Saturday, November 28, 2015


I am thankful for salvation in Christ.  I am thankful for my wife, boys, and daughter on the way.  I am thankful for time with family and time to relax.

Heavenly Father, thank you for providing for us and protecting us.  We love you, and we want to honor you.  May you be blessed.  Thank you, in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


This past Sunday, Greg preached about Jesus being the Light of the World, and he shared his vision for Paseo to be a people of light.  Greg believes that God told him that in the next year, God will use Paseo to bring transformation in the lives of over 5000 people.

Heavenly Father, you are good.  Thank you for your promises of doing good in our lives.  Lord, please use me to bring the transformation of your grace in Christ to others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus is the Bread of Life

A week ago, Neill preached in John 6.  The thesis was that Jesus is our provider, and we can trust Him.

One of the points that really rang true with me is that Jesus doesn't need us to have everything figured out.  He just wants us to submit what we have to Him and trust Him to bless it.  When Jesus fed the 5000, it all started with five loaves and two fish.  I have been very self critical because I still have less than ten publications, which not that different from seven little pieces of lunch.  I just need to trust God with my five loaves and two fish and ask Him to do good things through me.

Heavenly Father, I bring you my insufficient self, my five loaves and two fish, and I trust you to manifest your life through mine.  May you be honored by my character.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's a girl!

We learned earlier this week that our next child is a girl!  God has spoken to us in several ways over the past couple of months. 

God interrupted one of Brandi's moments of anxiousness aboug the pregnancy to tell her that He was going to give her the desire of her heart (to have a girl).  It was such a clear moment that Brandi smiled.

A few weeks later, Brandi woke up two mornings in a row with the impression that her name should be Katelyn Elizabeth.  Brandi and I had talked about this name several years ago because the name honors both my mom and Brandi's mom, but Brandi wasn't excited about it until a week later she looked up the meaning - "pure oath of God".  She felt like this was a confirmation of the promise that He had given her to give her the desire of her heart.

Lori had a dream about Brandi having an ultrasound and finding out it was a girl.  Then I had a dream that I told someone, "Oh, you have three boys and a girl, just like us."

Brandi told Lindsey about these things one Sunday morning, and Lindsey's response was Luke 1:45:

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!"

Indeed, the Lord was faithful to His promises to us.  We look forward to her arrival in May.

As I think about having a daughter, I am a little nervous about the newness and differences of raising a daughter.  But I think I am especially impressed with the idea that I want to raise her to be a Daughter of God.  I want to be careful to demonstrate the character of our Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking to us, and thank you for blessing is with a daughter.  Thank you for giving us a testimony of you speaking to us.  Lord, please help us parent her to know you and love you.  We love you, and we praise you.  I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Our battle is not against flesh and blood

With the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, it may seem like a particular terrorist group is the enemy.  But Paul reminds us that:

... our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12 NIV)

Furthermore, Jesus teaches us to treat haters with love:

"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)
Heavenly Father, please help us respond with love.  Holy Spirit, please comfort the loved ones of those killed in the attacks.  Lord Jesus, please reveal yourself to those involved in planning and executing these attacks, and bring them to salvation in your grace.  Teach them to love you and love people.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Last days

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV

Read the news headlines.  Ask yourself, "Are we in the last days?"  I believe the answer should always be, "Yes."  We should live with the expectation that Christ might return at any moment.

I feel like the world progressively grows more audaciously apostate, but perhaps it is an artifact of me continuing to grow closer to the Lord.  I think I need to intentionally and explicitly prepare my children to navigate such a world - to be prepared for fierce conflict with the enemy.

Heavenly Father, please help me be wise and discerning in these days.  Help me see the signs of the times.  Don't let me be ignorant and naive.  Help me prepare my children to live as faithful disciples in this world, despite what fierce opposition may come.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Answered prayers

In the past several of weeks, the Lord had answered two huge prayer requests for a couple in our home group.  I am so encouraged by His kindness and faithfulness.  Though He did make us wait, He is faithful.  He had given me so much joy through seeking these answered prayers.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness and faithfulness.  Thank you for hearing us, sustaining us, and answering us.  Lord Jesus, may your fame spread across the world.  Holy Spirit, give us boldness to proclaim His love for us and our love for Him.  We love you, and we pray in the name of Jesus.

build up yourself and others

Jude 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

It is both internal and external: internal maturity and external ministry.  

Keep yourselves in God's love.  That is an interesting way to put it.  Almost like we have some freewill contribution to the relationship.

I want to learn to pray in the Holy Spirit.

Be merciful, save them from the fire, show mercy.  Kindness, compassion.

Heavenly Father, please help me consistently build myself up in holy faith, help me pray in the Holy Spirit.  Help me be a merciful rescuer.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

acting like my Father

On Sunday, Joe spoke in our morning gathering, and his dad and brother came to support.  Joe spoke about how sometimes we wish we had a second chance at a first impression; Jesus was God incarnate, reintroducing Himself to us.  In the next seven weeks, we will be studying Jesus's seven "I AM" metaphors, and Joe invited us to consider how we could allow ourselves to give Jesus another chance at an introduction.  

During communion, I noticed how Joe's brother had very similar mannerisms as their dad.  The thought occurred to me, I want people to recognize that I look like my Father.  I want to move and talk like Jesus so that people will recognize that I AM is in me.

Heavenly Father, I want to act like you.  Help me see you and learn to live like you.  Help me see you through Jesus.  Holy Spirit, help me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


1 Pet 1:13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

For a long time, I thought "holiness" simply meant "morally perfect", but that is not actually what the word means.  I was reminded, recently, that the Greek word ἅγιος (hagios) means "different" or "set apart".  God commands us to join Him in His apartness.  God is the Creator, and we are the creation, but He wants us to be with Him.  I think it is as much relational as it is behavioral.

Practically, how do I join Him in His apartness?  I'm not sure if it starts with the heart or the mind, maybe both.  I think I need to want to be with Him, and I think I need to intentionally and consciously think about the reality that my spirit is with Christ in the heavenly realm.  How do I bring my soul and body into God's apartness with my spirit?  How do I grow my desire to be more fully present with God?

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your holiness.  You are holy, and I want to join you in your holiness.  Thank you for the privilege of being with you through Christ.  Holy Spirit, please grow my desire, and prompt me to think about being with you all the time.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What do I really want most?

In our home group discussion this evening, Tamara told us about Randy Clark's autobiography and how he really wanted more of God.  It made me consider, what do I really want most?  To be honest, I think most of what I think about is career advancement.  This makes me sad.  I want to want God the most.  I need my heart calibrated.

Heavenly Father, I am sorry that I have allowed myself to focus the attention of my heart on my career instead of you.  I love you, and I want to want you most.  Please forgive me, and calibrate my heart to focus on you and seek you first.  Holy Spirit, I want to experience your presence and power.  I pray in the name of Jesus.