Category Archives: risk
I was in my favorite Starbucks the other day. Shocking, I know. I ordered my Fall favorite, Triple Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Near the door stood a man, a little shorter than me. We’ll call him 5’11”. He appeared to be very fit and his shirt even advertised it. It said, “Rogue Fitness!” And then had some added information about kettlebells and who knows what. Honestly, I quit reading after, “Rogue Fitness!”
As usual, I started a conversation with a complete stranger.
“Hey, tell me what Rogue Fitness is all about.”
The conversation from that point was a blur. I know I left with a business card, his name (Matt), the fact that Rogue Fitness was his gym and an offer to come and check it out. He was so excited about his gym, I honestly contemplated checking it out. Until I came back to reality and realized that would cost money. Nevertheless, the fact I won’t be going by, didn’t diminish one glaring fact that was blinding me as I walked to my car.
Why can’t Christians be that excited about their faith?
If I was wearing a church shirt and someone asked me about it, would I have responded that excitedly? I sure hope so.
When given an opportunity like this one, do we jump all over it with the tenacity of a Rogue Fitness Coach?
Do our eyes light up? Do they get really big? Do the veins in our neck stand out a little more? Can people see the passion about your faith when you talk with them? Or does your impression leave them feeling as if they would fall asleep at your church?
God has come across the cosmos and intervened in our world. Given us a mission and purpose. Told us that no matter what happens, we will not fail.
And yet we often times act as if we are scared little dogs, afraid to tell anyone what we believe.
So get out there you Christians. You who claim to be followers of Christ. You who show up on Sunday morning and sing the songs, listen to the message, take the communion and claim to live for and obey Jesus. Get out there and be excited about your faith. When someone is done talking to you, they should feel the excitement and passion pouring out of you. Get excited Christians!
And unlike Rogue Fitness, there isn’t even a membership fee. So you can tell that stranger at Starbucks that it’s all free!
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT) – And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
Over the course of time, the word “organic” has become a bit confused. Apparently it’s so confused that we have to label fruit as “organic” to distinguish it from non-organic fruit. Don’t jump all over me just yet, I get it, okay. Some fruits, vegetables and other foods have preservatives and fillers added to help keep them more fresh, longer. What’s interesting to me is our culture’s passion to get back to organic.
Organic is natural, fresh, simple, healthy, real. It’s grassroots. There’s nothing else added.
Nothing. It’s simply organic, natural, fresh, simple, healthy.
Our lives are so cluttered with so many things, that we are in a desperate search to get back to what’s organic; simple and natural. As a society, we are desperately craving less fillers and preservatives. And as a follower of Christ, I am finding the same in my relationship with God.
Over time, I have added so many fillers and preservatives to my relationship with God. And eventually, the relationship I truly have with God is simply a “preserved” image of the real thing. It’s not a real, fresh, simple, natural or healthy relationship, it’s one filled with junk to make it appear better and to help it hopefully last a little longer.
And then it happens. I wake up one day and it hits me…my relationship with God is superficial. It’s simply covered up with fillers and preservatives. It’s why I grow tense and uneasy. It’s part of why I become angry and frustrated with life. I try to go through life on the additives of a relationship with God, only to find that the real thing has alluded my grasp. As a result, my life is chaotic and upsetting. Little things bother me. Things just don’t seem right. Then I realize, it’s time to get back to God. And not the god I like to create in my head, but the One, True God, who desires more than anything to know me and have a relationship with me. But it’s going to require cutting out a few additives (Jeremiah 29:13).
I have to cut…
- selfish desires (James 4:2)
- false gods (Exodus 20:3)
- comfortable Christianity (2 Timothy 3:12)
- people pleasing (John 15:18)
- my will (Romans 12:1)
- legalism (Romans 8:3)
- other sources (Psalm 119:9-11)
See, developing an organic relationship with God means cutting out all the additives and fillers. It’s surrendering every fiber of my being and allowing God to lead and rule in every area of my life. Without that, the only relationship I have with God is simply unnatural. It’s full of extras that dilute the purity of the relationship God wants to have with me. It means surrendering my will to God’s. It means aligning myself with what He has revealed in Scripture, not trying to align God with my thoughts and feelings. It even means surrendering all the “laws” of Christianity to God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. It means finding the God who is alive and well beneath all the mega-church, post-modern, missional, traditional, denominational conversations out there.
I want to experience God in His purest form. I’m tired of the additives and fillers. They only screw things up.
What do you think it looks like to have an “organic” relationship with God?
What would you add to the list?
“What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure, your greatest fear?”
