joy full

A lot about life in North Africa, if you’re not careful, can rob your joy.  The heat.  Heat rash.  Tiredness.  Travels.  Knocks at the gate at 5:00am.  Feeling used for services (ice, car rides, cell phone charging).  Reverse proselytizing.  Language barrier.  Bluntness.  Daily chores.  Sickness.  Lack of communication from the outside world.  Feeling fellowship starved. …

70 Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gospel

John—the beloved disciple of Jesus—writes so that people may believe that Jesus is the Son of God (20:31). John is a Jesus lover. And Jesus loves John too. This mutual love is seen in the way that John writes about Jesus. It’s as if he paints beautiful and endearing portraits of Jesus each able to…

Jesus, the I AM, calls for your attention

To get my attention, my daughters will repeat a phrase over and over again, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!  Come see this.  Come see this.  Come see this.”  It can be a new ballet twirl to Sophia getting a boo-boo.  It can be highly annoying, but it is often a good of getting my attention. When a phrase is repeated…

I am the door

Jesus is worth beholding  He is like no other man.  He is utterly unique.  He’s fascinating.  He causes us to wonder and be amazed.  He said things that were both endearing and disturbing.  He made audacious claims.  Jesus isn’t like a presidential candidate that you can pick and choose what you like or don’t like…

25 Days of Christmas Advent Catechism Calendar

I was looking for a catechism for my daughters this Christmas that took Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus and compared them to a New Testament fulfillment.  I couldn’t find anything, so Sarah and I whipped up something to help our girls understand and remember the reason for Christmas the 25 days leading up to Christmas….

born to forgive

Sunday at church I heard a great message about forgiveness from a familiar passage (Luke 7:36-50).  However, I fall in the trap of hearing a lot about forgiveness, but practicing it superficially. Jesus was born to forgive.  His life teaches us three things about about forgiveness: 1)  It takes compassion , 2) It is costly,…

forgiveness and ministry

A relationship that his been vital to me has been to long-time missionary Marc Blackwell. I first met Marc during my year long church planting apprenticeship in South Africa. By the time I met him he had already been serving overseas for three decades and had been used by God to plant churches from Sarasota,…

do you not know?

Did you know that the leading manufacture of tires in the world is LEGO? Did you know that a 26-year old woman aged 50 years in just days due to a strange illness cause by an allergy to seafood? Did you know that Pumbaa from the Lion King was the first character to pass gas…

the long silence

John Stott’s, The Cross of Christ is a rather filling and satisfying read, if you are looking for a book to bring you back to Jesus again. I recently turned the last page wanting more. Near the end of the book he includes a playlet by unknown author John McNeil entitled, The Long Silence. After a…

making much of Christ in a messy church

What do all soap operas have in common? Soaps have a never aging cast. They are predictable, yet still leave their audience surprised. They are scandalous, yet acceptable to the masses. Soaps live up to the name “daytime drama” filling plots with family messes, immorality, and power trips. After a quick reading of 1 Corinthians,…

Do I feel a lack?

This post is from my thoughtful and beautiful wife, Sarah. Do I feel a lack?  Yes, I do.  A lack that is blessed by the God of the universe.  He blesses it because He gave His Son this lack as well.  This is a lack of total goodness.  I have many good things, but all…

Jesus, lion and lamb

Let’s say that the end of your life was in front of you. You knew it wasn’t years or months or weeks or even days, but it was hours, and your life would be over. You knew you were going to die, and you were right on the threshold of death, and it was going…

warnings to religious people

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body…

Jesus redefines your “neighbor”

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” It’s a catchy little jingle, eh? Did you know that Barry Manilow wrote that for State Farm back in 1971? What this slogan implies is that people can have certain qualities that make them a good neighbor. What qualities make a person a good neighbor? Jesus gave…

black friday

There are two Fridays that people reference frequently: Black Friday and Good Friday. How did Black Friday get its name? “Black Friday” had an early meaning of referring to the day that normally retailers “sell in the black” or make a profit from their sales for the year. Religiously, the day after Thanksgiving, we make…

Jesus forgives risky women

A few years ago, my wife served at Vision of Hope, a residential treatment center for women at risk. During her time on staff, we met many gals from backgrounds of horrific abuse, numbing addictions, and life-debilitating decisions. These gals came wrecked and desperate for change. Miraculously many of those gals intersected with Jesus, began…