Sunday, March 30, 2014

Worship - 3/30/14

How Deep the Father's Love How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished I will not boast in anything No gifts, no power, no wisdom But I will boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom Our God Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you, none like You Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other. Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God, Our God And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us. And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us. And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. What could stand against. 10,000 Reasons Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul Worship His holy name Sing like never before O my soul I'll worship Your holy name The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning It's time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me Let me be singing when the evening comes You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger Your name is great, and Your heart is kind For all Your goodness I will keep on singing Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find And on that day when my strength is failing The end draws near and my time has come Still my soul will sing Your praise unending Ten thousand years and then forevermore Sovereign Sovereign in the mountain air Sovereign on the ocean floor With me in the calm With me in the storm Sovereign in my greatest joy Sovereign in my deepest cry With me in the dark With me at the dawn In your everlasting arms All the pieces of my life From beginning to the end I can trust you In your never failing love You work everything for good God whatever comes my way I will trust you All my hopes All I need Held in your hands All my life All of me Held in your hands All my fears All my dreams Held in your hands

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Romans 9:3 Wow, these are some huge words from the Apostle Paul, and these words reveal his heart. They reveal his heart for the Gospel, his brokenness over the lostness of his community and his deep desire to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ. What a beautiful and convicting picture of how the heart of every believer should pound, break and bleed for those who are outside of a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In our ever changing western church culture, we have come to fill our church vocabulary with missional engagement, missional living, relational evangelism, incarnational proclamation, owning the lostness of our community, and all of these terms and the many others that have become a part of the DNA of our churches are all great, but I think they will always just be words and phrases if at the core they don't move us towards the heart of God and cause us to see the world as God sees it. Paul was educated above most, in his culture, and I am sure he knew all the religious lingo and cool Christian terms, but that's not what he led with and it certainly was not what gripped his heart. What gripped his heart was the Gospel. The Gospel changed everything for him. The Gospel gave Paul new lenses to see himself through and to see the world around him through...In 1 Timothy 1:15 he states "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." The Gospel is also what fueled his missional engagement,(I told you I like the terms)...In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul states that it is "the love of Christ" that compelled him. And Paul, maintained his faith that the message of the Gospel was enough. That he did not need to dress it up, change it, soften it's blow. No, he just needed to proclaim it unashamedly, with great passion, love and conviction. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul states that he delivered and shared what was of first importance and what was shared with him. We can go on and on about the Apostle Paul's conviction, love for and faith in the Gospel, which served as the foundation and the fuel for all he did, but the bottom line for me is, is that true about me? Is that true about the believers in my circle of influence? You see, we don't have a vocabulary issue, I believe we may just have a heart issue. We just may have become innoculated to the Gospel that we have lost the wonder of it and we have stopped seeing those around us who are deep need of this saving and transforming message. So maybe this morning the simple prayer is, God, break my heart for what breaks yours and reacquaint me with the beauty, power and love of the Gospel. It seemed to work for the Apostle Paul...just another rambling. God bless!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“My Father, Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’ There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me; There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow; There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured. Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light. My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live. O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me, All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished; Help me to adore thee by lips and life. O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.” - The Valley of Vision,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What mirror do you use?

It's been a while since my last blog, let's hope that I still know how to do this. As I write this, I am actually in Louisville for the Together for The Gospel conference. It has been a tremendous time thus far. I have been blessed to sit under the teaching of some of today's most brilliant minds and eloquent and powerful communicators of the Gospel.

This morning as I was getting ready, God gripped my heart with something. As I was getting dressed, I was a little frustrated by the lack of sleep and by the fact that I was disappointed with the mirrors in the room. None of the ones offered in my room seem to give me the proper lighting or angle that I wanted. Please catch this, the mirror was not offering to me, what I wanted, but it did give me the image of what stood in front of it. So as I grew a little frustrated, that's when my spirit just gave me one those nudges...and got me thinking, that's what I do in my daily spiritual walk.

I tend to use the wrong mirrors or question what the real mirror is showing me. You see we all fall into this trap. We tend to define ourselves, measure our worth, our value, our impact or even our goodness and badness by using mirrors and standards that God never intended us to use.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lessons from Memphis

I have been extremely grateful that the Elders, staff and church family have given me this extended time away, to be refreshed and renewed by the Lord. It truly has been a huge blessing to my heart and spirit. For the last few days I have been in Memphis with one of my good friends Nathan. Nathan and his wife moved to downtown Memphis a couple of years ago to plant a church. As a church planter I kind of had an idea of what that entails and the sacrifices that go into such a work, but after being here I have a new profound respect for their obedience to the Lord. Nathan, and his family along with the other pastors are ministering in a very impoverished and crime infested area, and in obedience to the Lord and in the step with the Holy Spirit they have moved right in to the center of this dark region in hopes to bring the light, hope and love of the Gospel. On the surface and in the natural, you can't help but to say and think, what in the world are you doing? Are you crazy? Do you want to get shot? But, the reality is when we read the words of Jesus, when we study the Bible, we see that this example is pretty normal. I was at Grace Church this weekend and Pastor Jordan delivered a powerful and God honoring word. One of the questions he posed was this, "Are our lives and faith a seamless transition from the lives and faiths described and depicted in Hebrews chapter 11?" Many of us know Hebrews chapter 11. It has been deemed by many as the "hall of fame" of faith. But it was never meant to be treated as a memorial that we read and look at and just move on, our lives should reflect that heart and desire to sacrifice and follow God at any cost for His glory. The problem is, we as Christians have made the glory of God, the Words of God more about our comfort than God's fame. We have bought into sermons and books that tell us God wants us to be happy. Whenever my happiness becomes the center of God's glory it will always be a slippery slope to a man-centered theology. And once I arrive at that place, the truths of the Scripture will never make sense, because the truths of the Bible are NOT about me, they are about God. The Gospel is definitely about a person, it's just not you or me, it's about Jesus!

