and seek God’s face. Today is the National Day of Prayer in America.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Christ is risen! He’s risen indeed!
As we celebrate this blessed day, let’s pause and take a moment to cast our minds back to that glorious morning over two thousand years ago. Picture the scene. All was dark, but then the sun began to peak over the horizon and to cast a golden glow upon a Judean hillside which held a tomb. A tomb with a stone that was rolled away. A tomb that once held the crucified Christ. A tomb that was now empty.
Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. It marks the beginning of Passion Week and all that is remembered and celebrated. However, let’s go back in time to the first Palm Sunday and remember what actually happened on that memorable day in Jerusalem.
“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”
~Matthew 21: 1a, 6-9
Have you ever wondered what makes a good Christian leader? Or how God shapes and makes those men and women useful servants for His kingdom?
I know I have. Now that I’m serving in ministry and feel called to leadership in worship and discipleship, I have often pondered and contemplated how God chooses and prepares His servants. Throughout Biblical and Church history there have been many amazing and mighty men and women of God. A short list would include giants like Moses, David, Joseph, Mary, Paul, James, Peter, Billy Graham, John Wesley, and Hudson Taylor just to name a few.
But what set these people apart? Why did God choose them? And how did they grow into their roles of leadership? What journey did God take them on to shape and mold them into the leaders of His choosing?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been doing a lot of inner reflection and prayerful pondering since 2019 began. Last year brought a lot of change in the lives of people around me and great spiritual growth in my own life. God has revealed and confirmed a spiritual gift in my life and grown in me a greater heart for ministry. But overall, I have to say that the biggest thing the Lord has given me this past year is a greater burden for people.
The New Year has come and the novelty of it has worn off. The holidays are over and the dust has settled from the season’s craziness. Life is starting to return to its normal routine. But my blog has been extremely silent.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. This is the first Advent season in three years that I haven’t written something. Sorry for the silence! This Christmas season has gone by in a blur of activity and festivity. I hope you have all been blessed by the season.
But as we approach today—Christmas morning—there is a certain level of awe and wonder that ought to fill our hearts as we contemplate and ponder the birth of Christ. Not only were the events surrounding His birth amazing and incredible, but the very fact that He came fills my heart with worship.
As Thanksgiving approaches, it may be hard to feel thankful. Our nation has been hit hard with catastrophe, tragedy, and unprecedented violence. From the fires in the west to the hurricanes in the south and flooding in the east and numerous shootings throughout, no region has been spared from calamity. Many people are hurting and broken. Some are destitute without a home, while others have lost loved ones without having the chance to say goodbye.
Our hearts hurt for those who have lost everything, and we’re heavily burdened for those who have no hope. So this Thanksgiving, how can we rejoice and give thanks when our world seems to be falling apart?
Consider the question carefully. Do you need joy?
Can you say without hypocrisy that you would be 100% content and joyful if you were stuck in a prison cell tomorrow? Are you honestly 100% content and joyful in the life you have now? Can you say that you have truly learned how to be content in any and every situation? Is anxiety and stress no longer an issue in your life? Has the things of this world—learning, material possessions, achievements, success, popularity—all become less than garbage to you in comparison to knowing Christ?
I’m a full time private music instructor. It’s my job to teach students the inner complexities of music and how to translate what’s written on a page to how to play it on an instrument. I teach students of all ages, but right now, I have quite a few little guys—ages 5-6. And while these youngsters can be a challenge, it is so rewarding to see the proverbial light bulb come on and watch them master each new lesson. Recently, as I was telling my family some of the funny things these little guys have said—I have quite a few stories!—God hit me with something big.
Children trust utterly, absolutely, and entirely. They don’t doubt what you tell them, but in fact, are willing to somewhat blindly trust you.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Today is a day of celebration, praise, and worship of our Savior and King who conquered death and defeated Satan on that glorious Sunday two thousand years ago. What a reason to celebrate and rejoice! Because of Him we have eternal hope!
As we celebrate this day of human love and affection--whether it be with family, friends, or a spouse--let's remember and contemplate God's incredible love for us. He demonstrated ultimate love on the cross and no other type of love can compare with His unending, unconditional, agape love for us.
We’ve finished our Christmas series for the season and have rolled into yet another new year. So now it’s time to start a new Bible study. In 2017, we covered lots of ground traveling through the fields of Bethlehem in the story of Ruth, watching the unfolding drama of Hosea and Gomer’s love story, and learning from the mistakes and struggles of the Colossians. Now as we start the new year of 2018, it’s time to jump back into an in-depth study of God’s Word.
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