Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Faith Matters To Me

On January 4th 1973 I did something crazy. I made a decision that radically rebooted my life and pulled me away from religion. All I had known to that point was a belief system based on religion. Do this…don’t do that…embrace this…release that…show up for this…run from that. It was mildly helpful but for the most part…I always felt lost. Being lost is such an unnerving experience. You can see it on the faces of little kids who momentarily loose the grip of mom’s hand at the store and cry out her name alone and frightened in aisle 4. Years ago while hunting in the “Big Woods” of Pennsylvania, we were sitting around the camp fire late at night when a young guy appeared out of the darkness. He had been lost for hours and even though he was a tough Marine home on leave…he was terrified by the experience and very happy to be found.

I was religious yet I was lost. That made no sense to me. There was an emptiness to my life that haunted me and I knew I belonged to something or someone bigger and ancient but just didn’t know how to make the connection. The decision in 1973 was to accept an offer made by God Himself. Someone had the guts to tell me that Jesus embodied substance, purpose, significance and had the true power to transport me from lost to found. God reached out His hand to me through a person willing to take a risk and walk up to a complete stranger with life changing news.

That was 36 years ago. I moved from religion to friendship. Faith matters to me because Jesus matters to me and I matter to Him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm heading to Haiti!

In thirteen days I’ll be making my way to Haiti. This will be my fourth trip to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere…I’ll be traveling and serving with 8 amazing people. The 2009 team is Daniel Warner, Alyssa Zimmer, David DeWall, Meg Chilcott, Dustin Clark, Marianne Borkowski, Sharon Segal and my teaching partner for nearly 10 years…Bob Deppen. There is an excitement about this particular trip that’s undeniable. These guys are ready to go and ready to serve.

Haiti has rocked my heart more than any one place on Earth. Moving through the streets of Cap Haitian, the islands second largest city, is surreal. The poverty just smothers you. In spite of such dire surroundings, the Haitian people are remarkable. They have a joy and serenity that is quiet different from the kind that comes from possessions, status and success. They realize so little of those things. If we come to mind…please pray for us. Hopefully, we will be sending out video reports at the end of each day. You can access them at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A competitive person will find few things more satisfying than being the one to cross the finish line first. Winning floods us with buckets full of gratification and to be honest…I like winning as much as anyone. The funny thing is that for the past 36 years, God has been building into me a whole different kind of motivation---how to lose. The Christian life is a life of great losses. My selfish center always wants to come in first; the true Christ follower learns how to come in last. Paul said: “For Christ’s sake I have lost everything!” That “everything” included his life.

I will never amount to anything for Christ until I attend my own funeral and place all that is my life at the curb. It’s a thought by thought process of owning this one biblical statement. He must become greater; I must become less.
It’s early…it’s snowing and I’m enjoying the quiet of this cold February day. Today stretches out before me and I want to take full advantage of its freshness. A few people came to mind that I’ve been struggling with relationally. I don’t want distance between myself and the people I love so I’m going to take a few simple steps toward upgrading these friendships. I honestly believe relationships are our greatest gift and resources. They need to be cared for with intentionality, humility and action. Yep, I’m going to make a few calls today and move toward the middle with some folks I’m really glad are in my life.

A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
Arnold H. Glasgow

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wealth Beyond Measure!

One of the premiere pursuits of life is to accumulate things. We work hard towards buying a home, possessions to fill the home, vehicles, stuff that aligns with our interests…etc. We always seem to be in need of something more. We assume the wealthy to be fortunate because they acquire everything they need or want. Often times, the wealthy are extremely sad people because they have come to the conclusion high finance can’t purchase joy.

The apostle Peter tells us that the Christ follower is the wealthiest of the wealthy! If accumulating things is the benchmark….Christ followers have maxed out. Peter says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness!” My relationship with Jesus assures I have everything I need for this life! I don’t have to chase anything or exhaust myself trying to earn my portion. Peter says He has given us very great and precious promises. Promises He will keep. What is required of me to realize my grand fortune is to become more and more like Him. Peter says “for this very reason we add things like faith—goodness—knowledge—self-control—perseverance—godliness—brotherly kindness—love. If I bank these things in increasing measure, they will keep me from becoming ineffective and unproductive in my knowledge of Him…the source of my wealth.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It’s early in the morning and I’m alone in a building that is usually teeming with life and bursting with activity. My wife has a new work schedule so on Thursdays, I drop her off and I head over to the church office. I’m enjoying this quiet time. It gives me a chance to pray for what goes on all week long in this place.

The sole reason 7300 Grubb Rd exists is to point people to Jesus Christ! Our weekend services, weekday social opportunities, nightly meetings, our publications, team meetings, our counseling appointments…all of it communicates the deep need for Christ that rests in every man.

This morning, as I drove past our sign, I considered our name. Grace Church. It will take all of eternity for me to get my head around the meaning of Grace. It means unmerited favor. Grace is God giving me something I cannot obtain on my own. Grace is being accepted by God even though I do not deserve it, even though I am not worthy of it. I pray this church will forever be agents of grace to a community drowning in isolation from God.

Have the best day. Today is a clean slate!

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God's unmerited favor. Anonymous

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I read this today and it reminded me afresh of the breathtaking power of grace. God's abounding grace!

What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and riducule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far country. Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.

After life has lined their faces a little, many followers of Jesus come into a coherent sense of themselves for the first time. When they modestly claim, "I am still a ragamuffin, but I'm different" they are right. Where sin abounded, grace has abounded more. Brennan Manning--The Ragamuffin Gospel