Friday, November 6, 2009

short and sweet

War is not the opposite of peace. War is just a form of conflict, possibly the worst kind. Conflict is simply any disagreement between 2 or more people. Peace is something however that can be enjoyed on the inside by one person, but it is best when it is known by many.
Peace starts when we choose not to conflict with someone. What happens first is an understanding and then an agreement based on commonality. When we seek commonality with others, we are seeking peace, and what we end up with is a relationship.

That sounds like a good sound bite or quotation from some famous dead guy. The fact is that I am not famous and I am currently alive and kicking, but the statement is meant to be as profound as anything you read. I am not looking for fame, only the opportunity to shine a light on some dark places in our lives. My pursuit of peace is personal but it is meant to become corporate. My desire is to share the message of hope in Christ, which includes sharing His message of love, which includes His message of peace.

Somehow in the history of time since Jesus came, we have found a way to filter out this message of peace and suggest that Jesus didn’t mean it that way. We conceal the facts and massage the words to fit our beliefs. We can read His words but to be honest, those words are difficult to take and it is a lot easier to adapt His words to our lifestyle and not the other way around.

If you were to take the sins of the flesh out of the equation and show me what’s left, there would be only love. This is what Jesus was trying to show us for 3 years, and what his disciples tried to show us following the Passover. If love is all we had to show for our emotions, then peace would follow simply as a consequence of love. Too many people get hung up on the concept of peace and how we get there, but the path is not that hard; it starts with love.

In a nutshell, when we live our lives with love toward one another, peace follows. The very root of all of our relationships is a solid foundation of love and when disagreements arise we need to return our thoughts to the love we share. At that very moment peace is achieved and not through some great act of our own, but when we understand that His love is enough for all of us.

Peace is a result of love. War is a result of hate. This is not a game, it is an imperative that we understand the severity of our actions and recognize the impact we have on this world, but more importantly, the impact we have on eternity.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. John 13:34 NIV
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Are you lost?

Let’s pose a question that has always been at the forefront of my discussions; why are you for war? I have heard many people tell me that they feel war is necessary and for that I have laughed but recently I have come to the conclusion that they are still looking for something here in this world.

There are many answers to that question and I will attempt to pose a few and then give retort to them. So backing up, one answer is that war is necessary. I have to ask the question however, of why is it necessary? But I know the premise of the initial statement of necessity. It is born out of fear and irrational thought but it is at least a common trait. Some people seem to be wired in such a way that when they see evil, they feel it must be vanquished immediately. When evil has a chance to spread it becomes a cancer that is fatal and for some people, the only way to deal with that type of disease is to cut it wholly. If it leaves a scar then so be it, but eradicate the cancer and all will be well again.

The sad fact is that in real life, cancer is something that even if you cut off your leg to erase one cancer, another one may surface in your arm or your head. Evil, like cancer, is something that exists in this world and all the fighting to date has yet to yield a result other than death. And guess what, evil still exists in this world. Hold that thought…

Imagine that prior to going to work each day you had to go to war with your neighbor because it was a necessity. Each day your neighbor would put up a new fence at the end of your driveway and he would barricade himself behind it and wait for you to try and escape. Rather than be late for work you would not wait around long and would drive your armored car through his barricade and move on with your day. Does this sound too inane to be real? Good, we have an argument against necessity.

For war to be a necessity, it has to be something you can’t get around. You have to be left with no other choice than to fight; that is necessity. Currently our country is engaged in two fronts, in two countries and we are not doing well in either. We do not have to be in either place but we have indeed chosen to be there. Let me repeat that…it is not necessary for us to be there. In fact, in the history of the world there is no war where an opponent was forced to fight, making war a necessity.

Another common belief for why someone is for war is the idea of fighting for peace. The oxymoron involved there is beyond comprehension but I have to offer something lest you think I’ve gone soft. Committing acts of violence in the name of peace is like trying to get your iron intake by putting nails in your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s like throwing your baby in the garbage because he stinks. It’s like buying a sub-machine gun to use at a clay shoot. None if it makes sense and leads me to the conclusion that too many people are not convinced that they are not of this world.

War is perpetuated by people who have more ego than sense, more desire for power than decency. This is not my passive speak anymore, this is my in your face speak and I mean to make waves, not just stir the cesspool. It has been said before that you should never argue with a stupid person for fear that those looking on will not be able to tell the difference between the two of you. The same can be said of those who start wars. People who argue for war are in fact arguing against stupidity, but their arguments are so bold and they are moved by such “patriotism” that when people look on they fail to see the stupidity, and instead embrace grandeur.

There are three main points that I would like to make here.

First is, war never produces a winner, only losers, only death and only great loss.

Second is, when anyone masks the sin of murder with the lie of ridding the world of evil, he himself is evil. Your very intentions are to kill other people because YOU think it is right. God Himself said that “vengeance alone is mine”.

Third is, when man fails to recognize his calling to be in the world but not of the world, he loses sight of eternity and instead focuses on the one thing he thinks he has control over; this place.

