Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Good Pain

My wife and I are big C.S. Lewis fans and we especially love the Chronicle of Narnia series. We have the whole series in book form as well as Audio form and we have seen the three movies that have been made thus far.

We recently went to see the newest in the series called The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Let me just say, even if you are not a huge C.E. Lewis fan, this is a great movie and a must see.

For those of you who have not seen the movies or read the books, Narnia is a fantasy world, created by C.S. Lewis, in which the Pevensie children one day find themselves. In The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderLucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. 

Without giving away the whole move, Eustace finds himself being transformed into a dragon. Near the end of the movie, Eustace meets Aslan and Aslan changes him back into a boy. Edmund asked Eustace, “So what was it like when Aslan changed you back?” Eustace answered, “No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it myself. Then he came towards me. It sort of hurt – but it was a good pain, like when you pull a thorn from your foot.”

I have not been able to stop thinking about that line in the movie, "It sort of hurt – but it was a good pain, like when you pull a thorn from your foot".

Eustace is an excellent example of the transformation that we each much experience. The only way he could change was to have Aslan remove his dragon skin and emerge as a real boy. The only way you and I can change into the person God has created us to be is to have Jesus Christ remove the old and reveal the new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."  (NASB)

Let God make the necessary changes in your life. Will it hurt? Probably, most change does. But it is "a good pain".

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lesson from a Child's Prayer

Every night before we put our girls to bed we read a Bible story with them and then they each take turns thanking God for something. The list almost always include, mommy, daddy, sisters, grammy, grampy, grandma, grandpa, along with other various things. But last night as my 3 year old was praying, I heard her thank God for something that I had never heard her thank Him for before. She thanked God for her cold.

This got me thinking, when was the last time you thanked God for the difficulties in your life. We all have them, they are apart of life. But do we thank God for them?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

It is easy to thank God for the good things, but do we thank Him in the difficult times as well. I don't mean putting on some kind of fake smile as if nothing is wrong. I mean living with our eyes on Jesus and seeing things from His perspective. living with the kind of faith that allows you to see the blessings in the midst of the difficulty. 

Always remember that God has a plan of making you more like His Son. So whatever your facing, thank God!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Default Mode

When you hear the word "fasting", what typically comes to mind? I think that most of us think of doing without food for a certain period of time. But have you ever considered fasting from television?

I will admit that I have gotten into the habit of putting the girls to bed and then turning on the television for the next 2-3 hours just to fill up time before I go to bed. There usually isn't much on worth watching, but somehow TV has become my default mode.

So this past week my family and I have fasted from television. This means that in the last week we have not watched any TV, DVDs, or played video games on the TV. "What did you do with your time?" you might ask. Well we played games together, built puzzles, and read books. Simply put we spent time together as a family. After the girls went to bed (around 7pm each night) my wife and I had some quiet time to talk, read books, and even read the Bible together.

I wasn't sure how my daughters were going to react to this change, but surprisingly enough they never even asked to watch TV and they always ask to watch TV. They found that they could fill their time with other things and they were quite content with family time. 

I must admit that there were a couple times when I said to myself, "Oh no, I'm missing _______" (fill in the blank with your favorite program). But found much more enjoyment in spending time with my girls and my wife.

This has got me thinking, what do we fill our time and minds with? Are the things we do done with a purpose or are they just something to do? I was reminded of a verse today. Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Not that everything on TV is bad for you, but there is more to life than TV.

You may be asking how long this TV fast will last. Well we do plan to start watching TV again this weekend, but it is no longer my default mode!

What are you filling your mind with? Has TV become your default mode? Put down the remote and spend time with your family, with God, or even just enjoying the quiet...or better yet, all three!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where does the sun sleep?

This morning as I was driving my 5 year old to school she asked me, "Daddy, where does the sun sleep?" I explained to her that the sun does not sleep. When it is night time here, it is day time somewhere else in the world.

That got me thinking, isn't it great to know that God never sleeps, but that He is always watching over us.

Psalm 121:4 says, I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The next time you feel alone, remember that God is with you, watching over you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


This morning a group from our church went to a local farmers market to hand out FREE water to people. It turned out to be a great day and the Lord really opened up doors for us to be able to share the love of Christ with people in our community.

