We wrapped up our series on the life of Abraham this week, First in Faith, and this week our hero faces his toughest challenge yet: the offering of his son Isaac. But as we’ve seen throughout the series, Abraham faces his challenge with faith and trust and because of that, he ends up reminding us of our key lesson in this series:
The reward of faith will always OUTWEIGH the cost, but it will never PRECEDE it. Read More
It's Part 3 in our study of the book of Joshua, THE PROMISED LAND and in this week's message, we're getting ready for the victory that God promised us.
Special thanks to my good friend Peter Karras as he gives us four invaluable lessons on what it takes to move in and possess the land/life God promised us. We know it's there for the taking, but we need to do our part to turn the promise into a reality. Read More
We’ve all heard St Paul’s famous words in Philippians 1:21 in which he boldly declares: "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Powerful words aren’t they!? But have you ever stopped to think about the implications of such words? After all this isn’t just catchy slogan found on printed mugs and tees for the hipster Christian to wear loud and proud – are they? Certainly not! Read More
Below is a post I wrote two years ago, just before the start of Holy Week 2016. As we near the start of another Holy Week, I thought this would be the perfect message for today. I hope you enjoy it and I pray that you all have a fruitful and blessed week as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read More
It's the finale of WanderLOST and in this week's message, we talk about the one thing we can do to keep the message in front of us at all times.
We need DAILY time to RENEW our minds. Without it, we'll be in danger of SETTLING for what we merely WANT vs STRIVING for what we truly VALUE. Read More
“The doors of his house were open to all. He was like a father to orphans; to the poor a merciful giver, to the weeping a comforter, to the wronged an advocate, and to all a great benefactor.”
Who's the most famous man that nobody knows is a real person? ST. NICHOLAS! The man who lived such an extraordinarily generous life, that he spawned the legend of Santa Claus across the world!
Who was the man behind Santa Claus and what can we learn from his life? That's our topic in part 2 of Irrational Generosity, we look at the life of the real St. NIcholas. Read More
IRRATIONAL GENEROSITY: We genuinely believe it is more blessed to give than to receive and we seek opportunities to express our love to God by sacrificing our time and our money.
It's part 4 in our Family Matters series and this week we're talking about everyone's [least] favorite topic: GIVING. But this wasn't just a message about money; it was a message about WORSHIP and the connection between your heart and your wallet/checkbook.
If you've never been inspired or motivated to give generously, I challenge you to listen to the message above and see if God changes your mind/heart. Read More
"What’s God’s will for my life?" That’s gotta be the #1 question people want answered. But in order for us to decipher God’s INDIVIDUAL will for our lives, we must first discover God’s GENERAL will for us – His overarching desire God for all His children.
The Bible mentions many components of this general will of God (love your enemies, honor your parents, in everything give thanks, etc.) but I would like to share about just one for today – based on two verses from Scripture:
[God] “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
We’re now a full week into December and that means several things. It’s time to find those winter hats/gloves. It’s time to put up those Christmas lights. And it’s time to start doing SOME CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!
But this year, instead of spending all our time thinking about gifts for our loved ones, let me encourage you to take some time to think about what you will be offering to your Most Loved One – the One who loves you dearly and has given us everything that we need in life.
The other day, I spoke about how Jesus gave up all He had in order to come down and save us. But I thought of an even greater gift that was given at Christmas – one that is unparalleled in terms of the sacrifice made. It was the gift that God the Father was willing to let go of.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Letting go of your Son – your only Son – for the sake of another? That is unfathomable! No words can describe that kind of sacrifice made for us. The thought of sacrificing your own son is something that makes every parent cringe. We'd gladly sacrifice ourselves 100 times before letting anyone touch our children. Read More
“Why would Jesus say that to the man? It seems a bit unreasonable doesn’t it? Why is Jesus making it so tough on the guy?”
That’s what I honestly find myself thinking every time I read the story of the Rich Young Ruler – found in Mark 10:17-22.
The guy came to Jesus and asked a very reasonable and well intentioned question – “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
His request wasn’t bad. I’d love for more young people to be asking the same question. He wasn’t asking how to get rich or how to be famous or how to marry a supermodel. He wasn’t asking for anything material or earthly at all. He asking how to inherit eternal life – which seems like a question that would make Jesus really happy.
So why then did Jesus eventually answer the man this way?
Last summer I sat down with my wife and two fish tacos at Baja Fresh. We prayed and I was just about to dig in after a day of fasting. Suddenly, a young woman walked in with a cardboard sign that said something about starving family members. Despite the many people who were there, for some reason she walked right up to us.
What was I to do? I handed her one of the fish tacos in front of me, and the woman was out the door. I’d like to say I was generous and thankful. But the truth is, I was sulky for having to part with my taco.
That same summer I was leading a Coptic Orphans staff book study with On Social Justice (St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary Press, 2009) where St. Basil the Great preaches on the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22 who walked away from Jesus sulky, too. In “To the Rich”, Basil says “those who love their neighbor as themselves possess nothing more than their neighbor…” (§1, p. 43)
But what about my Health Savings Plan? Retirement? Surely there are some exceptions, right?
I’m learning that God isn’t out to part us from as much of our substance as He can. He wants to use our money to show just how good He is—to us and to others. So what exactly does He want then? Read More
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33
Great power. Great grace. I love those two phrases. I want that in my life and I bet you wouldn’t mind them in yours either. The question for today is this: where did that 'great power' and 'great grace' come from?You’ll be surprised by the answer. That verse is found in between some other verses that seem out of place. The verse before it says:
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4:32)
And the verse after it says:
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:34-35)
Huh? Those verses are about giving. You’d expect a verse about 'great power' and 'great grace' would come from a passage about prayer or love or fasting or humility or something along those lines. But the Bible here connects it with generosity and giving instead. But not just any kind of giving – real giving, sacrificial giving, giving in a way that doesn’t make sense to give. Maybe the early church knew something that we don’t. Read More
Today's post was inspired by a book I read recently called Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. If you like the post, you'll love the book!
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole idea of "following Jesus” and what that really means. Am I a follower or not? Sometimes I wish Jesus would just make it simple and say “Following me = __________.” Just tell me what to do God and I will do it and then I’ll know I am fine and I can go on with the rest of my day.
But following Jesus is about more than just doing a task or finishing a chore. It is about life and how we live it, every single day. It is a conscious decision to follow Him at work, at home, at the gym, in front of my computer, behind my friend’s back, even while stuck on Route 66.
So how then do I know if I’m on the right track?