Archive for the tag “God”

Broken in the Wrong Way

Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am a gamer.

Lately, my game of choice has been Fortnite Battle Royale. The battle royale style of gaming allows you to drop into a map with 100 other people and play a new twist on the king of the hill game.

You start out in what they call the “Battle Bus” which is flying above the map. You jump out and, through the use of a glider (or victory parasol if you have won matches like myself), you drop down into the map. One of the most popular strategies is to drop on top of a house or building and then use your pickaxe to break through the roof into the attic where there is usually a golden chest with some great loot.

If you pick the wrong place on the roof you could break through and drop not into the attic, but through a hole into the next level of the house. You then have to take the time and build a ramp to get back up to the attic, leaving yourself vulnerable to other people and with weak defenses.

You broke the roof in the wrong way.

The strategy didn’t work well. The plan didn’t go as, well, planned.

Have you ever been through something that broke you?

How did you handle it?

The Bible gives a plan for using our brokenness. If we choose not to follow Biblical instruction then we can find that, like falling through a hole in Fortnite, we are left more vulnerable and defenseless.

Psalm 51:17 – My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

If we decide to listen to our own desires rather than Biblical instruction, we get our hearts hardened, we become bitter, sarcastic, cynical, and, sometimes, proud.

This world sees the broken as without value. Being broken is something we try to avoid. No one wants to ever say that their finances are broken. Having a broken marriage usually means you are steps away from a divorce. Being broken emotionally can lead to depression and anxiety.

But God has a different view of broken things.

God takes pleasure in broken things while the world turns away from them. In fact, God requires that we be broken before He can begin using us. We need to come to the end of ourselves before we can come to Christ.

Brokenness brings you closer to God.

Psalm 51 is a testament to the fact that God uses the broken.

This Psalm was written when Nathan, the prophet, went to him after David had done his business with Bathsheba. For more on what happened, check out 2 Samuel 11-12.

Verses 1-2 start with David desiring true repentance. He had repented of his sin and now he craved the cleansing from his iniquity. This lays the foundation for the rest of the Psalm, a cry out to God to see what true repentance looks like.

In verses 3-4 David admits to us that his sin is “ever before” him. He is saying that his unconfessed sins are not forgiven. He realizes his sins against God and asks to be justified.

Verses 5 and 6 has David telling us theological truth, we are all born into sin. This theme does not go away as you continue to read the Bible. Even in the new Testament Paul is claiming the same truth (check our Romans 5 or 1 Corinthians 15).

David starts talking about hyssop in verses 7-10. Hyssop was a plant that had cleansing properties. This was an illustration to God that he wanted to be cleansed of his sin. He is asking God to regenerate him, which is, according to 2 Timothy 2:25, a work of God.

2 Timothy 2:25 – Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth

David was concerned. He is worried that he committed apostasy, which would have completely removed God’s Holy Spirit from him. He is asking God in verses 11-13 to restore the “joy of his salvation.” So, I don’t believe that David is truly worried that he is no longer saved, but he is worried that he will no longer know the joy of the Holy Spirit. He is asking for that to return. He is also asking God to restore him so that he will be able to teach others not to sin the way he had. Later in the Psalms we see that David’s joy was restored and he also used his opportunities to teach others.

In verses 14-15 David is asking God to forgive the murder that he committed. Along with this, David is not only asking God to forgive him, but to open his lips and mouth to declare His praise.

The true repentance, and example of his brokenness, is found in verses 16-17. David knows that a simple burnt offering or sacrifice will not atone for what he has done. Only his completely crushed and broken spirit can prove that he is repentant. As he continues into verses 18-19, David is not dismissing the sacrifice system that God has created. David is simply saying that before a sacrifice can be acceptable the heart needs to be repentant.

So how are you broken?

Are you broken correctly? Or are you wrong in how you are broken?

If you simply take the brokenness and build to your sin through pride or bitterness then you are wasting the opportunity for Christ to use you.

Using David’s example, we can see what being broken properly looks like and apply it to our lives so that we don’t give superficial sacrifice but have a completely repentant heart to God.



Comparing Apples to Oranges

Ah social media.

Through social media I can post a prayer request and within seconds I have my family, extended family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and the random dude that friend requested me at the local convenience store say that they are praying for me.

I can also share photos with everyone. Pictures that show how awesome life is. All the cool places I get to go, all the awesome food I eat or cook, my beautiful wife, the happy kids, and anything else that people will look at and say, “I wish I was him.”

But then I log into Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn, Snapchat and several others and realize that someone else is posting photos of their happy kids, their beautiful wife, their awesome food, and their cool places and, all of a sudden, my life doesn’t seem so “blessed.”

Comparing ourselves is not something that is new since the inception of social media.

Cain compared himself to Abel. Joseph’s brothers compared themselves to him. Even the disciples were not immune to the comparison trap. Jesus even had to put His disciples in their place about it.

John 21:23 – Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

Comparison is a sin plain and simple. It tells God that we are in control and not Him. First, it does this through making us feel better than others which is pride. In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus shares the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Luke 18:9-14 – To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Next, comparison can make us feel worse than others, focusing on ourselves and what we are missing rather than what God has blessed us with.

