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Showing posts from 2010

Love a Stranger

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:8-9
Hospitality for a Christian was a concrete expression of love. The Greek word is philoxenos and combines two word "philos" (loved, being loved) and "xenos" (stranger). Have you loved a stranger today?

Birthday Comments

So a few years ago I decided that if someone took the time to write me a birthday comment on Facebook, then I would take the time to write them a comment back. AHHHHHHHH! Thanks for all the birthday comments this year, my hands are so cramped up right now it isn't even funny.
Thanks again for all the birthday wishes, it really means a lot.

"This may sound crazy, but..."

I just finished reading an article about a Christian Teacher in Leesburg that was caught on camera molesting a 15 year old student. Every time I read or hear something like this it drives me crazy. But this one is different. During an interview the teacher was quoted as saying this... "This may sound crazy, but it didn't seem inappropriate."
Ok, where do I start? Your right, it doesn't "seem" crazy, it is crazy! Your out of your mind! And "inappropriate" doesn't even begin to describe the situation. How about wicked and evil. That seems more appropriate.
When you look at a website like www.watchdog.com and see all the sexual offenders that surround your home it can be a bit unnerving. School is supposed to be a safe place for our children, it's scary to think about a teacher doing things like this.
It makes me even more thankful for all of the amazing teachers in my church that are genuinely concerned for the education and safety of our chi…

Foundational Joy

“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” -Charles Swindoll

In Ezra we see that commission to rebuild the Temple. God uses a Pagan king to start the process. In Ezra 3 the foundation is finally laid and that is where we pick up in verse 10...
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundat…

Holy Cow!

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In Isaiah 6, we see the account of what happens when the Lord appears to Isaiah… In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”The Lord appears to Isaiah. And the bottom line, it’s an impressive sight. He is seated on a thrown and surrounding the Lord were seraphs, celestial beings, angels. Not angels like your thinking. These aren’t like those little precious moments angels. Y…

Joy to the Heart

I don't know if you all realize how important of a role you are playing in God's kingdom. In Proverbs 27:9 it says... Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Then in Ecclesiastes 7:1 it says that "A good name is better than fine perfume...".
I don't know how you serve the Lord, but no matter what it is I want you all to know that when you bring joy to the hearts of those you are serving, you are bringing joy to the heart of our Lord. Remember in the parable of the sheep and the goats that Jesus said, the King will reply"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." You are the perfume that brings joy to the heart. Serve with this in mind.
Yours,
Justin

Deep and Surface

There are two kinds of idols, there are surface idols and deep idols. The surface idols are the easy ones to see, the truth is that surface idol are often tools of the deep idols in your heart. We all know that money is an idol, but it’s a surface idol. The deep idol that it’s connected to is greed. Greed controls what we do with our money, greed is the one that needs to be uprooted from our heart in order to free. You can loose all of your money and still be a greedy person. If you free yourself from money you won't necessarily be free from greed. But if you get rid of the greed in your life then money is sure to follow.We need to focus on uprooting the deep idols in our life.

More Than You Can Imagine

"We are far worse than we could ever imagine...and far more loved than we can ever know or believe." -Timothy KellerSometimes I think far too highly of myself and my abilities. Every once in a while I need a reminder about God's grace for me and my desperate need for Him in my life. Never underestimate the grace of God. And never overestimate yourself.Without God, I am nothing. With God I still might be nothing, but at least I'm loved by the Father.

With Justice!

Before going to Haiti back in May of this year, I decided to study the book of Ezekiel. One verse jumped out at me and has stuck with me ever since. In Ezekiel 34 God speaks against the leaders of Israel. He describes the "shepherds of Israel" as selfish while ignoring the needs of those they serve. God replies by saying that he will shepherd in a different way.
In verse 16 God says... "I will search for the lost and bring back strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice."
The last part of that verse is what has hit me the hardest, "I will shepherd the flock with justice." The way that God ministered to his people was marked with 'justice.' I just can't seem to get that out of my mind, thinking to myself, "is this what my life is marked with... justice."
If your a Christian then your life is a ministry, what is your life mark with? Is it m…

Where are you going?

I was reading today and came across a quote that struck me... "Everyone ends up somewhere. But few end up somewhere on purpose."
Most people stumble through life half-heartedly, not having any clue where they are going. No plan. No dream. Just existing. Turning the pages of their life one after another until they get to the final chapter... and then what?
What is the vision for your life? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What do you want your legacy to be?
Just a thought.

Stone Cold Says NO!!!

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In my boredom I came across this picture at a funny little site called www.peopleofwalmart.com (I must warn you that the site is not for the faint of heart). This picture jumped out at me and I felt I needed to share.
What you see is a man wearing a shirt that says, "cause Stone Cold said so" to which we can surmise that more than likely he's missing the majority of his teeth. What is it that Stone Cold is actually given his endorsement for? I'm not sure but apparently it has something to do with a gallon of Valvoline oil, value pack of Depends (extra absorbent), and of course Hamburger Help. Use your imagination.

