Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak." — Mark 7:37, ESV
He has done all things well.
Really? When you read those words do you really believe that? Do I? That Jesus has done all things well? What about during the times when it seems like Jesus forgot to show up? What about the times when he seemed to have failed? What about when it doesn't seem like he really finished a work, leaving you and/or I hanging in the process? What about when he was late?
Here's the thing: all of those "what abouts" are valid, but they aren't true. When I say that they are valid, I mean that from our perspective they hold validity to our experiences of reality. But are they true reality or merely our perspective of reality?
HE HAS DONE ALL THINGS WELL!!!
We can claim this when things seem are good. We can push this when things go as planned, or when God "shows up and saves the day." But can we claim the same thing when Jesus uses the inconvenience or crisis to usher in the miraculous? Of course our answer is, "Absolutely, yes." But now I ask: can we claim that Jesus does all things well even when we have to sit in the inconvenient and crisis for a long time without seeing any hope for rescue? Do we trust Jesus enough to allow pain into our lives to bring us deeper into a relationship with himself? Do we trust Jesus enough to love us beyond ability to comprehend while we experience the storms that are beyond our ability to endure?
Jesus is the God of all. All times. All seasons. All. And in whatever "season" you and I are facing, Jesus is still the God of it. And no matter what we face, we need to ask Jesus for his perspective of his reality. As he does that, he will bless us and show himself faithful once again. This will cause us to proclaim boldly, and without hesitation:
"He has done all things well."
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. — Matthew 4:1
The event that Jesus just finished with was his baptism. And what an incredible "cloud of witnesses" showed up to be part of his special day.
"And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17, ESV).
What an incredible event, followed by a horrifically and horribly painful forty days as Jesus was tempted by the Devil. And the key point to notice in this is right in Matthew 4:1 - "Then Jesus was let up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted..."
You see, this was not a "chance" meeting between Jesus and Satan. This wasn't Satan luring Jesus away from the baptism to meet him unknowingly in the desert to be tempted. Rather, Jesus was led up by the Spirit. This was all in the plan of God.
But how can this be? I see a main reason as being this: Jesus can now relate with us in temptation, for he has been tempted in every way yet was without sin. Jesus experienced a mountain top experience as he went down into the water. He then experienced the valley floor as we he was led up by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil.
The key to remember in all of it is this: whether you're in a mountain top experience moment right now, or you're scraping you belly along the floor of the valley, God is the God of all of it. Mountain tops. Valleys. God is the good of them all.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
However, we have this other choice. We can run to him and experience life from his perspective, which is true reality. And as we draw in to Jesus, he provides us with what is needed to continue to move forward in the mission that he has given to us.
If you're in the area tonight (Claremont, CA), join us at 6:30pm at Purpose Church Claremont for FLOOD, our young adult worship service as I teach on this from Acts 4:23-31 (472 N. Mountain Ave, Claremont, 91711). If you aren't, join us live online at www.floodnow.com. If you can't make it live, go ahead and subscribe to the FLOOD podcast and download tonight's message.
Hang in there, friend, with whatever is going on in your life. God has a purpose and is in control. He adores you. And for those who are reading this and are experiencing so much pain that it is almost unbearable, hang in there. Jesus is coming. In him is healing and life.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
2 + 2 = 4.
A synonym for run is sprint.
Grass is green (when watered).
The sky is blue (at least the parts we can see without smog or overcast skies).
But God's grace — this makes absolutely no sense. So when John Newton penned the words to, "Amazing Grace", he was really on to something.
Amazing | causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing; startlingly impressive.
It just doesn't make sense. And it is obvious in this verse.
As the churches in Macedonia were experiencing "a severe test of affliction," something startling came out of it. The grace of God compelled them to move completely opposite and away from logical to out of bounds. The grace of God caused them to have overflowed in a wealth of generosity in the midst of severe testing. What was the key?
THEIR ABUNDANCE OF JOY.
With their abundance of joy they faced their extreme poverty with overwhelming generosity, willing to give above and beyond so that others had enough.
What would happen if Christians actually lived like this? What would happen if I did?
It would truly be amazing. It would be by God's grace. And honestly: it just wouldn't make sense.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Thank you so much for praying for me last week while I was in Mexico preaching. It was ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING to see God work. I'm speechless about it. Thank you.
Here's how you can be praying for me this week:
1). This afternoon (Monday) I am officiating the wedding for Jessica Grodeland and Brandon Anderson up at Lake Arrowhead. Please pray for me as I share and lead the ceremony.
2). On Thursday night I am back at FLOOD preaching through the book of Acts. Please pray for me as I pray through, prep, and preach this message.
3). On Friday I am officiating at a funeral at PFB Church. I've been told by the family that they are expecting between 400-500 people to show up to this. This is a huge opportunity to share Jesus with a large group of people. Please pray that people would surrender to Christ through this.
4). On Sunday afternoon I have the honor and privilege of officiating the wedding ceremony of Erica Wilson and Austin Tenney. This couple has become so dear to me and this is a huge honor to get to be part of their big day.
Thank you so much for praying.