Mankind continues to seek the pleasures and spoils of this world and continues to serve the wrong master. War is all about greed and ego and it will never be about righteousness and living out your faith. We have a unique opportunity as followers of Christ to serve this world, in light of eternity, as we have been called by the one who has saved us.

Maintaining that focus might bring persecution, but for His sake I pray that we stand ready for that kind of fight. There is no escaping conflict in this world; it’s your response to it that points to where you call home.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, October 26, 2009


We can talk about the travesty of war all day but we must investigate the very core first. At the heart of any conflict is intent. But how do we get our intent? Seriously, think about that one.

Our intent only becomes impure when our desire outweighs it. What I mean is this; if you want something (that is your heart’s desire), then your intent becomes your desire. When your desire is something you cannot have, your intent becomes compromised; you have a decision to make.

Will you choose to chase that which you desire even if you can’t have it? If so, your intent has changed because in any event you want something you can’t have, your motives become questioned, as do your ethics.

We see this exemplified everyday on the news. From politicians who cheat on their spouses, to professional athletes who risk everything to participate in an illegal activity. From pastors who fail as humans even though their very essence is to please God, to celebrities who are willing to sell their very souls to be famous. This is not just a rare occurrence but instead something that happens everyday, in nearly every walk of life and in every nation. There is no immunity.

So what then can we do with this intent, this broken circle that seems to bring us to our knees too often? We fail to recognize a way out and are too quick to blame society. When that placates us for that moment we move on, ignorant of the devastation of what we have just done and we make the same critical errors again.

There is another way you know, and it starts with surrender. We have to look at who we are and recognize that we will not make a single difference in this world on our own. We are powerless against the advances of this world but here is one simple fact to keep in mind; everything in this place will fade away at some point. That is one inescapable fact that no one can disagree with.

When you are gone, there will be more just like you and me, more people bent on the destruction of our souls, more people who see only what they want to see. Society cannot be to blame for your failures, only your desires are to blame. You alone make a decision to be the way you are. Will you change your direction or maintain the same old you? This society will replace you in an instant with someone else willing to risk it all because of ill intent.

On the flip side, your intent can make the difference between what other people choose to do. Consider the effect that a movie like Pay It Forward has on its viewers; reports have circulated around the world of acts of kindness that directly relate to that movie. There is an insurance company that touts doing the right thing and they are making a difference from a business perspective by being people centric. This is active cooperation on the part of a citizenry that is keen to the needs of their own. Whether you view it as profit gaining or not, the majority of people seek better than what they see. Clearly the intent is good but can we maintain it? In light of eternity I pray we can.

Our goal when it comes to intent is to sow the seed of desire in a positive way. When desire takes on a negative tone in any way, our intent is immediately in trouble. Check yourself daily regarding the intents of your marriage, your career, your very life. If you have to ask yourself what your intent is on a minute by minute basis, then find a way to engage others to do the same.

The Bible talks about the intent of our heart as it relates to every decision we make, not just the big ones but all of them. When our intent is pure we maintain our focus on the commission that Jesus has for us. We cannot get caught up regarding the intents of this world, they will eat us alive.

Intent #1 = Love God with everything you have; your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength.

Intent #2 = Love your neighbor as yourself.

Maintain that intent in this life, if for no other reason than what comes next.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

American Christianity part two

To critique American Christianity is to dive into what appears to be a popular mindset among critics. Understanding the why is not as important as learning the perspective and the motive.

For instance, is the writer cynical from an atheist’s view or from having been in the church for some time and found themselves disenchanted by the people within?

I think we must first ask if the critique is coming from inside or outside the church. After that, what is the intent of the writer? If the intent is good, are we listening and hopeful to receive the criticism constructively?

The church is under fire, but not because of faith, it is indeed because of rhetoric and self righteous hypocrisy within the church. What I find however is more often than not, it is a few very loud parishioners who are outspoken in their opinions. We are witnessing a ‘talk-show’ mentality among the far right in the church.

The intent here is to point out a growing problem and bring it before the only principality I am sure of today; God. We need to pray for intercession, clarity and boldness to confront this very real threat. The church is the body of Christ and there is no place in that body for this kind of sickness.

I am also writing out of love. Our positions as Christ followers (or little Christ’s), is to love one another as He loved us. When we aspire to that end we bring about the light to this place that Jesus desires for us. However, when we indulge in this foray of rhetoric because it seems the place of the church we fall into a trap that the enemy is all too keen to lead us.

We can be sure of one thing and that is God is in control. God knows the devils we face and He will not let us suffer more than we can handle. Pay attention to what you see and hear and filter it through the word of God and let the Spirit be your guide. The critics are many but their words are hollow and fade away instantly when compared to the greatness of our creator.

I could sit here and list for you the egregious offenses that are going on right now but you already know what I am talking about. Whether politics or economical factors or rumors or lies, we are in the midst of a chaos that is human made and not God ordained. We are allowing a dark negativity to pervade our souls, especially when we allow it into the very sanctuaries of this world.

