Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just Don't Want to Miss A Thing...

Yesterday was a great day. We took the kids to the Miami Seaquarium. It was our two kids, our three nephews, our niece, my in-laws and my wife's younger sister. It was really a lot fun., honestly. That morning I had enjoyed some really good time alone with the Lord. I began to pray about the things that I am believing God for in 2008. (I will share some of those things at a later date.)

Ephesians 3:20 states "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

I began to let that verse and many others just soak in and I began to think through what I am trusting and believing God for in this upcoming year. During that time one thing that I felt the Lord wanted me to know is to have my eyes and heart open to His activity. God is at work all the time and I am so guilty of repeatedly missing His activity. I really felt as though the Lord was saying don't miss anything, not a second from the smallest thing to the simply unexplainable; it's all Him and it all points back to Him. I felt as though God was saying "don't become so self absorbed, so consumed with work, so anxious with the things of this world that you miss the beauty of what only I can do."

So here we are that Seaquarium and in a way like only God can I was brought right back to that truth. There we were sitting in the dolphin theater after a long day, enjoying the show, and as the evening came to a close they shot off a very impressive fire works show. My son, Max, was sitting on my lap just smiling from ear to ear, clapping his hands, moving his head from side to side trying to capture the view from every angle; to the right of me was my little girl, Emily, sitting on my wife's lap and her smile was just as big and she was just loving it!!! And in that moment I just thought, man I am so blessed. It was one of those moments that I could really see all that God has done for me and my family. It wasn't too long ago that the thought or discussion of children would leave my wife and I heavy hearted and yet in 15 months God allowed us to adopt two beautiful kids. Just seven months ago my son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a fireworks show like the one we experienced last night would have gone virtually unnoticed by him. God has done amazing things and He continues to show His power and glory. Unfortunately I tend to miss it. I fail to recognize that the smile of my children, the embrace of my wife, the moments that we share as a family are all tangible ways that God is revealing Himself. I say I am always looking for the next big thing, but the truth is I probably have missed my fair share of them because I fail to realize that everything in my life is a big thing because it comes from an even bigger and infinite God.

I do have some big things that I am trusting and believing God for in 2008, but as I wait upon the Lord I hope and pray that I will not miss a minute of His power and presence in the everyday. In fact I pray that for you as well. I challenge you to dream dreams that are as big as God is and pray prayers that are as big as He is as well, but keep your eyes open to the ways He is at work in your life every day. The truth is the greatest fireworks display in the world could never compare to the beauty of the glory of God when it is revealed!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Services

Last night we had our first ever Christmas Eve services in our new facility. It was a wonderful turnout and truly a spirit-filled time. The band did an amazing job leading our people into the presence of God through singing traditional carols. Jamin, our Worship Pastor, did a super job of reminding our people that there was nothing routine and rote about what we were doing. He challenged them not to just enter into the time with a mindset or heart set of thinking that well it's Christmas and this is what we are supposed to do. Instead he truly made clear the fact these songs that are typically reserved for Christmas communicate truth about our Savior, King and Treasure, Jesus Christ.

The hope for last night was that everyone would leave understanding the personal nature of Christmas. That we would recognize the power and significance of this time and understand that though this story is over two thousand years old the events and the meaning of this story still have great meaning to our lives today. "For unto you a Savior is born..." What was amazing is that last night there were folks who accepted that truth for themselves. Last night there were people who took God's greatest gift, Jesus, and for the first time in their lives they trusted Christ to be their Lord and Savior. God is so good. It is always a joy to see God draw people to Himself. We continue to pray that the Lord would use our ministry to present the Gospel to every man, woman and child in our community. If you have happened to come across these ramblings today, then I do not want to waste the opportunity to tell you that God loves you and He has demonstrated that love by sending Jesus. As this Christmas season comes to a close I pray that you would search your heart and consider whether or not you have personally received God's gift, Jesus Christ. It's the greatest gift that you could ever receive...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just Funny Stuff...

So my trip to Israel was amazing and I will post another blog soon about the lessons I learned from that experience. Today however there is nothing spiritual about this blog, it is just one of the many funny situations I find myself in with my buddy, Jamin. I arrived from Israel on Tuesday and on Wednesday my wife was hosting a party for close to 50 people in our home. It was a great time. When everyone left my wife and I and Jamin and his wife Vicky who happen to also be our neighbors were unwinding out in our yard in front of our fire pit. I had placed the fire pit on top of this nasty brown patch of grass that is in Jamin's yard. We were enjoying the fire until suddenly we realized that the flames were not only growing higher but the grass around it was now also engulfed...

