How big is a Mustard Seed?

Moses grew up as a prince in the then world power of Egypt. He ran away after he killed an Egyptian slave master in defense of a Hebrew slave. Moses settled in Midian, became a shepherd, and started a family. One day he was called by God to go back to Egypt and lead his fellow Hebrews to freedom in Canaan. Moses came up with several excuses why he couldn’t do what God had asked: “they won’t believe me”, “they won’t listen to me”, “I’m not a good public speaker”, and so on. But a question Moses asked God is interesting. He asked, “Who am I?” It seems that Moses didn’t think he had what it would take to do what God called him to do. He lacked faith in himself, he lacked self-esteem, he seemed to feel like he wasn’t worthy to take on the task. But mostly, he lacked faith in God.

But look at Elijah. Elijah took on 450 so called prophets of the false god Baal in a battle of faith on Mount Carmel. He was so bold and courageous that he mocked the prophets, and their god, when they were unable to bring supernatural fire down to burn their sacrifice. When it came to Elijah’s turn, he prayed to God to bring fire from heaven and show who the one true God was. He didn’t just hope or think that God would respond, he knew it. He knew it and believed it with every fiber of his being! He had a mountain of faith in God’s power, and God delivered in a spectacular way.

Who do you feel like most days? Do you feel like you can’t do what Jesus asks of us and share his good news? Do you lack the faith to change the world?

When some followers of Jesus couldn’t cast a demon out of a boy, they asked Him why. He told them they lacked faith. Then He said that if they only had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains. Did you read that, they could move mountains!

We don’t need to lead a nation to freedom, face down idolatrous hordes, slay a giant, or build a boat to change the world. We only need faith the size of a mustard seed.

How do we grow our faith? Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians in Rome that faith is built by hearing God’s Word preached. We need to worship and study to grow our faith. Solomon prayed for wisdom, we also need to spend time in prayer and be asking for the Spirit to strengthen our faith. Pray for ourselves, pray for each other, pray for the church, just pray!

What could you do with faith the size of a mustard seed?

Jonah, a Rusty Gate, and Me

The Biblical account of Jonah has some crazy action! Jonah ran from God, got tossed overboard in a storm, swallowed by a giant fish, vomited out onto land, then finally preached God’s message in a very dangerous city, in a very dangerous country. The people living the city were so vile, that God had planned to destroy them if they didn’t change their ways! Jonah delivered the message to them and God’s transforming word did its work and they repented! God decided not to destroy them, and this made Jonah happy that he finally performed his God given duties. Right? No!

In fact, “it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.” (Jonah 4:1) Jonah had a lot of things going into the mission field of Nineveh. He had God on his side, he had a life saving, soul preserving message from God. Through Jonah, God saved many souls on that day! But Jonah was also missing a few things. Things like: compassion, grace, empathy, and love!

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul wrote, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.”  Jonah spoke with more than human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, he spoke with the authority and might of God! But he did not love. Paul would go on to write, “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Jonah did end up doing what he was told, he preached God’s life saving message and saved many souls, but he gained nothing. He was spiritually bankrupt! Because he did not love.

Are we any different? I can also go the ends of the earth, or the end of my street, and spread to gospel because it’s what I’m “supposed to do”. But just like a smile that never reaches my eyes, if the gospel never reaches my heart, I don’t benefit at all from the work I do! That’s called going through the motions. The people I teach may end up obeying the gospel and become saved, but if I don’t love them as I teach and preach, I will be lost!

So today, as I labor in God’s Kingdom, I need to evaluate myself. Every word I say, every action I take, every decision that I make, every thought I think… are they done with love?

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Don’t be a clanging cymbal, noisy gong, or a creaking rusty gate! Speak the truth and love (Ephesians 4:15)! 

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. (1 John 4:7-8)

Have a great week!

Get up, Bambi!

get_up_bambi

There’s a scene from Walt Disney’s 1942 classic, Bambi, where the titular young deer is laying down tired, wounded, and alone as a wildfire races toward him. The Great Prince of the Forest, and Bambi’s father, calls out to him, “Get up, Bambi! Get up! You must get up!” Bambi’s father could see what he couldn’t see for himself, the imminent danger he was in and that he would certainly die if he didn’t pick himself up off the ground and move.