I do not sit here to critique the church as much as I do the Christians inside that church. To enter into God’s house you are to have first made right with your brother or sister and then you go to God to give Him praise for all He does in your life. Instead we walk before God and lay burdens at His feet that are more than trivial, they are self serving and downright dangerous.

To make matters worse, we poison the minds of other Christians with the defense that we must all think alike! We must all vote alike and like the same radio and TV stations and agree on public policy the same. This inerrant world view is such that it is becoming main-stream in churches across the United States today. If you walk into a church, you are in essence saying that you agree and abide by the beliefs of the whole (or the majority). Those beliefs are not what you think; they are not the tenets by which that church practices their faith, but instead they are the tenets of being a patriot or merely an American Christian.

There are many tenets of this so called movement. Among them are beliefs such as pro-war, anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, pro-Republican, anti-liberal. The list goes on but sufficed to say, this is a movement rooted in Reagan-ism and is not going away for at least thirty years (that’s how long it will take for the majority of these believers to start passing away). I don’t go down this road to make people uneasy, but to prevail to people to stop and pay attention to what is going on.

We have become such an intolerant society. Nothing is good enough anymore, at least not for any considerable length of time. We change our minds more often than we change our underwear. We do so because there are truly no consequences left. So much of Christianity allows believers a free ride anymore. Since we are not responsible for our own salvation and we couldn’t do anything about it anyway, what do we have to gain by living a good life?

Jesus came and rocked the worlds of twelve every day guys. For 3 years He showed them a love they had literally never seen. He taught them what it meant to truly serve others. And lastly He taught them what sacrifice really looked like. Along the way He pointed to the Father countless times, spoke of the Law regularly and made a few things crystal clear.

Number one, that no one was getting to the Father except through Him. Number two, that we needed to actually love the Father with everything and to do so at all times (not just on Sundays). And number three, we have to love our neighbor…every last, dirty, rotten, crummy lot of them. For better or for worse, we have a lifetime to live out in service to the very people who would rather see us dead.

Do me a favor and re-read that last paragraph. Soak in that last sentence. Does modern Christianity look like this? Think especially hard of the people you see everyday, the ones you know that go to church, including yourself. This is not a joke, this is your life we are talking about here and you have a choice to make. Will you continue serving something else first (insert America or the GOP or Glenn Beck here), or will you wake up to your true calling.

American Christianity will taste a bitter defeat soon, rest assured. It will be the fault of a few well intentioned folks who just wanted to make the Christian life more publicly noticeable but instead turned Christianity into a side show for politics and right wing talk show hosts. Do not fear however, there is a way out and His name is Jesus. Unlike the GOP, He will not let you down….ever. Your eternity depends on whether or not you accept that simple truth.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The American Christian

There is this myth that pervades the very soul of this place, this country, this wondrous collection of states. This myth is something that looks like the real deal depending on who you ask. Basically it suggests that we are not just a Christian nation but we are in fact only a Christian nation. No other religions are aloud to exist here based on this myth, there is simply not room among the 80% (or more depending on who you ask) of the population who claim Christianity as their religion of choice.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to experience a little bit of what perpetuates this myth. While studying James 1:9-18 in which we specifically studied temptation, we looked at the progression of temptation, to lust, to sin and finally to death. We discussed how a strong faith, even under pressure, can persevere under trials and temptations, to see through to what God is giving us; eternal life.

In the midst of that discussion someone tripped in with a remark of how they wished we could talk about Democrats and health care and the redistribution of wealth and so on. Fortunately it didn’t last long but in that few seconds we were exposed to the very thing we were studying. The very people who were about to walk into a sanctuary to give God praise were giving into temptation to willingly talk about something that carries much emotion and debate, along with considerable angst for people they might not agree with.

As James says, our lust is seducing and it flares up in us, causing us to sin. We are called to so much more and yet we allow ourselves to be marginalized by our blatant actions and words. Some might call them hateful but I do not agree that all who share certain thoughts are hateful, but misdirected. This myth is exposed moment by moment when in fact we are nothing but heretics who act religiously. We seem more concerned by our outward appearance than showing others what is inside. The light we are supposed to shine is dimmed by flare ups of lust. Others only see our attitude and hear our speech. Instead of reaching out to others with love we shut people out with distaste.

This is the myth exposed; that we are not a Christian nation if in fact we are not truly Christians. Under the microscope we see a rotting population of people who are actually patriots first and Christ’s soldiers second (at best). This country, that will inevitably fall away, has become more important than the eternal country we seek to inherit.

It isn’t a bad thing to be an American but it is infinitely more important to maintain the priority of an eternal perspective before we get caught up in the limited perspective of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

James goes on to give us some powerful instructions in the following two verses. We need to look closely at this and remember that God does not desire for us to be in conflict with our neighbor but to love them. James 1:19-20 (NASB):

19This you know, my beloved brethren but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

These things in this life that seek to trip us up are those things that the enemy uses to pull us further and further from God. If we truly aspire to be a Christian nation then we must first withdraw ourselves from these places of temptation and turn to God for wisdom. James points out the way in chapter one…1:5 (NASB):

5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

You see, for us to find our faith we must first turn to God and turn away from the temptations of this world. Americans have a hard time with that. Our faith is not tested like that. We do not know persecution like that, tribulations like that. God is watching America and trust me that there are few in this country who truly are turning to Him for wisdom. I know this because the 80% I mentioned earlier are still more concerned with the USA than heaven.

