Monday, April 28, 2014


LUKE 21:19

(NIV) Stand firm, and you will win life.

(NASB) By your endurance you will gain your lives.

(YLT98) in your patience possess ye your souls.

The context here is suffering persecution for your faith in Christ.  But it seems to me that this statement is generalizeable to the whole Christian life.

Of course, this statement is not undermining the sufficiency of grace, but rather, highlighting the mysterious duality of human collaboration with God.

Heavenly Father, please give me strength to persevere.  Thank you for walking with me.  Please give me wisdom to know what I should be doing, and please give me boldness to obey.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Discipleship is about investing

Luke 19:13 NIV

So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.  'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'

After Jesus's resurrection, He spent 40 days appearing to the disciples before He ascended.  He walked with a couple of guys along the road to Emmaus.  He appeared to the disciples a coupled of times when they were meeting in a room; He appeared to the disciples at the lake.  He spoke with them about the Kingdom of God.  

And before He ascended into Heaven, these two exchanges are recorded:

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Christ calls us to follow Him and make disciples.  He calls us to be disciple-makers.  This is sobering to me, because most of my life, I have focused on making attendees and converts.  The call to be a disciple is a call to die - to die to self.  The call to be a disciple-maker is a call to live - to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to grow the Body of Christ.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will embrace the call of Christ to follow Him and make disciples of all nations.  I pray that i will be a devoted, radical follower of Jesus - meditating on the Word and joyfully walking in obedience.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Church on Easter

LUK 17:20-21 NIV

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,  nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst."

Brandi and I invited folks from our church over to our house for a potluck brunch after the sunrise service.  One of the guys who came over said, "Man, I forgot about church being so early this morning."  I replied, "Man, we are the church."

"Church" is not a place or an event; we are the church.  We carry Christ with us, and we are expanding the Kingdom as we go.

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Christ.  Thank you for giving us your Spirit.  Thank you for giving us the Church, the body of Christ.  Lord, may I participate in the Body the way you want me to.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

good friday

Brandi and I participated in the good friday experience with our church last night, and it provoked a number of thoughts and some good conversation.

One of the stations had some perfume and cotton balls to remind us of Jesus being anointed with nard.  We carried the fragrance with us through the rest of the stations, and I wondered if Jesus still smelled like nard when He was arrested, falsely accused, and sentenced to death.  He gave His life as a fragrant offering, and He invites us to live such that we would carry the fragrance of Christ.

Bread and wine.  Jesus drank the cup of wrath to the dregs so that I can drink a cup of blessing.

It is so ironic that Jesus was arrested - the King of Kings being arrested.  He chose to submit.  As we choose to submit to Him, we must believe that He is good and that He has a good plan.  He is accomplishing His good and perfect will.

Crown of thorns.  I am guilty of what He was accused of.  I deserved that punishment.  he took those thorns because He loves me.

We wrote down some of our sins on black paper and nailed them to a wooden cross.  I was impressed that I nailed Him there.  It was my sin.  I deserved that death.  He bore it because He loves us.

Empty tomb.  He has saved us for His purposes.  We can join Him in His work of redeeming mankind.  

Discipleship.  I am a disciple, and I will join the Spirit of God in making disciples.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrificial death of Christ.  The perfect lamb was slain for the sin of the world.  Thank you for saving me.  Lord, may my life be used for your good will.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shrewd manager

LUK 16:9-13 NIV

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.     "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?     "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Am I being obedient to the Lord with the financial resources that He has put in my care?  Am I using money to build the Kingdom or my fiefdom?

Heavenly Father, I want to be a good steward.  I want to be faithful and trustworthy.  Please show me how I am not using money the way you want, and lead me to live honorably and righteously.   I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


LUK 15:24, 32 NIV

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.   ... But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much! His heart is for us to be reunited with Him.  He is overjoyed by us turning from death to life.

Heavenly Father,  thank you for your kindness to me.  Thank you for your patience and faithfulness.   Lord, thank you for the peace and joy that you give as we rest in you.  Pleae forgive me for allowing my heart to be troubled by many things.  I want to be a disciple of Jesus.  I want to turn from the things of this world and turn to you for life. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It is not enough to know Jesus

Luke 13:22-28 NIV

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.'    "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'     "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'     "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'     "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.

"We dined with you."  But Jesus replied, "I don't know you." Tough principle.

Mat. 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Interesting.  Something in there about obedience.  Uh-oh.

Heavenly Father, please help me know your will and do it.  I want to be obedient.  I love you, and I want to join you in eternity.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Seek first His kingdom

LUKE 12:31 NIV
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

This morning, it was a privelege to discuss Josh's decison between two job offers. 

Heavenly Father, please help us seek your will for our lives.  Lord, may we be useful to you.  I love you, and i pray in the name of Jesus.


Luke 11:9-10 NIV

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Over the past few months, I prayed consistently that one of my friends would get a certain job. 

And sometimes, the Lord says, "No."  It hurts.  But I must trust that He heard me, that He is in control, and that He knows what He is doing.  Regardless of whether He says "Yes" or "No", He does so because He has a good plan, and He loves us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you for hearing my prayers.  Thank you for the humility that you are teaching me.  Thank you for loving me enough to say "no" to things that are not in your will for me.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Kingdom of God has come near to you

LUK 10:2-3, 8-11 NIV
[Jesus] told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.  ...  When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'  But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,  'Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.'

Regardless of whether the town welcomes us or not, the Kingdom of God has come near because we carry the King within us!  He lives in us and through us!  We are His ambassadors!

I had a very encouraging conversation with Neill last night about synergizing and infusing discipleship and church planting.  I believe this is based on the model shown here in Luke 10.  It is a significant change from the Western brick-and-mortar building with a  professional-Christian-executive-director perspective of church.