It is easy even to compare God’s movement in our lives with how He moved in our lives previously. For example, if God blessed you with that promotion you might be thinking He is going to do it again. And why not? You tithe your 10%, you read your Bible regularly, you pray before every meal and bedtime, and you even shared AMEN when you saw that Facebook post. You are the perfect candidate for the promotion.

But then the promotion never comes.

God must not like something in your life since you didn’t get the promotion, right?

But what does God say about this?

Isaiah 55:8 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Satan wants us to believe that we deserve everything in our own timing.

We feel entitled.

If we start to let Satan lead us down the path of discontentment, we find it harder and harder to ever find true contentment.

Remember David, the man after God’s own heart? When he needed to go fight Goliath God provided for him armor. Unfortunately, the armor was too large. Did David stop what he was doing until he could find armor that fit him? No. David trusted God.

If we have trust that God is always looking for our ultimate good, then even when things don’t make a lot of sense, we can take comfort in knowing that God is right there with us, helping us to get to a place of contentment. God wants to see us transformed, not temporarily happy.

What was it that Paul said?

Philippians 4:11 – I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Paul doesn’t say that we need to be thankful for the circumstances that we are going through. We are to be content. Paul was beaten, put into prison, stoned and even shipwrecked and yet he found contentment. He wasn’t content because of anything he did, but he was content because of everything God is.

So what should we do when we are stuck in the trap of comparing ourselves with others?

Praise God.

Not for what we have that others do not have. That would be acting like the Pharisee in Luke. But Praise God just like David did in the Psalms. Thank God for who HE is, not what we have. Far too often we praise God only when we feel like praising Him.

Praise isn’t a feeling. Praise is a sacrifice.

Rejoice in the Lord, always!

If we choose to rejoice in the Lord, then we won’t have time or desire to rejoice in what is going on with us. Paul was in chains when he told us to rejoice and be content. If anyone could have been comparing his strife with others, it was Paul. But he chose not to. He chose to be content in who Christ is.

The other day my wife, Mimi, and I had a huge argument. Both of us were not fulfilling our roles properly as stated in Ephesians 5 (husbands love your wife and wives respect your husband).

Did I give that moment to God?

Unfortunately, no.

I went upstairs, got on Facebook, and started looking at people I know who had posts about their relationships and how great they are. I started comparing my relationship with theirs and wishing for what they have.

Of course, in the back of my mind I knew that they were no better or worse off than Mimi and I, but that didn’t matter. I was listening to Satan. I was allowing myself to be oppressed by the father of lies.

After about an hour of that I realized that I was caught in sin.

I started praying and asking God to forgive me.

After our devotional, I told my wife and explained that it was a sin and the I wanted to repent of it.

To do so, I decided to do something drastic. Many of you know that I love social media. I love being on Facebook and Instagram.

I decided to deactivate both of my accounts.

I am not sure for how long they will be deactivated. The last time I did this it lasted 3 years. But for the time being, don’t look for me on Facebook or Instagram. I am going to take this time to get my heart focused more on Christ and being content in what He has provided me.

And I suggest that to many people who are on social media. Fasting from it is a good start. You could fast from social media for any length of time. Or, if you are someone that may want to come back to social media one day like myself, you can deactivate your account. The accounts are there for you to reactivate (log in with your user name and password), but you aren’t being active on them and it is more difficult to get into them. Or, if you are deciding to go cold turkey, you can delete your accounts. When you do that, however, you lose all access to anything you posted before, all media, and your user name.

So take your choice.

And maybe, in a few years, I will say to follow me back on Facebook or Instagram.

*Disclaimer* My Twitter and LinkedIn are still active for work use, so I am still on those.

Burden, Barrier or Blessing

My wife and I are rich in terms of the fact that we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, water to drink, healthcare, education, and the ability to enjoy a little bit of fun from time to time. If you were to ask us, though, we are nowhere near rich because we base the definition of rich on seeing others with more “stuff” or money than we have. Maybe they are taking all the cool vacations and we are not. Maybe they are eating a 4 and 5-star restaurants. Splurging on a restaurant for us is typically going to the little hole in the wall that sells Mexican food for cheap.

We don’t typically have a lot in our bank account at the end of the month. I read an article the other day about people who save and save with the expectation that they will do good things with their money when they get enough of it.

But what happens if that day never comes?

You could walk out the door and be hit by a bus and never come to realize the good that you could have done with that money, or time, or love.

Money, as with anything in this life, can easily be a burden, a blessing, or a barrier.

Solomon says it best

Proverbs 30:7-9 – “I ask two things from you, Lord. Don’t refuse me before I die. Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.


As we go through what is left of our lives, we really need to understand how to look at money.

First, the burden.

If you spend all your life chasing money, then you have become a slave to it. You might desire to do good things with it, you might even do good with it from time to time, but you have determined that your money is YOURS and you ultimately have the decision over it.

When we find money as a burden, we spend our days chasing it. We live paycheck to paycheck. We can’t seem to get out from under the drive that money has over us.

When money is a burden, you feel as if you can’t get out from under the mountain of debt you have acquired. Your spending feels out of control. Every decision you make financially means that you will have to eliminate something out of your budget or else you will have to increase the debt. It creates a deep hole of debt that you can never get out of so you have to work more, or maybe even take a second job.

You begin looking at money in a negative way. You almost never tithe, and when you do it is much less than what you should. Work begins to become a negative thing as well.

You are burdened.

But our God is not a God of burdens, He is a God of relieving burdens.