I count myself among those still trying to figure out how to properly ask our creator for the wisdom to see past these borders. America is a great country but we have a unique opportunity to shine a light for God instead of being so consumed with shining a torch for the good old U S of A. Take an opportunity right now to ask God to wipe out all the mess in your life and in your head. Take grasp of this incredible new life that He has offered you. Run with it and show it off, then make sure and stay on the path. We have a lot of work to do to reprove this myth.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, September 27, 2009


Are you on Facebook? How many friends do you have? As you open that profile page and scroll down to check, let me ask you another question; of all those friends, how many of them do you actually chat with on a regular basis? Be honest here, you and I both know that if you have 100 friends, you talk to less than 10 of them regularly, unless of course you are a teenager.

Seriously, less than ten percent is a for real number. I have written about your sphere of influence before but this is so much different. I have come to understand something recently and that is that I cannot spend enough time being in relationship with others. If you have 100 friends on Facebook, find a way to chat with 25 a week. Of course that seems audacious at the moment but it is a challenge.

What I want you to think about are all of the challenges you face on a daily basis. Specifics are not important at the moment, just think of all the times you feel bent out of shape, or upset, or frustrated, or ready for a break, or tired or even pissed off. There are more of course, but think of something else; there are a pool of people out there that you know, that go through the same things you do every day. When you feel challenged, there are 25 people (at least) near you who are feeling challenged too.

Now take the bold step, reach out and talk to someone. There are so many ways to connect with people these days. Phone call, text, email, IMchat, Skype, snail mail, in person…need I say more? Share your challenges and invite others to share theirs. What you will find is that by doing so you have opened a vein that allows others to be relational with you.

What is relational? What is it like to have a relationship? Being relational is simply having a connection to someone or something. Being in a relationship is regular connection with someone or something. When you open up to others and chat with them about your challenges and listen to theirs, you begin to take steps toward a relationship. Keep making that connection regularly and there you have it!

Sure it takes time and commitment, but you haven’t heard the best part yet. When we connect with others relationally, that is on a regular basis, our needs are met as well. We have a chance to share our challenges, our hurts, our triumphs and our lives with people who quite possibly share common ideals.

Unfortunately, here is what usually happens…we make preconceived notions about certain people based on limited information and we refuse to make a connection. We shut off the very idea of talking or chatting with someone because they don’t think like we do, or at least we believe that to be true. When we fail to talk to others because of passing judgment, we are literally silencing a voice in our life, shutting off an opportunity to share, eliminating a connection.

Don’t be that guy, don’t buy that nonsense. Take chances by reaching out to others and give them the time of day to talk. Meet someone for coffee once a week, chat people up on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, just start talking…more importantly, start connecting.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Changing ways

How exactly do we change our ways? It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit or 21 days to break an old habit. Either way, it takes time to change your ways. If our ways are wrong, it takes time, focus and an honest determination on our part to change what we do or how we act, whether for the positive or negative.
In making a change, first we must examine what it is that needs changing. Is it our hair color, our clothing style, our vehicle, our choice in music, an addictive drug, a bad influence in our life such as a person or a place? It could be one or many of those things and so many more than that. Maybe it’s our political view, or our world outlook, or our financial behavior. Examining your life is the first step in making changes to it.

Upon taking a closer look are there things in your life that need to be modified, changed, added or deleted? Most likely the answer is yes. For some people the answer is simply a desire to pray more, or drive their car less, or eat more fiber. Modest to liberal change in your life is something that scares a lot of people, especially those who are happy where they are, especially for those who think they have it all together.

So let’s start with a simple yet complex question (if that sounds like an oxymoron then good). What would your life look like if your #1 priority was Matthew 22:36-40?

36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

If you set into your day with the goal and primary focus of loving God first and then your neighbor as yourself, would there be a noticeable difference in your day?

Imagine that you hold no grudges, no contempt for another human being. Imagine that you look for only the good in others and look past the bad, learning to forgive inadequacies and failures. Imagine for just one moment that you could be friends with every single person you came into contact with for the rest of your life. Seems a tad absurd I know but why? Why does it have to be?

If you set out to be the best you can be to every person you came in contact with every single day, you might die from exhaustion, right? Our society tells us we should feel sorry for ourselves for not having everything we want. We are taught at a young age by marketing that not having it all is a failure. So we must all be failures by that bar, we have all fallen short…hmmm, where have I heard that before?

If we look closely at our lives in light of the kingdom, we have also failed, we will never measure up; we could never deserve anything better than the failure that this world has to offer us. But unlike the trappings of this world, we have a way out of this failed place, this failed life and His name is Jesus. There is nothing, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, that this world can offer you to fix your failures or shortcomings. By the standards of this world, you will always fall short and will never “have it all”.

