The Resurrection of Jesus demands that we live for Him!

Thankfulness - sunsetOnce a year, most of the world comes together in the celebration of Christ’s triumphant entry, through the Passover, the crucifixion all the way to the empty tomb! Then it’s back to work on Monday as normal. Now, don’t get me wrong I love this season. It reminds me and re-aligns me with God’s purpose and love!

I am so glad the story of Jesus doesn’t stop at the cross or even at His burial? But, come to think about it, why do we even allow the story to stop at the resurrection? The Story of Jesus’ love for you and I goes on and on! It’s not over once the weekend is done, its actually just beginning. I do understand and have no problem with focusing on these three glorious foundational events annually. The basis of the gospel is most definitely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! (1 Cor 15:1-4)

Yet, if we aren’t students of the scriptures we can miss so many things in the work of Christ. Peter brings to light that Jesus went to the chained demonic angels, who are awaiting their final judgment and proclaimed that His redemption of mankind was completed!(1 Pet 3:19) During these three days Jesus also took back the dominion from the devil that Adam and Eve had turned over to the deceiver(Gen.1:28, Lk 4:6, Col 2:15) , then Jesus gives it back to his children again once He goes to God the Father.(Matt 28:18-19, Jn 20:17-21, Lk 24:39) Where he also presents and leads the first fruits of the believing saints into heaven.(1 Cor 15:20) The story even continues, in the fact that He shows Himself to his followers over the next forty days before the great ascension.(Acts 1:1-2) But even after all this, Jesus which had foretold the disciples earlier (Jn 14:16-21) refuses to leave His followers by themselves, declaring in Acts 1:4-5, “He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father… “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’”. The last thing Jesus the resurrected Lord, lets them know before He ascends to the Father in the glory cloud is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit would empower them to be a witnesses all over the world for Him. (Acts 1:8-10)

What happened on resurrection day is what gives His followers the authority and dominion as His ambassadors and the infilling of the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk victoriously here on this earth. Being confident with our assignment of making disciples and establishing the kingdom of God, knowing Jesus is now seated in heaven next to the Father interceding for us. (Rom 8:34-35) You see, the work of Jesus still continues as He leads us. Not only does Jesus call Himself the Good Shepherd, but also we read in Rev 7:17 that He is still shepherding His people throughout eternity.

Paul writes to the believers in Colosse and says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith”.(Col 2:6-8) Paul is telling the Christian that once they accepted what Jesus has done for them to continue living their life in the benefits and authority of it. Jesus became our substitution and therefore our redeemer from the bondages of the wicked one. His works enable us and demand us to live a life worthy of His calling with confidence. Therefore let me ask you, “What are you doing with the Message of the Cross? Is it nothing more than fooliness to you or is it the Power of God to be His witness”. (1 Cor 1:17) The resurrection of Jesus demands that we live for Him!

Let God turn your Mess Ups into His Set Ups

images-65One of my fond memories as a young boy was on the coast of Oregon in the shadows of the sand cliffs as the Sun set on the ocean in the cool of the evening. My parents had started a campfire and we were cooking hotdogs on the beach. It was such a soothing and refreshing moment that I imagine each time I read the story that we find in John 21:6-15.

The passage is of Peter and some of the disciples fishing after Jesus had been crucified. They were devastated and beyond discouraged which drove them back to their old profession of commercial fishing. And to add salt to their emotional wounds, they were catching no fish.

Out of their hopelessness they obey a person they don’t recognize, who tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. That’s as audacious as if a quarter back in the NFL would take instructions from a fan in the second tier of the stands. Yet they obeyed and caught a net breaking catch of fish. John cries out it is the Lord and the radically spontaneously actions of Peter confirms his agreement. He grabs his cloak puts


Peter was pushed to the point of quitting and going back to his old life style of fishing after the shame of feeling like a failure. –  Tweet  


it on and jumps overboard to be the first one to the shore where the resurrected Jesus has a fire prepared for them. As they all get there with their catch of fish, Jesus begins to cook breakfast for them and pointedly asks Peter three times if he loved Him. Once Jesus gets Peter to confess his brotherly love for Him, Jesus confirms the commission that was on his life, to feed the followers of Jesus.