Valleys and Slimy Pits

Are you disappointed with God. Maybe you thought that by following Him it meant that you were protected from evil, conflict, pain, etc. Maybe you thought that you wouldn't have anymore problems. Maybe you thought that you just can't fail anymore.
But what happens when you fail like a football player taking an algebra exam? What happens when your life is so messed up that the writers of "Glee" look at it and cringe? On a more serious note, what happens when you lose someone close to you? When I say what happens to you I mean, what happens to your faith?
I've seen a lot of people go through a lot of crazy and painful things that thought that being a follower of God protected them from such. But that's not reality. David says in Psalm 23, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear not evil, for you are with me."
An unhealthy faith denies and pretend that a dark valley doesn't exist. A healthy faith gets us through tha…

Unanswered Answered Prayer

The other day I was reading about prayer and how many Christians become discouraged when their prayers don't get answered. For many of us we believe in God but not in prayer. We read passages in John 14 that tell us to "ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." When what we ask for doesn't happen we see this as an empty promise.
I'm changing my perspective to appreciate my unanswered prayers. Actually I'm beginning to see that many of my unanswered prayers turn out to be answered prays, just not the way I expected it. Paul asked over and over again for God to remove the "thorn" in his flesh, God didn't. Instead he told Paul that His grace was sufficient for him to survive. Paul then rejoices over his weakness.
I've come to understand this in my life too, that the unanswered prayers can very easily turn into an answered prayer, just so long as we re-allign our sights on our God and His ways.

In Love's Service

The sick or the healthy? Thornton Wilder wrote a play based off the John 5:1-4 passage called The Angel That Troubled The Water. It was believed that there was a pool in Bethesda that the blind, sick, and crippled would go to be healed. Legend has it that an angel would come down and stir the water, the first person to enter the water would then be healed of any and all diseases. Wilder's play is about a doctor who goes to the pool to be healed of his depression. One day the angel comes, stirs the water and the doctor goes to get into the water but the angel stops him. The angel informs him that the healing is not for him. The doctor tries to convince the angel but it doesn't help. Listen what the angel says to him...
Without you wounds where would your power be? It is you melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of earth as can one human being broken on the whe…

My Temple

Two years ago I went to the doctor for a cold and left with blood pressure and high cholesterol medicine. He told me that I was over weight (over 24o lbs.) and running the risk of having a heart attack by age 40 (I was 30 at the time). I took my medicine and a year went by and I didn't really do all that much. Then January of 2009 (I was convicted), I joined Gold's Gym and started working out with my buddy Andy.
I started at 242 lbs., my doctor told me that if I get to 210 there would be a good chance that I would be off the medicine. This morning I weighed in at 212 lbs., 2 lbs. away from my goal. On top of that I am stonger than I have ever been in my entire life (I actually maxed out with Andy at 275 lbs. on the bench press).
I remember one night I was sitting with my son in his bedroom at night crying (I was crying not him, he was comforting me). I made a promise to him that night (and later to my wife). I promised them that when I die, it won't be because I didn't…

Simplify the Armor

Sometimes I think we make things harder than they need to be. A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on how Satan twist the truth in order to destroy our lives. At the end of the sermon I told everyone that we need to be focusing on Ephesians 6:13-17 through the week. You know, the full armor of God, so that they can discuss that in our Core Groups on Saturday night. I had a thought on the verse but wanted to see what everyone else would say.
The think going through my head was, we're making this harder than it needs to be. I've heard entire sermon series based on the full armor of God. Each sermon focused on each part... The Belt of Truth, The Shield of Faith, etc. So I stopped and looked at each part of the armor that Paul writes and saw something different... What is the truth, peace, faith, salvation, righteousness, and the Word.
Truth... Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Peace... Isaiah called Jesus 700 years before his birth "the Prince of Pea…

The Sick

I have a philosophy that comes right out of scripture, “Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not form a club.” So when I was hired I started getting to know all the student, and I focused on the students that didn’t know Jesus. This struck a bad chord with my boss (this was before Jeff). He told me that I was spending too much time with the kids that weren’t Christians and told me that it should be the opposite. I'm kind of stubborn so I said “no! it’s the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy.” When Jesus came, he came for those who were in need. Jesus called Matthew, who was a tax collector, to be a follower of His and if you know anything about tax collectors they were considered the farthest from anything Godly or spiritual.They were corrupt and nobody liked them. When Jesus called Matthew he was so pumped that he threw this great big party at his house and he invited all of his other wild friends, tax collectors, and other well known sinners to come and to meet Jesus. Th…

Idiotes?

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."
We see throughout history that God takes the ordinary and does extraordinary things with through them. When Jesus chose the twelve he chose the ordinary fisherman, the ordinary tax collectors, ordinary men who had nothing going for them in the eyes of the world. God took them and used them to change the world.
The word "ordinary" in this verse is an interesting word. In Greek it means "untrained person" or "one who does not understand." Even more interesting is the actual Greek word for ordinary... Idiotes. Looks kind of like our word "idiot." That's because the definition "untrained person" or "one who does not understand" is just a nice way of saying "idiot."
So if you were standing in a room with me and I yelled out at the top…

Help Haiti

Last night I was at the gym working out. They have TV's all over the place. From where I was at there was one TV on my left an one TV on my right. I looked up to the left and the show TMZ (a trashy paparrazi show that stalks celebrities) was on. Of course, in the thirty seconds that I watch it was about the next female celebrity to loose her bikini top at the beach. That was the top story. I looked over to my right at the other TV and at the exact same time were the estimated reports of the Haiti earthquake deaths were coming in. Estimate death so far... 140,000. These two stories were on at the exact same time. I thought to myself, "who cares who lost there top at the beach!' Then it made sense to me... how easy is it for us to forget about what happened in Haiti? How easy is it to just move on? How easy is it for us to just sit back and do nothing?
Distance can create a huge disconnect. Disconnect from the rest of the world is not something that Haiti can afford right n…