Tuesday, March 31, 2015


There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.

Do you recognize these classic lines? Sure you do, Dorothy's waking words after her long journey back from the land of Oz. You remember the scene don't you? Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man all standing anxiously next to her farmhouse bed awaiting her return to the land of the living. Of course, the characters around her bed are her family members out of character.

Well my friends, like Dorothy, we are all traveling through this world to the Emerald City (Heaven) and our journey is not an easy one. The Wicked Witch of the West (Satan) is always seducing us to distrust our Father, the scary flying monkeys (demonic spirits) always trying to stir up fear in our hearts, and the many trials and tribulations along life's journey have a way of discouraging and distracting us from our blessed hope in Christ.

Never the less, like Dorothy, our journey helps us to appreciate our family and home all the more. For even Kansas looks good after traveling the difficult road to the Emerald City.

Brothers and sisters, for me, each Sunday morning at Boundless Grace is liking waking up after a long journey through the land of Oz. The familiar faces of God's beloved people color the pages of my life in hues of joy, love, and grace. Like Dorothy, when Sunday rolls around I can say with sincerity, there is no place like home!

I read recently that in our modern world people are opting out of traditional church more and more and connecting with the family of God via the many technologies out there; podcasts, social media, blogs,YouTube........Okay. I too enjoy and take advantage of technology in my spiritual journey but to opt out of fellowshipping with the family...not a chance! Nothing beats good old fashion fellowship with the family of God.

You know what I mean don't you? Meeting up with brothers and sister on a regular basis for "family time." You know! God's Imperfect, but Beloved, meeting together and rubbing the love of God off on one another: handshakes and hugs, happy smiles, holy kisses , laughter, tender prayers, etc... There is no place like home!

Perhaps it's been a while since you have been home. Can I encourage you to make it your goal this Sunday morning to go Home and allow the family of God to love on you and vise versa?!

If you have no place to call home come, please don't hesitate to visit Boundless Grace. We are a people who love each other for who we are and not for who we think we're supposed to be. We are a family all striving to live out the "one another's" as commanded in scripture: greeting one another, loving one another, accepting one another, praying for one another, encouraging one another, confessing our faults one to another, supporting one another and even singing one to another! Yes, we are a family. No, not a perfect family, but an authentic family who finds even Kansas (Vallejo) a great place to meet up for family time!

In closing, I hope you will never forget that "there is no place like home!" and home for the believer in this life is at the meeting place of the saints, the church.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Unworthy, worst of sinners, and less than least of every one in the Church...yet being used of God

Do you feel unworthy of God's love and divine purposes for your life?  Well, if your like me you do.  After all, who am I to tell others about Jesus?  For, my past life alone should disqualify me from God's love. and if not from his love, certainly from the ministry whether vocational or as a volunteer.  And even if God were to put my past sins behind me (which he did) certainly the imperfections of my present life should disqualify me from ministry. After all, there are many more qualified people than me that God could use to get his work done through.  Well, can you relate? Does this sound like you?  Well, if so, keep reading because I believe there is good news for people like us.  Good news found in one beautiful word, GRACE!  That's right, GRACE. For Grace alone explains how God could love and save sinners like us and even choose to use us for His glory, regardless of how unworthy we feel.   

"not worthy"

Several years ago I was studying Paul's letter to the Church at Corinth and stumbled upon a phrase that stuck to the ribs of my soul.  In context, Paul was defending  not only the doctrine of the resurrection but himself as an Apostle. You see, many people were hostile toward Paul and were always trying to discredit his ministry.  And its in this context that Paul defends himself without denying his unworthy status, 

For I am the least of the Apostles and not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.  But (a "big but" I might add) by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God in me 1Cor15:9-10
I am what I am by the grace of God, did you catch that phrase?  He did not say, I am who I am but what I am. That is to say, I am qualified to serve even though unworthy because God's grace and not a godly life is the cause behind the calling. You see, God chooses, the base things of the world and the despised to show off His amazing grace (1Cor1:28).

On a personal note: This phrase, "I am what I am" is written in the front cover of my Bible and serves to embolden me every time I stand in a pulpit to preach. I am what I am by grace alone!!!!