Jamin quickly jumped into action and began to try to blow it out...I kid you not. The fire is now spreading, so we run towards his hose. The hose was in a box and we could not get it out. At this point my wife springs into action and gets our hose, that is fully equipped with a Tickle Me Elmo head on it. Needless to say after several minutes we were able to put the fire out and I happy to report that no one was hurt. And now instead of a brown patch of grass in Jamin's yard there is a huge black charcoal circle. After it was all done, we did have quite a laugh.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Battle Site for Armageddon

This is a view from Mount Megido. You may not recognize that name but if you have read any or all of the book of Revelation you may be interested in this spot. This is where the Battle of Armageddon is to take place. Revelation chapter 16 describes the scene of the events that are to happen on this mount. Here is a quick cliff note version: the nations of the world will try to come against Jesus Christ and He is going to open up a serious can of......well you know, and He will judge the world. The view from here was amazing but my mind could not even begin to try to imagine what that day will be like. I am just happy to know that I'm on HIS SIDE!!! We had a time of worship and prayer on this mount and we prayed for those who are still not yet on His Team. No one knows the day nor the hour of the Lord's return, but I got to tell you that standing up on that mountain, I could not help to believe that it will be soon.

"Then I saw heaven opened and a white horse was standing there. its rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war." Revelation 19:11

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Missing Home

I am so ready to come home! As powerful and life changing as this trip has been for me personally, I am so ready to go home. I love my wife and kids so much and to be away from them is to truly have something missing. I spoke to my beautiful wife earlier and she put the phone to my daughter's ear and it took everything I had not to try to jump through the phone to pick her up and kiss that beautiful, tiny little face of hers. My wife said that my daughter is really getting the hang of this walking thing and this week my son spoke three new words. God is sooooo good and I am so thankful that He reveals His goodness to me through my amazing family! Two more days and we begin our journey home...PTL. It could not come soon enough...

"The Bob"

Today we toured around the beautiful city of Haifa. The scenery is just amazing and the people have been so accommodating and gracious to us. One of the places that they took us to was the Holy Garden, a 350 million dollar landmark. The botanical gardens are just pristine and the view from this mountain is amazing. At the center of this garden is the Bahai temple. The Bahai is essentially a cult. What they have done is taken bits and pieces of the different major religions of the world and mixed them together. Their original prophet is known as "The Bob", no joke! He was executed in the early 1800's. What struck me is how willing people are to serve and follow something and yet miss what is right in front of them that could truly satisfy their hearts.
What is interesting about this structure is that not to far from this beautiful landmark, is where it is believed that God's prophet Elijah put a major whooping on the false prophets of Baal. Now I understand that this may be a totally different era, scenario, and circumstance, but isn't the bottom-line the same: man's heart is wicked and empty and man will turn to something that they think initially will satisfy and complete. Yet all too often, sadly they discover that the way they have chosen only leads to destruction. I know that for me that is where my life was headed. Now I didn't pray to or bow to "The Bob", but I did serve other idols that in God's eyes were just as filthy. But I thank God for drawing me to Himself and leading me into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. My prayer as we traveled down through this marvelous landscape was "Lord please remove the blinders from these people's hearts and may they see Your light and understand Your Truth." As I prayed that for the Bahais I could not help but to pray that for the people of the city I live in and for the people I do life with.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Plea from The Chief Rabbi...

Yesterday we met with the Chief Rabbi for the nation of Israel. This position would be like the pope is to catholics. It was very interesting to listen to him speak. He was a very gracious and articulate speaker. There was one thing that he said that stuck out to me. He pleaded with us to please tell everyone of our experience in the Holy Land. He encouraged us to take advantage of sharing all the things we had seen and experienced with every person we had influence with. His motivation in saying this was that he believed if we truly shared with others the truth, as he put it, of the beauty of Israel and it's people, then we could begin to change the opinions that people have of this country that have been primarily formed by what they have seen on CNN.