Now, before I go any further, I am not saying that what is happening here in downtown Memphis is what every Christian is called to do necessarily, but what I am saying is that sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the glory of God and for the sake of the good of others, is the normal and plausible response to those of us who have truly tasted and seen the goodness of God. Being here these last few days has been a beautiful and convicting display of what it means to truly own the lostness of our community. Being here these last few days have reignited my heart to the importance of trumpeting the Gospel, because the Gospel is in fact every man, woman and child's greatest need. Being here these past few days has once again confirmed that what we are striving to do in and through Summit is right on point and we actually need to be willing and ready to take deeper and more profound strides as God leads us to. I am praying for myself, my family, my friends, our staff and our church that we begin to posture ourselves in asking God to prepare us more to sacrifice in such a way that our lives don't make sense in the natural, but in the spiritual realm it is but a reflection of the call of God in His Word. I am praying that their grows an ever burning and committed desire to God's glory above any other possible competing force. I pray that we grow in our understanding that if we don't become consumed as Christians with God's glory, than what is at stake is our joy, not God's glory itself. Jonathan Edwards to me stated it best "when God gets His glory, His people get there joy!" David Platt in his book "Radical Together" puts it this way, "Gospel-filled obedience, produces Gospel-filled joy!"

The beauty is that God has made His power available to us through His Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes. So may we abide, rest in that power and find our joy solely in Him. When we do that, then and only then could moving into a less desirable neighborhood, or down sizing, or living below our means to free more assets up for God's work, or serving in some capacity that actually takes us out of our comfort zone, will actually "make sense and feel normal." Just a rambling but I do hope you'll join me in praying to this end.

"Brothers my hearts desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." Romans 10:1

Monday, June 27, 2011


"You made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until it finds its place in you." Augustine

Augustine would make this a part of his daily prayers. Interesting that in this fast paced world that we live in, this world that we have pretty much everything at our disposal, that there is still one thing that trips us up and that is rest. Even with all of our technology and digital advancement, it is rest, that is still one of the most elusive things in our culture and in our lives. Rest, a four letter, simple, yet profound word, that we have for the most part neglected. Rest, something that we all need, yet try to get by without. Rest, the thing that God set in place that we all would need, but we try hard to deny. Rest, the thing that may be the wisest thing we could do to find, yet we act as though it is the weakest thing we could do. Most of us won't be active in seeking this rest out, until it is prescribed to us by a doctor or a counselor or some other trained professional. Interesting that the advancements made in society have not freed us up as much as they have in some sense burdened us more. Amazing how sovereign and omniscient God is, that from the beginning of time He knew we would struggle with rest, so much so that He not only commanded us to do it, but also gave us an example.

We read the creation story and we see that God created all things in 6 days and on the seventh He rest. God, the almighty, all consuming, all knowing, sufficient in Himself God, just chills. In a world that celebrates and cheers people for burning the candle at both ends, God would have us to remember that He instituted rest, because He knew we would need it. God does cheer our burn out, He would see it as yet another form of idol worship. It doesn't matter how gifted, how skilled, how awesome you may think you are, if you are cheating yourself of rest, you really are just building your life on sand and living on borrowed time, because eventually that lack of rest will catch up to you.

Tomorrow I enter into something I have never done before and that is take a sabbatical. I am looking forward to this time to step away from my position as an Elder and Teaching Pastor and just be. One of the hardest struggles in ministry at times is to not allow the doing to overshadow the becoming. I am grateful for this given time away to be renewed, refreshed and reacquainted with the importance of rest. I am looking forward to what God will do in me and through me during this time. Just another rambling, but I do pray we will find our rest in God, because the absence or failure of that can be quite detrimental to our souls and lives.

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


For the last couple of years my wife and I have been navigating through the journey and world of Autism Spectrum Disorder as we have seen our son, Max, struggle and strive with it. There have been lots of low moments, tears, frustrations but also lots of victories and shouts of joy. Through it all we have seen the goodness and faithfulness of God. One of the things that autism has done for our family is, it has given us a new perspective on the importance of celebrating everything. The celebrations are milestones for us, they are reminders and markers of the goodness of God. We celebrated Max's first words which we thought would never come. We celebrated his first sight word, his first non-scripted conversation and the list goes on and on.

This past weekend we witnessed and celebrated his accomplishment over winning over his fear of water slides at Aquatica. Max was like a champ not just going down the water slide and plunging into the pool and exiting on his own, but even the fact of him standing in line waiting patiently for his turn is a crowning achievement. It was absolutely awesome to see his excitement and his joy. There are still many many miles for us to travel on this journey and many hurdles to overcome, but today I can rejoice that in it and through it all we can remain confident in the goodness and the grace of God, who never disappoints.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26