This is the tagline of the book by Mark Batterson, “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.” The book is based on a biblical character named, Benaiah. He once chased a lion into a pit while it was snowing, and killed him (2 Samuel 23:20, 21). With this in the background, Mark writes nine chapters on this simple verse in the Bible. Simply put, this book is fantastic if you are struggling with confidence or fear about a decision in your life. The stories that Mark shares are a true encouragement to get out there and chase after your dreams. The book is filled with great one liners and inspiring stories, all designed to help you be courages and take some initiative and chase your dreams. Or a lion.
The downside to the book is that it seemed a little on the repetitive side. After all, it’s hard to write on nearly any topic with only a one-line story as inspiration. At times the book felt like it would have made a great article or series of blogs, but not necessarily a book. So you need to be ready for some repetitive language and some concepts that will repeat themselves.
Overall, this is a great book for those needing that extra nudge of encouragement to chase something in their life. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Jesus asks a lot of me. He has high expectations of me. And to be quite honest, His standard is not an easy one to reach. Maybe that’s why He says the road to destruction is wide and the road to salvation is narrow. In Luke 9, Jesus is talking to a crowd about what it means to follow Him. This is how He describes what it means to be a disciple.
Luke 9:23 – “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
That is no easy task. I mean, the cross was where criminals went to be tortured and die. It’s where people hung for days, starving to death while they urinated and defecated all over themselves. It’s where the smell of blood and sweat mixed under your nostrils. You simply died in your own shame and filth. It was the most gruesome way to die ever devised by mankind (in my opinion).
And that’s the standard for those who want to be followers of Christ is that on a daily basis, they take up their cross and follow Him. Daily cross-carrying, is the standard of discipleship for those claiming to follow Christ. The cross is very symbolic of your own death. Jesus carried His own cross to His death. Criminals carried their crosses to their death. In other words, Jesus wants me to die to myself and only live for one person; Him.
Being a disciple means that you are a follower, a student of someone. If I want to follow Jesus more closely, I need to study Him more. I need to spend more time in the Gospels, absorbing every move and conversation. I need to seek after Him as if I believe I was really lost without Him (and I do). And when I have discovered Him in a whole new way, I need to take His radical life and begin to replicate it on a daily basis.
I need to love the unlovable.
I need to serve even when it’s not in my best interest.
I need to teach as if eternity hung in the balance.
I need to spend time with the least of these.
I need to give all that I have, 100% of the time.
And no matter how far I think I have come, there is always a next step. There is always someone else to love. Someone to serve. Someone who needs to hear that Jesus is the way to God. I’m thankful for the words of Paul in Philippians 3…
Philippians 3:12-14 – “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,tbut I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I’m so thankful for Christ. I’m so thankful for the forgiveness He offers me. I’m so thankful for grace. I’m so thankful for an example of how to live life. I know I will never attain perfection on this side of heaven, but I’m going to continue striving toward what I am called to. And I’m called to be more like Jesus.
What do you think about discipleship?
What do you need to do today to be more like Jesus? Tomorrow?
Let’s just be honest, many men don’t truly value their wives. Let me be more honest, I have not always valued my wife the way God expects me to. For that, I am eternally in debt to my amazing wife.
My guess is that most of you who read this blog have probably heard a song by Bruno Mars called, “Just The Way Your Are.” I’m not necessarily a fan of Bruno Mars personally, but I truly enjoy this song and wish that all men felt this way about their wives.
I want to challenge every man out there who has a spouse, is engaged or who would like to be married some day; when you have a wife, cherish her, love her, sacrifice for her, die on the side of a mountain for her. It doesn’t matter to me if you are on to your second or third marriage (or more), but if you will love your wife the way God intends, you will see your marriage bloom into something amazing.
Ephesians 5 offers some guiding principles. Some people take offense to them. Men believe they can never live up to them. But let me tell you where God stands on your marriage. God says this in Ephesians 5:25-27 (Message)…
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.
Your love for your wife should reflect the love Jesus has for the church. Jesus died for the church!
Your love for your wife should make her whole and complete. Does your love for her leave her feeling as if she is whole and complete? Or does she feel like something is missing?
Your love for your wife should bring out her best to your family and the world. How do you speak about your wife to your friends, neighbors and co-workers? Is she the “old ball and chain?” Or is she so much more than that to you?
Your love for your wife should bring out the best in her. If something isn’t right, don’t blame her first. Look at yourself and ask if you’re doing everything in your power to bring out the best in her or are you putting her in no-win situations.
Your love for your wife should have her looking holy, blameless and radiant to everyone on the planet. Can you say that you do that for your wife?