LUK 10:16-20 NIV
"Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."    The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."   He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Heavenly Father, thank you for saving us in Christ, and thank you for the opportunity to partner with you as ambassadors of Christ.  Lord, please use me to extend your Kingdom into the hearts of others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Request for support for our mission trip to Ecuador - July 7-14, 2014

In the past three years, the Lord has blessed me with the privilege of participating in three mission trips to Ecuador, and they have been wonderful experiences!  Our church in El Paso, Paseo Christian (, has partnered with Iglesia de Christo Iberoamericana (ICI), a local church in El Recreo (, which is just half an hour east of Guayaquil, Ecuador (  Marcelo Puentes, a church planter from Chile, planted this ICI church in El Recreo by working through IberoAmerican Ministries (, whose mission is "to establish indigenous churches, which leads to movements among people groups by mobilizing, equipping, and deploying servant leaders to fulfill His great commission."  Our previous teams from Paseo ( have distributed microfiltration systems ( house by house to nearly 300 families.  These filters are designed to provide bacteria-free water for decades, which will save these families about ten percent of their monthly income typically spent on purchasing purified water (as well as the cost of medical treatment and lost work due to waterborne diseases).  By partnering with ICI, we are able to bless the local community and provide long-term relational connections between people of the community and the local church.  Following up from our previous trips, the local church has hosted children's soccer tournaments, provided marriage seminars, and started Bible studies in many homes.  Over time, these Bible studies grow into house churches, and they begin multiplying throughout the local community.  Our prayer is that this partnership will help us all be salt and light in our local communities and around the world.

We have planned an upcoming trip July 7-14, 2014 (, and our goal is to distribute filters to another 75-100 families, as well as provide teacher training for some of the primary and elementary school teachers in the local church.  Thirsty People ( has already generously sponsored the purchase of the filters, but our team still needs support in several ways.  First, our goal is for each person on our team to have seven prayer partners praying for the preparation for our trip and praying for us daily during our trip.  If you would like to commit to pray for me and our team, please reply to this email and let me know.  Second, each team member needs to raise funds for airfare and room and board, which is approximately $1800 per person.  If you would like to support me financially, you can give online with a credit card or electronic check (, or you can mail a check to:

PO Box 960218
EL PASO, TX-79996

Please include "Ecuador-Shane" in the Memo field, and no gift is too small. (Paseo is a registered non-profit, so financial gifts to Paseo are tax-deductible.)

In addition to the joy of working with ICI in El Recreo and seeing these families have clean drinking water, I am also glad that one of my students from UTEP will be traveling with us on this trip.  In the Water & Wastewater Treatment course that teach every semester at UTEP, I give a brief presentation about our trips to Ecuador and the importance of clean drinking water around the world.  I am praying that the Lord will use this trip to teach me how to better inspire my students to invest themselves in helping people get clean water around the world, and I am praying that the Lord will use me to show my students how they can use their skills and opportunities to help people. I pray that I will be able to help students see a clear picture of the Church, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, actively serving the community with the love of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for reading this email and for prayerfully considering how the Lord may lead you to support this this ministry.  Please don't hesitate to call or email me if you want to find out more details about this ministry.

Devoted life

LUK 9:23-24 NIV
Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

LUK 9:62 NIV
Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

This week, I have been thinking about three of my friends who have allowed things of this world (e.g., friends, alcohol, pornography) to entice them and distract them from following Jesus.  We must remain vigilant in fighting against the desires of the flesh and diligently setting our hearts and minds on pursuing Christ.  We must seek Him daily. 

And we must hold each other accountable to living the faithful life of a disciple.  Fear hinders us from telling your Brother that he is allowing himself to be distracted, and pride hinders us from receiving accountability from a Brother, but this is part of the life of community that Christ calls us to.

Heavenly Father, may I be a humble man, open to receive accountability from my Brothers in Christ.  And may I be a bold man, willing to listen to the Spirit and share your word of truth in love when a Brother is entangled in the things of this world.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Weathering the storms of life

Yesterday afternoon, I was driving back to campus to teach my evening course, and I was reminded of a friend from college with whom I haven't spoken in quite some time.  So, I dialed the number that I had for him.  Come to find out, he was downsized on Monday.  I shared with him how the Lord sometimes uses difficult circumstances to get our attention.  He confessed that he fell off the wagon some time ago, but then earlier this week, he felt himself wanting to ask God for help. But he felt shame for being fickle, so he didn't feel right about asking God for help.  I told him that God is like the father of the prodigal son; God is always ready to take us back.  And because of Jesus, we don't have to feel any shame in returning to Him. 

I read this passage this morning, and the Lord brought my friend to mind:

Luke 8:22-25 NIV
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.   The disciples went and woke Jesus, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Jesus knows the storm of your life, and He will calm the storm in due time.  He uses the storm to get our attention and help us realize that we need Him to save us.  He is the Son of God, so He is able to save us.

Heavenly Father, I pray that my friend will seek you with a fresh desire, and that he will ask you for your plan to be accomplished in his life.  Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for taking away our guilt and shame.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


LUK 7:32 NIV

They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:    " 'We played the pipe for you,    and you did not dance;    we sang a dirge,    and you did not cry.'

I am so fickle.  I need to mature in patiently and consistently trusting that the Lord is working and guiding my life.  When difficulties arise, I too quickly despair and accuse God of negligence.  He has blessed me in so many ways, and my life has been so easy compared to many others.  When i experience hard situations, it is tempting to complain, but Jesus learned obedience through suffering.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and grace.  Thank you for providing for my needs.  Please help me have a good attitude.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleading in your site, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.