This story all by itself stirs me, but when we understand the past events in Peter’s life it comes alive with the very mercies and love of God. You see Peter had just royally blown it! In John 18:16-28 we read in the midst of Jesus being falsely accused and on trial, instead of defending Jesus, Peter denies Him three times as he warms himself by a fire outside.

I believe it was this event and a whole list of other mess-ups that finally tipped Peters emotional wagon. He was the one who had gotten his eyes off of Jesus and on the waves beginning to sink. (Matt 14:23-32) Remember he also was the one who cut the ear off the High Priest’s servant (Jn 18:10-11) and at the mount of Transfiguration put his foot in his mouth. (Matt 17:2-7) We can’t deny the blooper when he rebuked Jesus for talking about His death. (Mark 8:31-33) Then who can forget about Peter and the disciples sleeping through the prayer meeting even after Jesus woke them up three times in this most crucial time. (Matt 26:41-46)

So you can definitely understand how Peter once he saw the evidence that Jesus was raised from the grave (John 20:6-8) could have become overwhelmed thinking he was a failure! Pushing him to the point of quitting and going back to his old life style of fishing. (John 21:3-4) That brings back to where we started, on the beach with Jesus cooking breakfast. Peter was devastated and convinced he was the all time failure. Yet Jesus was setting Peter up, wanting to take his mess-up and use them as a set-up for his come back. There on the beach was a fire and then three times Jesus had him say that he loved Him to replace the three denials and commissioning him to feed God’s sheep. In Acts we see Peter was then used to preach the Gospel message where three thousand came to believe in Jesus! (Acts 2:14-15)

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Atlanta Braves v Chicago White SoxI believe most of us have had days that seemed to drag on with one bad circumstance after another pelting you. You might have even felt like you have some invisible bulls eye on your back that everyone else can see but you. Whether your day started out getting laid off at work and then on the way home you run out of gas to finally arrive to your house to find that the air-conditioning system is not working. That my friend is a day that you could pin the phrase, “the hits just keep on coming”. I imagine we all have a story we could tell about some day that goes down in our history as one of those days. The question is, can we prevent it or not?

In 1 Sam 30:1-26, we see David and his 600 mighty warriors coming back from battle. I am sure they’re looking forward for some downtime to heal their wounds


Deal with your sin before your sin Deals with you   (tweet)


and bodies from extreme exhaustion, as well as, connecting to their families. Maybe they had had some near misses in battle or even been in the clutches of death, but now they’re headed to there home sweet home in Ziglag.

Somewhere along the path home they might have noticed a small trickle of smoke quietly lifting in the blue sky. Maybe there was joking amongst them selves on whose wife was burning dinner or whose barn had just caught on fire. But tragically the fun jabbing became a nightmare as they got close enough to see the magnitude of the circumstances. The Amalekites had invaded their hometown, burning it and taking their wives and children captive.

This enemy that David had fought against some time back (1 Sam 27:9), where he hadn’t taken any captives had now returned and brought havoc to Ziklag. I can’t even imagine the thoughts that were invading these men’s mind. In 1 Sam 30:4-6, it says that they “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep” and that “the soul of all the people was grieved…”. Knowing that your loved ones are now in the hands of a vicious enemy bent on revenge would torment you beyond words.

