Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are the Weinbergs Adopting?

First off, that is totally up to God at this moment.

The statement "Timing is Everything", and "In the right place at the right time" and "The third time is the charm", are all things we have heard so many times in our lives.

Our family wants to be doing exactly what God has for us, but often that is very difficult to discern what "Exactly" is. With that in mind and James 1:27 in my mind we want to announce that we have started the adoption process of a 13 year old, special needs, young man from China. The adoption agency calls him "Vince" but we can call him whatever we like. We are praying that God would make it abundantly clear to us, by opening and closing doors along the way. Please pray along with us to those ends. We are going to move forward as long as God allows us to do so and try to be faithful to what He wants us to do, and just leave the rest up to Him; we are going forward until He stops us.

This is uncharted territory for us, but not for God, or for Vince. There have been 2 other families that have tried to adopt Vince, but for various reasons it has not been allowed to go through. God is BIG and maybe that reason is that the Weinbergs are supposed to have another son to love.

So, here is what we need you to pray for;

That God would make abundantly clear to us His will for "Vince" and for the Weinbergs, by opening doors wide and closing doors tight, so that we don't get the wrong idea. At this moment in time I can't, humanly, see anything that are any "no's" but we want to be sensitive to His leading.

That God would work out all the details in this process, as "Vince" needs to be out of China by Jan. 24th, his 14th BD, or he can not ever be adopted in country or out-of-country. There is a lot to get done in this amount of time and our family already has much to do, so this will be tight.

That God would provide the funds to do this, as many people have 2-3 years to set aside dollars to make this happen and this will need to be funded by the end of this year. God is BIG and if He wants it to happen He has it covered.

That God would already be working in "Vince's" heart and drawing him to Himself. The biggest change in any of our lives comes when Christ comes in and makes us new creatures, so pray that God would work in Vince's heart even now.

As I said before, this is new ground for us, and change is always difficult, but God is faithful and if this is His will He will take care of every last detail. Our God is a very personal God who cares for His children.

Lastly, I stated in a previous post that an acquaintance has 4 children, "not their own". Being a rookie in the adoption world, this is not the right terminology and was not intended to take away from the fact that as an adopted child of the King, we are His own and when the adoption process is complete these children are truly "our own". Thanks for the heads-up Kim, as I want to be sensitive to these kinds of things; sometimes I need those kinds of helpful encouragements to keep me on the right track.

God is good and we need to praise Him rightly.

Simple yet so Profound

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Without even a reference almost every American could probably tell this verse. It has to be one of the most memorize, familiar verses in all the Bible and yet it is so full of truth; truth that really should change the way we live.

Lately I have been listening to sermons by John Piper, but probably not the way that most people do. I listen to them generally around 10 times before I go on to the next. Dr. Piper has given 2 sermons to this verse and I have only completed the first week, but it is very good. I won't give you the entire sermon, just some high points for me.

There is a God and He does have a Son. This Son was not some product of God the Father having sex with some goddess. Apparently many people think this is how God has a Son. They are equal yet different. The Son is subject to the will of the Father, but He is perfectly so; in other words, His delight is to do the will of the Father. Often, when we are subject to authority, we place ourselves under their rule, but not very willingly. In Jesus' case He demonstrated that we can be subject to authority and have that be our highest delight.

One of the things that Piper talks about is the way we should think about what Jesus did on our behalf and even a different way of thinking what the Father really was asking Him to do. This is a paraphrase. Imagine saying to your son, "Son, there are millions of people on this planet that we have created. These people are my enemies and there is only one way that allows for the payment of their sins to be paid while still keeping our righteousness intact. Even though they are our enemies we must win them back and the only way this can happen is if You go to earth and make the way possible. You are the only way. You will be ridiculed, tortured, hated and hung on a cross to die. You will have to die and be buried but after I turn my back on you I will raise You up and You will be with me again". Jesus not only submits to this request but it is His joy to do so.

What wondrous love is this.

The second thing that really struck me was "perish" and "eternal life". These two thoughts are contrasting thoughts in the verse. John is telling us that everyone will have a form of eternality; everyone will either live for eternity or die for eternity. Our sins must be paid and they either have been paid for on the cross or they will be paid for in Hell for all of eternity. This is not new thinking, but sometimes we just need to be reminded.

Do your friends realize that at the end of this life, many of them enjoying themselves like there is no tomorrow, they will have "hell to pay" for their stay here on earth. Imagine going on a cruise for a few months. You have paid the price to get on the boat and all the food is included. You are traveling the world, having a great time, seeing lots of new things and just generally enjoying yourself to the fullest. As you go you don't limit your pleasure at all, but because it's a cruise you just put everything on your room tab. The cruise comes to an end and you have to now pay the ship's steward. You have no idea what your bill is and when you find out, it is so high you have no way to pay it. This is life for so many in the world around us. They had a great time while they were here, but were not thinking of the cost.

There is only One who can pay our debt of sin and that is Jesus Christ. He didn't come to earth to be our fire insurance; He came to be our treasure. There is no cruise, no vacation, no new car or house, no brand new baby, no nothing, that compares with the Treasure that is Him. Have you accepted Him as your Treasure?