It is at this point that resetting how you look at money is needed.

You might believe in God and lean on Him with almost every aspect of your life. But with money, you don’t, at least not until you feel you have to.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum. Money can be a barrier to God as well.

In the modern church today, especially with many of the pastors in the prosperity arena, God wants to bless you physically and monetarily as well as spiritually.

I don’t completely disagree. But I also don’t completely agree.

Proverbs 23:4 – Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.

Many times when we have plenty we find ourselves doing everything in our own power. We leave God out of the equation altogether. Much of what we can do in this world to be successful doesn’t necessarily require God to bless it. He has given us abilities, even if we decide to use them for only ourselves.

During this time you might pray to God. You might even tithe. But you don’t truly understand what it means to lean on God for all your needs. If you need more money for something, you work a little harder. You make personal financial investment choices before considering the community of believers.

You need to learn that money is simply a tool. It is a means to an end, and none of it is yours. Apart from the argument that it all belongs to the government, it truly all belongs to God. He gave it to you. He wants you to use your money and/or position to further the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Finally, money could be a blessing. While the Bible shows many cases where being rich is not necessarily a good thing, one point is very clear: God will provide your needs.

In the verse above God not only provides our needs but gives us plenty leftover to help others.

Notice something here, God does not say that he will give us plenty leftover to plan retirement or take a cruise or eat lavishly (this one hurts a little as I love food). But He gives us plenty so that we can help others with it.

The Christian life should never be one of comfort.

We should always be needing God to supply our needs, whether that be a mortgage, a car payment, or food.

But in return, we are promised that we will have everything we need, and more, so long as we provide for others with the excess.

So how do you see money and work? Is it a burden in which you are spending your entire time and life scraping by paycheck to paycheck without being able to celebrate the Kingdom of God with it? Is it a barrier that hinders your ability to seek God? Or is it a blessing, not just for you but for others with the excess that God has given you?

It may require some restructuring of your finances. But if you do, I promise, as does the Word of God, that it will be worth it for you.

Commander of Tens

Deuteronomy 1:15 – “So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you, leaders of thousands and of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers for your tribes.

I was recently given an opportunity to spend time with a couple people I love.

Paige and Stalin Solis came from Peru, where they lead ministries and missions, to the states to get some much needed rest and fundraise. When they came to visit Maryland, where my family and I live, they were at 34% of their monthly giving need. When they left they were at 53%!!!

I would ask that you all support them.

While they were in town we ate some great food (American and Peruvian), went sightseeing in Washington D.C. and spent a lot of time discussing and contemplating the Word of God and sharing life stories.

During their time here, we found out that Free Wheelchair Mission, the primary mission ministry that Paige & Stalin work with, was sharing a documentary on the distribution of their ONE MILLIONTH WHEELCHAIR! This documentary was filmed in Peru, with the church people and the church that Paige and Stalin belong. Paige, as a matter of fact, was one of the people in the video!!!

As we were watching the video my eyes filled with tears. I saw many people I know: Clever and Lisa Sobrino, leaders of a ministry that works with developmentally and mentally disabled people, Robert Barriger, the Senior Pastor of the church that sponsors the wheelchair mission in Peru, Miguel Chiang, one of the leaders of the wheelchair mission on the Peru side, and Nick Balcombe, leader of the missions groups that come to Peru to distribute the wheelchairs.

I’ve been to Peru 5 times in with my church, Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. Every year we take down a very small team to Peru to do service projects, including building and distributing wheelchairs. As I was watching the Free Wheelchair Mission video, I was thinking to myself that we have done so little in Peru.

Then I started adding up the numbers.

Exodus 18:19-22 – Listen to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.

In 5 years, our church has distributed 441 wheelchairs.

That is .05% of Free Wheelchair Mission’s worldwide total! That is also 2.1% of all of the wheelchairs distributed in Peru during that time frame!!!

I started thinking about the Old Testament Bible verses about the commanders of the armies of Israel. They were broken in several different command groups. There were those who led the armies of thousands, those who led the armies of hundreds, those who led the armies of fifties, and those who led the armies of tens.

In the Old Testament times the armies were physical armies that fought physical battles with enemies of the kingdom. Today Christians fight an invisible enemy, one who has attacked every fabric of life in the world. In this fight, the command structure is still the same.

Our enemy is fighting us in a physical way. He is attacking our friends, our families, and people we don’t know with sicknesses and ailments. It is up to the church to lead the charge to provide support for those who have been injured during the battle.

In this segment of the battle, Free Wheelchair Mission is the “commander of thousands.” They mobilize teams and people internationally to take wheelchairs where they are needed most.

Then there are the churches and organizations like Camino de Vida, where Paige and Stalin serve. These are the “commanders of hundreds.” They mobilize teams inside of Peru. Paige leads 30 missions teams from all around the world every year. Each team has about 10+ people in them and distribute thousands of wheelchairs a year.

Then there are the sending churches, like Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, my home church. They are the “commander of fifties.” Over the past 5 years we have sent about 40 people to Peru, close to 100 people to Haiti, and close to 75 people to Navajo Nation.

Finally, God showed me that I am a “commander of tens.” Each year I lead a team of up to 10 people to Peru.

I have always wanted to lead God’s church. I’ve wanted to be a pastor. I’ve wanted to call my “job” pastor. I desire to wake up and drive to church and call that my place of employment.

