Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The New Mantra

I heard this song a while back, and then my good friend Matt decided to use it as a worship song one weekend I was filling in with his music team.  It has left an indelable mark on my life.  It is a conduit through which God has changed my perspective on reaching out to people.  I now pass this along to you and hope you will see in it what I have seen, or hear in it what God is saying to you. 

I Refuse by Josh Wilson

Sometimes I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's alright
When I know they're not
This world needs God, but its easier to stand and watch
I could say a pray and just move one
Like nothing's wrong
But I Refuse

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose, not to move
But I Refuse

I can hear the least of these, calling out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet, of you Oh God
So if You say move, its time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
And show them who you are

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
Do do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose, not to move

But I Refuse, to stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help
I Refuse to turn my back and act like all is well
I Refuse to stay unchanged, to wait another day to die to myself
I Refuse to make one more excuse

I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I Refuse to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
I could choose, not to move,

But I Refuse.

I hope you do too.....


Monday, December 12, 2011

Letter to a Quarterback

"No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer.  It's put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they are going."  Luke 11:33 MSG

Dear Tim,

Its been a tough road for you the past couple of years, at least it seems that way on first take from all the scrutiny and criticism you have received about your style of football and the supposed "finesse"  you should be playing with.  Or has it really been that tough........for you?  Never has there been an athlete of your caliber, with your integrity, with you leadership ability, and with your humility.  You're not the best at what you do, but you do it the best you can.  You're not out there to make a name for yourself because you're out there to make a name for Him.

I like it and encourage you to keep it up.  I write this in homage, not to you Tim, but to the awesome God whom we serve.  Its because of Him that you have this opportunity:  and thus far you have served Him well. The scrutiny you are under just shows that most people don't understand what drives you, including those who say they know and serve the same God we do.  It's not for money, or for the spotlight, or for anything else that you do what you do, except this one thing:  serving an awesome God and spreading his message to the world.  You're a preacher, but your pulpit is the football field.  You attend church, yet its walls are thousands of screaming fans with a roof of the heavens.  Your have a Sunday service, but this service is far greater than if you were sitting inside a building listening to a minister speak. 

Funny thing about this whole situation is this:  you are making more people think about God than anyone else in the sports world has ever done.  I don't care if you win or lose Tim.  I don't care if you stay with the Broncos or not Tim.  What I do care about is this:  that you stay focused on what really matters.  The media will try to bring you down; doubters will try to bring you down; critics will try to bring you down; and we know who else is working to bring you down.  But do not be distracted.  Your message to the world seems to be these three simple principles:  Love God, Love Others, Lead with Humility and Hard Work.  Keep that out front of you always.

If I could only be as strong as you some days.  You are an inspiration to a whole slew of people looking for ways to be strong in their faith despite public opposition.  Don't give in, and keep fighting the good fight, my brother in Christ. 

Keep your lamp high and bright for everyone to see.  Whether they agree or not, it doesn't matter to us.  What matters is that the message is getting out there and people are beginning to think........seeds are being planted around water coolers, in carpools, at stadiums and at sports bars. 

Seeds are starting to sprout...............

With all my respect,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Humility- The Other Crow Meat

"Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself............You should have the same attitude towards one another that Christ Jesus had.........He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!"
Philippians 2:3, 5, 8

Yesterday we talked about how we should embrace the opportunities Christ sets in front of us through the bad example of other Christ-followers.  The are so many examples of mis-guided Christ followers, whose hearts seem to want to do the right thing, but they are led astray by someone with "selfish ambition or vanity." It saddens my heart to see so many people misguided and tainted by the few who have no humility, but only serve to serve themselves. 

Our God is a God of love, not hatred and bitterness towards us.  He despises the sin, but loves even the worst sinners because they are His creation.  We need to have the same attitude towards all people: Love God, Love Others.  Having a humble heart, focused on God and not ourselves is the only way to achieve this.  Spewing hate, insults, and bigotry only serves the one who throws it, not our awesome God. 