I am the "worst" of sinners

Lest you think that Paul's remarks in Corinthians concerning his sense of unworthiness was an isolated incident, think again.  When writing to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul proclaims the following, 
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 1Tim 1:15-16
You see, Paul's past life was never far from the front of his mind. Yet, he understood his sinful past as one of God's choice examples of GRACE that would not only forgive a man's sins but provide a living example of not only who God chooses but who He uses!  
Less the Least of all of God's people
Okay, one final example to underscore Paul's sense of unworthiness and the Grace of God.  In Ephesians 3, Paul explains the implications of the good news of Jesus and once again, his sense of unworthiness comes to the surface:
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:7-8
Less than least of all the Lord's people?   Come on Paul, stop with the false humility stuff, and what's up with this "all of God's people" thing.  Certainly your sins are not worst then ours.  After all, you were sinning in ignorance while we committed our sins intentionally.  How can you say all of this?   His answer might be, because this is how I feel and the Holy Spirit has inspired me to write this statement.  Therefore, I am not being self depreciating out of false humility but  from a place of honest transparency.  Never the less, God's grace was given to me to preach his boundless grace(the riches of Christ) to people who are tore up from the floor up.
In closing, my dear blogger friends, just because we feel unworthy, the worst of sinners, and less than least  of everyone in the Church, we must not allow these feelings to derail us from proclaiming Jesus to a lost world.  In fact, the reason we were chosen is to show others how boundless God's grace really is.

Friday, September 28, 2012


If Boundless Grace Church is to reach its potential, it is my belief that we must all be willing to allow our roots to sink deeply into the soil of one another’s lives. After all, the Bible is clear that the Christian faith is a communal faith which is defined by a commitment to one another (Romans 12:10). And it’s in community and only in community that we can grow spiritually to the point of becoming fruitful for God’s purposes both personally and communally.

The New Testament defines and commands the Church to live out its faith in the context of one another. In fact, there are over 40 commands pressed upon believers to: love one another(11), forgive one another(2), encourage one another(5), pray for one another(1), instruct one another(2), confess our sins to one another(1), serve one another (1), greet one another(4), refuse to judge one another(1), refuse to slander one another(1), be hospitable to one another (2), accept one another(1), refuse to grumble against one another (1), etc…. I think is sufficient to say that apart from a rooted commitment to one another in the local church a Christian won't be in alignment with God’s purposes for their life.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, this past week while traveling to Atlanta for a wedding I began to contemplate our Church community and the following thoughts began to come to the surface of my mind.  Thoughts I feel worthy of the printed page.

Roots Grow Together: One such thought that came to mind is simple but profound; roots grow together. Think about it, if you were to uproot a plant and examine the root system you would find that all its roots are intertwined and tangle up together. As to why this is, well, I’m no horticulturist but my guess is that roots grow together so close in proximity to one another that they can’t help but become intertwined. And of course, in the wisdom of God, there is a benefit to growing together which is best understood as the principle of synergy (a term used to underscore the idea that, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). You see roots that grow together form a strong bond that allows them to penetrate the hardest of soils and over time become productive and fruitful, which apart from one another would not be the case. And this principle is true as it relates to believers in Christ. As we commit to one another we become stronger as a people and stronger as a Church body.

What’s my point? Well, as a pastor now for almost half my life I have observed that far too many Christians have little fruit on their faith tree because they do not remain long enough in one place to grow together. According to the Barna Research Group, one in seven adults changes churches each year, and another one in six attends a handful of churches on a rotating basis. "Constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace," was the phrase used by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life 2005 in describing the faith community of our country. Well, perhaps Smokey Robinson’s classic defines the motto of our religious culture today, “you better shop around.”

Common reasons people uproot themselves from their churches
1. Change of address: sometimes people move out of the area and have no choice but to find a new church home.

2. Immaturity, it takes a level of maturity to be faithful to a local Church given the fact that the Church is not perfect, neither are its people nor its pastors.

3. Selfish Ambition: some people will only stay in a church if they can have a position of prominence. If they don’t see an opportunity to be in the inner circle they're gone. (Godly ambition is great but it is often times a smoke screen for selfish ambition).

4. Lack of friends: some people leave the church because they feel disconnected from the people of the church and can’t seem to "crack the code" of fellowship. Yet this code is simple, those who have friends are intentional about cultivating friendships. And regardless of the size of the church, small groups are essential for cultivating deeper friendships.