It was not too hard for me to bridge the connection between what he said and the call that we have as Christians. Imagine the difference we could make in our circle of influence, in the world that God has us, if we would share with others the experiences we have had with Christ. If we would just share about the joy and peace that He has brought to our lives. Imagine what difference the TRUTH can make in the lives of those we encounter if we were just more willing to share it. Now I have to be honest with you, I did not need any rabbi to tell me to share about the experiences I have had here. In fact I am biting at the bit to get back home to share it, hopefully not to nausea for those who I do life with. But the reality is that as beautiful and majestic as this land is and as wonderful as this experience has been, I should be far more excited about sharing about the One who gave His life for me. The reality is that at times I allow other experiences to trump the greatest experience of all. So I hope and pray that I would take the words of this Chief Rabbi and put them in the right perspective of the True Chief Rabbi, and Master Teacher Jesus Christ...who said "you shall be my witnesses" to every man, woman and child. Keep sharing and keep telling, it will make a difference.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Garden of Gethsemane

Today was another incredible day in Jerusalem. We had the opportunity to visit the Mount of Olives and walk down the path that Jesus took as He made His triumphal entry into the city. On our way down we stopped in the Garden of Gethsemane and it was incredible. We were told to just scatter amongst the trees and sit and spend time meditating, reflecting and praying. Without sounding to extreme it was literally one of the most moving spiritual experiences I have ever had. I truly felt as though my heart and spirit connected with God.

I began to reflect on what Jesus must have felt that night He took His trusted disciples to that place when He prayed. I began to imagine the agony He must have felt. I began to truly think about the fact that Jesus was about to take on the very thing that His Father found repugnant; sin. The One who knew NO sin became sin for us the Bible tell us. That came alive for me today. My mind began to visualize Christ's agony as He prayed Father if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me, but if not may Your will be done! Imagine that, the Father's will being that His Son, the spotless, sinless Holy One become the spotless lamb for us. As a pastor I have often challenged people not to take on cheap crosses or minimize with their lives the price Christ paid. Today I in that Garden I was told the same thing. Jesus Christ suffered and died for me, my only reasonable response is to live for Him. And I am not talking about going to church or checking off my list that I have read my Bible and prayed, no today I was reminded that I am called to die to myself and live for Him. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

I pray the same for my family, friends, co-laborers in in the Gospel, the people God has called me to minister to and any who may by some chance stumble upon these ramblings. May our hearts' cry be that we want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jesus Paid It All

Today we completed our first day of tours in Jerusalem and the sights were just overwhelming. There is something so special and majestic about this place. From the moment we arrived and began to walk through this holy city I was just blown away at all of the historical sights and the significance behind each one. Every mountain, hillside and valley came alive in my heart and mind, but nothing really compared to what I experienced at the Garden Tomb. As we walked through the garden I was captivated by the stones and all of its surrounding beauty. Then we came to a spot where the tour guide stopped and said behind us is the place where many scholars and theologians believe Jesus Christ was crucified: Calvary, Golgatha, the Place of the Skull. And all of a sudden there was a hush and we all could do nothing but stand in awe. Our minds and hearts were left to wonder what agony, what pain the Son of God must of felt. If you look closely at the rocks you will see that they actually look like a skull. The spotless lamb of God died to give men life. Being at that sight did not make it more real for me, but it certainly did impact my heart in a powerful way.

What stood out to me is that right below that spot where Jesus is believed to have been crucified is a huge Muslim tower that sounds the call throughout the day for muslims to pray. As we stood there meditating and praying the sound went off and my spirit was literally grieved. There is still so many who have not come to know the TRUE Messiah. In a fresh way I got a look at every man, woman and child and I pray that it would not leave me any time soon.

As we continued the tour we came to the place where it is believed that Jesus was buried and rose again from. It was amazing to see such a long line to enter a tomb to see nothing...for He is not there here has risen! I sat for a moment and began to pray and a song that we sing at Summit often welled up in my heart..."Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain but He washed me white as snow." It truly was a wonderful day, one I will soon not forget. Like I said coming to Jerusalem does not make what Jesus did anymore real, so whether you get to travel to this great land or not, I pray that you will not forget the fact that Jesus did pay it all. Walk worthy, walk loudly and may your life tell the story of the transforming power of Jesus Christ! Shalom.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Today at Summit we began a new series that will take us through what we recognize as the Christmas season. I am really looking forward to this series and I believe today was a great start. I strongly feel that God does have a destiny for each and everyone of us. Today one of the things we discussed was the fact that if we are to be people of destiny, people who seek to fulfill God's purposes then we must be confident that God has a purpose for everything.
At times the pressure, disappointment, frustrations of life tend to keep us from viewing our circumstances from God's perspective. At times the pressures become so pressing that we fail to view our circumstances in light of the eternal. This is something that God has really been teaching me. I would of never have chosen to have a child with autism, but my wife and I are realizing more and more that God has a greater plan and purpose, and though this journey has been quite tough for us, we would not want it any other way. The closer we get to God the more we realize that He does have an eternal plan and purpose for my son and for us as a family. I would of never been connected to the people that God has led me to cross paths with as of late. My wife and I have been introduced to a whole new world, with new people who need to know about the love of Christ.
God is definitely stretching us and we are learning daily to look from God's perspective and to believe that God is working in the midst of our circumstances to bring about a greater purpose. I pray that I would seek to be a person of destiny...a person who is fully surrendered to God and who is confident that God does have a purpose for everything! The next time you find yourself in a tough situation I pray that you will step back and ask "God how do you want to glorify Yourself through this?" and then commit yourself to walk through it in response to Him. That's all I want now, because I know God is fully worthy of it!

