Memorial Day

This weekend is called Memorial Day weekend in the United States. Many people view this as the unofficial start to the summer season. People get together with family, have cookouts, maybe fireworks and celebrate the day off from work (for some, not all). For many, what is forgotten is the reason the U.S. government instituted the holiday. To remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their life, in service to the country. Yes, there will be a few parades, veterans will get free meals or discounts, but for many, the time to remember will be forgotten. It simply is not important to them. Continue reading

Why Do You Do What You Do?

In Acts chapter 5, we see that the Apostles were doing miracles, healing many people. People were drawn to belief in Jesus through the preaching of the apostles. This concerned the high priest and his associates, and they had the apostles arrested, placed in a public prison.

obey_God_not_manThat evening, an angel of the Lord led them out of the jail and told them to preach in the temple courts. The next day, the high priest called for the apostles but they were not there.

The captain and his officers went to get the apostles from the temple court…. and here is one interesting part…..verse 26 tells us that they did not use force, which means the apostles went willingly, knowing they had been placed in prison, “escaped” and were now again in disobedience of the leaders. What would they face as they went with the captain and his officers?

When questioned as to why they were disobeying the order to talk about Jesus, Peter and the other apostles replied that they must obey God, not man.

Who are you obeying? Is it God, or is it man? Are you trying to please those around you? Are you trying to avoid the punishment that man might give for talking about Jesus?

Later a Pharisee named Gamaliel asked to speak to the high priest, sharing some history and then saying that “if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Peter and the apostles knew that God was leading them by the power of the Holy Spirit and that it was the Holy Spirit giving him the boldness to speak truth and take a stand for Jesus in the face of adversity from man.

Maybe we struggle being bold for Jesus, because we have never experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.

So why do we do what we do? Is it to please God, or to please man? Are we bold to share Jesus, even in the face of adversity from others? Do you know that God is with you, and that nothing will separate you from His love?

Sometimes we make it difficult, but it’s not…. just share your story of what God has done for you.

Why do you do what you do?




Does Our Work Show Our Love?

In the church setting, people will often look at what a person does to determine how much they love God, or their spirituality. Even though we admit that we are not saved by works, that seems to be the one thing people look to in order to gauge spirituality.

Let’s look at a story I saw on Facebook:

A father looks upon his two sons without them knowing and watches them draw him pictures. The first son has drawn a nice picture of him and his father holding hands as stick figures and the father is proud. The second son has drawn something a bit different. He has used the entire box of markers, glitter, glue, craft paper… he skipped his free time to create the most audacious thing for his father and the father is proud. The first son then looks at the second’s picture and feels the need to point out how unnecessary the attention to detail and the use of different materials were in the creating of the picture. “It was a waste of time, Father will love my gift no less than yours, simple is better, he will not be impressed.” To which the second son replied, “I didn’t do it to gain his love, that we both have. I did it out of my love for him in the best way I knew how”.

Both sons loved their father, and they showed it the best way they knew how. For some, it is elegant, for others, it is very simple and basic. Show we compare how we show love to our Father? Of course not, yet we often do that within the church.

faith_or_works_smDon’t get me wrong, James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. If we have faith, then works will follow, but works do not get us to closer fellowship with God.

The question becomes, do we gauge one’s spirituality by the works that they do? I would hope not.

I knew a pastor that was concerned that some members of the church thought they were more spiritual than they were, or would look down on others because of their lack of involvement. His proposed solution, create levels, and as people met certain goals (fellowship with others, giving, service, etc.), then they would be deemed to be on that level (i.e. more spiritual). I questioned that solution. After all, how is the solution to people elevating themselves and creating “classes” of spirituality, creating levels of spirituality?

The Pareto Principle (80-20) seems to feed into this class of spirituality, where those who serve and do more must love God more and be more spiritual. But like the two sons in the story above, maybe people are showing love to God the best way they know how. Let us not look down on people, rather build them up and help draw them closer to God. May they follow me, and follow you, as we follow God.

Show God that you love Him the best way you know how to today.


Faith of Our Mothers

The Bible tells us that the parents are the key influencers in a child’s life. Deuteronomy 6:6-7  says:

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise 

mothers_dayParents need to teach their children about God with their words, but also as an example in their everyday routine. We often look to a family with both parents intentionally teaching their children about Jesus and that is the ideal scenario; however, throughout the years, that is not always the case and in today’s American culture it seems that both natural parents raising a child together is becoming scarce. For whatever reason, there are several single parents, or parents where one follows Jesus and the other does not.

As we celebrate Mothers’ Day in the United States, I want to take a moment and look at a mother who raised their son to know God.

Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

While we don’t know that much about Lois and Eunice, we do know that they were Jewish and Timothy’s father was a Greek.

Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.  Acts 16:1 (ESV)

It was the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother that laid the foundation for Timothy coming to follow Jesus. They followed the principle, the command, in Deuteronomy 6 to teach their child the things of God. It apparently wasn’t just taking him to temple, but a lifestyle that reflected their faith in God in the home. Their actions mirroring what their words were saying.

Let us be thankful for the mothers who are doing their best to raise their children to know Jesus, especially the ones who are doing it on their own without the support of the child’s father. And for those women who may not have children of their own for whatever reason…. let us thank and remember them for the way they pour into the lives of others to help lead them to Jesus.



The Bitstrip Sermon Series

If you’ve been on Facebook for the last year, then you’ve probably seen the self-made comics called “Bitstrips” where you make an character of yourself and it is placed in different comic strip panes where you can edit the text. It is designed to be for fun.

There was a time when I saw someone post about how to use Bitstrips for ministry. I seem to remember that it was more about making announcements of events and things of that nature.

My First "Preaching" Bitstrip
My First “Preaching” Bitstrip

One Sunday morning, I made a Bitstrip of me standing behind a podium as if I was preaching. Since that first “preaching” comic, I have continued to post a Bitstrip message on Sunday mornings, sharing a short passage of Scripture and then a small thought (there are only so many characters you can use). There is also an occasional throughout the week. Continue reading