5. Hurt: Many people leave the church because they have been hurt by someone in the church (not a good reason to leave). Family dysfunction is rampant in our culture which is best described as an inability to cultivate and maintain healthy and harmonious relationships among one another.

Reasons to let your roots sink deep into the soil of a local Church
1. The longer a person stays committed to a local Church the greater the opportunity for authentic relationships to form. And apart from authentic relationships superficiality is as deep as we go. Thus growth is subverted.

2. Only rooted Christians ever really understand and experience the truth that the body of Christ both suffers together and rejoices together.

3. Only rooted Christians gain the reputation of being faithful rather than fickle saints.

4. Only rooted Christians leave a legacy of commitment to the next generation.

The down side of uprooting
1. People who uproot themselves not only disrupt the soil around their own lives but the soil of those planted next to them.

2. People who move around too often may unknowingly pass on a bad habit to the next generation, leave rather than last in one place.

3. People who uproot often run the risk of producing underdeveloped fruit at best and at worst little or no fruit at all. I read somewhere that an apple tree takes three years to bear edible fruit.

4. People who uproot often never get to experience the joy of helping a local Church reach its potential.

5. Rootless Christians rob themselves of being directed and care for by the pastoral leadership team. (Pastors and leaders alike are reluctant to pour much time into people who appear to be transient)

6. Rootless Christians rob the Church of reaching its potential.

In conclusion, my hope and prayer for Boundless Grace Church is that our people will allow their roots to sink deep into the soil of one another's lives. We will all benefit by such choices and God's kingdom will advance.

Friday, January 13, 2012


If you’re like most people I know, you probably have one of those crafty little signs hanging somewhere in your house. You know the ones I’m talking about, those cute wall signs with pithy little three word statements painted on them like, Life, Laughter, & Love, or Family, Friends, & Fun. Well, before you read too far into this blog, can I ask you a question? Does your home life really reflect such sentiment and how about your church? I’m afraid if we’re honest many would have to use such expressions as; Moody, Mad, and Messy, or Compromise, Controlling & Commanding, or Rules, Rigidity, & Routine. Okay, Okay, enough conviction for now. Let me get to subject of this blog.

Recently a close friend of mine and I were swapping stories about our kids. My friend shared a conversation that he had with his adult son which penetrated me to the core. He and his son were talking about faith issues. His son said, “Dad, when I think of Christianity three words come to mind: BOREDOM, ANGER, & FEAR.” Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Not exactly three words we would want hanging on the wall in our living rooms.

Well, this conversation got me stirred up and I began to reflect on this young man’s perceptions of Christianity. And rather than try to excuse these rants as the voice of a “hater” of Christians or the Church, I thought it more constructive to counter these negatives with a few positives.


The first thought that came to mind when I heard my friend’s story was of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth, a Church which was really missing the mark. In fact, this Church was blowing it big time. People were suing each other, judging each other, showing up drunk at worship gatherings, just to name a few of their problems. And to add to the chaos, the Church was fixated on spiritual gifts, to the detriment of the people who attended it. In short, this Church was plenty charismatic and outwardly pious, but their testimony was tainted. In this context that the Apostle Paul exhorts these believers to expend their energy striving after the following three virtues; faith, hope and love.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.(1Corinthians 13:9-13).

You see, when the Church majors on the majors, people begin to understand God and his Church in a positive way. However, when Christians major in minors, i.e. ministry and programs, people are left with an obscure view of God that resembles nothing more than a fogged over image of a distant and strange God.

Is Christianity really boring? You want an honest answer? Yes, judging by what I have observed, many people are boring because they are bored. After all, the modern Church is filled with people who are nothing more than domestic socialites; people who loiter around church lobbies talking shop about God, yet lacking evidence of divine adventure in their own experience. However, the Bible is filled with adventure stories of anything but tame, coffee drinking, suit & tie wearing folks. You know the stories, Moses parting the Red Sea, David killing Goliath, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Peter casting out demons, Paul floating in the Mediterranean on a piece of wood, etc, etc…. But in modernity, we are told that God doesn’t exercise power through people much anymore. In fact, the only one who seems to be allowed to tap into the power is the preacher once a week to motivate people to think great thoughts about how God used to work.