But when I realized that God has made me a “commander of tens” for doing a mission to Peru I came to the conclusion that if God never uses me for another thing in this life that I have been used to make a difference for Him. God could never call me to full-time ministry and I would be content in knowing that God’s glory has been seen through my leadership.

I don’t say that to boast.

I say that knowing full well that this opportunity can go away at any moment and it is only by the grace of God that I was given this opportunity. I pray I never take that lightly. And I pray that the commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, and commanders of tens never take their position lightly. God granted it, God can take it away if we don’t treat it as He would desire.

But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy my time as a “commander of tens” and lead as God would have me lead.

I may never lead thousands.

I may never lead hundreds.

I may not even lead fifties.

But I am leading tens. And that is enough.

On Leadership

What is leadership?

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. In many different respects I am a leader.

I lead a company. A multi-million-dollar organization is hinging on me to lead them properly. I work across multiple states so it makes it more difficult as much of my leadership is virtual. I am responsible for ensuring the money is flowing into the company, so you can call me the operations guy.

I lead a ministry. I am an elder in my church and lead missions to Peru as well as a couple small groups. As a church leader I am under scrutiny to make sure that those I am discipling are understanding the message and applying it in their lives.

I lead a family. With 2 biological children and 4 step-children as well as a wife I have my hands full trying to know how to lead them. I find them the most challenging to lead, honestly, because of the day in and day out dynamics of family.

Every so often we go through seasons that knock us down and cause us to question our leadership and wonder if we are doing it right. I am currently in one of those seasons.

Since I have been struggling to understand my efficacy as a leader I decided to study both worldly and biblical leadership and see if I am modeling it in my company, ministry and family. This is also giving me the opportunity to determine if worldly and biblical leadership have any common areas.

So, I am going to find the most prevalent traits of a successful worldly leader and the 4-5 most prevalent traits of a biblical leader and determine if there is crossover. After that, I am going to strive to create a model of leadership that I can work toward attaining. Change is never easy, but we are called as Christians to grow in our application of God’s Word, His vision in our lives, and our relationships.

Worldly Leadership Qualities:

  • Self-leading.

How can you lead others if you don’t know how to lead yourself? A good worldly leader knows how to prioritize the goals and then deliver on those goals. This means that you know how to control your time, your emotions, your actions and be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Handling stress and balancing it throughout their personal lives is key. They don’t let stress lead them, they lead by compassion and strive to respond to people appropriately.

A good worldly leader is always looking to the future and able to keep an open mind as to how to get there. Their initial plan may not be the best so they need to remain open to ideas from others in order to be successful. As they look to the future they maintain a positive attitude, even when all is crashing.

  • Strong communication.

Good worldly leaders know when to talk and what to say. Talking too much can destroy their reputation and not talking enough can give the people he/she is leading a thought that they are aloof or uncaring. The better they communicate, and the more specific, the better.

Strong leaders know how to use their power and authority without overpowering their team. They take accountability and responsibility for their own mistakes, and they expect others to do the same.

  • Clear goal setting.

They set goals and are determined to achieve them. This is done through an unwavering self-confidence. They are enthusiastic about their goal and expect others to buy-in to their dreams. If they give up, their team will give up. They persevere even when their entire team wants to quit.

  • They have vision.

They know how to manage change while balancing stability and growth. Continually look for new packaging or branding element but not losing sight what got them where they are. Being adaptable is a key to seeing vision come to fruition.

  • Manage complexity.

They know how to solve problems in an environment that is constantly and rapidly changing. They can predict a course of action before all the details are available and they act on their prediction.

  • Creativity and innovation.

Great worldly leaders risk a lot to encourage experimentation. This leads their organization into new directions.

  • Team building.

Being a successful worldly leader means that they rely on the people in their employ. Without a strong team supporting them, the organization cannot succeed or grow.

  • Lasting relationships.

Networking is a key to reaching personal goals and professional ones.

Being able to change quickly will help a world leader gain the edge in a new channel or technology.

As you can see, the worldly leader has a lot of juggling to do. But what about the biblical leader? And what Scripture will back it up? Using primarily Proverbs 16 is a good place to start.

Biblical Leadership Qualities:

  • Seeking God’s direction.

A biblical leader must first seek God in all he or she does. Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 16:1 – To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

Verse 3 tells us that if we commit our work to the Lord our plans will be established. A good biblical leader seeks God and commits to Him, allowing Him to direct his path.

The biblical leader is not a tyrant nor is he or she arrogant.

Proverbs 16:5 – The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

A good biblical leader is able to empathize with others Compromise is also something that a good biblical leader must learn. Yes, we are called to be strong in our faith but we are not called to cold and unfeeling.

Proverbs 16:7 – When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

A good biblical leader is more concerned with doing things the right way rather than what is going to lead to the most success. The end does not always justify the means.

Proverbs 16:8 – Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.

  • Ability to be mentored.

Leaders should not surround themselves with “yes men.” That shows insecurity in the leader. A good leader surrounds themselves with people who are smarter than he or she is. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 16:13 – Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.

  • Knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is good, wisdom is better. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Good biblical leaders are constantly learning, growing and developing. If you feel you have already arrived in any subject (business, church, family) then you have allowed pride and arrogance to consume you.