Bringing this back around to where we started, we have such short sighted vision regarding eternity that we hurt those closest to us because of our greed for the things of this earth. When we live in light of this world, we serve another master and its name is materialization. The enemy is all too happy to help you serve that multi-headed monster.

If you live your life in light of eternity, your life will take on a whole new meaning, one filled with telling others about what you know, about the love you have inside.

Think of it this way, when you get a new pair of shoes or a new car, you can’t wait to show it off. You even go out of your way to tell your friends and even people you don’t know about what’s new, just in case they didn’t notice. When Christ is at the center of your life you should do exactly the same thing, you should be so excited to tell others about what’s new in your life, from an eternal perspective.

This is the great commission, go and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28:19). He didn’t commission us to go and make strangers. He didn’t command us to go and make enemies. He didn’t command to go and blow bubbles!!! We have been called to GO and MAKE disciples.


1. a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower


1. a group of persons authoritatively charged with particular functions

2. the condition of being placed under special authoritative responsibility or charge.

We have been charged with a special responsibility to go (GET OUT THERE) and tell (SCREAM IT FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS).

We need more Jesus freaks…count me in.


My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Philippians 1:27-30

There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for Him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.
Are you ready to suffer? My answer to that is no. Not because I disrespect the sovereignty of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, but in short I am an American and I am used to getting my way and having what I want, when I want it. Suffering only comes when my favorite TV show is a repeat, or when my internet connection is slow. I don’t suffer really, I just whine a lot.
Jesus himself said ...”Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Seriously though, as thought provoking as that is, we really aren’t cut out for suffering here in America, I don’t care what you say. Persecution here?! Give me a break. We get mad if we have to wait too long in the drive-thru for our lunch, we couldn’t handle persecution because of Him; we would topple instantly.

America is quite honestly the single greatest mission field in the world. And here is something else that might shock you. The ones in need the most are not the homeless and the lost, they are the ones whose self righteousness has taken over like the cancer it truly is. Just turn on the radio or the TV. Listen to these people who call themselves loving Christians as they decry the things that are taking place in our country.

When the Christians of this country learn to truly suffer for Him, they will understand the gift in the suffering. Until then we will lay around in our overweight and unsatisfied states until something better comes along.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


If you are following the news in any way then you know that America is deeply divided regarding several key issues at the moment.

Number one: health care. One way or another, you have been affected by the health care system. Even the staunchest of conservative Republicans that I know admit that there is a real issue in this country and we need to do something. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, or if you’re a real pansy and you like to sit on the fence, you have an opinion. This is no minor issue and the effects of this outcome will shape our country for generations to come.

Number two: the economy. Nearly 18 months before George Bush left office, we were seeing the first signs of a downturn in our national economy. For 17 of those months, the president and his office denied there was a problem and only in the last month of his presidency (in December of 2008) did he admit that we were in trouble economically and had been for over a year. Everyone reading this has been affected, no one is exempt from this recession. While things are beginning to soften up for the first time in nearly two years, we have a long road out to a strong national economy.

Number three: Sarah Palin. Mrs. Palin left office recently for unofficial reasons, but most speculate that she will be making a run for the presidency in 2012. Mrs. Palin entered the public view in a big way last summer when John McCain dubbed her to be his running mate. A lot has transpired since then and there is some speculation as to why Mrs. Palin really left the office of governor of Alaska. Either way, and however you feel about her, this woman is going to be in our homes and on our TV’s for many years.

Number four: the war on terrorism. Since last November, very little time has been spent talking about the war on terror. It could be that once George Bush was out of office, the 72% of Americans that disapproved of his running of the country felt there would be change. It could also be that the 66% of the American people who elected Barack Obama felt that he would quickly end the war as he suggested he would during his campaign. Today the war rages on but in a diminished light. Here in America we have bigger concerns (see the top three) and losing a few thousand more troops seems so minor.

I recognize that there have been many things that have divided us as a people throughout the history of this country. We fought a Civil War for four years over a single issue but in the end we saw the end of slavery and a massive move that shaped us into the united superpower that we have become. While there have certainly been major eras in this country, the reconstruction era that followed the Civil War was memorable in America. However, what followed that era is one of the darker periods in this country, regarding segregation and the idea of separate but equal treatment for those of color.

During our storied history we have often dealt with the issue of economy; just think of the Great Depression. We have dealt with health care as an issue, think of the 80’s and Medicare. We have dealt with Terrorism as well; when the British came here in the 1770s they were by very nature terrorists and sought to kill all those who were deemed traitors.

There have always been great debates in this country about a multitude of beliefs, opinions and views. We are such a varied group of ethnicities in this country that we have changed the landscape of what it means to be native. While that does not change a relative view point, it does present challenges to the citizens of this nation. We struggle with holding true to nationalism when we have tendencies toward other countries where we have a heritage. We argue about what it means to be a patriot but we forget about the sacrifices that some have made to get here and the ties that still bind back to a foreign nation.

With that in mind, the issues we face here are not unlike the issues of other nations. In the grip of certain conflicts we need to look outside of our own country and recognize that our neighbors are dealing with all the same problems. We could make an attempt to work together with our fellow earth mates but we tend to get so wrapped up in our own little problems that we often forget that anyone outside this country really matters.

