He Will Reign

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15, NIV

imagesI love this verse, from which Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus originates, because of the definitive message that God is in charge and a day is coming where we will be united with all the saints in a glorious celebration of eternal life. And I look forward to the day when we all live in the real life Hallelujah Chorus. Where pain, sorrow and death are no more.

In these verses, we read that God has won the battle over evil and when our struggles will be over. In the meantime we have our work before us. To know what that is, we have to stay connected through worship, prayer, Bible reading and in community.

For the day is coming and the time is short. God’s kingdom is at hand…now is not the time to stop and wait. Now is the time to press on and show our joy and rejoicing with all those we meet, so that all will hear of the name of Jesus.

An Enduring Faith

I just had to share this post, from my good friend Charles. He has given me permission to repost this inspiring story of faith, hope and love…

549869_10200807855348065_337195721_nOn March 17th 2013, my wife Sandra completed her 7th LA Marathon. This year she had the honor of being chosen by the ALS Organization Orange County Chapter to represent them. Sandra was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in October 2010. It’s fatal with no cure. Most people die within 3-5 years of diagnosis.

Just six weeks prior she was hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia, and her ALS condition had progressed to a point where she had to ultimately get a PEG feeding tube put into her stomach for her survival. She was down to 90 lbs and was extremely weak. Her body and neck severely atrophied. In complete faith and reliance on the Lord, we and countless others (friends, family, church, caregivers and many others) prayed for her to be able to physically withstand the race. God answered. She had a smile on the entire race and amazingly endured the whole event. Absolutely amazing.

Yesterday, God taught me and Sandra a little something about faith and hope. When we step off the “cliff of fear and doubt” in complete faith that the Lord will catch us…He does. There is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ Almighty. There is nothing He can’t do. Nothing. All glory to Him.

Sandra crossed the finish line yesterday in the supportive arms of the Lord. He was cradling her the whole time; it was clear as day. Thank you Lord Jesus for being in mine and Sandra’s lives.

To God be the glory!

Love Builds Up

tumblr_m98r37c2F01qdxd12o1_500We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. – 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, NIV

As Christians, we might be well qualified to give the right doctrinally correct response in any given circumstance, but as Paul tells us, our response needs to be done in love. Do we genuinely care about the person we are giving advice to? Or are we only interested in how wise and clever our advice sounds? Paul tells us knowledge alone puffs us up and makes us proud. If we genuinely want to help someone, we need to do it in love.

Rick Warren often quoted as saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” One of the best ways we show we care is by listening. Mostly people can work out for themselves what they should or shouldn’t do. What people really need is a sounding board so they can talk through the issues with someone who is prepared to listen objectively and then allow the person to come to their own conclusions.

The Amplified Bible puts it like this: “Yet mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up…, but love…edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to full stature]. If we respond with love, not information, we encourage others to grow into their full potential.”

I Thank My God

Phil 1:3The pastoral team at SeaCoast Grace Church did this piece over three years ago as a part of our weekend worship service. It was our way of saying thanks to those who were making an eternal difference through the ministries of the church. Seeing it brought back special memories with this incredibly talented team. While most of us have now moved on, I thank God for the time we shared together…

 

Best Commercials of Super Bowl XLVII

NFL_SB47_Primary_National_Feb_Year_RGBSince last year’s Super Bowl commercials were a little anti-climatic for me, I purposed this year not to watch any commercials in advance of the game. And that made a world of difference in my overall SuperBowl experience!  However, in hosting a Super Bowl party this year, I didn’t catch every commercial, and I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with many of the commercials I saw in the first half of the game. But in the second half, the commercials came alive or maybe it’s the fact that the 49ers finally came alive, that changed my interest in the game and the commercials.

What was interesting to watch this year, was a lot of advertisers decided to tug on our heart-strings with ads that celebrated the America’s patriotic spirit and the people who make this nation great. Personally, I was encouraged by this sense of pride and patriotism that I saw reflected in these ads. However, on the flip side, I was disgusted by advertisers like GoDaddy and Carl’s Jr, who continue to demean men and women as sex objects in their ads. Yet overall, I was happy with the sense of family values reflected in this year’s line up.

So in review of this year’s Super Bowl ads, here are my picks for the best of Super Bowl XLVII:

Best Overall: Dodge Ram Commercial

Funniest: Tide Commercial

Most Entertaining: Pistachio Commercial

A 6 X 6 Plan

imagesAs a leader, what do you struggle with everyday? For most of us, our answer would be time! However, at the 2012 Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels challenged leaders to consider that its really our work habits that leaders struggle with on a day to day basis.

Watch as Bill Hybels talks about an exercise that helps his daily work habits. We can’t sprint for 6 months, but we can for 6 weeks. What would your 6×6’s be?

Our Owner’s Manual

Honda-Accord-2012-02Yesterday, I planned to take my 2012 Honda in for its first service. The dealer we had bought the car from in So Cal, had called to remind us that it was time for its three-month service. So I figured, I was well overdue and needed to get in to a dealer right away.

When I called AutoWest Honda in Roseville to schedule my three-month service, they informed me that they didn’t do a three a month service on a 2012 Honda Accord. “What do you mean,” I asked. “I received a call from our old dealer reminding me I needed to get in. And I already have 5,000 miles on my car. Surely, I at least need an oil change?” The man on the other phone proceeded to tell me about the monitoring features of the newer Honda’s and that unless I had a “red wrench” warning light on in my car, that it wasn’t due for a service. Confused and a little dumfounded, I asked, “Well how long do I go on before getting my car serviced?” And he went on to say, “Well that depends on how often and how far you drive your car! It could be a whole year before the service light goes on.” “You’ve got to be kidding me!,” I said and thanked the man for his time.