But wait a minute, didn’t Jesus tell the disciples that signs and wonders would follow them that believe? (Mark 16:17-18) And isn’t healing and deliverance needed today as much as ever? And are not modern Christians filled with the same Holy Spirit as in times past? Well, from my vantage point, as a pastor, the answer is yes, yes, yes! The world has been taken captive by the enemy of our faith and we Christians are called to be the very ones that step into the battle fields of life and exercise our faith for another’s benefit. And this is anything but boring. And to be effective we will need super-natural power won't we?

Well, if I am right, we must repent and muster up the courage to attempt great things once again for God's glory and reputation. After all,apart from faith it is impossible to please God.(Heb 11:6) And faith is not a set of beliefs we give mental assent to but a lifestyle of action that demands radical obedience.

Chip Ingram, a great pastor, preacher and author poses some great questions in his book, From Good to Great in God’s Eyes which are appropriate at this point:

Why does God use some people more than others? Why do some Christians seem to be in a special category while others live regular lives?

Well, Chip answers his own questions with the following statement:

Every believer’s life will be marked by windows of opportunity that demand radical steps of faith in order to follow Christ and fulfill his purpose for their life. And what makes a step of faith radical is that it will always involve significant risk. Where there is no risk, there’s no faith; where there is no faith there is neither joy nor power nor intimacy with God. There are also no supernatural miracles, no reward, and ultimately no pleasing God. p.120

My blogger friends, faith is not boring, we are. Perhaps we all should begin to examine our lives afresh and pray for a rediscovering of the great adventure of living by faith and not by sight.

Questions to Consider: What is exciting about your faith walk? When was the last time you did something for the Lord that required risk or stepping out of your comfort zone?

Anger of all words is not a word that Christianity should conjure up in the mind but apparently for some it does just that. The question I pose here is why? Why would anyone get angry when thinking about a faith that is established on such a great hope, i.e. eternal and abundant life? Well, I suppose for some, it’s because they hate the fact that God is sovereign (large and in charge) and has the final word in life and death. But I think for many such people its because Christians often do a poor job communicating the good news of the gospel. Just recently Harold Camping’s ministry rolled out a Bill Board Campaign across our nation with a loud and resounding phrase, judgment is coming! But is this the motto and message of Christianity? Is God really up in the heavens anxiously waiting of bring damnation upon of the human race? And is God so angry with mankind that only a few lucky ones will escape his wrath?

Well, the truth of the matter is that God loves mankind immensely and wants all men to be saved (1Timothy 2:4, 2Peter3:9). In fact, He is referred in scripture as the God of all hope, not the God of all judgment! (Romans 15:13)

Jesus once said to a lost but religious man named Nicodemus, “I did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it.” (John3:17). You see, yes mankind is separated from God and has a sin problem but that’s the reason he came. He said himself, "I did not come to call the righteous but the unrighteous." (Luke 19:10) In fact, a careful examination of the life of Christ would cause one to discover that the worst of sinners were the very ones he loved and related to the best! So, my Christian brothers and sister, let’s not be people of doom, but rather proclaim the grace and kindness of our God from a place of great hope for the race of men.

The Bible states that perfect love cast out fear! Well, if this is the case, and it is, why are so many people afraid to attend our Churches? Perhaps they fear being judged. Judged for what they wear, judged about their hair, judged about the habits, judged about their friends, judged, judged, judged. I believe this is the number one reason people avoid going to Church. People are simply fearful of not being accepted for who they are, sin and all. But Jesus taught something much different did he not? You know, judge not lest ye be judged. (Matt.7:1-2)

I remember reading somewhere that people are fearful of Christians because Christians are against so many things in the culture. Christians are against homosexuality, against drinking, against, cursing, against abortion, against divorce, against secular music, etc, etc….. And this is exactly where many people find themselves in life, morally flunking out. In this context such people conclude that we are against them. After all, such people know nothing about the , love the sinner hate the sin thing that we talk about.

Therefore, we Christians must strive to disarm people by sincerely loving them where they are. After all, we ourselves were saved by grace apart from any moral excellence on our part. Our faith was a gift, based solely on the kindness and grace of God(Eph 2:8-9).