Proverbs 16:16 – How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

Many people have fallen because of pride. When a person thinks they are invincible they find out just how human they are. Proverbs 16:19 says that it is “better to be of lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

  • Sensible and kind.

Being sensible makes a leader more effective. A good biblical leader uses words that are “gracious’ (Proverbs 16:24) and not “like a scorching fire.” (Proverbs 16:24)

Proverbs 16:22-23 – Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.

  • Slow to anger.

The movies show the mean-spirited boss who yells for no reason and demoralizes the team. The slow to anger are better than the mighty.

Proverbs 16:32 – Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

So what can be learned from this? Are the similarities between good worldly leaders and good biblical leaders?

You can say yes. But you can also say no.

The good worldly leader is “self-confident” and manages themselves better than anyone else. The good biblical leader focuses on allowing God to direct his steps. From that point, the paths will never cross.

Moses led a nation, he was not a great communicator. Peter led the early church, he was not the most accountable. Jesus is God, Savior, and Lord yet he was not worried about being agile.

The disciples were not the best business and people leaders in the ancient world, yet Jesus chose them to leave a legacy.

The decisive point is seeking the Kingdom of God. If we are seeking that then God will provide what we need to lead.

It won’t always look pretty.

And the leader will make several mistakes along the way.

But if God is at the forefront of the leader’s life then the problems turn into good opportunities for God’s children.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Love Cyanide

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Hurting those we love.

Humanity is filled with examples of hurting each other, especially the ones we love.

Too often we proclaim our love for a spouse, child, or friend and then turn around and poison the relationship with what I like to call “love cyanide.”

Just what is cyanide?

Historically, cyanide has been used as a chemical weapon. It is also used in pesticides, plastics, and mining. When shocking a pool to get it ready to swim in, cyanide can be produced in low levels. It is also found in smoking.

One important note about cyanide is that “lethal doses of cyanide results only from accidents or intentional acts.”

Once the body is exposed to cyanide, the chemical quickly enters the bloodstream. The body tries to convert the chemical to a less lethal chemical called thiocyanate. As the doses build up, however, the body’s ability to convert cyanide to something less lethal gets overwhelmed. Large doses of cyanide prevent cells from using oxygen, causing the cells to die. The heart, respiratory, and central nervous system are most affected by cyanide poisoning.

What are the effects of cyanide poisoning? Some of the more profound are: weakness or confusion, sick to your stomach, difficulty breathing, and cardiac arrest.

The quickest way to treat cyanide poisoning is to get away from the poison and into fresh air.

We could easily remove cyanide from those notes above and replace them with the words “disrespect” or “dishonor” or “loving poorly.” If we do that, then we see the effects that disrespect or dishonor have on relationships.

Romans 12:18-20 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

It is like a love cyanide.

Many times, we use our love as a chemical weapon. We withhold our true love from someone in order to see them act or behave the way we desire before we will show them love. We expect a person to love us first before we’ll love them completely.

That is a weapon.

But we also hurt those we love accidentally. I know with my children that I have, at times, not lived up to a promise or hurt them in some way through my words or actions. It wasn’t intentional, but it happened. At that moment, my love to them is more like cyanide.

We either intentionally or accidentally poison those we love. Just like cyanide.

Humans are resilient, though. We tend to stay in those cyanide relationships for long periods of time. We think that things will get better or that it will change. What might have started as a small dose of love cyanide turns into the doses building up in our systems.

We are made for relationship. With relationship comes pain from time to time. You will never love anyone perfectly. Our bodies are made to handle small doses of love cyanide. But extended and large doses of it can destroy who we are as humans. It will bring on depression and walls around our hearts.

When we have been affected by too much love cyanide, we feel weak and confused, sick to our stomach. With depression and anxiety comes difficulty breathing. And like the chemical cyanide can cause cardiac arrest, love cyanide can cause broken hearts.

What is the quickest way to get rid of love cyanide poisoning?

Well, unlike the chemical, many times we can’t simply walk away from the people we love. It is why the divorce rate is so high, even among Christians. We see our feelings as more important as those we love.

But you can’t just leave family and friends.

Luke 6:31 – And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

So I want to look at the “fresh air” idea a different way.

Instead of getting away into fresh air like you would with the chemical, the best way to cure love cyanide poisoning is to clear the air. Discuss the issues with the person you are having those issues with.

So why do I bring all this up?

As Christians our job is to not only love God and love others. Our job is to accept sanctification. Sanctification means that we are set apart for God and for those we love. But sanctification is also defined as a process of transformation.

If we are the cause of love cyanide, then we need to seek God more. We need to strive to become more like Him.

God gives us unconditional love.

We will never be perfect at giving unconditional love, but we need to try.

And in the times we get it wrong? We need to be the first to repent of our errors. If we hurt someone, even accidentally, we need to stand up and repent.

Building love cyanide into a relationship will not only hurt the relationship, but it will destroy the people in the relationship.

We need to build love, without the cyanide. Provide living water without the poison. Be sanctified and drive to love like Christ loves us.

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.


End of Year Summary

Mark 16:15 – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Every year I am amazed by the statistic of this blog. Thousands of people each year visit here and it makes its way into so many different countries. This year alone my blog has been to 72 different countries, over 36% of the world! Since I started writing this about 5 years ago, it has been read in over 107 countries, 55% of the world!

