Finding New Ways to Love


“…and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,”

1 Thessalonians 3:12, ESV

As you mature as a Christian believer you may feel “stalled” by an attained growth. You might feel you’ve finally arrived. And in a sense you have. You have finally worked through a few issues, and although you know your not quite perfect, you feel like things are starting to “click.”

Many times when we finally get to this point, you realize there just has to be something. But you really don’t want to go back and yet this can be a season of complacency. This can be a dangerous time. It’s good to be on guard against the “doldrums of discipleship.”

Serving others can help you work through this curious time. You will find a lot of health in this, it also takes the focus off of self which is a great thing. Since I struggle with depression at times I find myself looking beyond my issues. I focus on someone else. Instead of becoming absorbed in myself, I redirect my vision to serving the Lord by serving another.

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa

I’m discovering new ways to love. People I never dreamed of are crossing my path.  As a Christian, I’m called to reach “all that the Father gives me.” The day should (and is) filled with “divine appointments” which my Father desires for me to keep. This won’t make me more “spiritual,” only more available.

We are meant to keep on, “increasing and abounding in love.”

To keep this increase we must continually look for news ways to love. Jesus had this when He saw the 5000. He questioned His disciples to see what they had. The managed to scrap up “five loaves and two fishes” hardly worth mentioning (Matt. 14:16-18). But Jesus had plans for this meager beginning.

Sometimes we stall in our discipleship. We think what we have is too little, or, we don’t see the need of the crowds. Either or both. We limit God’s kingdom by our lack of responsiveness. The Holy Spirit is asking us to “increase and abound.”

Always find new ways to be fruitful. Don’t hinder yourself until you think you’re ready. Look and perceive the appointments of the Lord. Make yourself available and anticipate chances He brings your way. If you’re limited, that’s ok too. He will gracefully multiply what you do have, just like “the loaves and fishes.” :-)


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A Towel, Not a Title

There are no shortcuts in discipleship
“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist.”  

John 13:3-4, NLT

Jesus was always constant.  Nothing could erode His place or position.  The authority had been His Fathers, and it had been given to Him.  He carried it as a special burden, treasured and separating Him.  Jesus had the freedom to act like the servant.  It didn’t bother or confuse Him, He understood perfectly who He was.

With the supreme authority given to him, he got down on His knees, and began to wash dirty feet.  I can offer no magic or flair to adjust this scene.  He washed off dirt, cleaned between toes, making filthy feet clean.  And all of this ‘as God in human flesh’.  This staggered the disciples, perhaps a baseball bat on the side of the head, would’ve been more compassionate.

This was revolutionary, it completely devastated the disciples.  They just couldn’t grasp what was happening.  Jesus, who was ‘God in flesh’, had decided, in a moment of time, to clean their feet.  Outrageous!  Not really happening!  No way! Never!

The reality.

This spun them around.  They tried as fast as possible to process what had just happened, and ‘who’ it had happened from.

Essentially, it buried them.  Jesus Christ, as Servant pounded them into the ground.  Servanthood was to take the supremacy from this point forward.  Becoming an indentured slave was now the way of Christlikeness.  This servanthood was to now guide us to a point of slavery.

Gone are the days of Zebedee, when one can ask for a position, on the right or the left.  We can ask, most certainly, but we haven’t been the first.  We can ask but the sheer weight is against us.  So very many have gone before us.  We must become a people who accept, and then presses into His grace, His specialness, His presence.

Today, more towels are what we need.

We have got to turn over our ‘need’ for recognition and pick up from the pile the rag of servanthood, we must ‘ask’ our brother/sister if we can scrub their feet.  We must get on our knees and do the unspeakable.  We must find a way to clean off their feet. This dear one, is what you’ve been told to do.

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”   D.L. Moody



Bored in Heaven [Worship]


“For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”

Psalm 47:7, KJV

Human beings are meant to worship. And specifically, to worship God. If we choose to deny this salient fact, we change nothing. Worship defines us, and who we worship is our decision. But it will happen. Our very DNA includes this proclivity.

Among believing Christians there can be an ‘oh hum’ attitude toward ‘worship’. It seems to us to be a tolerated part of our gatherings. Often worship is nothing more than a sequential chain of events that must be endured, for ‘religious reasons,’ but seldom for an authentic spiritual purposes.

The worship of heaven still worries some. It seems too intense, and a bit (shall we say) fanatical for our likings. Our standards are high, after all it will be eternal. At our very best worship is not of an ‘eternal grade’. It may be good and all– but we envision something more, a thing that engages us on an eternal level.

