Thursday, April 28, 2011

compassionate Father

Luke 15:11-32
20And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate.
By sinning, we chose to be dead to God.  We told Him that we would rather have the fleeting things of this world than eternal fellowship with Him.  But He is so merciful, loving, and compassionate that He runs to us when we return to Him.  He embraces us and kisses us, and when we, in humility and repentance, confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrightousness, and He restores our sonship.  He celebrates the return of His children to Life.  He celebrates our finding the Way.
Heavenly Father, I am so impressed with your compassionate love. You have so much forgiveness and grace.  Your mercy and kindness are too much.  You shouldn't be so nice to us, but you are.  Thank you for your love.  Thank you for the open door to return to you.  Thank you for running to meet me.  Thank you for forgiving me and giving me sonship with Christ.  Father, I want to tell others of your great love.  I want others to know the joy of knowing you.  Please use me in your service, and I pray that I will never be like the older son who served you out of duty.  I want to serve you out of grateful love in response to your great love.  I love you.  Please help me see you, know you, and enjoy fellowship with you daily, hourly, minute by minute.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

searching and rejoicing

Luke 15:1-8
The lost sheep, the lost coin ... in each case, the responsible person postponed his/her regular activities to search for the missing [person].  And upon finding, they celebrated.
I question whether or not I am actually searching for lost souls.  It seems like I have more of a reactive approach; if someone happens to bump into me that doesn't know the Lord, then I may or may not direct them His way.  I think I need to be more intentional about seeking out the lost.  But I guess this requires careful attention to the Holy Spirit, because there are people all around us who do not know the Lord. So which ones does He want me to search and rescue?
And when the Lord does rescue someone, how should I celebrate?
Heavenly Father, please give me your perspective of this world and the people that I can influence.  Holy Spirit, I want to listen to you and obey you as you lead me to find people and show them the way to Christ.  Lord Jesus, I want to be a faithful deputy-shepherd, taking care of the flock and helping bring back those who have wandered away.  I love you, and I want to be focused on the Father's will, like Jesus.  Please help me; I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Luke 14:15-35
It seems like there are three basic aspects of discipleship: (1) loving Jesus above everything else, (2) carrying your cross, and (3) following Jesus.
25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
I guess I still don't really know what those three things look like in the practical details of my life.  What does it mean to "carry your cross"?  I wish I knew.
Heavenly Father, please help me be a disciple of Christ.  Lord, I want to love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Please teach me what it means to "carry my cross" and "follow Jesus".  I want to be useful to you, and I want to be salt that is salty.  I want to impact the people that you want me to impact.  Please help me.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, April 25, 2011


Luke 14:1-14
8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
It's not just about where to sit at a wedding feast.  It is about my attitude in life.  Do I think of myself as important, or do I consider others as more important than myself?  It even has an effect on the way I converse with people.  Why do I think so highly of myself?  Fundamentally, I am a damaged human, in need of saving, just like everyone else.
Heavenly Father, I want to love you and serve you with a humble and grateful attitude.  Lord, thank you for Jesus and His Sacrifice.  Thank you for raising Him from the dead, and thank you for the hope and the promise of eternal life that His Resurrection brings.  Lord, may I be a witness and a minister of this Gospel message, that you love us, and you have purchased our freedom from sin and death.  Praise you, Lord.  Bless you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 22, 2011

faithful servant

Luke 12:35-59

This passage gets me every time!

35 "Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

42 And the Lord replied, "A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. ... 48 ... When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

I want to live in conscious expectation of the Lord's return.  I want to be ready so that I can "open the door" for Him the moment He arrives.  I want my heart to leap in my chest when I see Him, not sink.  I want to be talking with Him and walking with Him in the Spirit as He arrives.  It seems to me that there is not much time left; we must live faithful lives and cooperate with Him to accomplish His will.