Since my SoCal dealer was so nice to give me a year’s worth of free oil changes, I thought surely the AutoWest dealer’s service department didn’t know what they’re doing. And in my doubt, I called the SoCal dealer’s service desk and got quite the opposite reaction. When I spoke with them, I got a scolding for waiting so long to bring my car in for service. “Sir,” the man said, “you should have brought your car in over 1,000 miles ago.” No mention of the warning light, no mention of the new monitoring system. So I asked him, “Well who am I to trust? I am getting two different opinions from two different Honda dealers!” He didn’t have an answer for me, so I thanked him for his time and hung up the phone.

To tip the scales, I decided I would call a third dealer! However, as I prepared to call another, my wife suggested I open up the glove box of my car and read this little booklet known as an “Owner’s Manual” and see what it might have to say! Brilliant, I surmised and I immediately went to the garage to get the manual. Sure enough, the service people at AutoWest Honda were right! They were following the manufacturer’s suggested service plan. The SoCal dealer, not so much!

As I considered my experience that day, I thought, how often it is in life that we are quick to seek man’s opinions when trying to make significant decisions that can have significant impact on our lives. For me, I was ready to call and ask for another man’s opinion about the maintenance of my car, while the Owner’s Manual, written by the manufacturer of the car, sat in the glove box. As Christians, aren’t we a lot like that? We’re quick to seek out the thoughts and opinions of our friends and family, when it comes to decision points in our lives, instead of pursuing what God has to say. Like me in this car service scenario, the manufacturers’ manual was readily available, but I was still looking to man’s opinions. Likewise, as Christian’s we forget that God has given us His Word, in order for us to live productively in this life! And like my Owner’s Manual’s, for many of us, God’s Word sits on a shelf collecting dust.

Well I don’t know about you, but next time I’m reading the Owners Manual! That’s God’s Word to us, written by the one who knows us best!

Top Posts of 2012

Best of 2012Hard to believe that it’s almost been a full year since I posted my first entry on this blog! So in following the mainstream media, I thought it would be fun to do a recap of the top posts of 2012. These are based on the number of hits as calculated by Google Analytics. Each post’s title is hyper-linked to the actual post if you want to check it out…

1. People Grow Better in Grace – Not sure what it’s been about this post, but I’ve had 4,731 hits on this article since I published it! Referred by search engines, I often get a few hits a day. Such a simple subject, but it’s not so easy to understand the concept of grace in today’s world. The goal of this post was to help others understand that because of God’s grace, one can enjoy favor with God, not because of what they have done, but because of what God has done.

2. A New Adventure – I sat on this big announcement for 10 days before going public with the news of our move back to Northern California! However, even with this very public announcement, which was shared in church, and through social media like Facebook and Twitter, people are still just hearing the news of our move back to Sacramento.

3. Do Not Be Afraid – We’re reminded in Scripture 365 times to fear not! That’s one exhortation a day for an entire year.  It seems that God knew we needed to be reminded to have faith, for by nature, we’re fearful people. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown consume us and prevent us from living lives of freedom in Christ. This very simple entry reminds us all, that God is with us!

4. Celebrating 19 Years of Marriage – I wrote this post as a way of recalling the wonderful moments of 19 years of marriage to my wife Jennifer! Even one of my missionary friends paid me a complement, by copying the idea in a prayer letter to his supporters, in celebration of he and his wife’s 19th wedding anniversary.

5. Bible Apps – Nothing really profound here. Just a recap of some of the free resources for on the go Bible reading.

So there you go! The top 5, which broken down can be summarized by three posts about spiritual matters, and two entries of a personal nature. And here’s the funny thing! I don’t think any of these entries would necessarily be in my personal Top 5 list. In fact, some of my favorites, are the least read articles. Oh well! No matter what the stats say, blogging this past year, has been therapeutic for me and for that I am grateful!

:: Love Came Down at Christmastime

At Christmas, we can experience every kind of emotion there is: anger at a disgruntled family member, stress finishing up last-minute shopping, exhaustion after wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve…but when all is said and done, Christmas is about love. And don’t just take my word for it. The nineteenth-century poet Christina Rossetti famously captured the spirit of Christmas when she wrote:

        Love came down at Christmas,
        Love all lovely, love divine;
        Love was born at Christmas,
        Star and angels gave the sign.

And the beloved disciple John wrote in 1 John 4:9:

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

Christmas is not only a demonstration of God’s love, but an expression of God’s character, for God is love (1 John 4:8). The ultimate expression of God’s love was sending Jesus into the world, which is what we celebrate at Christmas, Immanuel – God with us!

God’s ways are always motivated as an expression of his love and as we experience more of his love, we in turn learn how to love others. In fact, our love for others is evidence that God lives in us. When we allow God’s love to shine in our lives, people can see the unseen God at work and that brings him glory, honor and praise.

Christmas wasn’t just a cute little baby being born in a manger on a silent night in a little town of Bethlehem! Christmas reminds us of the Son of God, who for the love of you and me left his Father’s side to make a way for us to know and experience relationship with him. Christmas is a love story.

This Christmas, may you more fully experience God’s unconditional love, so that you may more fully love others as he has loved us!

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