As people would walk by our table we would ask them if they would like a FREE bottle of water. Most people were quite pleased to get a FREE bottle of water and gladly accepted the water.  Some politely refused with clear skepticism in their voice. (one of those, "what's the catch" kind of responses). Others had a hard time believing that it was FREE but after talking with them long enough, they finally accepted the water.

As we continued to hand out water I realized that people are that way when it comes to the LIVING WATER that Jesus Christ offers. Some gladly accept the FREE gift of salvation that He offers, while others can't believe that it is really FREE and refuse to accept it.

As we were packing up to leave we were all hoping and praying that God would use those FREE bottles of water to make a difference in someone's life. It may be weeks or months before we see any results of what was done today or we may never know until we get to heaven, but one thing is true: We would have no impact at all if we never tried in the first place.

How true that is when it comes to sharing Christ with others. They may be skeptical and it may take weeks or months before they come to Christ. And who knows maybe we will not know the impact we had until heaven, but if we don't try they may never know Christ.

Monday, June 28, 2010

In God We Still Trust

Psalm 33:12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...

When our nation, including those who call themselves Christians, cease to look to God … we cease to be blessed by God.

Our forefathers CLAIMED this nation for God. We need to RE-CLAIM it for God!
How can we do this? Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4

1- Pray for
America and our leaders.
2- As a Christian, live righteous lives, standing on the principles and values of God’s Word.
3- Be a light in this dark world. Let others see that Jesus is the only hope for
America … the only hope for an eternity in Heaven.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learning to Lean on Jesus

Psalms 23 is a very well known Psalm and is often used to bring comfort to those who are suffering.

King David is the best person to write a psalm about the shepherd and sheep. because he was a shepherd. David writes from experience and he compares the relationship of a shepherd with his sheep to our relationship with God, the Shepherd of our life.

One thing is life sure, there will be valleys. There will be hard times, but we can take courage that our Shepherd is with us.

Notice David's response to the valley in Psalm 23:4 "...I fear no evil for You are with me...". David wasn't looking at the valley, he was looking at his Shepherd. Notice also he says, "...I walk THROUGH the valley...". David understood that the valley was only temporary.

We all love and long for those mountain top experiences, but our faith is developed in the valleys.

Keep looking to the Shepherd!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Call Him Daddy!

Romans 8:15 says, For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"  (NASB)                                                                                                                                      
That word "Abba" simply means "Daddy".                                                                                                             
My oldest daughter quite frequently tells other childen that my name is "Pastor Tim" and that they have to call me "Pastor Tim", but that she gets to call me "Daddy" because it is a special name. I like that! "Daddy" is a special name that only my 3 daughters get to call me.                                                                                                 
Romans 8:15 tells us that as Christians we get to call God, "Daddy". What a special name. As Christians we should feel such a powerful relational connection with God that we can confidently call Him “Daddy” and know that He calls us His child.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thank God for Moms

Do you remember this old saying? 

Man may work from sun to sun,
But woman’s work is never done.

One day a man came home from work to find total mayhem at home. The kids were outside still in their pajamas playing in the mud and muck. There were empty food boxes and wrappers all around. 

As he proceeded into the house, he found an even bigger mess. Dishes on the counter, dog food spilled on the floor, a broken glass under the table, and a small pile of sand by the back door. The family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing, and a lamp had been knocked over. 

He headed up the stairs, stepping over toys, to look for his wife. He was becoming worried that she may be ill, or that something had happened to her.

He found her in the bedroom, still in bed with her pajamas on, reading a book. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her confused and asked, "What happened here today?" She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what I did today?" "Yes," was his reply." She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it!"

It’s not easy being a mother is it? It’s hard work. A mother’s job is never done. When you are a mother you become a professionally cook, a referee, a maid, a teacher, a seamstress, a counselor, a taxi driver, and so many other things all rolled into one—and there’s no salary involved.

John Maxwell once said, “The instant that we are born, we already owe someone for nine months of room and board… and we never fully pay that debt.”

He’s right, isn’t he? Moms, we owe you more than we could ever repay and probably more than we will ever know.

Thanks for all you do Mom!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are you hungry?

The other day I was feeding my 6 month old. she is just learning to eat solid food. She was so excited about eating that her mouth was open wide and she was almost dancing in her seat. She couldn't wait to get that food. But when I gave her a bite of food, she spit it out. I guess it wasn't what she was expecting or what she wanted. Maybe what she was hoping for was yogurt or applesauce or bananas, but what I gave her was sweet potatoes.

