Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fig Newton Anyone?

I just read through Matthew 21:18-22 where Jesus gets hungry, goes to the fig tree to find a fig to eat, finds no figs, and curses the tree since it bore no fruit so that it instantly withers.

I pray that I may always have a life that produces good fruit for Jesus.  Otherwise, I may find myself following the same path as the fruit tree...a shortened life and destruction.  May we not become complacent in our lives, seeking our own gain, but instead, live in such a way that we honestly and intentionally love Jesus and others more than we love ourselves.  May we produce fruit in our lives that is sweet and good and quenches the hunger of Our Lord.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

And Now I Celebrate

Okay, now that I've grieved for America and prayed for America, it is time to celebrate.  It still may be a screwy country with problems politically and morally, etc, but it is still the best country on the planet!  We may not have it all together (or even close!), but when I take a look around the world, things are falling apart in much bigger ways.  I am very thankful that we do have a democracy that works, an economy that is stable (especially compared to globally) and a culture that has laws to hold things together.  There are many things I'd change if I could, but then again, I bet there always have been as long as we've been a country.

So, let us celebrate our Independence Day with not a blind adoration for a country, nor a cynical view of the world.  Instead, let us thank God that we have the freedoms we do and keep fighting to make sure they continue.  May we continue to turn towards Him, fuel love towards each other, and may God bless America!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Grieving for America

Each day an app on my phone flags a verse for me to read.  What I love about this app, is that the verses are always words of Jesus'.  Today's was this:
Luke 6:32-36 "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungratefull and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."

Clearly, this verse struck to my heart as I need to work through these pieces and follow Jesus.  I feel that most of the time, the words of Jesus are in the back of my mind, prodding me to do follow in his footsteps, but I often take a separate path.  May I choose Jesus instead.

However, today, as I read this verse, it confirmed my thoughts and feelings about July 4th.  I won't be hanging a flag, I won't be celebrating all that much except in the ceremonial time with friends and grilling.  Instead, I'll be grieving.  Because the Independence Day we celebrate from 1776 is overshadowed now by our own decay.  What do we have to celebrate for our country?  That we're the richest country in the world?  That we can go to war with anyone we want to?  That we choose power, success, money, pleasure, or achievement over love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodnesss, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

I can't help but think that this isn't the America that our founding fathers would have chosen. 

When the nation was built on faith in God, yet now is lived as if God doesn't exist, this is of concern.  The amazing stories we hear daily of pain and suffering of people hurting other people breaks my heart.  When once we were a united states, standing up against tyranny and for freedom, now to create new kinds of slavery and hardship on ourselves.  Like dogs returning to their vomit. 

Anyway, I won't be celebrating America tomorrow.  I'll be grieving for Her, praying that love is enfused into Her, and pleading with Jesus to give more faith to our nation.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are non-profits and government programs killing a dying Christian Church?

As we read in Acts 2, the Christian Church is very much alive.  They are growing, inspiring, and transforming the world.  How do they do this?  Summarizing John Piper:
1. Burning conviction
2. Really GOOD news in the midst of a broken world
3. Christian communities marked by purity
4. Christian communicties without classes or discrimination
5. Charitable service
6. Readiness and willingness to give all away, even to the point of death

Unfortunately, Christianity in America is pretty much focused on only number 2 with a little 1 thrown in.  And I can understand why...the ACLU has taken of the case of descrimination 4
3. Has been eradicated because of a myth that since "we are not under the law", we must not really worry about purity.
4. The ACLU and government makes sure that we do our best not to discriminate.  Of course, this doesn't actually bind people of different classes and races together like the early church did, but we've let that be enough.
5. Charitable service is now the sole property of non-profits and government programs like welfare and food stamps.
6.  We have either bought into the lies of consumerism and are unwilling to give, OR we do not associate with enough people who are poorer than we are so there is no one to give to.

Obviuosly many of these things are very good and helpful to many people, and I firmly believe that God is at work in many of these things.  Is it possible that this is the hands and feet of the Church outside of the Christian communities of old?  Or do we as the church need to reclaim these lost tenants of our faithful service to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  Do we stop supporting non-profits and begin including that in the work of the Church?  Do we seek out people who are different to make them well-respected and honored people in our relationships?  Do we seek out the poor and find ways to give beyond the 10% that some of us give? 

And what should we pray for?  That God would drive the Christian Church in America underground so that we can find our way again?  Or that somehow, we would all come to our senses and begin afresh?

May we continue seeking the heart of Our Lord today and tomorrow, never stopping in this race until it is finished.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well that was quick!

I never would have guessed 2 weeks later that I've made a job offer and have hired exactly the person I've been looking and praying for.  The Lord be praised!

May we all continue seeking and ask for the godly way so that we can walk it and find peace for our souls.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


As a testimony to what God will do, I am writing this.

I am stopping my search for staff and will wait for God to bring that person to me.  I have searched and foud that God is calling me to stop searching.  He will provide that person.