The fault can be with our ‘earthly’ levels of worship.

Many are busy with their own life, with all its all consuming issues. They find time to interrupt their day, perhaps to lead a feeble congregation into something more. They quickly learn to mollify and ‘reduce’ their approach, to the ‘lowest common denominator’.

But worship still sizzles, and the ‘need’ to worship is embedded inherently within. If we don’t choose to worship idols, we take on the task of worshipping the real God. And that real adjustment will truly change us.

If worship is boring, you’re doing it wrong. You see boredom and worship are antithetical. They are  ‘miles’ apart. Worship must be an exclusive focus of a ‘burning heart’ not bound with the mundane occurrences of the day. If you are  an average ‘joe, or jane’ worship leader, you will understand this.  At times you may experience this ‘tension’ of earth and heaven. But remember, heaven begins now, and not later.

Be encouraged, boredom is not your fault. It is the “spirit of this age.” But, if I might suggest, more grace is given to those who lead us. Competing with a people fully enamored with ‘entertainment’ will be hard (but not impossible for God.)

Will you be bored in heaven? I hope not. But remember this, ‘worship practice’ starts now.

“God is not moved or impressed with our worship until our hearts are moved and impressed by Him.” 

 Kelly Sparks




Psalm 23, Understood


Psalm 23, an annotated version:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.– That’s relationship

    He makes me lie down in green pastures.– That’s rest
He leads me beside still waters.– That’s  refreshment
    He restores my soul.– That’s healing
He leads me in paths of righteousness– That’s guidance
    for his name’s sake.– That’s purpose

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,– That’s testing
    I will fear no evil,– That’s protection
for you are with me;– That’s faithfulness
    your rod and your staff,  they comfort me.– That’s discipline

You prepare a table before me– That’s hope
    in the presence of my enemies;– That’s witness
you anoint my head with oil;– That’s consecration
    my cup overflows.– That’s abundance
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,– That’s blessing
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord– That’s security
    forever.– That’s eternity

Psalm 23, ESV

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-04We really do live in a world of uncertainty. Anything can happen (and often does) and at times we will struggle. Psalm 23 is something stable that we can latch on. It is a psalm of unparalleled comfort for the turmoil.

It is especially good to those of us who struggle with a mental illness. It is a tether for us that holds us in place. For those who fear death it promises us life– forever.

If you’re a broken believer who has issues, I encourage you to memorize this psalm.  As you commit it to memory it will instinctively draw you to reality. It will be something the Holy Spirit will use over and over in your life. I have been crippled with fear many times, and this psalm has protected me. I love the Shepherd of Psalm 23.

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Some Things Must Be ‘Prayed In’


16 “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,

  • how wide,
  • how long,
  • how high,
  • and how deep his love is. 

19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Ephesians 3:16-19, NLT (My bullet points)

Paul has a ‘rocking’ prayer life. The church of Ephesus would have swelled on the spot with such an amazing prayer. I have to believe that sometimes preaching and worship isn’t enough. There is a need for intercessory prayer instead.

Prayer interjects what preaching can’t. Good worship is critical, but there are needful things that are only drilled in by prayer. Paul knows this, and even though he is quite far away, he can disciple that church at a distance– through prayer. Prayer is Paul’s way of touching the church, even across the ocean!

Paul's cell at Mamertine
Paul’s cell at Mamertine

Most of our Bible heroes had seasons of  intercession.

Abraham for instance, stood and begged God for Lot’s life. Moses beseeched on behalf of Israel. Of course, Samuel and David would stand on Israel’s behalf. These are men who regarded intercessory prayer as a critical part of their walk. They ‘stood in the gap’ so others might live.

In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, it seems he wants to solidify some essential things within them. The prayer is marvelous. He has a confidence that he is making a difference in the spiritual lives of the church, even if he is chained to a guard in Rome. Ministry doesn’t have to be restricted by distance.

There are powerful truths in this part of Ephesians, and will penetrate the hearts of the hearers. With Paul confined and unable to visit the church, he must revive the heart of an intercessor. I hope you find someone to pray for.

”Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men.”

Oswald Chambers






Mechanisms of the Spirit


Especially for the Leaders and Pastors who Guide the Ministry of the Church:


“Unless the Lord builds a house,
 the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.”

Psalm 127:1

O my son, give me your heart.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.”