In this context it’s worth reading the following statement made by Christ to his disciples the night before his crucifixion.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:13-17

My friends, we have been chosen to bear fruit which is directly linked to loving one another, starting within the community of believers and working its way outward (love your neighbor as yourself). And love is the greatest of all virtues because love is the essence of who God is. According to the scriptures, when we love people we best display the heart of God toward them. In fact, the invisible God becomes visible through us!

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1John 4:12)

And lest we be tempted to think of love as merely some gooey feeling or non tangible expression without substance we must look at how the Apostle Paul defined love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1Cor13:4-8)

Okay, enough said, let me wrap whole thing up with an exhortation. My brothers and sisters, I believe God is calling out to his people once again, his message is the message written to the Church at Corinth. And we must chose the most excellent way, the way of faith, hope and love. For in this, I believe we will help the hard-hearted, disillusioned and even the haters in our world redefine Christianity in terms we can be proud of. Therefore, may our spouses, children, neighbors, co-workers, and even enemies see in us that which they would best described as Faith, Hope and Love!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Infants aren't so Cute

Childlike faith and Childish Faith, there is a difference

Like every Church, Boundless Grace has an age limit for children who can be placed in our nursery. I think it’s around two or three years old. Of course, the reason for the age limit is that infants demand lots of attention which requires more personal care and staffing than other ministries. These little ones are still crawling, crying, and wanting to be coddled. The fact is, infants have one thing in common “need.” In keeping with the vernacular of our day, it’s all about them!

Well, recently while driving down the highway a humorous thought came to mind. What if Churches lifted the age limit, spiritually speaking for attendance into our nurseries? The result I fear would be overcrowded nursery rooms with people in their twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties, all needing to be checked in.

All right, I must confess, I have become a little jaded over my twenty plus years in vocational ministry as a pastor but I have observed many believers who are old in their confession of the faith by mere infants in their walk of faith. As I used to hear from a pastor in my former Church, some men are so old in God that you must part their beard to give them a bottle. Ouch!!!!!

The Crawling Believer
When a baby starts crawling a parent gets excited, but if the child is still crawling at the age three there is reason for concern. Well, my blogger friends, I think that our churches are filled with crawling believers; crawling in their knowledge of the word of God, crawling in their ability to serve faithfully without complaint, crawling in their ability to trust God under trial, crawling in their ability to love people unlike themselves, crawling in their willingness to forgive and forget. They are just crawling! There is reason for concern. After all, God gets glory from our walk, not our crawl.

The Crying Believer
Of course, a baby cries because it has only one way to express his need! But at age forty we would hope a person would be able to communicate need without whining. I’m afraid some believers are better known for their whine than their worship. They whine because the pastor didn’t acknowledge their need or ideas, they whine when they are overlooked for a leadership position, they even whine if the coffee is not hot enough or the doughnuts don’t have sprinkles on them! All right, maybe it’s not all this bad, but deprive some believers of what they feel they deserve and be ready to plug your ears!

Perhaps we have forgotten that just being in God’s family is a blessing.
I’m reminded of the story of the prodigal son in keeping with this point.
You know the story! The son goes out and sows his wild oats and screws up his life only to return home in repentance. The words uttered by the boy upon his return home to his gracious father are worth reflection here.

I am not worthy to be called a son, just let me live as one of your servants!

Dear Believer, do you remember how blessed you felt to know that the Father had forgiven you of your sins and rebellion? Do you remember the sense of privilege of just being welcomed into the family of believers? I’m afraid that sometimes we can lose sight of our blessings and be self deceived into thinking that we are somehow being neglected by the Father or his people.

The Coddled Believer
Have you ever been around someone in Church that made you feel that you must walk on egg shells around them? You know the type, people who seem to say non-verbally, it’s my way or the highway. My friends, the Church isn’t Burger King’s where you can have it your way! We are called to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2). It’s not about us is it?

