23 October 2008


I've found that as my trust level in Jesus Christ goes up, my willingness and creativity about how to simplify my life and my life-style also increases. My ongoing struggle with greed is what usually keeps me from seeing the life of simplicity Jesus wants me to know -- and what tempts me to not make the choice to live with less so I can discover what it's like to know more of Jesus Christ and His plans for my life. Like the old Sunday School song says, "The Devil is a sly old fox."

For me, greed is wanting things I don't have -- buying into the lie that once these things are in my possession I will somehow be transformed into someone I am currently not. But real transformation comes only through Jesus Christ. And so to live a life of simplicity in greater measure means that I must crave, long for, desire, and seek after this transformation of my mind, heart, words, and actions more than I crave, long for, desire, and seek after whatever else I believe might make me more happy.

What author Sam Storms says about "holiness" in his book Pleasures Evermore I could easily adapt to say about "simplicity". And what he says about "sin" I could easily adapt to speak of "greed". Here's what Sam writes, with the words "simplicity" and "greed" added into the text ...

The key to holiness [simplicity] isn’t
harder to hate sin, or avoid
sin, or be done
with sin.

The key to holiness [simplicity] is falling
in love with Jesus … I don’t believe
[as I once
did] that the power to turn
from “the passing
pleasures of sin” [greed]
spoken of in
HEBREWS 11:25 is the result
of a religious

How do you fight the pleasure of sin
I’ll tell you … with another pleasure.
[simplicity] is not attained, at
least not in any
lasting, life-changing way,
merely through
prohibitions, threats,
fear, or shame-based

Holiness [simplicity] is attained by
believing in, trusting, banking on, resting
in, savoring, and cherishing God’s promise
of a superior happiness that comes only
by falling deeper in love with Jesus Christ.

The power that the pleasures of sin
[greed] exert on the human soul will
ultimately be overcome only by the
superior power of the pleasures of
knowing and being known, loving and
being loved by God in Christ.”
[pp. 17-28 | changes/additions mine]

My heart's desire is to know more Jesus Christ more ... and in knowing Him more, to follow Him more nearly. Godspeed.




I was remind today of a quote from C.S. Lewis in his book "
The Four Loves", and also of a verse in King David's fifty-first Psalm ...


Those, like myself, whose imaginations far
exceed their obedience, are subject to a just
penalty: We easily imagine conditions far
higher than we have really reached. If we
describe what we have imagined, we may
make others, ... and make ourselves believe
that we have really been there – and so
deceive both them and ourselves.


[God], What You're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then – and conceive a new, true life.

In my life, I've discovered that truthfulness in word and deed has both a price and a reward. The price is that choosing to become a seeking servant of Jesus Christ unlocks the door to truthfulness.

And the
reward is that as I live this life of truthfulness with God, myself and others, I am presented by God with the gift of becoming more and more set free [or dare I say "compelled"?] in my attitudes and thoughts, in my words, and in my actions to live out the love of Jesus Christ to all who come across my path ... friends and enemies alike. Good gifts for sure.

God, may I have the wisdom of brokenness necessary
to live into and live out Lewis' words. And may I have
the courage of faith to say in my own words, and to
live out in my own choices what King David spoke of
in his fifty-first Psalm. Amen.




22 October 2008


I want to ask you a question: “This past week, did you BETRAY God with your thoughts, with your words, or with your actions? … OR did you stay LOYAL to God with your thoughts, with your words, or with your actions?”

10 do not despise the days of small things.

15 it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.

Staying LOYAL, or taking the route of BETRAYAL … both ways of living involve you and me making “choices”. And all the steps of our faith (those we take FORWARD, and those we take BACKWARD) begin with small choices, small steps, and small course deviations. ZECHARIAH 4:10 challenges us through the life and words of this Old Testament Minor Prophet to “not despise the days of small things.

In SONG OF SOLOMON 2:15, King Solomon tells us that in a vineyard, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines” – in other words, that when we don't take the time and effort to heed THE SMALL THINGS IN LIFE, we’ll lose THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE.

So do you see how come you and I need Jesus to help us as we make all the day-to-day choices of our lives? And do you see how foolish it is to try and live life on our own! Because without Jesus at the center of our lives … without us submitting to His leadership in our lives … we’ll value the wrong things and ignore the right things – and our lives will end up off course in ways we’d never imagine.

It’s been said that filmmaker Walt Disney
was ruthless in cutting anything that got
in the way of a movie’s pacing. The story is
told that Ward Kimball, one of the animators
for Disney’s 1937 classic, Snow White, worked
240 days on a 4 ½ minute sequence in
which the dwarfs made soup for Snow White
and almost destroyed the kitchen in the process.
While viewing previews of the film Walt thought
that this scene Kimball had worked so hard
on was funny … but he eventually decided the
scene slowed down the overall flow of
the picture, and so he cut it out.

When the film of your life is shown, will it be as great as it might have been? A lot will depend on how many “good things” we made the choice to eliminate, in order to make way for the “great things” God wants to do through us. Godspeed.



02 October 2008


I've been thinking about the times of testing and discipline God takes us through as His followers. Satan would love for these chapters of our lives to cause greater pain, brokenness, and isolation from God. But I believe God has different goals in mind for us as His children ... greater freedom, greater healing, and greater partnership. Whose plans will we seek out and embrace?

Do not be deceived: The fruit of today (just as in any day of our lives) will flow out from whatever source we choose to let the "headwaters of our lives" flow from. When we choose to make the headwaters of our lives us (our plans, our agendas, our efforts, our way), the water of our lives becomes and remains bitter and undrinkable. But as we choose to make the headwaters of our lives God (His plans, His agendas, His efforts, His way), the water of our lives becomes pure and refreshing.

Ultimately, the ministries each of us have been called to and entrusted with have very little to do with us. We are called to be broken, teachable, faithful, servant leaders. And as we make the choice to partner with Jesus Christ to become these things, the fruit will be surrender to God and to one another, visible righteousness, restored relationships, and peace of mind and heart. I'm sure that you have found to be true what I have found to be true: That when it comes to fruit, we usually find what we are looking for, and we usually eat what we pick off the tree. Again, choices.

I am believing and praying that the life and ministry we put our hearts and hands to will be more centered in Jesus Christ than ever. More beautiful in their expression of worship, sacrifice and service than ever. More tender and confessional than ever. More fun than ever. More incarnational and sacramental than ever. And more encouraging and equipping than ever.

Yes, God is sovereign. Yes, God will do what God wants to do. But because God has chosen to define Himself by His love for us, and by His relationship and fellowship with us, therefore, much of what He chooses to do is predicated on
what we choose to do. Broken, teachable, faithful, servant leaders. This is the road we must travel with Him. Today and each day of our lives. Godspeed.