If we want to humble ourselves before God and serve others, we must not hate or judge. Period.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It Doesn't Matter

"What is the result?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.  Yes, and I will continue to rejoice......"  Phil 1:18 (NET)

Last post we talked about Paul, and all he was going though during his imprisonment in Rome.  On top of living in a dungeon, other so-called "Christians" were out in Rome smearing his name and spreading the gospel in ways that were not congruent with the truth or because of "selfish ambition." But as we see in verse 18, it really didn't matter what was happening, as long as Christ's name was being proclaimed. 

You see, as Christ followers, we sit here more often than not and shake our heads in shame or condemn those who are not spreading the truth as we feel it should be spread.  For a long time, I held animosity against the man on the corner screaming through the bullhorn, or the people of Westboro Baptist Church who rant and rave all over the place.  Yes, let me make this clear, I do not agree with them or how they conduct themselves.  But what is most important is not what these people are saying, but that no matter what, people are hearing about Christ.  Yes, its not the perfect way.  Yes, its abrasive, unkind, uncouth, disgusting and revolting,and mostly not out of love.  But find the silver lining in the cloud as Paul did:  Christs name is getting out there. 

At least people are hearing his name.  What matters most is people who may not know Christ will come to us and start asking questions:  Do all Christians really believe that?  Why are they so hateful?  Is that really what Jesus taught?  Does the Bible really teach us to hate like that?

And then the door is opened.........

Seeds can be planted...........

And its time to capitalize on the opportunity we have.......think about it.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ode to Monty Python

"I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel:"
- Phil 1:12

Who has seen Monty Python's Life of Brian?  This has to be one of the funniest movies the Monty Python bunch put on besides their Holy Grail movie.  In this movie, Brian, the main character, is actually mistaken for Jesus Christ and everyone is following him around as if he is the Messiah.  Many Christians would see this movie and scream blasphemy.  Grow a sense of humor, folks.  At the end of the movie, there are guys on crucifixes who begin singing a song.  "Always look on the bright side of life, (whistling in tune and key of the music)....." 

So my point is this: Paul always looked on the bright side of life, that is, his life in Christ Jesus.  He never saw his suffering as such, but really looked for the way in which he could use his dilemma to further the kingdom of God.  While he was writing his letter to the Philippians, Paul was sitting in a Roman dungeon, chained to a wall and sitting in his own bodily waist.  What could be worse than that?  What he did was use the opportunity to talk with the guards and other prisoners and actually bring many of them to Christ.  How awesome is that? 

So no matter how hard our situation may be, we always need to look on the bright side of our life in Christ Jesus and find how we can use our circumstances to advance his kingdom. 

I will address the Monty Python, Life of Brian, blasphemy thing tomorrow.  Trust me, you will see the bad things that Christians do in a whole new light.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If I Could Be Like David.......

"May the Lord be our judge and arbiter.  May he see and arbitrate my case and deliver me from your hands."  - 1 Samuel 24:15

Don't take this verse out of context.  I need to frame this for a second.  In this part of 1 Samuel, Saul is in a cave (taking a joke) where David and his men are hiding and God has basically handed Saul over to David to either kill, humiliate, capture, etc.  Saul has been chasing David and trying to kill him for a little while now.  But, David shows mercy on Saul and only cuts a piece of cloth from his robe without Saul knowing it.  After Saul leaves the cave, David walks out after him and presents himself.

Remember this part: Saul was trying to kill David.  And yes, David walks right up to Saul after he leaves the cave, despite the better advice of his soldiers.  So what does this tell us about David's faith and trust in God?  First, he was given Saul on a silver platter and could have very well killed him where he pee'd, I mean stood.  But instead, David shows mercy on Saul and respect for God in the fact that he was not going to kill the person God annointed King of Israel.  Second, and I believe most important, is that David showed no fear in walking up to the man who was trying to kill him.  That's right, David walked right into harm's way, but with one crucial person backing him up: God.  His Lord was there the whole time to back him up and ensure he was going to be taken care of. 