Believing/receiving in not just saying that you acknowledge that He is a person; even Satan does that. There are many reasons we might receive someone into our home; "It's the repairman, let him in". "We're having company tonight so make sure your rooms are clean". What Jesus requires is that we invite Him in to stay and to actually have reign in our lives. He is not coming for the weekend, but forever. We can receive people with a totally wrong attitude, but Jesus knows our hearts and He requires willing, humble submission to His authority.

Just some thoughts that may help you share the Gospel with others and remind you of the cost of our redemption.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pure Religion

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James is giving a picture of what true religion looks like. Many of the early church Christians would still have seen the Pharisees as a model for what their religion was to look like. But they were much more hearers and talkers, than doers.

James talks about the tongue and that we should not be quick to speak. He talks about not being angry and that we should receive the Word, not just to receive it and say, "Oh that is nice", or "Yeah, so and so needs to hear that", but receiving it in a way that we hold our own lives up to it and intently examine if we are the type of people the Bible calls us personally to be.

I find it interesting that James boils it all down into 1/2 of a verse. If you want to have pure religion, take care of widows and orphans and keep yourself unstained from the world.

That seems like a very condensed set of "rules" to live by, but maybe there is more to it. Keeping ourselves unstained by the world is pretty much a full time job that we will never complete while here on earth; so that one is tough. What about widows and orphans? Does James really mean that we are all to take care of widows and orphans? I guess he could be saying that we are to all to be sacrificial in a way that could be helpful to the care of widows and orphans, but it really seems he is saying that we are to care for them, personally; to actually take an interest in their well being and then do something about it.

There are many people that would have a difficult time, right now, in caring personally for an orphan or a widow, but there may be ways to facilitate that without actually having them in your home.

Teresa and I went to a fund raiser last night with some people who are going to pick up their second adoptive child in about a month. These people don't have lots of money, they don't drive fancy cars or live in fancy houses, but they are following the directive James gives here by sacrificing much to bring a child into their home that would otherwise have no home.

What can we do? What impact can we make if the time is not right to bring either a widow or an orphan into our homes? Very tangibly we can give money and food to those who are able to care for them. We talked to a lady who has 4 adoptive kids and none of her own; the oldest is around 7, the youngest around 4. She is not only busy with normal things, but the kids all have to go to some kind of extra treatment sessions for many medical issues, speech, or emotion trauma- from living w/o any real connection for the first years of their lives, they have serious detachment issues as they only know what has happened in the past- someone takes them in and then they end up back in an orphanage; those kinds of things.

I guess I am just trying to think electronically through what God is calling us to do. "How will they hear w/o a preacher?" and what if the "preacher" is their new adoptive family? Think about bringing a soul into your home that would probably never hear the Gospel and you get, how ever many years you have with them, to show them the love of Christ that they would not get to see in their former situation.

If we are not in a position to bring one into our home, the cost currently is $20k plus and maybe we should help facilitate an adoption for someone who really can't afford it but is ready and willing to make that happen.

Just some thoughts running through my mind this beautiful Saturday morning. I know there are some adoptive parents who read this blog occasionally and I would love to hear your take on this subject.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gossip revisited

Thanks for the comments, but I am really trying to get answers to this question. Maybe it would help if I added more to my question. Since the Bible doesn't give a definition of gossip, but only instructs us to not gossip it makes this a little harder for me.

It seems knowing what to say and what not to say is important on so many fronts, even beyond work; small group, ministry staff issues, kids, spouses, friends and the list goes on. If we truly want to help others we need to do some research before we go to them, but that seems like it can easily turn into gossip.

How can we irritate others to love and good deeds when we don't have all the facts? We can observe others behavior but we still may be left with something that doesn't exactly fit from what is being said compared to what is being done.

I guess the thing I am wondering if the "private" part. If I am doing something publicly, for all to see, and whatever it is I am doing does not fit with what I am saying, should others be able to discuss my public actions without me being there? It seems that is totally different than if the discussion is about something that is totally private; like the tabloid kind of stuff.

So, that ask the question with an example; is it gossip to watch someone being rude to someone else, watch the hurt on the offended party's face. knowing that you have had the same experience with the same rude person go to the offended party and ask if this is a pattern in this other person's life?

That seems much different that going and asking if they had heard about such and such a thing that was happening in this person's home that no one else knows about.

Looking for wisdom and counsel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Under the wing time

Ps 61:1 Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!

More and more lately I am finding that wherever I turn I am faced with some kind of vain work or conflict. Most of these are not huge issues, just things that I wish I didn't have to deal with; things that make life the way life is, but make life hard. As Solomon says, "Life is hard and them you die".

I am not always looking for the easy way out but I am finding sweet rest from the vanity of life by going to the Word and always finding the same Shelter there. It is so refreshing to just sit down and read a little to take the cares away for a moment; to gain some wisdom and understanding and really to just get away to a place where my cup is filled with good things.

Like a little chick who is tired and scared runs to its mother and hides under her wing for rest and security; I can run to the Word and get the refreshment from the Fountain that allows me to keep going. The little chick comes out ready to tackle the word again, maybe for just a few minutes even, but the time spent under the wing was good.

I want to spend more time under the wing, but I am under the wing to get refreshment in order to be spent by Him Who is the Wing. I can't just spend all my time in the Word and not pass on what I have learned to others, but that is where it gets messy. But that is why we are here.


I am not sure if this is right and would like some input from someone who maybe has been thinking about this more than I have.

