Part 3 of First in Faith: The Life of Abraham and this week God takes Abraham outside and gives him a strange homework assignment. But the result of that assignment was a shift in perspective that changed Abraham’s view of God - and of the world - forever.Read More
It’s Sunday morning, 8:30 am. The alarm goes off. Exhausted from staying up till 1 am the night before, you snooze 3 more times, buying you 27 more minutes of sleep. By the time you roll out of bed, shower and get dressed, it’s 9:21 am. You have 9 minutes to drive 11 miles, find a parking spot and get to your seat. In other words, YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE FOR CHURCH!
And because you’re late (again), parking is scarce, there are no good seats left and you’ve already missed part of the service. You can’t focus because you missed the beginning and you’re trying to play catch up the whole time. You are tired. You are frazzled. You are frustrated. Is this what Sunday morning is supposed to look like?Read More
It’s part 2 in the series First in Faith: The Life of Abraham and this week we see a different side of our hero - one that struggles and makes mistakes. But it’s through those mistakes that we learn an important lesson about God’s promises and the life of faith: God’s promises are based more on who HE IS vs what I DO.Read More
“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10)
As I wrote about last week, we are now officially in the midst of the season of Lent … oh no… wait a minute… I said that I don’t believe that Lent is meant to be just a “season.” A “season” comes and goes with no purpose; the only reason we are in a “season” is because the calendar tells us that it is time for that season.
ASIDE: Coincidentally enough, I just noticed that “spring” officially begins in one week, March 20 – but who cares? That proves my point. No one is expecting that next Wednesday is really any different than this one – it’s just what the calendar says. Seasons make no difference.
Lent is not a season, but rather a journey. A journey has a purpose. We are going somewhere. We have a destination. And on this journey of Lent, we have two specific destinations that we’re trying to reach: a CROSS and a TOMB.Read More
We kicked off a new series yesterday, one that will carry us through our journey through Lent. The series is called First in Faith: The Life of Abraham. Our goal is to look at how God turned this ordinary man - filled with many of our same weaknesses and shortcomings - into a GIANT in faith.Read More
If you’re an Orthodox Christian, this week marked the first day of a 55 day journey called Lent. I like calling it a “journey” more than a “season” because that helps me remember that there is a purpose.
Seasons come and seasons go and nothing really changes. We go through winter for a while and then it’s time for spring. And then soon spring goes and then it’s time for summer. Just a season. Something we go through just because the calendar tells us that it’s the time of year to go through it.
A journey however is something we go through for a purpose.Read More
“For all my life I have worried about what other people think about me. As a little child, I quickly learned that certain things would bring the smile and approval of my parents and other adults. Then when I started grade school, the approval of my friends became the most important thing in my life.
Now I’m in college. But I’ve never grown out of this fear of being rejected. I still live my life mainly based on the approval of others. I want so badly to be liked, to fit in, and to be accepted that I have done all kinds of dumb stuff that my friends pushed me to do. I really regret that. Most of the time I know the right thing to do. I’m just afraid to do it, worrying about what my friends will think.
Why am I so weak? Why can’t I handle their disapproval? I have opinions, but I’m always afraid to express them. I am tired of saying yes to people just because I’m afraid to say no. I’m tired of caring too much about what other people think of me. I’m tired of being manipulated and used. But in many ways it’s my fault. Sometimes I feel that I don’t even know who I am. I’m just a collection of the expectations of others.”
That’s an actual email I received about two years ago. My heart broke for that young lady. She had allowed her life to be controlled by the thoughts and opinions of other people – people that she didn’t even care about and who certainly didn’t care about her. She was stuck in a self-imposed prison and it seemed like there was no way out.Read More
We’re going back in time this week and putting the finishing touches on the series UNTOLD STORIES: Forgotten Fathers of the Faith. We started this series way back in December, but had to cut it short due to some untimely snow days.
But we put the finishing touches on it yesterday as we looked at the life of IRENAEUS OF LYONS. - an unsung hero of the faith who was one of the first church fathers to address the issue of the Bible: what belongs in it (canon) and how should we understand it (covenant).Read More
It’s the return of my ASK ME ANYTHING scope, today at 12:30 pm EST. So get your questions ready and I’ll do my best to answer them. You ask it and I’ll answer it. No topic is off limits!Read More
It’s time for the finale of Confessions of a Bible Powercouple and we saved the best for last! In this week’s message, we see the painful yet beautiful story of Hosea - the prophet called by God to preach the unconditional love of God, by demonstrating that love to Gomer, his wife.