This passage is a great challenge. I believe that if men took it on fully, they would find the most satisfying and rewarding relationship with their wives. Everything would change if men would follow through on their role in the family. I wish I could say that I have lived this perfectly. I strive for this standard, but often I fall miserably short.
I mentioned Bruno Mars because I think that men (and women) go into a marriage or relationship thinking the other person will change. We often view the other as a project or someone we can fix. And when that philosophy doesn’t pan out, we give up. The relationship ends. And in many cases, the lives of those involved will never be the same.
So I’m posting the Bruno Mars song (I can’t vouch for comments on YouTube nor can I vouch for the ads). You should listen to it. Bruno isn’t perfect either I’m sure, but the words say a lot about how men should look at their wives (not other women walking by, by the way). And at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I have even imagined Jesus singing this song to the church. When the church is on its game, smiling like Jesus knows we can, the whole world takes notice.
God has given you a helper, men. And when you treat her the way God expects, you will not experience a better relationship with anyone, ever, on this planet. So get out there and love your wife like you’re supposed to. Sacrifice for her. Bring out the best in her. Never leave her.
I can’t even begin to comprehend how the people of Japan are feeling. I won’t even begin to pretend I understand. Because I don’t. I don’t understand or comprehend what it must feel like to lose thousands (possibility of that number going up into the tens of thousands) of your countrymen in a matter of hours while nuclear reactors leak radiation into the air which will ultimately lead to a sad and painful death for some of the workers. I don’t understand it, but I know it bothers me. And I hurt for them.
One thing I do know, what’s happening there reaffirms for me that we were designed for so much more. We weren’t created for this. We were created for more. For better. For perfection. For eternity.
I know that I’m not the only Christian hurting for the people of Japan or thinking about them constantly. I also know that some people are waiting on the Pat Robertson’s of the world to say something ridiculous. Well, they got it, but it didn’t come from Pat. It came from this man…Reverend David Cho.
The Reverend David Cho leads an Assembly of God church in Korea with more than one million members. Before Pat Robertson could get his speech together, Pastor Cho had this to say…
Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them.
If you can stomach it, the rest of the article is here.
Let’s assume for sake of argument that Pastor Cho is right. Let’s say that this awful tragedy in Japan, was done by the very hand of God and it is His judgment on their country for their idol worship, etc. Let’s say that God appeared in the sky and spoke in all languages simultaneously to tell us all that the tragedy in Japan was His idea, His plan and that He would take all the credit (blame). Let’s just say that everything I just wrote is accurate. With that in mind, how do Pastor Cho’s comments help this situation in any way? Even if we could say with 100% accuracy that this was an act of God’s judgment, do his comments help any of the dying and hurting in Japan? Wouldn’t he be of better use if he mobilized his one million members to get to Japan immediately and make a difference for Christ in the lives of the Japanese?
Let me be perfectly clear, I, 100% do not agree with this man’s comments. They are uncalled for and out of place. They only add to the hurt and make Christians around the world look like self-righteous jerks.
Pastor Cho, from me to you, please don’t talk about this anymore. Get down from your million-member pedestal. Get involved in a messy world, as Jesus did. Use your influence to share a message of hope, grace & forgiveness with the people of Japan as Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery. Love those who are without hope the way Jesus did. Don’t speak. Act on the grace that has been given you. You have that platform for a reason. Please, don’t use it to add pain to the people of Japan or to hurt the cause of Christ.
What do you think about Pastor Cho’s comments?
Is it me or does Lady Gaga’s song, “Born This Way,” make absolutely no sense?
I like Dunkin’ Donuts. I love Starbucks.
I’m brainstorming, “NOVA’s Largest Easter Event.” What do you think about a skydiving Easter bunny?
Did anyone else notice how freaking awesome the weather was today (at least in NOVA)? Heaven will be like today, only every day.
I wish I could afford to fly to Japan.
My legs still hurt from a leg workout I did on Tuesday. Guess it’s been a while since my legs were forced to lift some weight. I’d like to thank my brother-in-law, Josh, for nothing. Nothing but pain.
Today was a long day. Dropped my sister and her husband off at the airport first thing in the morning. An hour and a half in DC traffic, followed by an hour in DC traffic to get to work. Two meetings (which were both good) followed. Knocked out a couple projects at the office. Headed home. Hung out outside for a while because as I stated earlier, the weather was freaking awesome today. God descended on North Virginia in 70 degrees, a slight breeze and a lot of sun. Grilled some burgers for dinner. Now, off to hang with some guys and watch some March Madness.
Nothing much spiritual here today, only a small glimpse into the wheels turning in my head as I went through the day.