1 Kings 19 shows us a picture of the prophet Elijah. He had just won a great victory in a spiritual battle with the prophets of Baal, a false Canaanite god. Queen Jezebel, the evil wife of King Ahab, heard about the defeat of her prophets and chased after Elijah to kill him! Tired, scared, and seemingly alone, Elijah took up residence in a cave in the wilderness and laid down, for good. God came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah explained that he was tired and that he was the only person in Israel that was still loyal to him. God told Elijah that there were at least 7,000 Israelites who were still loyal to their God, and he gave Elijah a list of things to do, including to train Elisha, his replacement. God basically said get up, Elijah! Get up!

We as Christians are also warned of dangers around us. Paul warns us of false teachers, who want to destroy us from the inside. Peter warns us about the devil, who stalks us, hunting to find a person who he can devour! We may want lay down under the pressure and strain of spiritual battle, feeling wounded, lost, and alone. But we are never alone. Just like Elijah, there are those who are loyal to our God, our Christian family who we can lean on and they can lean on us. We have Jesus who we can cast our cares onto, we have the Spirit who guides us and makes intercession for us, and we have the Father who forgives us and watches over us.

So get up, Christian! Get up! You must get up! There is work to do, let’s go together and do it!

The Update Blog

Well, its been some time since my last blog post! A lot has changed since November of 2015. Allow me to fill you in…

If you read my previous entry about life changes ahead, those changes did indeed happen! God has blessed my family and I with the opportunity to work with the Westside Church of Christ in Alvin, TX. I have been the full-time Family Life and Youth Minister since April of 2016. Aside from the challenges of moving across the country, renting then buying a house, and getting to know teenagers who didn’t want to see their old youth minister leave, things are great! We love the congregation and don’t plan to leave until they throw us out!

I have separated from active duty service in the Air Force and have joined the AF Reserve. I opted to go back into aircraft maintenance. I travel about 6 hours to attend drill, but I decided to do that rather than retrain again (6 months in technical training) to go into a new job closer to home.

I’m still plugging away at my bachelor’s degree of Bible/Ministry at Amridge University. I’m almost there, if all goes well I should finish my coursework this fall and graduate spring of 2018! Next will be my master’s in professional counseling.

Next order of business, I’m thinking of changing my blog name to something more descriptive. I hope that my followers won’t have to update their links or re-follow me, I’ll have to to some more research about that.

I hope to be posting more blogs soon, maybe not weekly, but more regularly.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

Should we make a mess so allowance can abound?

Closet Nightmare!My wife and I are just starting an “allowance” for our kids, more like a chore incentive program. They do their chores, they earn a little spending money. My 5 year old son was looking for his remote control ‘Mater and said it was at the bottom of his closet, which is a nightmare! I told him not to make a huge mess, his reply: “Its ok, if I make a mess I can clean it up and get some money!” I told him that’s not how it works, you can’t create the mess on purpose just to clean it up and get some money.

Paul said something very similar to the Christians in Rome:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!

Romans 6:1-2a

 We have a gift of grace from God, but if we sin intentionally knowing that we can ask for forgiveness and He will forgive, we are wrong! That’s not how it works! Just like my son with his intentional mess, we also can’t make an intentional spiritual mess and expect to be forgiven! Of course we will all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but if we do our best to walk the Christian walk, and to be Christlike, then God will forgive our sins (1 John 1:5-9).

 

I pray that y’all have a great day!

 

Obligatory Resolution Post

2014 has ended and 2015 has begun: time for new year resolutions! I usually make the same cliché resolutions. You know: eat better, exercise more, blah blah, etc. And like a lot of people I generally make my resolutions known, except for spiritual ones. Why? Is it out of shame? Fear of being made fun of or scoffed at? Or is it because of our society telling me that religion is offensive and to keep it to yourself? I don’t know, but not this year! Here are my spiritual resolutions:

1) Be a better spiritual leader to my family.
2) Read my Bible everyday.
3) Be a more patient father.
4) Pray. Pray by myself, pray with my wife, pray with my kids.
5) Grow closer to God.

Have a great year!

 

 

 

One more, update the pictures in my blog header!

The F-Stop Blues

If you look closely at the lens of a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, you’ll see a ring near the base of lens that controls the F-Stop. The F-Stop represents the size of the aperture, or opening, in the lens.  The lower the number, the more light is allowed to enter the camera to create a bright and vivid image.  The higher the F-Stop, the slower the shutter needs to be to get enough light for a full exposure.  If the shutter is too slow the image will be blurry.

Our hearts can act like an F-Stop to God’s light.  If you open it wide, you will be bathed in God’s goodness and can absorb more love and knowledge and grow as a Christian.  But if you close your heart, you open yourself to blurry images of God, leaving yourself vulnerable to underexposure, leading to Satan’s darkness.

James 4:8 – “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

1 John 1:5 – “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”