As a business owner I find it necessary to have conversations about staff members with other staff members. I need to find out how one person is doing at their particular job from their supervisor or their contemporary. God has placed wise counselors all around us for us to ask them questions, but if we can't talk about anyone that is not present, then those wise counselors are of little use. Often I ask my wife her take on someone so I can make a more informed decision. But the question is; when is it gossip?

I looked gossip up and the overarching theme seems to me that it is talking about private, intimate matters when that person of interest is not present. So as I evaluate my own life I need to consider if what I am asking is relevant to this person to effectively make decisions about how we should move forward.

I am trying to figure out the line. I am not one who likes to find the line and get as close to it as possible, but it seems that in the case of gossip there can be a need to discuss things, without the person present, that would not be considered gossip. I am asking more than telling here.

If I brought in the person's supervisor and we talked about this person's performance, leadership ability and things like that in order to determine whether this person was a good fit for our leadership team; that seems perfectly fine to me. Even though that person is not in the room and may never even know we had the discussion.

But, it seems like it turns into gossip when something comes up like; "hey did you hear that his wife is cheating on him", or "I think she is anorexic", or something that would hit the front page of the tabloids. Things that are really no one's business and could be kept in the privacy of their own home, if I had not said something.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

I have been listening to some sermons on temptation and trials lately. There are a couple of things that stick out in my thinking that have been helpful to me and may be helpful to you.

Notice in this verse that there is a definite article, or singular, way of escape. God has one right way for us to escape. Often I want to just jump right out of the temptation or trial, but God's way is often through it. Like Moses and the children of Israel coming to the Red Sea, there was only one way to escape; through the water. If Moses sat down before he left Egypt and tried to plan the best escape route, for sure this would not have been on the drawing board. But God not only used going through the water as the way of escape, He also used the water to eliminate the enemy at the very same time. God's way is so much better than all of planning; His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Te second thing I have been thinking about is that we need to exult in God. Exult-def;to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant. If I am finding my joy and delight in God and my complete desire is for Him, will there really be any strong temptation for me to sin? When we look at broken dirty cisterns for what they are, then we are not inclined to go stick our faces in them. We should be looking into the clean pure fountain of Christ, and that is much more satisfying than the dirty cisterns. The temptation goes away. Like the song, "The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of HIS glory and grace".

For the fish to be interested in taking the bait, the bait actually has to look good. Our appetite, and diet, must be God's Word and fellowship with Him. Then the temptations won't have a big pull on our hearts. The only way to stay this way is to be reading the Word, praying and have fellowship with other believers. We have to stay plugged in.


When someone asks the question, "Are you able?" what do you think about?

I here people say things like, "Well of course I am", or, "Do you think I'm weak?", or "Do you think you are better than me?". Able is an interesting word.

Having sufficient power or resources to accomplish something: or, Especially capable or talented. In the Bible Dunatos means; powerful, mighty, strong.

In thinking about myself, I must understand that on my own I have no power, strength or might unless Gd has given it. In an emergency people sometimes say "Save yourself", but can we really do that? We just don't have any power in ourselves that would make it possible for us to save ourselves, or anyone else for that matter. The slightest little nerve problem can make it so the strongest of men can't even stand up on his own.

But what about when God says He is able? There is a list of amazing things coming from the heart of Him who, from eternity past, had in mind to do us good; and He is able.

Jude 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

He is able to keep me from stumbling. I am walking but He can keep me from stumbling; how good is that? He can present a sinful person like me blameless. This is not because I am able to assist in the matter. He gives the desire, He paid the price for my sin so that justice would be met and He is able to keep me blameless because of His atoning death on the cross. Paul is left here with overwhelming praise, flowing from his overflowing heart; he understood how great of a deal this is.

James 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. God is SOO able that even His very Word is able to rescue us. All we have to do is receive His Word with meekness and then obey that Word, which is totally for our good, and this Word is ABLE to save our souls.

I would encourage you to just go through the Bible and search for the word "able" and I think you will be surprised at what God has promised to be able to do in us and through us and for eternity, for us. There is not much weight on us to be able to "do", because He is the One who is really doing the work.

Know that God is able to accomplish what concerns you today and that He wants only what is best for you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ps 33

I won't paste the entire Psalm on here because it is long, but I do have a few verses in here that I really like.

Praise befits the upright.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; Imagine water in a pile.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! Read that again.
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples. We think we are so smart.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! He is the One choosing, not us.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine. He is good even as He cares for His own.
Our soul waits for the LORD; This is all we can do, there is nothing better.
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

There is admonition and encouragement here for us to do our part. Our part is praising, singing, giving thanks to Him, trusting, fearing and standing in awe of Him. This should not be hard when we consider how great He is and how low we are w/o Him. He wants us to be in total submission and dependence of Him. His desire is that we understand that we bring nothing to the table but need, and be thankful to Him. He can more than satisfy that need; above what we can ask or imagine.

On His part He is upright, faithful, righteous, just, steadfast, loving, The Creator and Sustainer, Frustrator, Wise Counselor, The Chooser of nations and peoples and our Hope. This list is not exhaustive in just the text alone. He is all we need.

Remember that praise befits the righteous because all that we hope in is Him. Praise should be continually on our lips, flowing from a full heart, in praise to our Good God.

Trivial Matters; Or Does It?

Romans 13:11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy and useless things.

I had a conversation with one of my small group guys and his parent last night about how the young man is doing. Part of this stems from a long history of laziness on his part and summer time is not really a great time to be on a schedule if you're not pushing yourself to be on a schedule normally.