This is the crux of the matter, the heart of what I am getting at when I talk about Americanism. Truthfully, we are not alone in this; there are other countries that suffer from the same effect. What sets us apart from other nations though, is the pretentious way we look at those outside our country. When you think of Afghanistan what is the first image that comes to mind? How about Russia? Africa? I have my own images that come to mind when those countries are mentioned but my views are most likely different than yours, or at least enough so that I conjure up different notions of our neighbors than most do.

I tire of the same rhetoric that I hear from those around me regarding their love for this country. Regardless of their political affiliation or their religious ties, love of country seems to rank a little higher on the priority list than it seems it should. I’m not suggesting we should not love the country in which we live, but when we do so in a way that condemns the views and beliefs and opinions of others, we are guilty of many things which can be summed up as hatred.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are hundreds of organizations that contribute to the needs of thousands of people all across this globe. There are churches that send missionaries to build orphanages and bring medical supplies and water to impoverished regions all across the earth. But for the vast majority of those who live here, we want to make sure that our freedoms and rights are untouched. We want our food fast and our internet faster. We want our lifestyle not to be hampered by sticky messes like apartheid, or aids epidemics that kill by the millions.

This is no mere rant that looks at the materialism of this great country, although we certainly deal with that disease as well. Instead, this is more about the air of moral, ethical, technological and economic advantages that we hold above any other place on earth. It’s more than the pretentiousness that I mentioned above, it is more than being aloof to our neighbors, it is more than thinking less of some third world country. This is Americanism and it should be called what it is; a disease of the soul.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Friday, April 24, 2009


I can’t get over the inevitable feeling that we are all heading in the wrong direction.

Seemingly we push closer to what “feels” good, but not what is actually good. We need Christ in our lives but we just stand in one place in this life while saying how good He is.

Here’s the awesome part; Christ died for you.

If you need to, please go back and read that last sentence. It is not a typo nor is it grammatically incorrect in any way. There is nothing illegal or illegitimate about it. It is the truth.

The most important piece for you to recognize from that statement is the word “you”. Yes, Christ died for you. He also died for me. Go look in the mirror real quick then come back. The same person you just looked at is the person that Christ died for.

If you could really grasp that and then do something about it, you would scream from the top of the closest mountain top. You would literally walk outside and tell people you have never met. Wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t? Am I the crazy one?

Maybe I don’t know what I want; maybe I’m the one confused. Christ did die for me right? Am I really headed in the wrong direction?

Where did I lose track of the story? I was following along and then what, did I stop paying attention? I go back to the story teller and listen for more, there is so much to the story and I can’t get enough so I listen as often as possible but sometimes I get pulled away.

I want nothing more than to stay in the midst of the story and be wrapped in the effect. The parables are riveting, the lessons are captivating. The narrator often speaks directly to me, no kidding! Yet there are times when something leads me off in the other direction, I get distracted.

I hear the part about how He died for me and I jump up and down inside. Sometimes I tell others but it doesn’t seem right. Shouldn’t there be more to this commission? Shouldn’t I be atop the mountain shouting, regardless of my circumstances? I know I am broken but that is no excuse.

Inspiring others comes at a cost, some listen and others don’t, but I feel led to inspire. I have written what feels like so much and yet it is nothing really. I cannot express the love of my savior with mere words. Nothing I could ever do will ever compare to a single day of Christ in my life, but He has the power to make me powerful for Him and His kingdom.

So, why not run around outside and tell others? Why not be bold and share the good news? What are we afraid of, rejection? We get a single chance here in this place to leave a mark, to leave a legacy. I suppose I could be satisfied to leave it with my children but that’s not good enough for me, I want more.

The “more” that I seek is based on what I have been given. Something so undeserved that it goes beyond human reasoning. I cannot explain nor should I try. Instead I will say that His grace covers all.

I may be unsure of running outside and screaming it out loud for now, but somehow I am destined to share the good news. So I keep writing, I keep talking, I keep moving.

Through everything that this life might throw at you, there is one thing that can never be taken away and that is your faith. I continue to be struck with that fact as I traverse my days. What would mean infinitely more would be the chance to share that faith with those who doubt or do not know.

I am convinced that many are headed in the wrong direction. I pray for proper direction in my life that others might see Him who is the way, the truth and the life.

This time I finally see the reason I can’t do this alone. My faith alone is tinny compared to the power of God. My prayer is simply that my faith would be on display as an example of how great God is.

He takes you as you are, so turn around and head in the right direction.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Saturday, April 18, 2009


Why the angst? Why do I get so riled up when someone disagrees with a specific philosophy or political view of mine? Who knows, but it’s driving me nuts. I need a better creative outlet; I don’t get to this often enough.

It would be one thing if the disagreements were only about one subject but unfortunately there are several. I have made if fairly clear how I feel about war but there are other things I am passionate about as well, I just don’t talk about them publicly as much.

