Thursday, August 27, 2009


I once heard about a man who, upon hearing the name of Jesus would weep. I remember thinking that this was a bit weird. However, I am beginning to understand how he could be moved by something so simple as a name.

The name of Jesus while simple is powerful because it helps convey who he is. Let me try to illustrate with a story from my own life.

I have MS and it is not fun, in fact my life has changed and I have changed. I am one of those people who lives with daily pain and fatigue along with other symptoms. Even though I have medication to help with the symptoms I have had very few days without pain.

Recently I have received a grace from Christ that touches me so deeply. I have peace in the depth of my soul and have greater trust in His providence in my life. I am experiencing his divine sustenance as I have been able to climb this summer despite the fact that I am not getting better. People think that I am getting better, I am not. I am doing better though than I have in years. This is a grace and the One who brought it is my Master, Jesus.

I was reflecting on this great grace the other day in the car and I broke down in tears and simply cried. I am overwhelmed with my Master's mercy, love and providence in my life. I am so humbled that he would love me enough to stoop down and meet me in my pain and loneliness. He comes to where I am most scared and vulnerable bringing hope and joy. Amazing grace. Even though I still hurt physically I have joy in my soul, I am even beginning to recover my long lost laugh.

Knowing Jesus like I do now, that is in my pain, weakness, and brokenness has transformed his name for me. He is the One who brings to me in profound and life shattering ways graces like: love, forgiveness, strength, mercy, joy, hope and peace.

My Master is my Beloved. I thought I loved him before I was sick, and I did but it is not to the depth or with passion I now have. I can now weep at his name. This perhaps is the best thing that has come out of my sickness, the experience of the love and joy of Christ Jesus in all places.

My only response is to adore, love worship and serve my beloved Master: Jesus..

Grace Part One

Yesterday while teaching I said "there is always enough grace for the truth."

The grace of Christ allows us to see more clearly what we are really like. It breaks through our illusions and shines light in the darkness. It is grace because with Christ's truth always comes love and strength. When we realize that we are not as good as we thought we also realize that Christ is better than we thought. This gives us consolation and hope.

We can't really grow unless we build our lives on the truth. The love of God in Christ breaks into our lives revealing that we need Jesus and that he is present right where we are. I find so much hope in the truth of God's love for us and his ability to meet us wherever we are. Instead of condemnation Christ reveals the truth in love which brings freedom, peace and hope.

The discipline of honest confession allows us to build our life on the truth that there are areas where we fall short and need grace. Confession allows us to build our lives on the truth of Christ's forgiveness and strength. Confession is healthy for the soul because we receive again the grace of unearned love, forgiveness and new life.

When is the last time your reviewed your life; practiced confession and heard God's love for you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When I played college tennis one of the members of the team would use a word to help inspire us to play better. He used to say that we needed "ganas", the word means desire. He would say "ganas, you must want it more than the other person."

Desire is universal, we all have desires. He was using to desire as a tool to help us want to win more than our opponent, and it worked for many of us. What about other things that we desire. What are our desires?

Jesus says that we must "seek first the kingdom." This is an issue of desire. Do we desire the kingdom of heaven? Probably, but we also desire other things as well. How do we deal with our desires and not let them get out of control?

I think that Jesus helps when he tells us to "seek first the kingdom." The order and magnitude of our desires matters. If we desire money first and more than anything else than we will seek money first. The same could be true about our sexuality, ego, status, cars, work etc...

It is fine to have other desires as long as they are not in the number one place in our lives or contrary to Jesus' teaching. The kingdom of God is to be in the first place. When Christ and his kingdom are first in our life then the rest of our life will begin to be ordered around Christ, his Word and his kingdom. Then the other desires (which will be present) will take their proper place. Any time that those other desire become first in our lives then they become idols or false gods. The first commandment is to have no other Gods beside me.

When we put Christ first then we experience that he truly is the way, the truth and the life and everything is added unto us. Another way to say that is that when Christ is first then the things that used to be so important aren't nearly as important as they once were and we are more content than ever.

Monday, August 17, 2009

98% Selfish

I recently cut my hair and donated the 12" away to a good cause. Someone asked me if that was my plan all along. I said that in the back of my mind I was hoping to be able to do something good. The fact remains, I liked having long hair and I like having short hair. My desire to have long hair was 98% selfish and about 2% selfless.

I think it is good when the things we like to do can be used for the good of others. For example there is a group called Sportsmen Against Hunger and they give some of their wild game to agencies that provide free meals. The hunters like to hunt and they can give some of their game to help feed people. This is good.

There are other ways we can take the things we like and use them to help others. I would encourage you to think about some ways in your own life that the things you like to do may be able to help others.

Not all of our service has to be 100% selfless, sometimes 2% selfless is helpful to another human being.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We can be committed to Christ as an idea. When we do this we are only using the eye of the mind and we can become like the Pharisees, committed but with a hard heart.

The other way to be committed to Christ is as a person. I would like to describe one way this can happen in a human life.

At some point in our life we look at our life and realize that we have made mistakes, we have hurt people, made poor choices and are trapped in ways of living that aren't healthy. When we do this we are filled with regret, guilt, shame and perhaps despair. It is so hard to come to God in this place because of God's perfection and holiness. Most of us shy away from God and live our life with God as thought but not as a present Reality.

This is where an encounter with Jesus is so important. It goes something like this. We stand before Christ aware of all the areas of our life where we have fallen short and all we can do is stand there and weep because of the utter failure we have made in an attempt to live our lives in ways that are good, pure and beautiful.

We are there with our head held low and our eyes filled with tears, we are so ashamed we can't even look him in the eye. At that moment he takes reaches out with his scare stained hands and gently takes our face and lifts it up so that we can see his eyes.

In his eyes there is absolutely no condemnation, only tenderness and love like we have never see before. It is like he is looking right through us into the depths of our souls, seeing us in our entirety and his only response is love.

Then he says to us "I love you, I have always loved you and I will always love you. You are my beloved and these scars on my hands, side and feet are a sign of my never ending love for you."

We say "How can this be, I am not worthy. I have made so many mistakes."

To which he says "I know, but nothing you can do can keep me from loving you. My love is grace, you can never earn it. I give it to you because God is love."

Our response is simply to fall down and worship our Beloved Lord. The he picks us up by the hand and says "come follow me."

When our soul encounters the radical love of God in Christ as described by the above story then the eye of our heart is opened and we love Christ because he has first loved us and we have experienced him not as an idea, but as a person who knows us, loves and gave his life for us. (Gal 2:20)