I am absolutely amazed that anyone would want to read this site.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

When I started 5 years ago, I really thought that only a handful of people would want to read this, and for a while I was right. I had just started getting involved in social media and had a few people following across all social media sites.

Since then, I’ve learned from my beautiful wife, Mimi, how to manage my social media presence. I keep my Facebook more private at only 323 followers. Twitter has just shy of 2,000. With LinkedIn I am pushing 4,100.

Bottom line, I live in the public eye. And I like it. Just ask Mimi, she would say that I feed off of it.

I don’t bring this all up to show how great my numbers are. Am I proud of them? Of course. But I realize that they can go away just as quickly as they came.

I bring this up because it teaches me two very important things:

  • People are hungry to find the Word of God.

Next to those who subscribe to the site, the top way that people come to this blog is through online searches. Even after almost 5 years, my number one searched post is “Spiritual Farting.” Almost every day someone searches for that on Google or Yahoo and finds this site.

But regardless of how people are finding this site, it has become an important part in many peoples’ weekly reading.

Colossians 2:2-3 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

  • This has shows amazing opportunity for the church!

There are thousands of pastors who blog. Many of them post very rarely while others post frequently. I try to post weekly. The more a pastor posts, the more followers they will most likely have. With only 45 posts this year I have reached thousands of people.

Granted, not all pastors are good at writing. And many pastors simply don’t have the time to write one.  But I believe that if a church enlists one of their members or staff to write a blog for the church, it will help to build up that church.

As the church turns more and more away from bricks and mortar and into a clicks and engagement strategy, online posting will be very important.

Most churches use Facebook. Some utilize Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. In the grand scheme of things, very few blog or post snippets of their sermons on any sites where people could read them.

I believe that if we started to incorporate more of a teaching mentality to our social media as the church, then we would start to see people get more involved in understanding the Christian faith.

Many churches use social media to put memes of platitudes, announcements of weddings or funerals, and the occasional prayer request.

But there is very little teaching going on.

If we could take this opportunity to teach rather than tickle the ears of people, we might see a lot more growth and discipleship going on.

So, tell me, what are YOU going to post about?

If you would like to guest post on this site, leave a comment with your email address and I will reach out to you and see if our beliefs would be compatible for doing a guest post.

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Mission Generation

Ever since I graduated seminary in 2013 I have been seeking pastor position in a church. I graduated with a degree in church planting and evangelism. I had dreams of being the next Steven Furtick or Louie Giglio. I dreamt of setting up a church in my home or a local community center and watching it grow and grow.

Four years later, I am still waiting.

Oh, I went through many different channels. I started with my home church. But we aren’t as much as planting church as we are a watering church.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 – I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

So, then I decided that I needed to go through the channels of church planting networks. I took assessment after assessment. I went on interview after interview. I was rejected almost every time. The only ones who didn’t reject me were the ones that required me to move away for a couple years and do an internship.

It wasn’t as if I wasn’t trying.

I was.

I just believe God had other plans. But I can’t say that I always believed that.

During this time, I was asked to lead our young adults. I was excited. As an elder at church, I knew that reaching people earlier and discipling them could help to make better life decisions. What I learned is that by the time people are young adults, they have already experienced significant life choices that have solidified their views of God, their desires to be discipled, and their futures.

I’m not saying that people can’t change, they can. I am a testimony to that. But I also realize that reaching people earlier and earlier in their experiences will be more beneficial to their Christian walk.

Reaching children is of the utmost importance to spreading the gospel, evangelizing the world, and seeing righteousness as a way of life. This meant that I needed to reach children.

But that isn’t my strength.

I am not a children or youth leader. I have trained hundreds and even thousands of people over my professional career, but none have ever been under the age of 18. It is not a strength of mine. It would take too much time for me to ramp up my teaching experience to include children.

How can I reach children through using my current gifts and strengths?

Enter Mission Generation.

Mission Generation is a non-profit, Bible-based character development program used in public and private schools (Pre-K through 12th) to bring students, parents, and teachers to salvation and train them in the practical application of the Word of God.

I did a search that would allow me to use my skills for a ministry that reaches children, even though I am not good at teaching mass amounts of children. So I reached out to Rocky Malloy, one of the founders of the organization.

In 1995 Rocky and his wife, Joske, traveled to Bolivia and started a church. Within 6 months they were over 1,000 people. While the church was a great way to reach people, it was a slow way to reach entire countries.

Acts 19:9-10 – But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

In the book of Acts, Paul teaches the gospel message to all of Asia through a school.

By 1999, the pilot program rolled out in Bolivia. Today, programs are running all throughout Latin America. The future is bringing the program to other countries around the world, including the United States.

After speaking with Rocky for a while, I realized that I have skills for which they are looking.

I spoke to my wife, prayed about it, and decided to become a part of their team.

I still have a full-time job, so I am not a missionary per se. I am a Ministry Representative. I won’t be raising funds for me to live as the gospel is spread. I will be raising funds directly for Mission Generation. I do make a small portion of those funds raised so that I can pay for the materials, events, and other pieces needed for the ministry.

A little about the program is that is revolves around Genesis 1 & 2, before the fall of man. There are 7 principles: love, creation, purpose, work, fruitfulness, government and marriage. Once the student understands the principles, they learn how to incorporate it into what is seen as the five pillars of society: identity, health, community, environment, and economy.