Last night, in the message, we had a guest speaker who was talking about the urgent and important things in this life and how often we set aside both the important and the urgent for things that are neither.

In talking to this young man, he likes to play video games and sleep in. I don't think this is too uncommon in today's world. 100 years ago there were crops to plant and weed and then the produce of those same crops to harvest and store and at the end of all of that there was plowing the field back up to be ready for next years planting. There was really not much time to be a kid. The games consisted of a stick and a hoop you could run down the street with. Or there were some new team sports coming in like basketball and baseball. For the most part there was work and sleep just so you could eat that day and later on in the year. Families depended on all the family members to contribute.

On a strictly earthly level; is there really time to play all these games? Is there really time to sleep in late every morning? How can we expect our sons to be men and our daughters to be women if we allow them to do whatever it is they like all summer long? When will they ever get to be responsible? When will they ever be ready to be husbands and wives and then parents, if all they know is sleeping in and playing games? America is going the way of much of the rest of the world; hedonism is king.

If asking those questions of ourselves, as Christians, we must take the obvious next step and look at our spiritual "productivity". If we have looked at our earthly duties we must move to the more important arena of our souls. Do we really have time to play games and sleep in when there is spiritual work to be done? Sin does not wake up tired, and so as we turn over in our beds, does this extra sleep help us wage the war against sin more effectively? If the days already go by too quickly, how can we sit down and spend a couple of hours everyday doing mindless things in front of a screen; this includes video games, but also videos, movies and surfing the web aimlessly.

We live in a culture that is focused on self, but if we really and truly were concerned about ourselves we would spend more time in the Word because this is where we find the strength to finish each day. We spend hours planing, preparing and then eating our physical food, and we do need to eat, but then that takes away the time we could be spending in the Word, which is the food we truly need to eat.

The trivial far outweigh the truly important and urgent. We need to battle sin and strive for the Prize and yet we are sitting, or laying, around as if we have plenty of time for that in the future. The "future" is right now. There are people all around us, who know there is a God, yet suppress the Truth, and we are too busy doing the unimportant and trivial things, which makes it so we don't have time to do what we are called to do.

Just because we are older doesn't mean that we are immune to this kind of frittering; the frittering just looks different now. It now looks like spending lots of time at ballgames allowing our kids to think that playing a game is somehow more important than spending time in the Word. We get a "family hobby" like camping or boating and then all our weekends are taken up and all our extra minutes during the week are consumed with planning for the next weekend. Satan has done a masterful job at keeping us distracted from the important and urgent.

2 Tim. 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fan The Flame

2 Tim. 1:3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Paul, Timothy's spiritual father is reminding him of a few things that I think are worth remembering ourselves.

Timothy was a passionate young man-"remember your tears". Timothy had a tender heart and a sincere faith. Paul was encouraged by Timothy's walk, even though Timothy was younger than he was. There was a reminder of Timothy's spiritual heritage; this can not be taken too lightly. We need more parents and grandparents who pray for their kids and grand kids.

Paul's encouragement to Timothy was really that he fan the flame of his spiritual walk, that he not live in fear or be timid, that he would do the work of the ministry with passion.

Jesus, in Revelation 3:15 says "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth". He tells us what He thinks about people who do ministry in a half-hearted way; He spits them out of His mouth. Jesus would rather that we not do ministry than to do it lukewarm. This should make each one of us desire to live in a white hot, passionately pursuing Christ-like way. Are we living in such a way that others will want to know why we are SO excited about life, or would they say that they are not interested in being a Christian if that is what Christians act like?

When we are excited about something we want to share it. If we are not interested in talking about spiritual things we should carefully look at our lives and see if we are of the faith. Humbly look at your life and evaluate whether you are hungering and thirsting for the Word and drawing others towards Christ. Is your passion contagious? What better thing could someone say about us than "They must really love Jesus; look how they live, talk and act"?

I confess I fall so short of where I should be, but my desire and aim is to be more like Christ each and every day and to encourage others to be complete in Christ. I have to fight sin every minute of every day, but that is what we are called to do; not to be perfect but to be being sanctified.

God has chosen us to be His "interns" here and as long as we are here He has some work for us to do. The work may be difficult, it may be building bridges, but whatever it is He has something in mind and He isn't leaving us here to not be using our spiritual giftedness to glorify Him and promote Kingdom living.

Please Pray

Summer is here and we all have longed for the weather to be nicer, as the winter was long and dark. With summer comes vacations, camps, picnics and parties, graduations, weddings and a host of other things that can draw us away from our pursuit of Christ. None of these things, in and of themselves, are bad, but if they distract us from what is important, Christ, they become idols.

Please pray for one another that our walks would be stronger than ever. Pray for the students that they would continue their quiet times and that their love for Christ would grow rather than diminish this summer. More free time does not generally equate to a closer walk with the Lord, but often it does equate to wasting the days away.

Please pray for Priceless Granite as when people leave to do vacations and those kinds of things, sales fall off pretty quickly. Pray for signed contracts and good leads to work. Pray that people would like to use our inventory rather than have us pricing material from other suppliers. Pray that God would give us safety as we work and wisdom to know what to do in each and every situation.