Proverbs 23:27


The highest expression of the will of God in this age is the church which He purchased with His own blood.  To be scripturally valid any religious activity must be part of the church.  Let it be clearly stated that there can be no service acceptable to God in this age that does not center in and spring out of the church.  Bible schools, tract societies, Christian business men’s committees, seminaries and the many independent groups working at one or another phase of religion need to check themselves reverently and courageously, for they have no true spiritual significance outside of or apart from the church.” –A.W. Tozer

As believers we sometimes lose the sight of what is going on around us. We get attached to a structure or a mechanism and view it as why we are here. Ministries, churches, retreats, conventions, even websites (!): every “structure” and every effort of man— however good and noble is not the Church of Jesus Christ.

The Church is a fluid and dynamic thing. It supersedes anything we can do or plan. Our efforts are always secondary, and even at there best are minuscule. We are gifted so that we might serve others, that is true. But wisdom always realizes the “big picture” even while serving in a “para-church” context.

The Church is the bride of Christ himself. It really is the only authorized work of God in the world today. It is what the Spirit is doing in our midst. Our personal efforts (like this website) are not really the full expression of truth in this world. That privilege belongs to the body.

I’m not trying to demean your ministry or work for the Lord. I won’t advocate that we shut-down our separate efforts. But I do suggest we restore our focus on the Church of Jesus above anything we can do. Paul cared deeply for the churches; he labored, toiled, travelled, was persecuted and despised all for the Church. Paul saw Jesus as its head, and he saw it as “the bride of Christ.” No sacrifice was too high or hard for the Bride.

“Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

2 Corinthians 11:28, NASB

We are to be servants of the Church first. We dare not be side-tracked or led in a subtly different direction. Perhaps a good way to think of this subject is that there are

  • mechanisms, and
  • organisms.

Sometimes we’re somewhat mechanical and something living. I suggest that we restore to the living Church the honor and glory it deserves. Our individual ministries can be good— fruit may even be seen. But we dare not minimize the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. She is his bride. She will rule and reign with him forever and ever.

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Revelation 21:2

It will not be that “descends” from heaven, but the Church. As important as I think I am, this website will not be in that place. This privilege belongs to Christ’s own bride– the Church. Perhaps it is this fact that we who are in ministry should consider from time-to-time: Let the church be the Church.

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The God of Coincidences


“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”

1 Corinthians 15:25

In the spring of 1995, I was taking my family across the border into Mexico to live. All we owned was what we could pack in the trunk of my old Chevy. We were flat broke and unsure of where we would spend the night. But we heard from the Lord; we knew he was leading us into a situation where we must walk by faith, and not by sight.”

We were caravaning with missionaries who were to be stationed about 40 miles south of our ultimate destination. But we had separated two days before in Arizona. We knew we would see them a bit later. The evening before our crossing, we managed to scrape enough money to spend one last night in San Diego.

I’m ashamed to say that I was not the man of faith and power that I should of been. I cried out a desperate and short prayer, “Help me God, show me that this is really you. I need to know that your hand is in this.” I was taking my wife, and two small children into Mexico, and we didn’t even know where we were going to spend the night.

I was pretty stressed the morning of our crossing, and hearing nothing from the Lord. We merged into the heavy traffic for our inspection when we heard a horn behind us. I just thought it was part of the process, and ignored it. But it kept honking. I looked in the mirror to see what the problem was.

Directly behind us was the couple we had been with in Arizona! Suddenly I knew this was God speaking directly to me. I was staggered as I extrapolated the odds of this happening, it was unbelievable. We had left them behind two days ago and now we meet up at the very precise time, in the same lane of traffic.  The odds of us converging at the same time had to be astronomical!

The Lord spoke to me right then and there, “I am in control.” All my anxiety, all my fear just lifted– I knew deep down He was leading us. I could trust Him, even though life seemed so very precarious. We were in His hands! This would be a faith booster in some hard times to come.

You may have had an experience like mine. When God touches a heart and makes it peaceful– it is a beautiful thing. But it can be something different. The Apostle Paul on the Damascus Road was stunned when Jesus spoke to him. Paul’s companions heard a voice but saw nothing (Acts 9:7).

We must become people who insist that every believer have their own experiences with God.

It is the spiritual privilege of every child of God. When “it” happens, it will be something to be treasured. Looking back I see that moments like this enable one to go through a great deal. Someone once said, “Coincidence is when God wants to remain anonymous.”

When we hear his voice or see his handiwork, it is truly then we become his disciples.