David could have done anything he wanted to Saul, but he chose to trust God and do what would honor him: spare Saul's life and confront him with what he had done: courage in the face of adversity and fear.  If I could only be so bold in sharing my faith and showing God's love.........which means knowing that God has my back no matter what happens.......and also means listening to the Holy Spirit and doing what we know to be right.


Monday, September 12, 2011

My Very Own Punching Bag

".....I will set eyes on them for good.......I will build them up, and not tear them down, I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord....."  - Jeremiah 24:5-7

I am my very own punching bag.  From the time I was a kid, I can remember taking my own mental person, propping him up against the wall, taking turns yelling and belitting him, then throwing fist after fist of insults at his fragile being.  It was humorous at first.  Some of the things I would say to myself would actually make myself laugh at the inner child being bullied by the other inner child.  Then it started to become destructive, sometimes to the point of thoughts crossing my mind that should not be.  (Bare with me, I do not have 2 personalities).

Tonight was one of those nights.  As I sit here and re-hash the events with my wife and son that took place all because we were trying to remove splinters from a ranting and screaming 6-year old's foot, I began breaking out the UFC gloves, strapping them on and going to town on the person I would like to think is innocent, right in front of my wife no less.  In reality, he is not innocent, but sinful.  He is not perfect, but he is a pretty good father, despite what the Chuck Liddell side of his mind may think.  And he is absolutely living his life absent of God when he does this.........when I do this. 

God does not tear us down:  He allows us to make decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions.  God does not uproot what He has planted; He only allows the aridness of sin to whither away that former plant so that He can re-water us and cultivate a new character.  God does not rip our hearts out: He allows the pain of suffering and strife so it will strengthen our dependence on Him and we can grow in Him. God does cause bad things to happen to us.  He just does not stop them from happening from time to time so that we come close.......come close and depend on Him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

.....Cometh the Fall

"The pride of your heart has deceived who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?'" Obadiah 1:3.

The church we attend here in Chattanooga TN is going through a series entitled, At the Movies, and this week's movie was 127 Hours.  If you have not seen this movie as I have, then you are in for a, well, very interesting show, but one I highly recommend.  Aaron Ralston's story taught us a great deal, and our pastor taught us a lot about the pride before the fall through illustrations from the movie.

What is it about pride that seems to blind us to the impending danger ahead in life?  I truly believe that our pride comes not from within us, but from the spiritual being, manifested as Satan, whom we battle on a daily basis.  You want a prime example of pride before the fall, Satan wanted the top job and was relegated to the depths of Hell because of it. Talk about one helluva fall.........get it, HELL of a fall..............yah, anyway.

We do not really battle ourselves.  That means we have to give ourselves way more credit than we deserve and it puts us on a spiritual playing field with God and Satan that I don't think we quite belong.  Now, I am no expert in theological studies and spiritual warfare, but I am smart enough to understand that there is a serious battle going on in some other dimension.  That battle is for control of our souls...........and Satan is winning (not over God, but over us) through the pride he tempts us with.  Pride would have to be his most effective tool for pulling us out of relationship with God.  Why? Because we think we can do it alone without Christ's love.  His (Christ's) grace and mercy are the most effective tools he uses for intervention and rescue of us from our pride.

God is waiting with open arms when we find humility and come running back to Him. Satan is waiting with open arms when we want to come running back too.........funny thing is, he seems to step aside when we reach out for him and he just watches us fall.  And thus, our pride, at Satan's invite, comes before the fall.....


Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Walk Away.......

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent." Proverbs 1:10.

