Let It Go

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Have you ever had an “awkward” handshake with someone?

You try to grab their hand, but they’re going for the fist bump. Or you’re thinking fist bump and they’re going for a high five?

That’s sort of what’s happening in these verses…

God is extending an open hand of forgiveness to you, but your fist is tightly clenched as you hang on to a grudge.

If you want to grasp God’s hand in forgiveness, you must let go of the slights, wounds, hurts, insults, sins, and grievances you have against others. You probably have every right to hang on to those things.

Just as God has every right to hang on to your sins against Him…

…but He doesn’t.


It’s the only way to be able to hold onto those nail-scarred hands of Jesus that bring forgiveness.

New Music

I’m so privileged to know this guy. Dilip is an amazing, Spirit-led worship leader. His first CD is coming out soon, but you can check out the first single now.

Go to iTunes, download this song, and then get ready for even more incredible music when his full CD is released in about a month. Trust me on this one…

Be Thou Exalted

Love this prayer from A.W. Tozer (in his book The Pursuit After God):

O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear to me if only Thou art glorified in my life.

Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shall be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.

Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it may mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.

Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, above my health and even my life itself.

Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.

I love it, and yet it is a true challenge to pray it.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Word Of God

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Word Of God

       The Bible nowhere says we have to believe it is the Word of God before we can be Christians. The Bible is not the Word of God to me unless I come at it through what Jesus Christ says, it is of no use to me unless I know Him. The key to my understanding of the Bible is not my intelligence, but my personal relationship to Jesus Christ. … You may believe the Bible is the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation and not be a Christian at all.

From Facing Reality

Do I just know the Word of God, or do I know the God of the Word? If I read and study the Bible just to gain knowledge, I will become a very religious person. But if I read the Bible to know Christ more, I will enter into a deeper relationship with Him.

…knowledge puffs up while love builds up… (1 Corinthians 8:1)

I want to read my Bible as a love letter, and fall more and more in love with the God who wrote it to me.

5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple

Nothing in life stays the same. Nothing. Things are either getting better or deteriorating.

According to the law of entropy, a system will constantly move from order to disorder, unless sufficient energy is used to keep the system in order. More simply put: you and I can’t coast.

  • If you’re married, put energy into finding new ways to cherish your spouse.
  • If you’re a parent, put energy into better parenting skills.
  • If you’re a friend, put energy into deepening that friendship.
  • If you’re an employee, put energy into doing your job better.
  • If you’re a leader, put energy into leading better.

I love this article 5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple in WebMD (you can read it here) about a couple skeptical of how Gary Chapman’s book on love languages could improve their marriage. But they decided to try it for one week. They put in the energy and got something better out. You can also read my thoughts about Dr. Chapman’s book by clicking here.

Are you willing to invest a week of energy into your marriage, family, job, or friendships? If you will keep applying energy, you will keep improving. And that’s a lot better than deteriorating!


Modern psychologists have coined the term codependent to mean someone who allows their life to be controlled by another person, much like the moon controls the tides on the earth’s oceans. Almost always this relationship ends up being a lose-lose relationship: both the person being controlled and the person doing the controlling are headed the wrong way.

Codependent is not a biblical term.

But there is a concept in Scripture that is the anti-codependent. I would call it interdependent. Here’s a couple of verses to back it up…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Proverbs 27:6)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. (Galatians 5:13)

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10)

This isn’t excusing bad behavior, or winking at poor choices, or rescuing someone from the consequences of sin. Excusing, winking, and rescuing are symptoms of codependency.

Interdependency is saying, “I need you to be stronger—to be healthy—because I may need to lean on you someday.”

Christians try to get stronger and develop their own spiritual gifts so that they can help a friend-in-need get stronger and develop his/her spiritual gifts.

The Body of Christ needs you to be interdependent, which completely trumps codependent.

Freely Given

There have been so many people who have invested in my life, so I love when I have the opportunity to give back to someone else.

On Sunday mornings, my typical “style” is to present a 2- to 6-week series. That means multiple messages all built around a common theme. To help make the theme attractive and memorable, I usually develop a graphic/logo for each series.

Just recently a couple of pastors have asked me if I would provide them with my notes and graphics for a series. I answered with a wholehearted Yes! I feel these messages and logo ideas were freely given to me, and so I’m more than happy to freely give them to anyone who asks for them.

If you want anything I’ve designed or taught, it’s yours… all you have to do is ask.

Are You A Missionary?

My cousin is a missionary in a country that is over 98% Muslim. Every day he engages Muslims using their language, their culture, their beliefs, their traditions. He’s in their homes, their businesses, their marketplaces.

He shows them how much Jesus loves them by showing them how much he loves them.

The other day I was reading one of his recent e-newsletters where he described what a missionary is:

Missionaries engage culture respectfully, learning local languages, celebrating what is good, speaking against injustice, speaking for those too weak or abused to speak for themselves. Missionaries often love their adopted countries as much as natural citizens do. Missionaries exalt Christ and point to Him as the only answer for our common sin problem, and the only hope for lasting peace. They are a blessing to their families and society. They are loyal to their families, faithful to their authorities, and servants to their communities.

When I read this description I thought, “I’m a missionary. I do all of these things right here in Cedar Springs. Like learning the local culture and traditions; celebrating the good in our community; speaking out for those who can’t; supporting our schools, police, fire, and elected officials.

I My Church and I Cedar Springs!

Two questions:

1.  Do you agree with my cousin’s definition of missionary?

2.  Are you a missionary in your community?

Rescue The Innocent

As we approach Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 23, I want to encourage you again to stand up for life. All life is sacred because all life is created in the image of God. From the moment of conception until the last breath, life is God’s masterpiece.

Especially at this time of year when we reflect on the devastation that abortion has left in its wake, it’s time to pray and to speak up for the innocent who cannot speak up for themselves.

“On this 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I urge you in the strongest terms possible: pray. Pray and fast. And then roll up your sleeves and get involved in the effort to rescue these innocent children.”

Join us this Sunday as we celebrate life, and as we let our light shine for life.

Thursdays With Oswald—Disentangled

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.


       A disciple of Jesus must know from what he is to be disentangled. The disentanglement is from things which would be right for us but for the fact that we have taken upon us the vows of God. There is a difference between disentanglement for our own soul’s sake and disentanglement for God’s sake. We are apt to think only about being disentangled from the things which would ensnare us—we give up this and that, not for Jesus Christ’s sake, but for our own development. A worker has to disentangle himself from many things that would advantage and develop him but which would turn him aside from being broken bread and poured out wine in his Lord’s hands. We are not here to develop our own spiritual life, but to be broken for Jesus Christ’s sake.

From Approved Unto God

My prayer: Break me … disentangle me … pour me out for Your glory, O God.

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