Growing up in our Faith
All right, what might you ask is the solution to growing out of the spiritual nursery? I think the Apostle Peter with great precision and concision has the answer: a statement, a scripture printed on our giveaway coffee mugs at Boundless Grace:

Grace and Peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. 2Peter1:2

Mature believers are people who are so attracted to God that they not only want to know him better but that they want to become like him as well. Not just enjoying His grace and peace as a gift for themselves but gifts to be poured out on those with whom they worship next to in the pew. Or as the Apostle Paul exhorted the Church at Ephesus,

Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph.5:1-2

Symptoms of Maturity in the Making
As a father of three, I can still remember using the door jam in my daughter’s bedroom as a benchmark for their growth spurts. Every few months one of my girls would want to stand up against the door jam to be measured. If the pencil mark was even a ¼ inch above the last line there was reason to celebrate, after all, growth had taken place. This exercise was always fun for both me and my daughters. Perhaps we would do ourselves well to standup in the doorway of our own spiritual bedroom and measure ourselves in the following areas to see if we have grown over the past few years:

1. Gentleness towards others:
Mature people are gentle spirited which is seen in a willingness to yield rather than be pushy and controlling. Phil.4:5

2. Able to overlook offenses: Mature believers are not easily offended and will work hard at overlooking faults. After all, love covers over a multitude of sins. 1Peter4:8

3. Hard to tick off: The Bible says that we are not to be easily angered!

4. Content to serve others rather than being served or seen!
The greatest in the kingdom according to Jesus are the servants of all! Matt.20:26

5. Refuse to whine!

Do all things without grumbling or disputing: so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we appear as lights in the world holding fast the word of life. Phil.2:14-16a

6. Follow your leaders rather than fight with them.
A clear symptom of immaturity is an unwillingness to submit to leadership, i.e. authority figures in the church. Heb.13:17

7. Growing in your knowledge of God: Growing believers are growing in their knowledge of God by means of Bible study.

Well, in wrapping this blog up, can I ask you a question or two? Have you grown in the past year? Do you have reason to celebrate, or are you still crawling, crying, and needed to be coddled? If you are growing go out today and celebrate your growth in Christ! If not, get off the carpet at once and make up your mind to start walking after Christ. After all, the carpet will give you rug burns!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Big Rocks Must Go in First

Recently while preaching on the importance of evaluating how we use our time, I asked the congregation to raise their hands if they had goals for the coming year. To my delight, the majority of the people raised their hands. However, when I asked the follow up question, how many have their goals written down, 90% of the folks put their hands down. To be honest, I expected such a response because people are filled with good intensions but most fail to take their goals serious enough to write them out and carve out time to make them happen. We all want to lose weight, save more money, spend more time with our kids, etc…. But, will good intensions enough to realize our desires? I would suggest they are not.

Moses prayed in Psalms 90:12, Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. This prayer was uttered on the heels of his comment; the length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength.

You see, life is brief and will quickly pass. Therefore we must make good use of our time. While there is some value to having a spark of spontaneity in life, unless we take charge of our schedules we will discover that our year will come and go with very little progress or productivity in the areas that really matter.

My blogger friends, the following story is worth the read as a starting place to help us gain a heart of wisdom:

A time management expert was teaching a seminar for executives. He placed a large, clear open-mouthed jar in front of the group. Next, he put seven or eight large rocks into the jar until it was full. “Is the jar full?” He asked. Everyone nodded. Then he took pebbles and filled up the jar with the small rocks until they reached the rim. “Is the jar full?” By now, they didn’t answer. So, he poured fine sand in. “Is the jar full?” Some nodded. He proceeded to take a pitcher of water and filled up the jar again. “What’s the lesson about time management?” he asked. Hands shot up, and everyone agreed “No matter how busy you are you can always fit more things into your schedule.” “Wrong.” he replied. “The lesson is: unless you put the big rocks in first, they never will fit in. You must figure out what the big rocks are for you.” What are the big rocks in your life?

As 2011 passes through the hour glass of time I hope you have placed your “big rocks” in your calendar and that these priorities are governing your routine. After all, life is a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow.

In this context, I would like to suggest four big rocks that must make it into our schedules:

Rock Number One-You: That’s right, unless you take care of yourself you will be of little value to others. But what, may you ask, does it mean to take care of yourself? Well, I think that we all need exercise, proper diet, mental stimulation(read), recreation(play), & meditation (pray). And while it is true that all the above require determination and discipline, I believe you are capable. So, get started today! Begin with some baby steps in each area. You will be surprised at how much improvement you will experience in a week if you will but get started.

