For all life’s difficulties, there’s something about January 1 that renews people’s hope. It symbolizes a fresh start, a new beginning. In the time it takes for the ball to drop, people have already formed in their mind that this day and the new year represents a clean slate. Whether a learned response or some aspect of our nature, we all grab hold of this in some way. Continue reading “Christ: Our Perfect Resolution Keeper”
There is a tendency for those of us who’ve been burned-or flat out abused-by a church experience to almost violently reject any kind of encouragement to do something or change anything and then label it legalism or a kind of pharisaical religiosity. I get it, I truly do. But when the light of the Gospel of Grace opens your eyes and the shackles of trying to prove yourself worthy of that falls off, the bible still contains words that encourage us. Some of the “do’s” are still there. They are still there, but they’re now divorced from any worry of meeting the high standard set by them, or trying to hold up your “obedience” as a trophy to prove your worth to God, or as the key that grants you entrance to His kingdom. In other words, sometimes, even as we relish our freedom under the banner of God’s Grace, we are encouraged to do things. Continue reading “Grace Encourages…”
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5
What does it mean to know nothing but Christ and him crucified? The “bare-bones” of all of Scripture is summed up in Christ’s person and work, which rescues us from sin and death. To preach Christ and him crucified is to keep the message simple and accessible.
Continue reading “Simply Christ and Him Crucified”
Simul Justus et Peccator.
I don’t exactly remember the first time I heard that phrase, but it was probably, give or take, three years ago. God has used it to change my thinking on many issues regarding both my spiritual and physical life.
Continue reading “I am Simul”
Can you help me out?
I find in the pages of the Bible, a God who constantly saves. Right from the start, He proves this by rescuing Adam and Eve from their poor choice to rebel and sin. In doing that, he sets up a system that reconciles the world. That’s right, from the very first infraction, God rolls up his sleeves and says, “everyone will need this, not just these two knuckleheads.” Then He covers them with animal skin, a sacrifice, a foreshadowing of that ultimate redemption found in the blood of Christ shed for us. Continue reading “The CHF Articles: God Alone Saves, Right?”
I wrote this a few years ago and had it published on two websites, Dropping Keys and Key Life. It’s a weird little tale and the style I wrote it in was the best way I knew how to get it on “paper.” It helped me understand that there is no darkness too dark in your life that the light of Christ can’t illuminate. There are no hiding places from forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Let me tell you story about a young boy. Continue reading “No Darkness Too Dark: No More Games”
Allow me to paint a picture for you:
I knew a man in my old neighborhood. He was an old leathery-faced balding biker with facial tattoos. He was the kind of guy that when you saw him, and his scowl heading in your direction, you thought about crossing the street, just in case. I met him at my old church’s neighborhood food pantry. Once you got to know him, you found out his wasn’t that bad. He was headstrong and had a temper sometimes, but he could also be quite sweet in some ways. He was also drunk or high around us too many of those times to count.
Including on Sundays.
Yesterday, I went for a walk during lunch.
This walk took me places I hadn’t been in a long time. Working near your childhood home will afford you that luxury. As I passed buildings, new and old, it reminded me of my youth and how my friends and I ruled this kingdom by walking its borders, pushing the boundaries of our land further out as we got older. There was a time when I felt like I knew every nook and cranny of this familiar landscape. I knew every escape route to safely excavate ourselves from the looming judgment of any disapproving adults ready to pounce on our fun. There were tiny pockets of “forests” in this concrete jungle, that gave us enough of an illusion that a jungle existed here, perfect for a rousing game of manhunt. Continue reading “Simple Nostalgia”
As I continue to see where God is leading me, here is a sermon I gave, yes me, this past Sunday. Hopefully I conveyed the idea that Jesus overcame those temptations, not just as an example, but as righteousness applied to us. Matthew: 4:1-11 Continue reading Tempted For Us
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” -John 1:43-46
I know it’s hard for some people to put aside old ideas and notions about Christianity, Christians, and church in general. It’s a dug-in skepticism that’s born from a life of bad experiences, and even worse Christian jargon and teachings. It’s pushing back against all of it.
This is less a memoir and more an event, but it fits with the theme. Along with so many new things I’ve learned about church, church planting, God and how he might encourage me towards serving in different areas, this was a bold and scary step for me. This was my first sermon ever. Come and see… Continue reading Church Plant Memoirs: Come and See
New Year Devotional –
With the new year fast approaching, I wanted to give you one more article from the church plant memoirs. This is less an article, and more a plea. A month ago, my pastor encouraged me to take the pulpit from him one Sunday evening this coming January. I’m reluctantly agreeing, with the caveat that he have a sermon prepared just in case. Though I’ve spoken briefly at men’s ministry events, this will be the first time I’ll be preparing and preaching a sermon on a Sunday. Everyone has their first time, and at 48 years old, this will be mine. When I started helping with this church plant, preaching was the furthest from my mind. Of course, I never thought I’d be driving into the city on a weekly(sometimes more than weekly) basis to help out with a church plant. The plans of man versus the plans of God and all that jazz. Right? Continue reading “Church Plant Memoirs: A Plea for Prayer”
Originally posted on The Defeated Victor:
(Originally written in 2015 – and sadly still relevant for me too) As I began this post, It’s the Saturday morning before Christmas and I’m tucked away in a corner booth in a local diner all by myself. While I wait for my eggs, I go for the comfort food of choice, Rice Krispies. It doesn’t have quite the… Continue reading Me Too…