So the big question that most of my non-Christian friends would ask is, “Why would a non-Christian government pay for a Christian program?” When looking at this from a worldly view, economics is the key driver. Immorality is expensive. If you look at, for example, teen drug use throughout a student’s lifetime, that cost adds up. Teaching a moral program helps reduce the cost on governments. The program is made to comply with secular laws but when you look at the overall picture, Jesus is definitely at the forefront of it.

And cost is always a key. We can support a child’s learning for $1.34/child! So imagine what $1 million in donations will accomplish!!!

So God has placed me here, at Mission Generation. My task will be to raise funding to get this program set up in countries across the world, including my own. I have prayed over and over for God to give me the ability to see a million people discipled before I leave this earth.

A large task?


But I have a big God.

Though this program I have no doubt in my mind that over a million children will be discipled. I pray many will be here in the United States of America.

So I would love if you joined me on this journey. If you would like to donate to Mission Generation, please send me an email to I will get you set up in our system and you can make a donation.

And if you have a school and are interested in more information in our program, send me an email. I would be more than happy to come and tell you all about it and how we can support your school.

Thanks for reading this post. I look forward to this ministry and seeing children around the world get discipled in the teachings of Christ.

Love Me Today

1 John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

For tomorrow just might be too late.

This year has brought about a lot of loss. Some of it was due to sickness and death. Some other was due to people being fired or quitting. Still others were in my life only briefly this year like those I see when I go to Peru each year.

This life is a series of hellos and goodbyes.

We don’t have a lot of time with the people in our lives. Some more than others and some less.

If you haven’t noticed, I have not posted a blog in the past almost month. It started as a bout of writer’s block but it ended as an experiment. I wanted to see what I would fill the time with. Granted, writing my blog is a small part of my week, but when the space is there, what would I fill it with?

What would God want us to fill it with?

That is an easy answer, people.

How much more time am I giving my family? How about my friends? How about the stranger or the sojourner or the widow or fatherless?

Am I spending my extra time with them?

Am I discipling others or seeking discipleship myself?

Or am I wasting the time?

Romans 12:10 – Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

What I found is that very little of my extra time was spend on the family, friends, or others.

You see, I filled a little bit of that time with extra Bible study, some extra time at with work, and then I downloaded a game and spent too much time playing that. Even on our date night, both Mimi and I spent quite a bit of our time on our phones.

When God returns, do you really think he will say, “I am really glad you spent more time reading my Word and less time putting it into practice,” or “I am so thankful that you posted that Bible verse to Facebook instead of learning how to live it out!” or “Great job on getting to level 20 on your game! I am so happy you got that down time to play that game a couple hours a day. Now excuse me, there are a bunch of people who never knew Me that I need to go deal with because you never had time.”

This is especially worrisome for me as a dad with a wife and 6 kids/step-kids. Am I truly being a husband and dad to them or, when Christ returns will He point out the wisdom that I should have been pointing out all along?

Honestly, this has been an issue for both my wife and I. We spend way too much time on other things and not enough on us. We talked a little bit this past weekend about how we are starting to feel a little disconnected from each other. I believe this has a big impact on that.

Micah 6:8 – “This is what the Lord requires of you: Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”

Now, admittedly, it would be very difficult to completely do a media fast as my job is based completely online and my primary ministry is this blog and my wife works in social media as a job and is a pretty big blogger out there in the blogosphere. And, believe me, I do not miss the irony of the fact that I am posting this online.

But that means we need to figure out creative ways to unplug and spend more time with each other and those whom God has placed in our lives.

And maybe you do as well.

During the time that the Bible was written, I would say it was actually easier to spend time in community, but I don’t believe it was. You didn’t travel far from home and you spent your entire day from dawn to dusk working to make a living and then would go home and fall asleep. The only real time was at dinner, which would be spent as a family unit. This happened up until the technological age.

So, what can we do?

We live in an age where technology is intertwined with our lives. It is difficult for us to remove it completely. I do believe that we are called to make time for those we love, much more time than we spend on those who have little to no effect on our lives.

We should love people today, not tomorrow.

My mom died this year. While we had a great relationship, the one thing I wish I had was more time with her. My neighbor is fighting cancer. I wish I had taken more time to pray with him and spend time with him one on one. That is definitely something I will be doing in the coming days. And spending time with my wife, something I have not done nearly as much as I should have done the past couple years, is something I will start making more a priority as we continue to learn to love each other more and more.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 – “My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.”

Oh, and Mimi Noble, I love you and look forward to showing you that over the next however many years of our lives together. Not just on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our blogs, but together in the private moments we have alone.

I want to love you today, for tomorrow might be too late.

If it were the last day of your life

This week has reminded me about how fragile this life is. On Easter morning my passed into eternity. Each holiday, my mom would make would make an amazing spread of food.

This year the job fell to me.

In the past years, my kids, wife and my wife’s kids would travel to PA the weekend before Thanksgiving to have an amazing meal prepared by her. She would make ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, cherry cheesecake, and many other things.

So this year I started planning the dinner the week before and I baked everything off Saturday and cooked everything after church on Sunday.

But it wasn’t the same.

We were missing someone.

Afterward I thought about what it would be like if I knew it were the last day of my life.

My mom taught me one thing, live life to the fullest!