Pray that we would love the Giver more than the gifts. Pray that Christ Bride would be unified and that each one of Her members would be passionately pursuing the Bridegroom. Pray that there would not be hypocrisy, that we would desire relationships that keep us closely following Him. Pray that for others and for ourselves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Peacemaking

Providentially, I was reading last night in John MacArthur's Daily Readings from the life of Christ and this is the entry for the day I was reading, even though it is not that day on the calendar. Here it is.

"Peacemakers help others to make peace with others. Once you see your duty as a peacemaker in the world, you'll be looking for ways to build bridges between people and God and then to build them between persons.

By definition a bridge can't be one sided. It must extend between two sides or in can never function. And once built it continues to need support o both sides or it will collapse. In any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a strong base. But we also have the responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base. Both must be built on righteousness ad truth or the bridge will not stand.

Often the first step in the process is to confront others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace (Matt. 18:15-17). Such confrontation usually causes turmoil, yet the way to righteousness is the only way to peace. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace.

a peacemaker finds a point of agreement. God's truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened. But we are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peace maker must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

When you hunger and thirst for holiness in your own life, you'll have a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others. That is a true peacemaker."

A continuation from yesterday's thought is that we are not to try to have peace at the cost of unrighteousness. I really get that this is difficult, as most people, myself included, don't want others confronting them on their sin, but this is our responsibility in the Body. Holiness, unity, edification, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, meekness, mercy and all the fruit of the Spirit and the beatitudes are all areas we need to grow and change in. If we are growing and passionate about where God is leading us and the growth that He is placing in our own lives, we must be encouraging others toward that same end. If they can have the joy that comes from following Christ and we aren't an instrument in their pursuit, then we are fulfilling our calling as fellow heirs.

I hope this encourages you to be bold, even if it's hard, to desire to be a peacemaker. The reward for being a peacemaker is that we will be called sons of God. I want that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Making Peace in a World of Strife

Matt. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

When Jesus was giving this Sermon, did He mean to say that we should be at peace no matter the cost? As Jesus walked this earth was He always at peace? Since He is our perfect example, should we not follow His lead? He told the disciples that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Can He expect us to be both at the same time?

It seems He was at peace with everyone who was not a "religious" person, or one of Satan's minions. He was at peace with the tax collectors and sinners, but not with the Pharisees. He was at peace with the widows and orphans, but not with the money changers.

So what does a peacemaker look like? If we are to love and irritate others to love and good deeds, how can we be a peacemaker and still do that? Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Maybe it is as much about attitude as anything else. I know that I am a sinner and I have a lot to work on myself. Were it not for grace, any falling short of God's standard is totally possible for me at any given time. Without many counselors I can fall just as quickly as the person next to me. Without the Holy Spirit convicting me and giving me a desire for The Word I would be lost in sin.

BUT, God still wants us to do and say hard things. Will there be peace if I just sweep everything under the rug? If we just ignore what is going on around us will that make it better? If someone is dieing in their sin and I don't say something will that bring them peace? Near term peace is not peace at all.

Our desire has to be to see others complete in Christ. That may require us to say something that is uncomfortable, or even very hard. They may not take it right today. They may get angry and say all sorts of evil things against us falsely. They may try to throw it back on us and blame us for their problem. But their response is NOT our issue. We are to try to be gracious in our approach, but not to the point of silence.

In the most winsome way possible we are to encourage one another to love and good deeds. We are to seek the counsel of those God has put in authority over us; whether at work, church or in government. God has the authority in place for our safety and guidance, we should listen to those people. But at times we may have to love and irritate even those in authority over us to good deeds. How loving is it if we don't say something?

As my kids get older it is interesting that they now can have input in the discussion that is very insightful. They know their parents pretty well, strengths and weaknesses, and when my kids tell me where I am falling short, it is not necessarily easy to hear, but sweet to know they are getting it and that they love me enough to want to see me complete in Christ. If I don't listen to them, and act mad that they would say such a thing to their dad, who is the fool there?

This is, again, where I think the attitude is so important. If we come without humility and love, the process gets messed up. If we come trying to win a brother and hoping to see them complete in Christ, then God will take care of the rest; maybe not today or tomorrow, but He will eventually make all things right.

Fields and Flocks

Hab. 3: 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

In America today we have grown accustomed to having an abundance. We have so much more than we need and we still want more. "If a little is good, than a lot must be better" is the mentality. It is easy to be sucked in to this way of thinking. When the rich get richer, it is easy to think that they must be doing it the right way, and those with less should follow their lead.

There is no amount of money that can satisfy; no amount of full barns that can give ultimate security, and no bank roll that can hedge against God's plan for our lives. When He tips the scale there is no equalizer.

This passage is such a sweet reminder that, in the end, all the things we put our hope in on earth are irrelevant because God is our only Refuge and Help in times of trouble. When we have God as our Portion, all the rest doesn't really matter. Everything else here on earth is just extra stuff when God is our Supply.

When life is over and we are in His presence what difference will it make if all the things we did here on earth were successful or not? What difference will it make if we had a bunch of stuff, or a big or small house? Will it matter if we had some position of "importance"?

Let us rejoice in the God of our Salvation! Let us seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and He will handle the rest. Though all the world around us is clawing to get ahead and to get more, may we be the ones who are "clawing" to get closer to God.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Lam 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.