Are we ever like that when it comes to our spiritual food, the Word of God? Do we feed on God's Word only to spit it out if it make us uncomfortable or if we don't like what it says?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  (NASB)

All of God's Word is good for us and beneficial to us.

1 Peter 2:2 says,  "like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation"  (NASB)

That phrase, "long for" refers to an intense and continuous desire. Spiritual growth begin and continues through the application of the Word of God.

So, are you hungry?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Worries

Do you every worry about paying bills or making ends meet? Do you ever worry about your future, perhaps plans that are in the making? Do you ever worry about you health? Do you ever worry about your work or maybe your retirement?  Any of you parents ever worry about your children? There are a lot of things that we can worry about. 

The bottom line is that life can be stressful and full of things that we could worry about, but I believe there is a better alternative if you would just let go of your worries. You may be thinking to yourself, “How in the world am I going to let go of these worries? If I let go of these worries, then how will anything ever get accomplished.”

Matthew 6:25-34 teaches us that we can trust God to handle all our concerns. He will take care of our every need. 

Three ways we can get rid of our worries:
1. Learn to trust God with everything
2. Learn to make God you #1  priority
3. Learn to pray about your worries

1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we can give all our worries and cares to the Lord. What an offer that is! We know the weight of anxiety, don’t we? When we are filled with worry and anxiety we can feel a physical, emotional and a spiritual drag upon us. Could you imagine taking other people’s worries and anxieties?

Mary Crowley said, "Every evening I turn worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway."

That's good advice... when was the last time you tried it? Are you ready to live worry free?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Relational God

Have you ever been invited to meet with someone for the first time and found yourself feeling a bit nervous?

What will I say? Will they like me?

If you have asked these questions, you are in good company. The Old Testament prophet Elijah must have felt like this when God wanted to meet with him. The story is recorded in 1 Kings 19.

You can imagine Elijah's feelings as he prepared to meet with God. His heart starts beating fast as he wonders, "What is this going to be like?" He goes to the appointed place and waits. All of a sudden a hurricane-strength wind smashes against the mountainside with such power that the rocks split. Elijah is thinking, "This must be God showing up", but the text says, "The Lord was not in the wind". A little while later there's an earthquake that shakes the entire mountain and Elijah thinks, "This must be the presence of God", but it wasn't. Then a blast of fire consumes everything on the side of the mountain, but this still isn't God.

Finally a gentle voice speaks. it is soft...almost a whisper. God initiates a conversation with Elijah. In the conversation, Elijah pours our his frustrations and struggles. God gives direction and instruction...hope for the future. Like two friends, God and Elijah talk.

In this moment Elijah discovers something about God's nature. It's a lesson was could all learn if we are willing to come close enough to God. God is deeply relational. The powerful, holy, righteous, sovereign God also longs to experience an intimate relationship with you and I.

How is your relationship with Him?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

People are Watching You

It's amazing how much our children are watching us and how much they imitate the things we do.

One of the things we do as a family is pray before we go on a trip. We even pray for and with others, who have stayed with us, before they leave to travel back home. I never realized what kind of impact that had on my children until yesterday.

Our oldest daughter (4yrs old) was in the back yard playing with a friend. They were pretending that the friend was visiting my daughter at her "house"(The back corner of the yard). After they visited a while, the friend said that it was time for her to go back to her "house" (Another corner of the yard). Before she left my daughter said, "Can I pray for you?" and then she bowed her head and thanked God for her friend and prayed that God would protect her as she traveled back home.

It is only natural for children to imitate their parents. And it should be natural for Christians, children of God, to imitate Him as well. In Ephesians 5:1 we are told to "...be imitators of God, as beloved children."

Matthew 5:14-16 says, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  (NASB)

The truth is, people are watching!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Attitudes

In last weeks Blog I mentioned Jonah 3:1-2 and talked about how God gave Jonah a second chance. Well in the remainder of that chapter Jonah goes to Nineveh, preaches, the people repent, and God spares the city from being destroyed.

As Jonah chapter 4 opens up, Jonah is not happy.

Jonah 4:1-4 - But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?" (NASB)

Have you ever had a day like the small boy had in the book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst?