For instance, I see huge problems with self righteousness, but I don’t want to come off the same by saying anything, so I clam up. I also battle right wing fundamentalism in the church and how it’s one way or the highway for so many whose primary form of religion is some windbag on AM radio, who doesn’t care one iota about your relationship with Christ.

Another huge problem I have is Americanism. That term is broad so let me narrow down my beef. In America there are a great percentage of people who expect certain rights, regardless of whether or not they know what they are, why we have them, how we came about getting them or the specifics by which they are written. As Americans we are entitled to certain rights as citizens. One particular thing that irks me to no end is that quite a few so called Christians that I know are more concerned with their American rights than their Christian rights.

I have written about this before but today it seems different. In light of the recent tea bag parties it seems apt to discuss this again. Certain Americans have forgotten what they are fighting for and have decided that if they just “fight” then something good will come of it. If we complain loud enough about something, we will get some new magical right.

The absurdity of this boggles my mind as I read the Bible and then try and transfer that data to my daily life. I am reminded of so many things that I need to be doing in this life but the number one thing is to put Him first and not in any other place. God comes first, not after the bill of rights.

I have to honestly say that my citizenship of this country means far less today than it ever has, especially when I consider who my fellow citizens are and who they continually paint themselves to be. If your faith comes first, if your love of God comes first, then you will be compelled to live a different life; one for others and not for yourself. You will find that the most important right you have is the right to follow Jesus. You will find that the greatest freedom you have is your freedom to live for Him.

Think carefully about what it means to be an American. Would you give up your gun for Him? Would you lay down your freedom of religion to follow Him? Priorities are the key here and right now I am hearing some very backward priorities from people who claim to love Christ. It’s time to check yourself.

Most importantly, it’s time to check in with Him and be reminded of which kingdom you are really a part of.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peace in these times

I have heard it said that peace is unattainable. I have heard that peace is the opposite of war and that war is unavoidable so therefore peace is not possible. I have heard that the number one foe of peace is fear.

Of those three statements, the only one that has any credibility is the last one. Fear is of course our greatest enemy, especially when it comes to peace. Standing in the gap between fear and peace is Christ, our job is to meet Him there and trust Him to deliver us from this enemy.

When we cave into our fear we pull further away from Christ, but when we learn to turn away from conflict we draw closer to Him.

Jesus came because of life, He came to preserve life. Is not death the opposite of life? When Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the dead, He overcame death. In the same manner we are supposed to overcome death by accepting life in Christ.

Our lives are precious to God. He created us and sustains us. How then can we for one second allow something as sinister as abortion? At the same exact moment, how can children of God accept something as maniacal as war?

We stand on the principles of scripture which we believe are God-breathed. Within these breaths of God we are to be consumed with life and not death. We are to be focused on eternity and not this death that exists here in this fallen world.

We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. We did not deserve to be forgiven and yet His grace overflows. In fact we continue to fail to deserve God’s amazing love and yet we turn around and fail to forgive others because we don’t think others deserve our forgiveness.

Who are we really?

I keep saying the same things over and over, repeating myself for what, self gratification? It really is gross to think of how much I have written about this over the past three years, but here we are none the less.

I have my bible which has notes upon notes written in it. There are underlined passages that I keep returning to along with a few small snippets of paper that I have kept that are filled with my thoughts. I have asked God to spell it out for me on numerous occasions and He keeps coming back with, “keep writing”.

I have protested a few times as this seems redundant but I am waiting for a particular moment when this will all seem crystal clear, when it will stop being something that I think I get and a few people around me barely grasp.

This is so much bigger than our own immediate lives; it is something that will carry on forever. Our kids and their kids need to hear this and they need to hear it now, not on some epitaph after we’re gone.

Our moment is now; it is today, carpe diem and all that. Throughout history there have been voices that carried above the din, that spoke through the chaos. It is our time to raise our voices in protest to what we are being sold.

In these times we need peace. We have been given the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and we respond how? By annihilating anyone who does not agree with our own world views? By destroying anyone who goes against our finite views on religion?

GOD IS LOVE. I missed the lines in the bible that say God is anything to the contrary of that last statement and yet there are people out there, worse yet there are Christians out there who would rather put a gun in a young person’s hands, send them off to a foreign land and ask that young person to kill to protect a so called freedom.

As Switchfoot says, “I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians”. This world has nothing for me if the people who so dearly hold onto their bibles are the same ones that hold onto their guns and their Americanism. Christianity is about following Christ and not the GOP.

This eats me up and yet I know there can be no hesitating on this position. I am standing here today with my faith and a belief that we are called to follow Jesus and then to love our neighbor.

Peace is in knowing that. Showing peace to others is in living it out. We need peace in these times, right now, right here today.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Self discovery

Finding one’s place among others is seeing yourself among other people, and wondering not only if you fit in but if you make a difference. As men search to not only fit in but be accepted by their peers they are emasculated by a society that wants nothing more than their failure.

Who do we seek to impress? Is it other men, or is it women? Is it society and a perceived impression? Is it our parents that were there for us; or not there for us?