As I think about Christ's incredible sacrifice for us on Good Friday (today), what more have we been given than the mercy and love of Christ?  This is the most expensive and lavish gift of all; we must share this gift with others.  We must invest this Gospel in the lives of others! 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made.  Lord Jesus, thank you for giving up your own life to purchase my life.  Lord, thank you for loving me.  I want to love you in return, and I want to be a faithful servant.  Please help me accomplish all that you desire for me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Spotless Lamb who died to take away the sins of the world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Luke 11:29-54
11:33 "No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 34"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light."
Matt. 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
When I think of radiating spiritual light, I think that it characteristics of joy, peace, and kindness that are especially bright and radiant.  I have been convicted of this for some time; several years ago, I got caught up in pessimism and stress. If someone asked me how it was going, I would rattle off all of the things that I needed to do and why my life was so stressful.  I still remember quite vividly when the "light bulb" came on and I had a conversation with Brandi about this at our apartment in Austin.  I realized that I had to make a choice to be joyful and to show kindness to people.  I had to make a choice to let my trust in God and the peace of God govern my attitude.
Perhaps another characteristic that "radiates" is selflessness.  If you are selfish, then you are dark, but if you are always thinking of others and putting others' needs before your own, then you will shine brightly.
It can't be fake or forced; it has to be the presence of the Lord and the annointing of the Holy Spirit exuding from us.  It has to be His character and charisma flowing through us into the lives of others.  We need to know Him and walk with Him so that He will transform us into His radiant likeness.
2 Cor 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the chance to know you and walk with you.  Lord, please change the way I think and the things that I desire to match the way you think and what you desire.  Lord, please give me your compassion for other people, and help me shine brightly in this dark world so that others may know your love and experience your joy, peace, and kindess and walk with you in the Light.  I love you, Lord.  Please shine your light in me and through me today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Luke 11:1-28

 9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

I tire easily of repetitive tasks.  Especially about such things as repetitively asking the Lord to let Beau sleep through the night.  It seems like out of all of the things that the Lord is doing and could do, helping Beau sleep through the night should be an easy one.  I don't get it.  Maybe it is not a spiritual enough prayer.  It seems like it would be more efficient if the Lord would simply tell me how much longer Beau is not going to sleep through the night.  I feel like Brandi and I have asked him at least two hundred times each already, so how many times to you have to ask before it happens?  Or is it ever going to happen?  I obviously am not praying in faith, because I don't believe that He is going to answer.  I feel like He likes seeing us hurt for lack of sleep.  Is His goal to push me to the point where I just don't care anymore and I stop praying about it?  I'm almost there.

On another note, we found out yesterday that we are having another boy!  I think we are going to name him Jude, which means "praise or thanks".  Our prayer is that he will love and worship the Lord with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that he will lead others to do the same.

Maybe we should go ahead and sandbag some prayers for Jude to sleep through the night.

Heavenly Father, your word promises that you answer prayer if we keep on asking.  Well, we've been asking for Beau to sleep through the night for quite a while now, so when are you going to come through on your promise?  Thank you for Jude; please grow him healthy and strong.  I love you, Lord.  Please help me understand your will for my life.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

lose your life

Luke 9:23-24

23 And He said to them all, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  24 For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake, this one shall save it.

We talked about this in our homegroup on Wednesday night as we studied Mark 9:30-37.  It is so difficult to deny yourself.  In fact, denying your self is painful because it is a slow death to self.

Heavenly Father, please help me live a selfless life like Jesus did.  Lord, I want to gain your life in me and not worry about "my" life.  I love you, Lord.  Please speak to me and use me today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Luke 8:26-56

Jesus was going to heal the daughter of Jairus (a local synagogue leader) when a lady reached out and touched his coat believing that she would be healed.  When she finally confessed her story and what she had done, Jesus responded:

48... "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

Then when a messenger told Jairus that his daughter was dead, Jesus responded:

50... "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well."