It seems that lately we have had more than a few couples who have miscarried. Teresa and I have not had to go through that, but I do have a sister who lost 2 at 5 months and my oldest sister was in a car wreck and lost her first son at 8-1/2 MONTHS. While that was so difficult to understand at the time, God who is always true to His Word, used that for His glory. My brother in law came to Christ as a result of the loss.

While our friends are struggling with God's timing, I can say personally that God certainly knows what we need and when we need it. His Word is true and we can rest in His promises. He gives us new mercies everyday; they can't be kept for tomorrow and there will always be exactly the right amount.

I don't understand how He does it, but He does and we can rest and rejoice in that promise.


I was talking to a few friends of mine about the condition of the Church in America. I, personally, am dissatisfied with the passion and fervor of thel church, though I know in comparison to many others in America our local body is much farther ahead than others. But I am not interested in comparing one against the other, but more evaluating myself and our local church up against the Word.

Jesus had much to say to the Churches in Revelation and for the most part it wasn't good. But in all that He said I don't think His directive would have been start another church, as much as pray for, and work toward, revival and reformation in the one you are in.

I like change and I know that it is often easier to start completely over than to rip portions off to try to rebuilt. Like America today, I think we need to get back to the basics of what God has intended His Bride to be. Fellowship, edification, equipping for ministry and life, being together to do these things, rather than meet for a few hours once or twice a week and then go back to our own lives.

I am not suggesting living in communes, as much as, living in unity, giving preference to one another; sharing more of who we are and what we have with others. There are so many gifts in the Church that don't get used, because people are holed up in their own little worlds just concentrating on themselves.

I want to be challenged and encouraged to grow more. I want my kids to see passionate leaders pursuing Christ like He is meant to be pursued; from me and others. I want us to be a light on a hill and salt to those around us. I think this is what Jesus wants for us.

That is not going to come just by moving to another church, or starting another church, but by working on relationships, both vertical and horizontal, and doing and saying the hard things, but that is loving our neighbor as our selves.

The spiritual gifts that God has given to each individual body are to be used for Her edification and growth. We need to practice using these gifts and we need to get back to our first Love. We don't want to be luke warm believers, like those who were in Ephesus. Ministry and Christianity is hard; there are trials and we will be fighting sin until we are in Heaven, but we must fight for our joy and help others to fight for their joy as well. That might mean that you have to say something hard to someone you really care about, but say it, do it, live it.

Stay the course.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How's your Soul?

I have been thinking frequently this week about my own soul. The fight will not end until we reach Heaven and so until then we must always be examining and evaluating our souls to see where our focus and satisfaction lies.

My desire is to be ever thirsting and hungering for the Living Fountain and Word, but often I am distracted by life and things around me. I truly can say that He has changed me enough that I don't really want anything else, but like a child who thinks something looks good and they eat it, knowing the last time it made them sick, I still find myself pursuing things that are not what I truly want to follow after. I guess it's the Romans 7 issue. I know what is best for my own joy and the joy of others, but sometimes I still go the wrong way.

I want my desire to be for Him all the time; every minute of every day, but that is not how I live. I must remind myself all the time that He is my joy and satisfaction and my heart is filled the most when I am empty of my own desires and filed with His.

I must always bring His promises back to remembrance. I must always be filling my mind with His Word. I must always be seeking His face in prayer. I must be most satisfied in His so He can be most gloried in me. This is a hard battle; one that doesn't end in this life, but worth the fight.

Lord, make me love You as I was meant to,
May I "be" rather than "do"
Earthly pleasures always fail me,
Like You make me always be.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


After spending the last week in "paradise" and thinking about whether or not it really does/will getting any better than this; I certainly hope so.

I want to be clear that I am not complaining at all that our family has an opportunity to go to Hawaii, it's just that this world, as beautiful as it may be, is just not our ultimate paradise. There will be a day when sandy beaches lined with palm trees, tropical breezes and just relaxing will give way to a much more glorious time of resting in the presence of true Paradise.

In finishing my reading through Revelation this morning I am once again reminded of the fact that many are choosing today if they are going to spend a few days, weeks or months in "paradise" here and then spend eternity in the ultimate antithesis of paradise. The scenes in Revelation are graphic and those days will be filled with horror. Those who have taken the mark of the beast will be hit with so many plagues and even in the midst of these great plagues they will reject Christ. How tragic to be so blinded by Satan that they will not even repent when their entire world is turned upside down and punishment of every sort is all around them.

Today's "paradise" is no where close to what true Paradise will be. Oh that we would remain faithful, that the Holy Spirit would keep us passionately pursuing Christ until we are caught up together with Him in Glory.

It does get MUCH better than this, but only for those who remain.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hungering and Thirsting

Matt 5: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

I was listening to J.Mac's series on this verse yesterday and he said something that I had not noticed when I read through it; "Jesus did not say that the people who possessed righteousness were those who were blessed, rather the ones who were blessed were those who were actually hungering and thirsting for righteousness, whether they possessed it or not was not the issue".

He alluded to the fact that if Jesus had called the possessors blessed the Pharisees would have been the blessed ones, but it is not the ones who possess but those who know that there is no way they could get even close to possessing are the ones who are blessed. Like Paul at the end of his ministry saying that he was the chiefest of sinners, as we go through our Christian walk were see our sin more and righteousness seems to be farther away.

It is also interesting that when Jesus makes this statement He automatically makes the converse statement; "Those who do not hunger and thirst for righteousness are NOT blessed".