The sad and almost disgusting part of this whole story line is that the Amalekites should not have even been on this earth to bring havoc on David! David was dealing with an enemy that God had told King Saul to annihilate once and for all


It might be because of you that the hits just keep on coming!   (tweet)


in 1 Sam. 15:3. Yet, because of self-opinion and compromise, along with deception King Saul thought fit to disobey the Word of God that was given to him through Samuel the prophet. Because of this major disobedience this enemy was kept on the earth and the consequence has been monumental. First, we see that the kingship Continue reading

We can’t Just Sit Here until we Die

INDIA-SOCIETY         I remember while I was in junior high school, I tried out for the basketball team. Though I made the team, it was to my disappointment that I was only good enough to be on the B-team. The coach challenged us saying that if we worked hard in practice that we might get promoted up to the A-team. I took the challenge to heart and began to practice my hardest, only to find that I was still on the secondary team.   After several weeks had gone by, with no advancement, I began to let my disappointment get the best of me. I soon began to settle for my lot in life, so I thought, and got content with being on the B-team, not trying anymore to be promoted. I knew at least I would get a letter at the awards banquet for participating.

Paul let us know our journey in this life wasn’t going to be a cake walk. For he said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” He let us know we would have to fight, signifying it was an aggressive


Why should we settle for anything less than God’s best?     (tweet)


action to achieve God’s plan for our life. When you are willing to settle for the good instead of going for the best, the good has become the enemy of the best   The church has settled for the good meetings and good conferences for too long. We have allowed ourselves to settle for the average growth rate and average impact instead of going for God’s best! God’s best is God’s outpouring of revival on his church. Why should we settle for anything less than God’s best? What would happen if the church would get sick of being complacent and satisfied and quit bowing down to the norm of our society? Let’s look at a story in 2 Kings 6: 24–29; 7: 1–8, where Syria laid siege to the city of Samaria. In the midst of devastation, the man of God speaks the word of the Lord, declaring that deliverance was at hand. Then the scripture zooms in on four lepers sitting outside the city gate, for the law commanded them to dwell alone and Continue reading

Will you be a Garbage Can or a Trash Man?

160221956Trash talking and gutter gossip is nothing more than fruit from the pit of Hell! (Jas.3:1-12) and it seems to be such a big part of our society. We have TV shows and magazines solely dedicated around slander and gossip. It has always astounded me how different ones can constantly be involved with corrupt communication. In many communities of believers we even cloth it with religious jargon saying it’s a prayer request. But sadly there never seems to be the prayer just the gossip.

Years ago I was invited to go with a medical team to the Philippines to minister. It opened my eyes to the needs and tremendous hurts of people. While I was there we went to a regional garbage dump to minister where individuals actually lived on the garbage heaps. These people spent their days rummaging through the toxic garbage of others looking for something of value but only received infection and sickness.

In the same manner people that are obsessed with listening and spreading hateful communication are themselves living amongst the most unrighteous mounds of spiritual trash. It is no better than eating out of a dumpster or living on a garage


Some people think its spiritual to be a garbage can where as we really are to be a trash man.       (tweet)


dump rummaging through others refuse. Some people think its spiritual to be a garbage can where as we really are to be a trash man. A garbage can will get putrid and smelly and contain germs, but a trash man is one that takes someone’s garbage and puts it in a safe place to be covered up.

Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus saying, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good …that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph 4:29) The Greek word “corrupt” actually means rotten and worthless words. So Paul is telling us not to be involved in trash talk, but only those things that will uplift and bring grace to others. When you say things that tear others down and is not edifying it Continue reading

Don’t Ever Think Youthfulness is being Useless!

Street Art East LondonMany of the traditions or situations that we organize can cause young people to think that they are second-rate citizens. Whether it’s the “kids table” at Thanksgiving dinner or the youth section at the football game or even youth swim in the neighborhood pool. Young people can begin to think that they are being pushed aside and made to feel useless by the older generation.

I remember those years of being a youth myself, my music preference or the way I communicate or even some of the crazy fads earned me a hour long unsolicited speech many times. I am sure you’ve earned that same talk sometime in your life. It starts something like this, “when I was your age we” or “I walked up hill in a foot of


The enemy is more convinced than many believers, that our greatest potential is our young people.     (tweet)


snow to go to school”. There is such a generation gap that if misinterpreted young people can feel that they are not appreciated or needed. But God thinks otherwise!