I think it is interesting that fear and faith are opposite exercises.  Well, maybe not quite.  Fear is a hopeless realization that you can't do anything to control the situation and you don't like it.  Faith is a hopeful realization that, while I can't do anything, God can do anything, and He will take care of us (and sometimes we still don't like the situation).  At least in these two instances, faith is not some abstract, ethereal concept, it is simply (1) searching and finding Jesus and (2) listening to Him and following Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and love through Jesus.  Please help me search and find Jesus.  Please help me listen and obey.  Lord, I want to exercise the faith that you have given me so that your Kingdom will expand.  Lord, please show me what you want me to do.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

hearing God's Word

Luke 8:1-25

15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. ...

18 "So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. ...

21 Jesus replied, "My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God's word and obey it." ...

24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

   When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, "Where is your faith?"

   The disciples were terrified and amazed. "Who is this man?" they asked each other. "When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!"

The production of fruit in the parable of the Seed and the Soils is related to faith.  I think we are supposed to have faith (v. 25) by hearing God's Word and clinging to it, so that He will produce a huge harvest in us.

So in the midst of this incredibly busy week, I must focus on hearing His Word and obeying it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word.  Lord, your Word is a light to my path and a lamp to my feet.  I need your Word to stay alive; man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  I love you, and I want to hear your Word and obey it.  Lord, please help me.  May I demonstrate faith in the midst of testing.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

forgiveness, love, and faith

Luke 7:24-50
47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" 50And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Which came first?  I suppose you could argue it was the woman's faith that led her to approach Jesus and show her love for Him, and Jesus responded with forgiveness.  Maybe that's the way we view it from within the time-space continuum.  But imagining the situation from God's perspective, how can you separate the faith He gives us, the love that He gives us, and the forgiveness that He gives us?
Heavenly Father, please help me live life holistically.  I want to walk in faith, loving you, and loving people, enjoying your forgiveness and helping others enjoy your forgiveness.  Lord, please use me today to shine your light and be salty.  Lord, help me be bold and humble in loving you and serving you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jesus is the Messiah

Luke 7:1-23

21 At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22 Then he told John's disciples, "Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 23 And tell him, 'God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.

In this "politically correct" society, sometimes it is awkward to make claims of exclusivity, but we must speak the truth. 

Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.  Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconnected to the Father and have eternal life with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  Jesus proved His authority and identity with miraculous healing.  God validated Jesus's authority and identity by raising Jesus from the dead.  And now Jesus has sent us out into the world to carry on His ministry, so the operation of the Church should look like Jesus's ministry.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to show us the way.  Jesus, thank you for your teaching and healing.  Lord, please give me boldness to proclaim your truth.  I want to follow you and be used by you to help people be reconnected to you.  I love you, Lord.  Please give me your eternal perspective of my daily activities today.  I ask in the name of Jesus.  Thank you.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Who do I hang out with?

Luke 5:17-39

Jesus was criticized by religious people for spending time with tax collectors and other "sinners":

 29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum?"   31 Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."

I can't remember the last time I was criticized by religious people for hanging out with "lower" people.  I wonder what Jesus thinks about how I spend time with different people.  I am afraid that I am mostly a "holy roller", only spending time with churchy, religious people.  I wonder what it would look like if we spent more time with people that don't feel comfortable in a church building.

Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to see how I can engage people that don't know you and feel far from you.  How can I show your love to people like Jesus did, simply by spending time with them and letting them see your grace and peace shine through me?  Where can I go?  Who can I spend time with?  Even if it makes me uncomfortable, please use me to make disciples of all nations.  I love you, Lord, and I want to be like Jesus.  And I'm asking because of Jesus.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Luke 5:1-16
Last night in our home group, we studied Mark 9:14-29, and we discussed the connection between belief and prayer:

 23And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."  24Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." ...

 29And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."