Who remembers the Garth Brooks song, Thunder Rolls?  Okay, so I am dating myself with that one, but does anyone remember the lyrics or what the storyline was about?  It is not the happiest song out there and sure as heck wasn't about a physical thunderstorm, at least in totallity.  This is about a husband who cheats and his wife finds out the hard way when he comes home late from his mistess' house. Does this sound familiar to anyone?  Maybe you have been touched by this type of messy situation.  Maybe you haven't.

Regardless, the one inarguable fact is that the guy should have walked away from some situation he never should have allowed himself into.  What causes us to push the limits?  Peer pressure is one EXCUSE we give.  True, our peers have a great amount of influence on what we do and when.  Sometimes, they throw out the "old double dog dare you" to do something you know in your heart you should not.  That's not your conscience telling you don't do it, that is God.  Remember this:

Conscience=God. Dont' believe anything less.

Proverbs gives the simple solution:  " not consent."  Hmm, easier said than done right?  Not always.  I am one of those people who likes to test the limits of temptation, as I am sure most of us do.  But I have recently been setting up safeguards for those areas where I know I am weak. 

Men, women and our eyes equals disastrous thoughts and actions.  Simple solution: turn your head, turn the channel, don't click the link, be nice but let them know you are married, WALK AWAY FROM "FRIENDS" WHO PRESSURE YOU INTO SOMETHING! 

In short, " not consent."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Feel the Burn

"If I say, 'I will not mention Him or speak anymore in His name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot."       -Jeremiah 20:9

One of the hardest things we do as Christ followers is share our faith.  Its much easier in today's society to lend a helping hand, sit and talk with someone in trouble about their problems, or just be there for a friend when someone close passes away.  The hardest thing to do is OPENLY share our faith:  for me, its the stigma our so called media has put on Christians through their twisted representations of those who follow Christ and David Koresh/Jim Jones type stories.  For you, it could be that you just want to be liked by everyone, or maybe you feel you don't know enough about the Bible to answer people's questions.  Truth is, we don't need to Bible scholars, not everyone is going to like what we have to say, and the crazy stories about Christians will continue as long as the world is spinning.

Here is where the above verse comes into play:  if we truly love Christ and follow His lead, then to share our faith will be exactly as Jeremiah described.  It will hurt to keep things in.  It will make our stomach churn when we hold it in or miss an opportunity to talk with someone about Christ and the awesome thing he did for us on the Cross.  We will be asked questions that we cannot answer; there are pastors who are asked questions they cannot answer about Christ, the Bible, and faith.  But there is on unfaltering truth that we all know as Christ followers that is the only answer we need:  Christ died for our sins so we would be saved, His grace and mercy covers our sins as long as we believe, and there is nothing we have to do accept acknowledge him and accept him into our lives.  Christ does the rest, not us.

Christ burns in all of us.  Question is, how intense is that fire and are you willing to put yourself aside for Him and those who don't know him?

Stoking the fire in my heart,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm sitting here thinking of what to write about this verse that struck me from 2 Timothy this morning.  Then, an old song, that I haven't heard since I was a snot nosed teenager going to a small Catholic middle school in Dunedin, FL. 

"Go forth, among the people.  People, of every nation." 

(Don't ask me to sing it.  Taking a bat to some bagpipes would sound much better.)

It will all tie together here in a second so go with me on this.  Our attitude, especially when it comes to spreading the Truth of Jesus Christ, shines from within us, whether we like it or not. So when we go forth on our mission, what is our attitude?

"....., for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control." 2 Tim 1:7.

That hits hard.  God GAVE us our spirit, our attitude, our drive.  We are powerful people, not because of us, but because of God.  He gave us a spirit where we are not afaid of the world, we love others no matter how bad they have hurt us or where they have come from in the world, and we maintain self control and self discipline in our lives.  So why do we fear talking about Christ, why do we not love everyone, and why do we cave to our own desires?  I will give you a hint:  his name starts with an S and ends with an ATAN.  He is real. Don't be fooled.

So, what are you going to do about your attitude?  Is time to cast fear aside, start loving despite ourselves, and batten down the discipline hatches? 