Reading young Jeremiah’s calling, in the book that bears his own name, we read in Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” God lets this young man who is probably in his teens, know that there’s a specific plan for his life. The creator of the universe knew him before he was born! This incredible visitation doesn’t stop there, but goes on to command and commission this young man to fulfill God’s purpose. Not when he is retired and an empty nester, but right then and now!

The requirement to do great things for God is not that you have to be old and have nothing else to do. But we read in Dan 11:31 that those that know their God and


It’s time to release young people into their God given destiny!   (tweet)


are faithful to Him will resist the enemy and do great things for God. Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to grab on to the reason that God has laid hold of you in Phil 3:12. Paul doesn’t give any age requirements to them at all. On the contrary in his letter to young Timothy he says in 1 Tim 4:12, 14, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers… Do not neglect the gift that is in you”. God has a huge plan for young people! Young people are not so tide down and entangled with debt, raising families and building careers. Not that those things are wrong by any sense of the imaginations. It’s just that, to often, as we get older and assume more responsibilities we loose flexibility and time to be whole heartily used by God.

The enemy is more convinced than many believers are of the great potential in our young people. The communist philosophy says, …if you can win the youth you can win a generation. The world will always have a larger youth group than the church because they spare no expense for it. With the Coming of computers and web based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. Many major toy companies have now lowered their target market to much younger ages to combat the KOGY age (kids growing older younger).

Lets embrace our biggest resource that we have in the church. Our young people! It’s time to release them into their God given destiny! The older and the younger generations need to work together hand in hand to accomplishing God’s plan in the earth. We need each other!

Deal with your Rebellion before it deals with You!

169372603In the midst of the quiet night my wife shot out of bed with a crying scream, “I am in so much pain”! Those who have experience a dry socket will immediately remember the excruciating pain it can cause. It was after my wife had finished getting a wisdom tooth pulled that she was released to go home and recover with the needed medication. Well, at the crack of dawn I was rushing her back to the dentist’s office because of the unbelievable pain she was in. It didn’t take long for the diagnosis of a dry socket to be made and dealt with.

Once the initial tooth distraction was done and the open wound began to heal on the surface, a small piece of chipped tooth was left and produced infection that quickly spread within the socket causing pressure and a throbbing pain that can bring


Too often people allow their hearts to be defiled and conceive a spiritual cancer that spreads throughout their lives.   (tweet)


a grown man to his knees. The solution is to open the wound and clean out the infection and apply medication down deep so that it can heal from inside to out, instead of healing just on the surface, leaving a festering infection on the inside.

In 1 Kings 11-13, we are introduced to Jeroboam who had a similar problem. We see that because of his giftings and abilities that he was one of King Solomon’s upcoming leaders. In verse 29-39, he is given a word through the prophet that God Continue reading

Don’t Stomp off Mad just Play Nice!