She enjoyed life and she enjoyed the people that came her way. She wasn’t one that would be seen out in the mission field but she would be seen out in the community. She cared about people and everyone knew that.

I got to thinking, though. What would my life look like if it were the last day of my life?

Would people look back on it the same way I look back on my mom’s?

God has called us to live this life. We aren’t to live a past life, our past has been redeemed. We aren’t to live a future life because we are never promised anything beyond today.

My life changed drastically about 6-7 years ago and since then I have done everything possible to live in the present.

But what about you?

One thing Americans do well is hide away from life.

We wake up early to get in our cars and drive an average of 30 minutes to work (if you live the DC area where I do, that time is increased to 52 minutes average). At work, we hide ourselves away in our cubicles or offices as we focus on a computer screen that only has work stuff and Facebook on the screen. When work is done, we get back in our cars and drive home only to have dinner in a disjointed way. The kids have to get to work or sports, so they ate early. Your spouse may or may not be home because, if you are in the 69% of American families, you are a dual-income household. After eating, you turn on your laptop to get on Facebook or turn on the TV and watch the Big Bang Theory until it is bedtime and then you start the whole thing all over.

If you are one of the people who enjoy exercise, you go to the gym and spend time in your zone exercising and not really in community with others.

But we have been designed for so much more!

We have been made in God’s image!

Just what does that mean?

It means we should not…we cannot…go on living our lives for ourselves!

There is a God who sustains us. He owns us. He defines us. He rules us. One day He will judge us.

To that end, God has given us some guidelines to living a life that is given over to Him, enabling us to live a satisfied and content life without the drama of the world system.

I wish I could say that I came up with these five ideas, but I have to give David Platt a lot of props here. He came up with 5 principles for living a life that will be lived to fullest for our purpose, to worship an eternal God.

  • Work diligently

In the beginning of Genesis, God created man to work the garden. God gave man the duty to work even before sin entered the camp. That means work is a gift of God’s grace! But we don’t see it that way. We see it as something we haaaave to do, not something we are ordained to do.

Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

We, including myself (especially myself), do everything we can to lessen our amount of work so that we can do other things. Do you believe that going to Bible study at church is more important than the job God has ordained you to do? If you see it that way, then you might be legalistic and pharisaical in your thinking.

I’m not saying Bible study isn’t important. It is. But so is the work we have been called to do.

  • Live Simply

Money is not evil. Money in the hands of a sinful people (which is everyone last time I checked) is.  Most people, including most Christians, believe that money is a blessing from God. The Bible tells us that money can be both a blessing from and a barrier to God.

Money is like the water in the ocean. If you get thirsty while in the ocean, you might think that the water around you will sustain you. Since it is high in salt, it won’t. The more you drink, the more thirsty you become. Eventually you dehydrate, which leads to severe headaches, dry mouth, and low blood pressure. Your heart rate begins to rise. You become delirious, go unconscious and die. In drinking what you thought would bring life, you find death.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Where do we draw the line in our lives that says, “I have too much ‘stuff.’ I need to stop saying ‘I need’ when in actuality it is really that ‘I want.’”

Stop letting your “wants” drive your purchases. Look only to what you need.

  • Give sacrificially

2 Corinthians 8:15 – as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

The Corinthian church would give sacrificially of themselves to see everyone had what they needed. Imagine what it would look like if all Christians around the world, all the Christian communities, would do the same! We shouldn’t give from our comfort, we should give from our discomfort. Unfortunately, most Christians do not know what it means to give sacrificially. They, and I include myself in this, give after they have already paid the bills or after they have factored in how many triple shot skinny half-caf mochas with no whip they can purchase. Around the world there are many without clean water or food. Even here in our own communities there are people who are losing their homes, children who are going to school hungry, and elderly who are finding they cannot afford their medications. We should give sacrificially to others, like the Corinthian church. If the most corrupt church in the New Testament can be graciously giving sacrificially, then today’s church, and Christians, certainly can!

  • Help Constructively

We cannot neglect those in need, but we also cannot subsidize them to stay in need. We cannot simply help people get through their day without teaching them how to get through the rest of their lives. Paul explains that we need to take care of the widows, for example, but goes on to say that not every widow in truly in need. We are not called to simply give a hand out. Commitment to helping get someone out of need is to share life, not just a meal. We also need to look at diversity as we understand why people are in need. Poverty and need cross all racial, ethnic, religious, and other boundaries. Yes, people can say that one group is more prone than another to being in need, but the truth of the matter is that there are people all around us in need and those are the people we are called to help, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc…

  • Invest Eternally

Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jesus gives us a choice. We can spend our money on this earth’s pleasures that will not last or we sacrifice our resources for a long term treasure that we store up in heaven. Think of the story in Mark 10 of the rich young ruler. Many people think Jesus is calling him to simply sacrifice everything he owns. Truth is that Jesus is calling the man to satisfaction. Jesus isn’t calling this man away from treasure, He is calling him to eternal treasure.

Think of it this way: If you have $10,000 and put it in the bank, in about 20 years you will have about $100,000. But now, if you took that same $10,000 and gave it to a church planter or missionary in Peru (hint hint, Paige and Stalin Solis: you could see hundreds or even thousands of lives changed! That is truly the investment we need to be making!

So if it were the last day of your life, would your treasures simply fade away or would you leave a lasting legacy of Jesus that would continue to receive compound interest long after you are gone?

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