Time to go forth........

The Freak

Monday, February 28, 2011

There is a season........

Who remembers the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds?  It's one of those classic 60's songs that everyone knows the words to, but quite possibly doesn't know where the lyrics actually come from.  Some Christ-followers do, but for those who don't, (and it's not wrong if you don't know), they are adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, versus 1-8.  What a great commentary on life. 

So I was reading tonight in a part of Eccl I had marked a long time ago. I've had a rough day with some business dealings, and those lines caught my eye.  I have read them many times before with the tune of "Turn, Turn, Turn" going in the back of my mind, but never really thought hard about them until now.  One part, of one verse really struck me as I struggled to make sense of what happened today. 

".....a time to keep, and a time to cast away;......." (verse 6).

I can be my own worst enemy sometimes when it comes to relationships, and either holding on too tight to the wrong ones, or not holding tight enough to the right ones.

Disclaimer: This post has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the relationship I have with my wife, or kids!

So, I know and mingle with many people I will call acquaintences, a few I would call friends, some I would call family whether they are or not, and others I will just say are business or good times to be experienced.  All of them we can reach out to for God, but not all of them will produce fruit.  It's just as Jesus explained about the sower's seed. Whether that seed produces depends on where it falls, and if we try to plant on the wrong ground, we are planting in vain. 

Why do we torture ourselves chasing after relationships that, in the grand scheme of what God wants us to do, mean nothing for the end picture of our lives or God's kingdom?  Why do we run a rat race making relationships with people that only poison our thoughts?  What do we do when we work hard to plant seeds of the Truth, but don't realize we are just chasing our tail? When do we say enough is enough, and move on?

These are questions I have, and answers I long for, and it really comes back to these few words.  There is a season...................and all seasons have an end, whether we like it or not; no matter how hard we try and hold on to these relationships; whether we want to realize it or not.  Our stress level, our joy in life, our capacity to be more productive all hinge on our ability to recognize the seasons, and adjust to their beginnings and endings.  Winter is a season that has a beginning and an end.  Life would be very uncomfortable if we decided that we wanted to hold onto winter and wear our thick coats through the summer months.  It will have an affect on your life, I guarantee it. 

And that is what I have realized today.  No matter what I do, I will no longer try to hold on to those relationships that are unproductive, those ones that drain my sanity, money, and time, when I could be so much more productive for God's kingdom.  I have done as God has asked me, it's no longer up to me whether someone takes that step with Christ.  I will be there for them, I will cultivate as much as I can, but if I am sowing seed among the rocks, I am waisting my time because it will not produce fruit.  The season has ended, and I must move on.

".......a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted........" (verse 2)

- Freak

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I sit here tonight and reflect on the past few months of my life.  The sweeping changes my wife and I have made in uprooting our family and moving from Florida to the snow topped mountains of Tennessee.  We live in a cabin now, with only 3 neighbors within a 1/2 mile, one of which is family and the other 2 who might as well be.  We are searching right now; searching for our new earthly lives, careers, a church home and routines.  But we have settled on not being settled right now.  The biggest thing though, is our faith in Christ has not changed.  If anything, this ordeal, this life trauma, this re-planting of sorts, has solidified out faith just a little more each day.  The funny part is this: life has gotten harder, money has gotten shorter, trials have been more than ever.  Yet through it all, I have amazingly seen God work some seriously mind blowing miracles for us, and for our WHOLE family, not just the ones who reside in this little cabin. It has brought us closer together as a family as we work through the challenges of the days.  We have been tested, and will continue to be tested, yet we are blessed and God will continue to bless, not only us, but those we meet and come into relationship with here in this new place.  It's a whole new world we live in, but a familiar face awaits us every moment and comforts us as we work through each and every challenge, both physically and spiritually. 
Christ is with us, with you, and with everyone who calls on Him as their Savior. 

Will you or have you called upon him and asked for His friendship? 

The Freak