kids playing w toys 1Recently, at a local park I over heard a mother question her child and his friends if they were playing nice? Those words captured my thoughts back to a childhood memory of my own. Where my father had to sit my brother and I down after supper and had one of “Those” talks. My father had been concerned by what he had seen earlier that day when my older brother’s friends had been making fun of me in a derogative way with out any objection from my brother. My father with a tone of seriousness told us that there is never a time for family to side against one another. My father went on to say at all cost we should stick together and not side against each other. I know he was emphasizing the importance of a family bond. Many times we see this same scenario with the different age groups or even different generations. We forget we’re family and allow our differences to bring a collision of generations. It’s not a bad thing to think differently or have different strong or weak points. We must see the value of God’s gifts in each person. In 1 Kings 12, We see a tragic story where this type of limited thinking brought a great disastrous result. It was at the time of transition from the great king Solomon to his son Rehoboam now becoming King. It says in verse four that a representing group from the people came to the new young king asking, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Israel had gone through an incredible generation of building and prosperity under the former king. The people didn’t want to rebel but wanted to enjoy life for a while. It was a reasonable request don’t you think? King Rehoboam consulted with the older advisors of the former regime. These men had been a crucial part of the success and would surely know what to do. Their advice and counsel in verse 7 saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today… and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever” was abruptly rejected! The king then went to his childhood friends and peers and asked them what they would advise. Now these where probably friends that the king had played army with and chased girls and even boasted on what they would do when they grew up? We read their shockingly different advice in 1 Kings 12:11, where they tell the king to say, “now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!'” It was an answer of arrogance and immaturity, yet the young king agreed with it. It was a collision of two generations that had long lasting results of epic proportions! The people were devastated and offended choosing to not follow the new king. This unwillingness to blend the thinking of two different generations caused a wall and great division. Verse 16 – 21 tells lets us know ten out of twelve tribes defected from king Rehoboam and chose their own likeminded king. In the next chapter we see this king leads this whole group astray from God. When the generations don’t “Play Nice” and value God’s gifting’s in each other it will lead people away from God!

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Fight Vultures!

imagesNot only is the story of Abram fighting vultures away from his sacrifices captivating in Gen 15, but also has helped me in my walk with the Lord over the years. It demonstrates that we have a responsibility to keep our commitments to God as living sacrifices. This story in brief shows God revealing His promise to Abram through a covenant that both agree upon. Also in Deut. 7:9 Moses shares about God’s covenant, “Therefore know that … God (is) faithful … who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments”.

Growing up we have all had childish promises and agreement as friends. Whether it’s a promise to be best friends forever or a promise to keep a secret we have experienced them. But, it’s not until we get older in our life’s journey that we really


Man has proven his inability to keep any agreement without God’s grace and empowerment.   (text)


understand how common covenants and promises between individuals have been throughout history. They were used for territories, peace treaties and passage rights through other lands. Today, we use them in our everyday lives, such as marriage, loans, jobs and etc. Even though most looked much different, all were based on the philosophy of a serious promise. They came with the agreement that if one side or both ever break the agreement it could bring severe consequences.

            In the scripture we see how God’s love for His people is portrayed through His unfolding of His purposes through the making of covenants to individuals through out the ages. Looking at the 9 covenants in scripture give us understanding that God who is the originator of His promises reveal that He is a covenant-making God. He has the right to set up the conditions in which man can enter into or maintain the covenant. He is also a covenant- keeping God. Once He makes covenant with us He will not Continue reading

Don’t Allow a Fall to Keep You Down!

590506608The scripture talks much about different individuals that have fallen and tripped along the journey of faith. In Prov 24:16 Solomon might have had his father in mind besides his own experience as he wrote, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” I think most honest believers would admit to a time or times that they have tripped and fallen during their race of righteousness. Yet, we will only lose if we don’t get back up.

Four years of preparation had now come to a close as he returned to the Olympics to defend his gold medal in the 10,000 meter race. Mo Farah of Great Britain had been diligent to push forward and discipline his body for this race. He had practiced and kept focus for these past years to continue at the top of the platform. A


Just because you have stumbled and even had a major mess up, it doesn’t mean your race is over      (tweet)


you know they don’t just give gold medals away for being nice and having good intentions. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into bringing the prize home! Even so, most of us will never understand the level of commitment and sacrifice that is put into being a world class athletic once, let alone a seconded consecutive time. All of this was in the mind of Mo as he waits for the starting shot to go off. The mental strain and voices from the crowd as well as that inner voice can become a runners biggest battle as the physical pain increases.