Jeremiah 6:16.  This is the ancient path.  This is the path I will walk.

I look forward to sharing how He provides.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How many times is it written?

It's funny how long it takes, how many times we have to read it, how many times we deny it, before we believe it's true.  In an effort to help myself believe it, I'm recording as many verses as I can think of that speak to the fact that when we seek Christ and His Kingdom, everything else falls into place.  If you can think of others, please add on!  I am going to be putting one verse from each book of the bible to make the point obvious to all of us who continue to go our own way.

...Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time.  He consistently followed God's will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.(we all know what followed that verse...he lived through the great flood that wiped out everyone else and he started humanity over)
Genesis 6:9

You must serve only the Lord your God.  If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and i will keep you healthy.
Exodus 23:25

If you keep my laws and are careful to obey my will eat your fill and live secuirely in your land...i will look favorably upon you...etc.
Leviticus 26:3-12

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart
Psalm 37:4

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What God Blesses

"Stop asking God to bless what you're doing.  Instead, simply do what God blesses."

If you've had a conversation with me in the last month or two there is a good chance that I have shared my story of how last year was a very frustrating, anxiety filled, depressing year.  Not from the outside of course- from the outside everything was good.  It was an inside problem.  The problem was that I was pursuing lots of other kingdom's besides God's. 

Worries about finances and meeting business goals (building my kingdom), expectations of others (building their kingdoms), and all the while knowing God brought us here for some reason...the message that finally saved me.  Frustrated and tired, eyes swollen with tears held back all year, I sat on a bench in a local park and had a heart to heart conversation with God.  Like most of these conversations, I spent most of the time yelling at God for all of my problems and asking Him what on earth He wants from me.  And like most of these conversations, I was met with silence...


It's really hard to hear someone else when you're screaming.  So silence helps us to hear.

That's when God let me in on His little secret.  "Matt, you're exactly where you're supposed to be.  In the midst of your struggles, in a business that is having a hard time taking root, in a culture that encourages foolishness and scoffs at wisdom, in a place with few friends, and few to counsel you.  You still have me.  And I put you where you are.  You aren't responsible for the circumstances you find yourself in...I put you here.  You're exactly where you're supposed to be."

Like a spring of water to a man dying of thirst, this brought a rushing wave of rest for my soul and peace to my mind.

See, Kim and I had followed God's leading and moved.  We had gone to where he intended us to go!  Yet, I was taking the blame for the difficulties, the failures, the inadequacies that I found myself stuck in.  But it was God who led me there!  It was His path I walked- not mine!  The beginning of healing was planted.

Fast forward two months and I find myself fighting against this knowledge.  Because the world says you build your own business, you cut your own path, you reap what you sew.  And although this is partly true, it is far from the entire truth.  God doesn't follow the rules of man.  Instead, He has other rules that govern His universe.  Thankfully, He has let us in on a few. 

One of those is to pursue His kingdom first (and His righteousness) and He'll add all things that we need after that (Matthew 6:33).  OR we can try to build our own kingdom, living a life of stress and anxiety where we may have those things we need.  His path provides rest for our souls (Jeremiah 6:16).  Ours creates depression, anxiety, and fear.  Any sane person would choose His path each time.  But I am clearly not altogether sane.  I doubt you are either.

May we all stop pursuing other kingdoms, and instead look only towards His.  May we seek His righteousness.  May we find all that we need and may we find rest for our souls.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Choose the Ancient Paths

Recently I run up against a wall.  Full force, head on, wall.  My struggle is that I'm spending so much time and energy thinking, doing, and planning for things of little value and worth.  I cannot express the wasted time, energy, and brain power spent on my iphone or computer games or xbox or watching football or some other way we all entertain ourselves.  It adds no value, none at all.  Instead, it often faintly perverts.  Hidden, as if a slow drug working its way through veins for months before it reaches the heart.  I'm convinced that these technologies that we take for granted now have influenced us much more than we know.

My heart yearns for older times, for peace and for rest.  Not older as in my younger days, or back when gas was less than $1 a gallon.  I mean ancient times.  Really old.  (yes, this may be one of the subtle reasons I have grown out a beard...)

In Jeremiah 6:16 the Lord says "Stop at the crossroads and look.  Ask for the ancient paths where the good way is (some versions say 'the godly way'), and walk in it.  And you will find rest for your souls."

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Those ancients in scriptures, the ones like Elisha or Elijah or Enoch or Abraham or Noah, they walked a path unknown to us.  Not because we haven't read their story or know what they did, but because we don't walk the same path.  We are busy!  We are successful!  We have great homes and great stuff!

But do we have rest for our souls?

So how do we get on a different path? 
Step 1: Stop.  Stop....seriously, stop.  Wait.  Rest.  Stop.
Now look.  Take it in.  Look at the paths before you.  Ask for the Ancient one.  Not the shiny, new, flashy, exciting, thrilling, entertaining one (what does this say about how we choose our churches).  Ask for the Ancient paths.
Walk it.

And may we all find rest for our souls.