We must examine ourselves to see if we are really hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness in our lives. Is this our sole aim? Are there things that draw us away from this, or is this the one thing that we can't live w/o? If this is not true in our lives we need to examine ourselves and see if we are truly saved.

God gives the hungering and thirsting and if we have it we should be thankful and if not we should be asking Him all the time to make us this way. He delights for us to ask and He delights in these kinds of requests.

Lord, I am undeserving of such grace and blessing. You lavish on me more than I ever deserve. You are kind and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and yet often I wander and am distracted by things that I know won't satisfy, yet if I truly was hungering and thirsting after righteousness I wouldn't be wandering. Give me a passion and love, the deepest hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Don't let me settle for lesser things, as holiness is what You have called me to. Make my heart glad in You.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Holy and Blameless

Eph. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

Such a rich passage that I certainly can't post just one post, as it would be way too long.

How can it be that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing through Christ, and yet often I act as if I need more? Personally I can't fully imagine what every blessing looks like, but one day I will have a better understanding; oh for that day.

But until then this passage tells me that there is a reason that He chose me before the foundation of the world. This choosing was not because f anything that I have done, or can do in the future. He didn't save me so I can change the world, but He did choose me so I could live holy and blameless before Him. WOW, that is His purpose?

Often I think that He chose me to do some work so He can be glorified; say something so He gets praise; and this passage tells me that He chose me "That I should be holy and blameless". This is certainly not something that I can do on my own and it is certainly not something that the world would aspire to and yet that is why He chose me.

Why would He choose something that is neither desired by the world or accomplished w/o Him? Set apart and utterly dependent are the reasons He chose the Jews, and then all Christians. "So that none could boast". There is no way I can be holy and blameless without Him giving the desire and doing the work. Not "glamorous", but commanded.

Lord, give me the desire and then work in me to be all that You that You have called me to be. Don't let me follow other pleasures, even for a season or a day. Give me delight in all that You are. Don't let me seek pleasure in broken cisterns, but make me to always be desiring drinking from Your fountain. I am easily distracted, easily fearing the future, but You have already taken care of my every need and You have promised to provide all that I need. Without You I have nothing that is good and with You I have no need of anything. May I rejoice in that and give You praise. Thank You for all that You have done and are doing.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Praise Befits the Upright

Ps. 33:1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.

Does not praise befit all mankind? Should not all men be praising God for the great things He has done? Even the unrighteous should be praising God as the sun shines on both the evil and the good.

The problem; wicked , evil people don't praise God because they are focused on themselves. The other side to that is often believers don't praise Him as we should because we are focused on ourselves.

Similar to the command to be in prayer w/o ceasing, we should also be praising God w/o ceasing. "Let praise be continually on my lips".Ps. 34:1, 71:6. Can you imagine being around a person who always was either praying or praising God? I am sure at first it would be annoying, as I would be so convicted of not being like that myself, but after a while, with some movement in that direction, I think it would be a huge encouragement; "They are always talking to God and about God".

Lord, may we delight in You so much that we can't help but overflow in unending praise for Your goodness to us. We don't deserve any of the good gifts You give and yet even as we are prone to wander and follow after things that don't satisfy, You still draw us back to Yourself and lavish grace upon grace. May we be ever thankful and may the praise that You alone are worthy of be on the edge of our tongues, coming from an overflow of our hearts. Oh for a thousand tongues to sing Your praise, but may we now be faithful to use the one You have given us.

We look forward to the day when there will be no more distractions from You and Your praise; when sin no longer gets in the way. Come Lord Jesus and take us Home to live with You. It is our greatest promise and reward to be in Your presence. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

May it never be

Gal. 4:11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

May this never be said of us. This has to be the one of the saddest things that could be said of someone.


I should have updated you a few days ago, but I actually, purposefully left the "Stirring" post as my top post, as I wanted people to consider the weight of our hearts longing to be with other believers in the assembly.

The month of May was a very good month all around. We did end up very close to even YTD in both sales and completed work, which is truly amazing when you consider where Priceless Granite could be in today's economy.

I would still ask you to continue to pray for both leads and signed contracts, as leads are not good if they don't produce dollars. Jesus told the disciples that they didn't have because they didn't ask, so please ask God to continue to bless this business, as He can certainly be glorified in a housing industry business that is doing very well in this economy. We can only point to His goodness when people ask where it is coming from.

Pray that we would have wisdom, as I have many decisions to make concerning advertising and inventory. Pray that we would be good stewards of our time and dollars. Pray that we would continue to be thankful and not at all proud of the place God has put us in. Pray that we would be good testimonies and quick to give Him the praise He alone deserves. Pray for safety for the staff. Wisdom for the leads and Project Managers. Most of all pray that God would be glorified in this business and in our lives. He alone is worthy of all of the praise.


Ps. 31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the LORD,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,
"I am cut off from your sight."
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all you his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!

Graduation day came and went, but not without leaving a lasting memory on many of our minds and hearts.

What a great class of young men and women were entrusted to Grace Academy, some for all 13 years. This was a normal size class of 18, but not a normal class. The spiritual fervor of the students is so exciting to see, both in their own lives and in the lives of those around them that they have greatly influenced. Often it is only people younger than us that are greatly influenced by our lives; whether that is our own kids, grand kids, students or employees, but in this case they have influenced many who are much older than they are.