            Everything was going as a typical championship race. The crowded lanes, the different strategies being played out and the continual screams from the onlookers. Farah as well as his faithful friend and training partner, U.S. runner Galen Rupp,


It’s always easier to quit the race and not get up, but there’s no prize in that!     (tweet)


seemed to be moving forward in the crowded pack. Then in the 10th lap Farah’s foot hit Galen behind him causing him to fall. The announcers and the world looked on in horror as Farah tumbled to the track and like a gymnast he pops back up on his feet and continues to run. Determined not to stay down or make excuses he pushed on to Continue reading

Go for the Gold without being Disqualified

588666430-1There is no greater exhilarating feeling than pushing yourself beyond the natural limit during the last seconds of a race. It’s as if every muscle and fiber in your body is working together to thrust forward to cross the finishing line first where with pulling off a victory.

Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 9:24-27, comparing the same type of commitment in athletics as to the believer in their Christian journey. He begins by exhorting the believer to run to win not just participating. Then Paul goes on by saying in verse 26-27, Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one


He that spends all their life speaking a message to others and not walking that message themselves will end up disqualified (tweet)


who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. Paul is most likely speaking in light of the Isthmian Games that took place every two years during the spring in Corinth.

The athletes would compete in various competitions such as, long jump, footraces, wrestling, throwing the discus and javelin and more. Unlike our modern day Continue reading

Getting the Hindrances Out of your life

Felsengruppe Externsteine im Teutoburger Wald bei Horn-Bad Meinberg, Nordrhein-WestfalenEager to get on the way, we loaded the car and began our journey. The crisp Sunday morning couldn’t have been any more perfect. We were scheduled to minister in a church on the south side of Chicago that morning. So we got an early start for the trip from Milwaukee, to insure plenty of time to get there.

We had already gone a good distance when all of a sudden there was a loud noise followed by a lot of shaking. We pulled over to the side of the road only to find the tire was shredded to pieces. Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes to grab the spare and get back in the car heading for Chicago. This little setback seemed only to confirm to us that God had great plans in store for the meeting ahead.

Halfway to our destination, another loud noise came from the tire that I had just changed twenty miles earlier. The car began to shake in the same manner it did earlier. Once again, I pulled off the road and took a look at the tire, finding that it was also flat and ripped to shreds. Knowing that we were all out of spare tires, I began to get a little worked up and agitated. Yet, we began to feel more than ever that it was God’s will for us to be at that meeting. Even though it now looked as if something was hindering us. We began to be stirred up in our faith and began asking the Lord to move in the meeting. Before I could finish the prayer, a car pulled in behind us to help. To Continue reading

It might look good, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid

629461691Remember how you would tell your parents that all your friends are doing something so why can’t you do it? And your parents would sternly say as they looked at you, “If they were jumping off the cliff does that mean you should do it?” Even if you didn’t like when their answer was in the form of a question, it actually made sense. Didn’t it?

To many people just go along with the crowd uncontested, believing that numbers confirm a right moral action. When in fact, that can be a very dangerous way of choosing your course in life. God has given us His written word to follow so not to


The Bible instructs us to do what’s right even if it goes against the majority.  (tweet)


get distracted. In Prov. 14:12 it says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” NKJV When a man’s ways go outside God’s Word it will lead him down a path ending in destruction.

Our nation was shocked at the unfolding of the events in northwest Guyana on November 18, 1978, where 918 people died in the settlement of Jonestown under the leadership of Jim Jones. The outlandish deception of so many people, including children and adults alike sent a fear of mind control to everyone who heard the news. Soon after the murder of a United States Congressman and four others, who had came to investigate accusations from family members of individuals being held against


Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right   (tweet)


their own will. These murders spawned what has been viewed as a mass suicide or as many voices say, including Jonestown survivors as a “mass murder”. This deceptive and murderous act was clothed in a religious tone thinking there was a better life awaiting them if they drank the kool-aid laced with cyanide poisoning.

The evidence is strong that not only were these people coerced, but also many were forced to drink the kool-aid, resulting in over 900 lives dying. This shocking incident of deception and control birthed the saying, “don’t drink the kool-aid” which means to not let anyone deceive you. Yet this phrase shouldn’t be tagged to any authentic move of God. The scripture in 1 Pet. 5:8-9, exhorts us to be alert and Continue reading