May their story inspire us in our own marriages and in our walk with God as well.Read More
I refuse to accept 50/50 in my marriage. No way. Not me. I know what the statistics say – that 50% of marriages end in divorce. And I know that the other 50% are mostly just sputtering along – keeping it together but not really finding the true intimacy and closeness that they each so desire. I know all of that. BUT I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT MY MARRIAGE WILL BE LESS THAN GREAT!
50/50 odds are not good enough for me. I want better for my wife, and for my kids, and most importantly, FOR MY SELF! I don’t want the same results as everybody else – and that is why I believe I must live differently than everybody else.
So with that said, I want to talk about what I believe is the most important factor upon which a successful marriage is built. There is one factor that I believe will contribute to your success in marriage more than anything else. This one commitment, if you keep it, won’t lead to a perfect marriage at all times – but it will certainly lead to one that is long-lasting and fulfilling for many years to come.Read More
It’s Part 3 of our series Confessions of a Bible Powercouple and this week we’re looking at one of the most famous and well-known powercouples ever: Abraham and Sarah.
Abraham and Sarah are two GIANTS when it comes to faith. They’re known for their incredible trust in God. But was their faith always strong? Or did they ever falter? Did they ever have any moments of weakness?
YOU BET! And through their story, we learn some critical lessons about what it means to “trust in God.”Read More
I’m talking leadership today and those who’ve followed me over the years know that I don’t do that very often – not because I don’t think it’s an important topic, but rather because I don’t feel particularly qualified in that area.
When I think of great leaders, I think of people who started movements and changed the world with their forward-thinking vision. When I think of myself, I think of a guy just struggling to figure out what to preach for this week’s sermon.
Great leaders are the guys who know what they’re doing – the guys who got it all figured out. Great leaders are the ones who have all the answers. Right???Read More
We’re in Part 2 of our series on Confessions of a Bible Powercouple and this week we’re looking at one of the most common dynamics in marriage today: the PASSIVE husband and the CONTROLLING wife.
By looking at the story of Ahab and Jezebel, we see how that dynamic might play out and the results of neglecting to STEP IN to the role that God designed us for.Read More
That title is a bit misleading (but it sure is catchy isn’t it?). You can’t actually “control” your thoughts – at least not in the same way that you can control other things, like a blender or a remote control car or a group of dancing robots.
It would be great if you could, but you can’t. You can’t control every thought that comes into your head. Thoughts will creep in that you have no control over. For example:Read More
There's nothing quite like a juicy love story...the romance, the intrigue, the drama, and maybe a little scandal. In this series, we'll travel back in time and take a closer look at four famous marriages from the Old Testament. We'll see what lessons we can learn and allow their stories to speak into our lives to empower and enrich our marriages.
Up first: Jacob and Leah…….and Rachel.Read More
THE WELL IS BACK!
I apologize for the loooong layoff, but what was supposed to be just a 3-week hiatus for the holidays turned out to be much longer due to several factors outside of our control. But thanks be to God, we finally got back to work this past weekend and the video is above.
That’s the good news.
The bad news however is that we – once again unfortunately – had technical difficulties and the recording is both INCOMPLETE (first 5-6 minutes didn’t record) and well BELOW THE QUALITY that you’re used to and deserve. For that I apologize but it was really out of our control.Read More
It isn’t often that you hear Jesus speaking harshly. It isn’t often that you hear the Bible talking about a sin as inexcusable. But that is exactly how the Bible refers to a certain sin – one that we all do a lot more than we realize.
"Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things… And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:1-3)
Ouch! Tough words there. Where did that come from? Where’s all the love and forgiveness and mercy and grace and stuff like that? Why use a word like “inexcusable” to describe a sin which, if we’re honest, we all do on a daily basis?Read More
Yesterday, we in the Orthodox Church celebrated Christmas (best thing about being Orthodox is getting two Christmases - Dec 25 and Jan 7 - who wouldn’t want to celebrate twice???). And on that occasion, we received a beautiful pastoral letter written by His Grace Bishop Peter. We read the letter in church during the Liturgy and so many people were touched by it, so I decided to post it below for your edification as well. Enjoy!Read More
Below is a blog post that I originally wrote almost five years ago. I wrote it at a time when it seemed like a lot of people were going through "a hard time" and I found myself struggling with what to say and how to guide them. Below is what I came up with.
I feel that we might be in another one of those seasons now - where many are going through difficult times and struggling with questions like "what do I do now?" and "where do I go from here?"
Because of that, I am reposting my three-step strategy of what to do when there's nothing you can do... and where to go when you've got nowhere to go.Read More