Here is an excerpt from that book:

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At school Mrs. Dickens liked Paul’s picture of the sailboat better than my picture of the invisible castle. At singing time she said I sang too loud. At counting time she said I left out sixteen. Who needs sixteen? I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

There were lima beans for dinner and I hate limas. There was kissing on TV and I hate kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad pajamas. I hate my railroad pajamas.When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

Maybe you have felt that way. Ask yourself the question, "Do I have a right to feel this way?" To help you answer that question just think of all that God has done for you. We have been so blessed by God. When was the last time you sat down and took an inventory of your blessings. Perhaps you are long overdue.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The God of Second Chances

Cyrus Curtis, who once owned the Saturday Evening Post, had a sign hanging in his office that read, “Yesterday ended last night.” This is a great reminder that every day is a new day and a new beginning.

Jonah 3:1-2 says, "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and  proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.'"

You may remember from an earlier blog post that I talked about Jonah running from God and God's plans for Jonah. Here in Jonah chapter 3 we see that God hasn't given up on Jonah and that He is giving Jonah a second chance.

I think that if it would have been me sending Jonah out again, the verse would probably read more like this. “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh, but this time don’t mess it up like you did last time!” 

But there is no mention of Jonah’s mistake here. God looks at Jonah just like he did before!
It's important to remember that God doesn’t look down on you even if you have failed in your past. You can return to God just as Jonah did.

No matter what is in your past, let’s keep in mind the sign posted in the office of Cyrus Curtis that reads, “Yesterday Ended Last Night”. As far as God is concerned, that is the truth. Believe it!.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Running From God

Read Jonah Chapter 1...

God has asked Jonah to take a message to a group of people that, quite frankly, were mean people. They were Israel's enemy.

Jonah is probably thinking, “Yeah right God, you want me to go and say bad things about Nineveh to their faces so that they can kill me slowly and painfully!”

Instead of going to Nineveh, he runs the other way to try and get away from God.

Have you ever done that? You know that God is calling you to a specific thing, but out of fear or rebellion, you run the exact opposite direction?

The call on your life might not be to a place as dangerous as Nineveh, but it is a call all the same:

1. A call to change your behavior – but instead you do everything you can to avoid it
2. A call to be more public with your faith – but instead you keep your light hidden
3. A call to forgive someone – but instead you avoid them in order to keep your grudge
4. A call to a specific ministry or use of your spiritual gifts – but instead you put it on the back burner until a more opportune time
5. A call into as relationship with God through Jesus – but instead you throw yourself into the things of the world

Are you running from God in some area of your life? Has God asked you to be involved in something and you are not sure if you can handle it or if you really want to be involved?

Maybe you are experiencing a storm right now and this storm is God’s way of saying “It’s time to get back on track.”

It's time to stop running!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How is Your Faith?

There is a story told of a man who had been traveling for quite sometime. It was hot and he was getting thirsty. He can upon a water pump, beside the pump was a jar of water with a note that read. “The pump must be primed before it will work. In the jar is just enough water to prime the pump. If you prime the pump, you will have more water than you could possibly drink, but if you drink any of the water in the jar you will not be able to prime the pump. After drinking the water, please refill the jar for the next traveler.”

This man had a choice. Did he have enough faith that by pouring the water into the pump he would get enough water to drink, or was he going to just drink the water in the jar?

How is your faith? Do you trust God's plans for you as you go into 2010? Do you believe God's promises?
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (NASB)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year

Joshua 1:2 says, "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel."

God basically tells Joshua, "The past is behind you, so let's get going."

Moses was dead, but God's purpose was very much alive. This was no time to stand around reminiscing about the good old days or thinking about all the regrets and the "what ifs". It was time to move forward.

As you beging this new year, maybe thoughts of the past are holding you back. it's easy to get bogged down in regrets over things you can't cahnge. Maybe you took some wrong steps last year. Maybe you suffered a painful loss. Maybe someone let you down or you had a big disappointment. It's time to listen to the orders giving to Joshua: The past is dead. Now, arise and go into the new year.

Maybe you are looking into the new year and you see some giants blocking your way. Maybe you are facing new challenges in school or in your job. Maybe you feel God calling you to serve Him in something that you have never done before. Whatever you are facing as this new year begins, remember the promise giving to Joshua in Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."