Monday, March 19, 2018

Why Just For Lent?

I have run across a couple of people who are giving up things and/or doing something more for Lent. That's fantastic, but I have a question...

Why just for Lent?

Have you ever noticed we have put rhythms in our lives to start or try new things, but we also put times for them to end? We come up with resolutions for the new year, we do things at Lent, some people do things at Advent too. But why do we put ourselves in a box and only better ourselves for that period of time?

Here's my challenge. Start praying more. Start today. What's the significance of today? Nothing, other than it's today and you can start today. And end... well, never if you can help it.

What's one thing you can do to grow closer to God that doesn't start and end by a calendar date?


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Why We Ate Dinner at 8:30 Tonight

Because of the time change.

Changing our clocks is a great idea. Daylight at times we are awake, saving energy, it's all great stuff. But there's one big problem.

Just because I change my clocks doesn't mean I have adjusted. I'm still tired, hungry, etc. at the same time I have been for the past few days (or weeks, or months). The number on the clock doesn't change that.

Until I make a conscious effort to change my rhythms to those numbers.

When I force myself to eat at the new time repeatedly, then my body will adjust and I will get hungry at that time. If I go to sleep at the new time over and over and over again then I will start to get tired when I should (or even better, if I wake up at the new time over and over and over then I will get tired when I should). The only way to adjust is continually follow the new time zone.

The same is true for our souls. It's amazing how often people want to go deeper with Christ so they start to attend church or try a Bible Study or whatever and we expect to feel holy and changed overnight. But that's not how it works. Our souls are still conditioned to our old lives. The only way change happens is by continual effort and conditioning to our new plan.

If you want to start going to church, you can't expect that going once (or twice) and not "feeling" anything is the fault of the church or God so you give up on church. You haven't given your soul enough time to start to grow into this new life. If you try serving once, hate it, and give up, of course it didn't work. A life of self-sacrifice doesn't happen with a half-hour service project. It takes serving over and over and over and over and over until it becomes second nature.

I now have two choices. Adjust to the new time and eat when the numbers say 6:00 or keep eating dinner at 8:30. Whether I like it or not, it's up to me.


Monday, March 05, 2018

The Long Game

The other day I saw a book entitled "30 Days to Understanding the Bible". Sounds great, right? Wouldn't that be a good book?

It's a lie.

Sorry to the authors and I admire what they are trying to do with helping people understand the Bible. That's all well and good. But people spend their entire lives trying to understand the Bible. And they still don't get there. But I'm supposed to believe that in one month I will understand the entirety of God's Word?

I want to understand the Bible. I really do. But I know I can't do it in 30 days. Will books like this help? Of course. But will they deliver on the promise in the title, that I will understand the Bible in the 30 days? Nope. I don't think I could even read the entire Bible in 30 days, let alone add in more time to understand what I'm reading.

Play the long game. Look to understand the Bible but not in a quick fix. Every day growing a little more in your understanding of God's Word, of who Jesus is, of who you are in Christ. That will bring about real understanding, and hopefully real life change.


Monday, February 26, 2018


My daughter is incredibly brave. I mean, life-threatening brave. The highest slide, the fastest car ride, there is absolutely nothing she will not do.

As long as daddy is holding her.

Without daddy, forget it. She won't even watch a new TV show or try a new food. But the second she knows I will do it with her, watch out.

What if we had that attitude with our Heavenly Father? What do you think we would be brave enough to accomplish...?


Monday, February 19, 2018

Sifting For Jesus

The other night our daughter asked me to help her find a few of her Disney toys. Of course, the ones she wanted were about an inch high and were in a huge tub of other toys. So I did the only thing I could; I started sifting.

At first I found three toys. But I kept going, after all I had no idea how many of these toys were in there. And after a few more minutes of sifting I found two more. So I kept going, and as I continued sifting I kept finding more and more toys. After about ten minutes we have a whole handful of tiny little toys.

But as I was doing this I thought about how sifting through a toy bin is like finding Jesus. It takes continual concentrated searching for Him. Sometimes we get frustrated because He's hard to see. Sometimes we find a little bit and are satisfied and stop. But to really, really find Jesus it takes sifting through a toy bin over and over and over.

Many people know the "I know the plans I have for you" verse in Jeremiah, but do you know what comes after it? In Jeremiah 29:13 God says If we look for Him wholeheartedly we will find Him. That's not a casual "stumble upon" Jesus. We need to actually focus and search for Jesus to find Him.

In this Lenten season, as we give up or take on things may we use that time and that effort to search for God wholeheartedly. If we continue, even as we grow a little closer to God we press on for more, we may be surprised how little we know about Jesus, and how much He wants to love us.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Why Do We Always Give Something Up?

Lent begins this week. On Valentine's Day (which seems kind of fitting). So here's my question. Why do we always give something up?

Seriously, I had someone ask what Lent was this week and before I could answer a student chimed in, "It's where you give stuff up." They seemed to have forgotten why you give something up, to replace that thing/time/whatever it is with Jesus.

Instead, I have a novel idea for this year. Why not try doing something different? I will serve someone each day. I will read a little more of God's Word each day. I will do something that will help me grow closer to God each day, or even better, do something that will help someone else grow closer to God each day.

Because really, has giving up chocolate for a few weeks helped your faith? (for those of you to whom it has, great! For me, not so much...)


Monday, February 05, 2018

Could You Answer?

Yesterday before the Superbowl I had a student ask to meet with me and interview me for a class. She asked me what I believe, why I believe it, how it affects my ministry, things like that.

Here's my question: Could you answer that? These are all scary questions that I had no preparation for. But I answered them in part because I push students all the time to think about what they believe and why, and I can't ask them to do that if I'm not constantly doing it myself.

I Peter 3:15 says, "If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." The truth is, rarely are people going to bring up in conversation, "Hey, why do you believe in Jesus? Think about it and get back to me in two weeks." We should be ready to talk about our faith at the drop of a hat.

So, can you answer those questions? If you're looking for help in defining your answer maybe it's time to join a Bible Study and start talking with other disciples of Christ.