As Paul exhorted Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youthfulness, these students have run far past their age in terms of influence. It will be very fun to watch what God does in and through their lives.

While I sat and listened to the addresses and watched the slide show I was overwhelmed by How Good our God is. I am personally so blessed with my own great kids and then I also have the privilege of, in some small way, being able to build on the lives of some other absolutely great young people. My life should not be this good; I don't deserve this much blessing, but God has chosen to bless me in this way. May I never loose this sense of thankfulness.

My heart is so full yet my tongue/fingers have no words to express what I want to say. God is good, faithful, kind, slow to anger, abounding in love, amazing, too generous is just the starting point and it seems too small.

I am overwhelmed by His kindness to me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Graduation Day

Prov. 10:1 A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
15:20 A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
23:24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Today Grant is graduation. It is hard to believe that he is done with this chapter of his life in just a few hours.

God has done an amazing work in his life; he is not perfect but God has shown Himself faithful to drawn yet another of His children to Himself.

What are the things I really enjoy about Grant?
He loves God and loves to learn. He thinks about things before he does them. He is always trying to figure out a way to do it better. He defends the weak. He doesn't laugh easily, so if he does laugh you know it must be funny. His eyes light up when he smiles. He doesn't need to talk all the time, yet he is not aloof. He loves his family. He is a loyal friend. He is not looking to see how much wealth he can accumulate. He works hard and yet knows how to relax. He is not afraid to tell others where they are falling short, even if that means they will not be happy with him for a time. He likes people, especially little people.

Congratulations Grant. If you want to congratulate him and you are not going to see him in person, you can post a comment on his blog.

New Testament "Tithing"

2 Cor 9:6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, in Ps. 112:9,

"He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever."

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

This section is a small section at the end of 2 chapters where Paul is talking about generous giving. He is giving some encouragement, exhortation and even examples of what giving is to look like in the NT Church. I think it is interesting that he points to other churches good practices and he picks one that was in extreme poverty but yet they still gave; and gave joyfully. The church in Macedonia was excited to be able to give, though they literally had nothing extra.

In 8:7 Paul encouraged the Corinthians that they were excelling in so many other areas and that he wanted them to continue to excel in those areas but then to add to this list giving.

I like this above section because it reminds me who owns it all anyway and it is also a comfort to know that we really cannot out give God. God has a way of providing for each one of our needs though so often it is not the way we had thought it would come.

In James 4 we are told that the reason we don't have a particular thing is because we haven't asked or if we have asked, we have asked in the wrong way or with wrong motives.

Since God knows our every need and He has promised to supply that need, and He only gives what is best for us, shouldn't we be asking Him to supply those needs? We are not told that we will automatically get what we need if we are not asking, as I believe God wants us to come to Him in dependence asking Him to keep His promise of provision to us. When we do this, He will faithfully and perfectly supply our needs, according to His riches in glory.

We have a very good Heavenly Father who is waiting to lavish all His good gifts on us, to supply our every needs and to give more than we could ask or imagine, but He is waiting for us to ask. How prideful would it be if us to have this richest of Fathers waiting to lavish all His good gifts on us, yet we never ask Him to do it? It is pride when we say that we don't want to bother God with our little requests. He is not busy. He wants us to ask and then to be asked a million times more, so He can really show how good and powerful and generous He truly is; but we must ask.

In human terms how foolish would this look if your earthly father had billions of dollars and he told you that he would always take care of your needs, no matter how desperate your plight, but you had to come to him and just ask, and you lived in poverty your entire life, because you never wanted to bother him? People would say you are crazy.

Are you asking? He will supply your every need and He expects us to also be generous with the provisions He has given us. When God blesses us, we are to bless others in return. Not out of compulsion, but out of joy, knowing that God is the One who has provided it all in the first place and that He will continue to provide as we continue to ask Him.

I want to live more like this. I want to see God work in my life and in the lives of those around me. I want to prove His goodness to all those around me. Can you imagine how great it would be to say every morning, "See how good God is. He totally did it again. I don't know how He does it, but look; He did it again"? It would be exciting to live like that 100% of the time.

Our Heavenly Father wants to show off to the world how good and great He is; why not have that display come through you and I? Let's start asking rightly and when He does bless us, be faithful to tell others what He has done and share with others.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Stirring" still Brewing

I have been thinking about my last post this entire week and am even more stirred up to talk about the subject.

I do not ,completely, have all the gifts the Spirit gives to every believer. For example, there are probably a few people, including me, that would say I have a lot of room to grow in the area of mercy. I truly believe I have grown in this area, but I need more work.

If there is a believer comes to church who is really in need of mercy and I, because of my sin nature, lack the grace to be as merciful as is needful, or maybe I don't even see the need, how will this person be ministered to, if that exact right person stayed home? They won't.

This is not acceptable. We are to irritate each other to love and good deeds. In 2 Cor. 7 Paul is talking about not being really excited to have to write a letter and scold the believers there, but that he would gladly do it, if that meant their grieving would bring about godly repentance.

We need to bring ourselves and others to a grieving toward godly repentance. We need to be asking each other "Where were you on Sunday? I missed you." Again, there will be times that we are away from the body, but this should be the exception rather than the rule. It should be our joy and greatest desire to spend time with the saints. We are going to spend eternity with them, so we had better practice getting along now.

I know this is a touchy subject, but we need to excel still more in this area.
I would also like to hear your comments.