Archive for December, 2014

First Place

December 29th, 2014 No comments

first place

I am the First … Besides Me there is no God.
Isaiah 44:6

First place. It’s the finish line of the American Dream. Everyone wants to win, to achieve, to be the best. Unfortunately, what works well in board games does not fly with ultimate things.

Over the Christmas holiday I engaged in a spirited battle of the classic war game, RISK. It was the perfect storm for me and turned out to be the worst nightmare of my opponents. A fortuitous deal of the cards, combined with a crazy hot streak with the dice, led to a blitzkrieg victory for ME! In a ridiculously short time I made the smooth transition from breakfast to world dictator!

Fortunately for you and me, I do know the difference between fantasy and reality. I am not the ruler of the world, and neither are you. The first place ribbon in the category of ULTIMATE REALITY rightfully belongs to only One – GOD.

In his “Introduction to Genesis” in The Message Bible, author Eugene Peterson writes:

“First God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we’ll never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God.”

As we ramp up to another New Year, it’s prudent to pause for a moment of reflection on the answer to the most important question of the universe:

Who takes the first place in all of the passions and priorities of your life?

The answer to this simple question can make all the difference in the world.

Looking for Hope this Christmas?

December 16th, 2014 No comments

christmas ornaments

Christmas, like a priceless diamond, reveals God’s glory through many life-changing messages. As  pastors, we can preach on the birth of Jesus all our lives and never get to the bottom of both the mystery and magnificence of the Messiah.

But I do believe Christmas screams something to us that is very important – something right at the core of what it means to be “God.”

In Luke’s gospel we read of the stunning announcement from a heavenly messenger to an awestruck teenage girl – “You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS!” (1:31)

The angel proceeds to share the unparalleled destiny of this anticipated offspring. Mary is speechless. She wonders, “How can this be?” After all, she is a virgin and virgins do not have babies, let alone Messiah babies named Jesus!

What God was declaring had never been done before among human beings. In was not only highly improbable; it was outright impossible!
But the angel was not finished preaching. He was just getting warmed up! What he shares next is the most radical revelation of the entire meaning of Christmas!

“For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” (1:37, Amplified)

Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE with GOD!

Virgins having babies…

Sinners being restored into intimacy with God…

Broken hearts being healed…

The sky is the limit…because nothing is impossible with God.

Have you grown cynical?

Do you feel like some things are beyond God’s ability to transform?

Are there areas where you’ve given up or simply lost hope?

Well here’s the best news of all – Merry Christmas! With God nothing is impossible!

Take your self-imposed limitations off of what you believe He can do.

Remember – God can do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think! Let’s receive this amazing gift and trust Him with fresh faith!

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Is Joy the Icing on the Cake of Worship?

December 2nd, 2014 2 comments




 Many Christians view the  heartfelt enjoyment of God as the icing on the cake of worship. I, for one, am not a big icing fan. I know some of you are. You get that fancy birthday cake from the bakery with all the sugary flowers on top, and you go straight for that giant blob of icing first!

We could make an argument that whether you are an icing enthusiast or not, the cake remains the cake with or without it.

Is worship the same way?

Some people are all emotional and some just are not. Some like their worship passionate and others prefer it more reverent and under control. And while we can all think of extremes on each end of the continuum, the real question is what does God say about joy-filled worship?

1] God is the Source of our enjoyment. To have Him is to have joy.

 Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy; yes, with the lyre will I praise You, O God, my God!

Psalm 43:4, Amp

I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

John 15:11, Amp


 2] Joy is not optional because God commands it. Joy is the cake!

 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

Psalm 100:3, Amp


 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4, Amp


3] If God is present in our worship, joy is present.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11, Amp


4] Joy is a measure of our satisfaction.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

Psalm 90:14, NLT


5] Joy is a sign of released faith in God.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2, NLT


6] Joy is the focus of our ministry to others.

But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.

2 Corinthians 1:24, NLT


7] Present joy is the proof of future hope.

 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

I Peter 4:13, NKJ





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