We walk amongst only so many people on a daily basis. We have a unique chance to display to them who we are as individuals, to show others what we stand for. Our place in this world will ultimately be for naught if we leave no lasting legacy with those who were closest to us, especially our families. Instead of being so concerned with what society might say about us, we should question first what our heavenly Father would say, and then our earthly family.

Our families are critical in our daily lives. Some of us have large families and others have very little family at all. Regardless of your situation you must address the relationships you currently have and ask those closest to you for an evaluation. There are two simple questions, and the answers will become your concentration for the rest of your life. Confront the person closest to you and ask;

“Do you see Jesus in me?”

This is profound beyond most anything you will ever ask a member of your family. You are asking something that cuts to the very depth of who you are and asks the other person to search themselves as deeply. Even the most devout family will struggle with this question if they are truly honest, and that is the key, you must be honest with each other.

Depending on the answer, we each need to take steps to determine what it would take for the answer to always be yes, no matter who you asked. If you have a large family, I recommend that you ask at least 4 members. After you ask the initial question, consider asking this as a follow up;


Understanding this is your formula for moving forward in your mission to serve Christ on a daily basis. When you know the “why” people either see Jesus in you or don’t, you can determine your course of action. That exact moment is your opportunity to seize the day and live it for Jesus. Take up your cross and follow Him. Make it your daily goal that others will see Jesus in you and will want that same love in their heart.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Colossians 3:1-17 (NIV)…
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I suppose I could go on about this some more; wouldn’t that be fun?! I keep waiting for this to get old but every time I sit down here I am urged to write more. Sometimes I question the urge and choose not to write. Other times I walk away convinced that my mind is not right at the moment and my mental position is possibly in question. Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder if it makes any difference at all.

Today was one of the times where I was urged and so chose to respond by acting. My inspiration at this moment comes from receiving an email with the verse of the day. I value that email and today was no different. Occasionally I read the verse and delete it. Other times I save it intentionally with the plan to use it in a blog post. Today however I was immediately struck with the desire to scream it out on paper in the form of my writing.

I know that Paul was battling Colosse, an ancient philosopher of his day, but Paul’s words are as important today as they were then. Verse 8 tells us what we are to get rid of, then verse 15 sums up how we are to live following our transformation in Christ.

If you want to scream with me I’ll understand.

Monday, January 26, 2009


In the last couple of months I have been asked about peace, almost as if I have some clearer understanding of it due to the fact that I write about it. Maybe that’s all it takes, just living it out, to become an expert. Regardless, I still get asked and when it comes up I am learning refined answers not because of who is asking but because I have written so much.

Condensing this thought seems fair, especially in light of the thousands of words that flowed from my computer that are in relation to this subject. Before condensing a topic like this however it is fair to say that doing so is not an easy task. My basis for this ongoing dissemination of peace has been nothing short of God breathed in my opinion. I have pulled from countless scriptures, books and quotes. Mostly I have culled the red letter of the Bible to find Jesus’ own thoughts on this very issue.

Answering the question of why I believe that peace is possible is easy; proceeding to tell someone that they too could live this way is a whole other problem. My faith has been tested here, it has been proved here and it has flourished here. My walk feels more like a walk finally, like maybe I have the ability to keep up. I know that God is still leading me and I know there may be times that God carries me, but my understanding of what and why I believe are having a profound impact on me. My outward expressions are growing and as they do, my very opinions about peace are becoming a part of my mainstream discussions.

Believing that peace is possible is not the first question. First you must ask yourself; how big is my God? If you don’t think peace is possible in your sphere of influence then you put limits on God in your life. If God is not big enough to bring peace in your own life, then you need to question your very faith in Him. That is a discussion for another time.

The results of conflict are seen every day, we do not have to look far to see their wide reaching results. The results of peace are also seen every day but they are not mentioned nor spoken of in the same way. Your actions as they pertain to your sphere of influence are the source for discussion all the time. Where there is conflict there is also gossip and talk relating to outcomes from conflict, regardless of the scale we are talking about here. Where there is peace there is room for discussion about so many other things. Where there is peace there is space for positive energy and progress. Nothing bad ever comes from peaceful times.

Today we need to start with bringing peace into our everyday lives, our daily commutes, our encounters with our neighbors and mostly our lives at home. At best you have 12 people (your sphere of influence) you see everyday on a daily basis that you can honestly say you know more than just their names. They might include a spouse, children, parents, coworkers and friends. Think about the 12 people in your life and really contemplate what you are doing right now to bring peace in your everyday life.

The law “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” is based on two things moving and being involved. This law is based on physics, gravity and inertia, but most commonly it is a law that is best witnessed by watching two people interact. When one person pushes, the other pushes back. In the same way, when two people are in conflict with each other, one person acts and the other person reacts in a similar but usually opposite manner. In order to seek peace, one must look closely at the first act committed and examine the why.

Take the time to think through your interactions with those in your sphere and discover if you are truly interested in peace or conflict. I truly believe that we all want peace but we just don’t know where to start. Start today by acting in a peaceful way towards everyone around you. You will know the difference you make in an instant. You will feel the difference even quicker.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.