Friday, November 30, 2007


I leave for Israel in three days. It has been a dream of mine to go to Israel for quite some time now. I am thrilled about the opportunity that the Lord has presented for me. I have mixed emotions because my wife and two kids will be staying behind. I am the biggest home body...I love being with my wife and kids and whenever I have to leave them it is always tough.
I am so grateful for a wife who is so supportive of the ministry that God has called me to. I really don't know what I would do without my wife, Pam. She is truly an amazing woman and gift from God. I pray that my kids do not drive her too crazy while I'm gone. I keep having weird dreams that after I return from this eight day trip that my wife is going to be ready to hang me from the roof or something. My last extended trip both of my kids and wife got sick...not a pretty sight. Boy and I praying for something different this time around...
I am really asking God to use this trip in my life to expose my heart to more of His Truth and plans that He has for me. I am traveling with twenty four other pastors who are all much older than me, and all but one I do not know from Adam. But even in that I am asking the Lord that I would remain humble and willing to learn from these men. Usually before long trips like this I feel much more prepared practically, emotionally and spiritually, but for some reason that has not been the case with this trip. I feel I have so much up in the air and at times I literally feel like a chicken with his head cut off, but it doesn't matter because the reality is that in three days I leave. So all I can hope for is that God would settle my heart and help me to get the things in order that I need to get done.
So with that I bid you "Shalom"...or if you be from the park that would be "peace out homey!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Mile...seriously?

I have been reading this book by Mel Blackaby. It is an easy read but I am enjoying it a lot. This book has really caused me to look introspectively into my heart and life. The thesis of this book comes out of Matthew 5:38-45 In that passage Jesus says "whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two." What Jesus is referring to there is the custom and law of the day. You see Roman soldiers would have to carry all of their gear as they traveled from town to town. It was law that at any time that a Roman soldier could require someone to carry his gear for one mile. By law the person chosen by the soldier person would have to drop whatever they were doing and carry the pack for a mile. One mile was the limit. Once that mile had been achieved the soldier would have to haul the stuff himself or get another chump to carry his stuff. Now carry the stuff wasn't the worst part for a Jew. For a Jew to carry the pack of an enemy made it even worse. But Jesus says go the extra mile...

Mel's point is that Jesus doesn't call us to do our duty; He calls us to what is not our duty. It isn't our duty to turn the other check, go another mile or repay evil with a blessing, but Christ wants us to dispense grace. Now here is the kicker, Jesus wants us to do this because this exactly what He has done for us and continues to do. Going the extra mile is hard, there is no doubt about it. The extra mile wars against my flesh, my pride, my, my, my, but Jesus went even further. Going the extra mile demonstrates the heart of Christ and reflects the Father's glory. I am praying that God would well up in me that type of spirit, heart and focus, that I would do what is not my duty and know that in doing so I reflect the life and love of my Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that you will also consider going the extra mile.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Walk Baby Walk...

My wife and I have been working with my one year old daughter, Emily, who we affectionately call the "queen bee", (if you knew her you would know why) on getting her to walk. Two days ago we had this huge breakthrough as she walked across the living room several times.
Each time I would stand her up in a certain spot and then stretch my arms out towards her and say "walk baby walk."
You could almost see her brain turning as she would look at me and contemplate whether she should really try it or just go back to the floor where it was safe. There were times that she would dare to take those frightful steps and than other times where she would quickly squat down and begin to crawl sometimes in a totally different direction.
As I got my daughter up this morning I was reflectting back to that scene of trying to get my daughter to walk. You see for quite some time now God has set something on my heart and I know that at some point it is going to require that I too "walk." But the reality is that just like my daughter I am going to have to overcome some doubt and some fears and trust the ONE who is bidding me to come. As I have had time to reflect and pray this morning God revealed to me that I need to be training my heart in this matter of "walking" a lot more, in fact daily. But, to be totally honest I have allowed some complacency to settle into my heart. I desire to have the faith to step out of the boat, but to tell you the truth at times I like the party that is going on in the boat way too much. I thank God for His patience with me and I pray that He will continue to call me to "walk" and I hope that I will have the faith to respond. The Bible is clear that without faith it is impossible to please my challenge to myself and to whoever stumbles across these ramblings is "walk baby walk."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Ramblings