Do you love life? Then don’t squander time, for it’s the stuff that life is made of. Benjamin Franklin.

Rock Number Two-Your Family: One of the greatest of blessings in life is family, and yet, we can neglect our own families by default. We all live in such a busy world, filled with demands and allurements that can rob us of time or emotional energy to bless those we love. In this context, I beg of you to get your family and even extended family into your weekly and monthly schedules. A family movie night, a dinner date with your wife, a game night with your children’s aunts & uncles, etc….. I promise you that this investment of time will be one of your best ways to number your days afresh!

Rock Number Three-Your Church: Of course, you reading a blog written by a biased Pastor. But, I would suggest that the scriptures lend ample proof that God’s children were brought into His family to serve, fellowship, give, and worship together. Can I ask you a few honest questions? How many Sundays do you skip out on Church each year? How many times have you served the people in your church in the past year? How much money does God kingdom receive from you each year? How many people have you entertained this past year for the purpose of blessing? My friends, the rock of fellowshipping with God’s people is a wise investment of your time.

Rock Number Four- Your Neighbors: As Christ followers we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. I know far too many Christians who spend all of their time with other Christians or working in their communities for positive change but have no impact on those living right next door or working in the cubicle next to them. Could it be that we have forgotten that, going into the world to make disciples is a top priority with God (a big rock)? My friends, get your calendar out and schedule in a barbecue, dessert night, or a wine and cheese night and invite some of your neighbors over to your house, after all, outreach is best accomplished through acts of kindness motivated by love.

Well, lest I run the risk of running on a bit in this blog I had better stop. However, let me leave you with a few simple words of encouragement. First, remember that failure is not fatal. In pursuit of your goals don’t give up just because you fail along the way. Failure does not have to be fatal or final. Second, ask the Lord to help you-(commit your plans to the Lord) He will help you if you invite him into your routine. And finally, if you are serious refuse procrastinate, start today. Get out a pencil, a note pad, and a calendar and start planning. You must remember that Someday is not a day of the week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Humility bumped up against My Soul

Reflections from Sundays Worship Gathering

This past weekend was amazing at Boundless Grace Church. Our worship team set a wonderful climate of intimacy with Jesus and the people responded beautifully. The sounds of worship filled our facility and the presence of the Spirit was evident. I felt that there was a corporate expectation for God to work among his people.

On this particular morning I was wrapping up a series called, Shoe Leather Theology from the letter of James. This final section from James 5 deals with prayer and healing, which in my estimation are deep water faith issues.

I have never really spoken of healing before, and I was so aware of my weakness and inability to “make it happen.” In fact, all week in preparation I felt a strong sense of humility bumping up against my soul. After all, who am I that I would be called upon to anoint the sick with oil and pray for the healing of the physically and spiritually sick among us?

On this special morning, several of our old friends from around the country were in attendance. These folks had come together for a Friendship Reunion, a bunch of godly people who all worshipped together in the same Church in days gone by.

Within this cluster of friends was a sister with cancer and others who were in need of both physical and spiritual healing as well. And along with this folks were many others in the Church who needed healing and/or deliverance. In fact, one man approached me during our worship set and told me that he had fallen off the wagon the previous week and was ready to repent, even publicly if necessary. This man had no idea that my message would involve confessing sins and seeking prayer from the Elders.

Well, after wrapping up my message on prayer and healing, I invited Bryan Maxwell, a dear brother and fellow Elder to join me in interceding for those in the Church who wanted to “call upon the Elders.” I also invited those among us who have a strong heart for intercession to help us pray for our people. In this context, the altar was flooded with people who came forth for prayer as Boundless Grace became a house of prayer. in this holy moment together.

During this prayer time it seemed as if, with every person that stepped out of their seat, came and deeper awareness of the Spirit and his anointing to minister among us.

In my many years of doing ministry, this particular morning was unique and special, and will not be forgotten any time soon. And although I don’t know exactly what the outcome of this morning will bring, I would not be surprised to learn of healing and and help from God in tangible ways.

An interesting after effect of this morning was that someone from our group of old friends gave the largest financial offering that Boundless Grace has ever received.

In summary, I am so thankful that humility bumped up against my soul. To God be the glory, great things he has done!

Praise to Jehovah Raffa! (the God who heals)