This morning, this verse seemed very important to me:

 16But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

It was through the daily prayer time that Christ had a relationship with the Father, knew His will, and gained the strength to do it.  It is imperative that I develop consistent prayer time with the Lord.  I just don't know how to get it rolling.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I want to spend time with you in prayer.  I want to know you and talk with you.  Jesus, thank you for your example.  Please help me walk in your footsteps.  Holy Spirit, please guide me and show me the way.  I'm asking in the name of Jesus. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Luke 4:22-44
43but [Jesus] said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."
If Jesus told us that His purpose was to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to everyone, then what are we supposed to be doing?
Matt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Mark 16:15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Luke 24:45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
John 3:16"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Acts 1:8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
So, it seems to me that our mission and purpose is not new or different but simply an extension of Christ's mission and purpose.  We are sharing the "good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ".
Heavenly Father, please help me stay focused on your will and plan.  Lord, it is so easy for me to get distracted; please forgive me.  Holy Spirit, please speak to me today, and show me how I can help share the truth and love of Jesus Christ.  Please help me invest in your Kingdom today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

with the Holy Spirit

Luke 4:1-21

 1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. ...

 8 Jesus replied, "The Scriptures say,   'You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'" ...

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit's power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. ...

 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
      for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
      that the blind will see,
   that the oppressed will be set free,
      19 and that the time of the Lord's favor has come."

Jesus, as a prototype of humanity, was led by the Holy Spirit in each step of His ministry.  He was obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit, He was faithful to speak the Word of the Holy Spirit, and so He was anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission that the Father planned.

I wonder what it would look like if I went to work everyday under the anointed power of the Holy Spirit?

Heavenly Father, I need you.  Lord Jesus, I need you.  Holy Spirit, I need you.  I am nothing without you, and my life is a waste of time and space if not lived with you.  Holy Spirit, please help me hear your voice, listen, and obey.  I want to walk with you, and I know that you will lead me through trials and testing, but coming through those faithfully, you will carry me to complete the tasks you have given me.  May your name be praised, and may I be of service, use, and enjoyment to you today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 4, 2011

following His example

Luke 3:21-38

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

When I was baptized, it was explained to me that baptism is a public testimony of your commitment to follow Christ, symbolizing your death to self and resurrection as a new person in Christ.  Well, I want to follow the example of Christ and know the presence of the Holy Spirit and the approval of the Father.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the example that Christ gave us.  Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me follow you.  Holy Spirit, I want to keep in step with you and listen to your voice.  Heavenly Father, I want you to be pleased with me as I live my life.  Please give me wisdom to know what you desire so that I will spend the time and energy that you give me according to your priorities.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 1, 2011

watching and waiting

Luke 2:1-24
10And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  ...  15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Here they were, minding their own business, when out of no where, these angels show up and announce that the Messiah has been born in Bethlehem.  So they took off to go see the Baby, and sure enough, there He was.  Obviously they believed to some extent, because they went around telling everyone what they saw.
I'm just wondering what the shepherds did in the mean time.  Thirty years go by, and nothing has really changed.  "I thought they said this guy was the Messiah."  "You would think that we would have heard something by now." 
I wonder if when Jesus started His ministry 30 years later those shepherds realized that Jesus was the baby they had seen that star-lit night.  It is amazing to me that God wanted Jesus to live for 30 years before He began His ministry.  I am an engineer, so I think about efficiency pretty frequently, and I think it would have been more efficient if Jesus had lived only 20 years before He began His ministry.  As my Brother RF says, we are always trying to help God do a better job.
Heavenly Father, your plan is amazing and perfect, and you don't need any help from me.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to cooperate with you and work with you in your Kingdom.  I want to listen to you, hear you, know you, and walk with you so that I will fulfill exactly what you want me to accomplish - even if it is not as soon or fast as I would like.  Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus.  I am still amazed that you would send your own Son to be a real human so that we could know you again.  Thank you.  I love you.  Please help me walk with you today, knowing that Jesus Christ came so that I could walk with you today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who is Christ the Lord.  Amen.