I know I am a day early, but if things go my way tomorrow than I should be busy eating and watching football all day...I have so much to be thankful for, but none more important than Jesus Christ. Without Christ I have no idea where I would be at this moment. Christ has changed my life and has given me direction and purpose. It is amazing to think that we have a God who loves us unconditionally and who is faithful even when we are faithless. Yes indeed I am most thankful for Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price for my sin and who has freed me from the bondage of my sin.

I am also thankful for my wife, the greatest, most gorgeous woman I have ever seen. She is such a wonderful blessing in my life. She radiates Christ in so many ways and she amazes me everyday with the way she loves me and our kids. I thank God for my wife every day. We have had an incredible journey over the last twelve years and I look forward to the days ahead. I am also thankful for my two rug rats. They are such a joy. I look forward to see what God does in each of their lives. There are few things in my life that can compare to being a dad. I absolutely love my kids. So much to be thankful for, but I guess I will end with the friends that God has blessed me with. God has truly surrounded me with some terrific people to share life with. I pray that you have a great Thanksgiving and I hope that you will take the time to thank God for all He has done and all He has given to you. Happy Thanksgiving!

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes! Jesus Loves Me

One of my favorite parts of my day is getting my son, Max, up and ready for school. He is such a blessing to his mom and I. God has taught me so much through this special little guy's life. My son loves music, and he just lights up when his mom and I sing to him. Now I have got to confess his mother is a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better singer. Her voice is sweet, mine on the other hand is just plain ol' ruff...
This morning I began to sing "Yes, Jesus loves me" to my son, and his face just lit up. His smile that just seems to go from ear to ear can melt my heart. And every time I stopped he would clap and he would sign to me "more", "more" and I would just keep singing that to him. Now in my mind I am thinking what a cute little children's song and yet God quickened my heart and said it may be a children's song, but it's littered with TRUTH. Truth that you should never take for granted. God loves us, not because we are worthy or we are special, but because He is merciful and gracious. He has demonstrated that love through the cross of His Son and He continues to demonstrate that love to us each and every day. "But God demonstrates His love towards us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
"Yes Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so." I pray that I would not belittle or make light of that truth, but that I would embrace it and that it would create in my heart a smile as big as my son Max's. God is truly good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazing Grace

Over the last several weeks we have been teaching through a series entitled "Hi Def". Our hope has been to give those who attend Summit Church a clearer picture of what a disciple of Jesus Christ is to BE... We have four core values at Summit; God, Truth, Love and Mission. Our Team decided to add five thresholds that we believe will flow out of the life of a believer as they anchor and build their lives around these values. The thresholds are as follows: Intimacy with God, Qualitative Distinctiveness, Stewardship of Life, Spiritual Giftedness and Grace Story. Yesterday we began the discussion on Grace Story. We defined Grace Story as embracing the fullness of the Gospel and being transformed by it in such a powerful way that you seek to share God's message with others.

The desire yesterday was to clarify that we can not share our Grace Story until we actually have one. So we set our teaching to layout the Gospel and God's redeeming love through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. We talked about God's amazing and powerful grace. We challenged our people to make a move towards the cross of Christ and God moved in an incredible way. As the band sang Amazing Grace my heart absolutely jumped as people came down to make a decision to make Christ the Lord and Savior of their lives. At Summit we do not usually do a traditional alter call, but yesterday was a different day. Each time a person responded to the Lord's leading the rest of the church applauded. It was incredible. You could truly sense the presence of God. God's grace is truly "amazing" and I am still in awe that He would save a wretch like me!

New To This...

I am new to this whole blog thing. I have always been interested in writing and for the last few years I have been committed to journaling my experiences with God through this spiritual journey that He has me on. I have no idea where this blogging thing will go, but I look at it as another outlet to share the things that God is teaching me and share the experiences He is allowing me to have. So with that I am off to enter this realm of blogging....