Light of Men

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Saturday, on the Lord’s holy day of rest I was given the opportunity to speak for the first time at our men’s ministry breakfast. I chose to present and start on the first session from the Jesus-Centered Small Group Bible Study that covered ‘Jesus the Creator’. To reflect on Jesus being more than our Savor but also the co-Creator of the universe.

What we explored was Adam’s first responsibility to tend and watch over God’s creation in the Garden of Eden.  He was to rule over all living things in the image of God, and he did this with a helper that was equally important. What a responsible this was and still is.  To watch over and care for all God’s creation from the depths of the earth to all living creatures, and to do this as God would prefer in a manner that was kind, loving, and compassionate.

Then, we made the connection that Jesus was also there with Adam and Eve. Walking and talking, in relationship with man and woman.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John‬ ‭1:1-5

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ‭John 1:14‬

What troubled me later on after the message was not so much how I did, being my first time, but the involvement and concern for our responsibility to reign over His creation. One person suggested that God already knows how the world will end up so it doesn’t really matter what we do, that it will all work out in the end. That faith in God without any good deeds of caring for His creation is not faith at all. From my last blog, we talked about how faith without good deeds is dead.
Have we forgotten our responsibilities? Have we taken God’s creation for granted? Are we not at awe anymore or is it about wanting more?

These may be concerns but they are also reminders that we are to be good stewards, which means to care for and look after someone else’s goods. The light of men and women shines and continues to shine bright in our good deeds as we care for and watch over Jesus’ creation. Let’s make it our responsibility again, and look after and tend to this magnificent and wonderful creation.

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Judge or not to Judge, that is the Question 

How many times do we judge others, but in Scripture we are commanded not to judge? We are also told to identify the fruits of others. Where and when do we draw the line, or is it more of trusting in Jesus that He will be the judge and all we need to do is love. What troubled me for some time in the book of Revelation was these instructions given to John by an angle, servant of God in a dream.

Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy. Revelation 22:11

Its by nature that we feel we need to help others find salvation, to be the gardener; and a lot of us try to do this alone without Christ. Why do we feel that we need to put ourselves above others? Why do we look down on those who in our opinion are sinners, lowest of lows, and worst off than we are?

How easily judgement and shame creeps in and push nonbelievers and believers away from Christ. Did Jesus not eat and drink with sinners and tax collectors, who were considered the worse of the worse? Do we not realize or see the plank in our own eye, or are we so concerned with the spec in someone else’s eye?

Jesus reminds us to seek the Kingdom of God above all else and to live righteously, to be a light in the darkness. Christ, the Alpha and the Omega will repay all people according to their deeds, as mentioned in the following verse 12 of Revelation.

In the book of James second chapter talks about faith without good deeds is dead. So we see that faith by itself is useless; and what of good deeds, if not sincere and from the heart. Our Father knows and sees all.

So before we pass judgement onto another, no matter how broken they may seem; know that our faith will shine onto others by the good deeds we do that are from the heart out of love. Jesus continues to work within us and for us, and will be there for all people. All we need to do is love one another, and not favor some over others.

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:13

In the Eyes of a Child

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Deep inside a child’s eyes, we can almost see ourselves when we were little. Innocence, love, and total admiration toward life. As we look into those eyes, we are able to see a glimpse of what our heart is to look like to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Children depend so much on their parents, time does not matter, and everyone is your best friend. Can you imagine a world where we have no worries, time does not control us, and relationships give us meaning in life. Yes, our body tells us its time to sleep, eat and go potty ;).  But to truly live for the moment and to believe in the wonders of God’s creation without a second thought of our next meal or to feel threatened is how a child sees the world.

The picture above was taken when my daughter and son were younger, four years apart. Each step and morning when they opened their eyes, wonder and excitement would start to burst out. Its like God telling us, this is who I want you to be. Don’t let the lies of the world take this away. Come to me!

Sit on my lap and tell me all that you’ve done. What did the bug look like? It did what? Oh, how funny… “Come play?” they ask. I’m coming, …race you!

Children are our reminder of what heaven will look like, so next time look into those eyes and listen to what those eyes are saying. Then go play, be a child of God. Live in total wonder of God’s creation.

Click here on some qualities of a child.

All of us still have that child inside of us, who wants to breakout of those chains we have built up. The key is Jesus. All we need to do is trust him as a child would. “Don’t be afraid, jump!” I will catch you. – Jesus

Jesus, a glutton and a drunkard?


I learned a new term recently called “table fellowship,” its when we gather around the table to eat while enjoying each other’s company. What a concept! Jesus did this a lot, mostly with tax collectors and other sinners.

“The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Matthew‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭NLT‬

The result becomes an invitation to knowing Jesus. What better way to talk about the Gospel than over a course of a meal.

Now Jesus wasn’t a glutton or a drunkard, but I’m sure the religions leaders wanted Him to be. What better way to discredit Him by going after the joys of fellowship over a meal.

If I met Jesus, I would invite Him into my home for dinner. Oh the things we would talk about. The stories He would tell and how He would listen to mine. We would laugh and cry. I would make a toast to the occasions and thank Him for coming.

Jesus, I would ask. As I stare into His eyes “would you please stay a little longer?”

This would sound like a child’s request, and it is because I am a child of God. I am scared to be alone but I know that I am not alone because God is with me. Now, I am writing this along side my son Max, who is 5 years old. I had to think for a moment and confirm with him what a child would say to God. 

Then, Jesus smiles and stares right back at me. He says, “My son I am always with you, Do not be afraid. Every time you sit and eat, think of me and I’ll be there.”

 

If I could give you a 100 Years


What a powerful message this was from a dying mom with cancer to her preteen son. This was from a movie called “A Monster Calls“, directed by J. A. Bayona.

Conor, the son who struggles with his mom’s illness is guided through his emotional truths with a monster of his own imagination. What grabbed my heart most was how these years can slip away from us. As Conor held in his own nightmare; as do we hold in our own nightmares of opening up and simply loving our imperfections. Because those imperfections, are not imperfections after all but what makes us human. Once we learn to be empathetic toward each other, only then do we see why we do and act in ways that are not always rational.

Jesus asks us to be childlike not childish, to understand a child’s nature and sense of being is to understand our true desires.

Here is a Poem by Diana Loomans,

If I had my child to raise over again, I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less. I’d do less correcting, and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less, and know to care more. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging, and less tugging. I would be firm less often, and affirm much more. I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d teach less about the love of power, And more about the power of love. It matters not whether my child is big or small, From this day forth, I’ll cherish it all.

Give your 100 years and give even more, play your heart out and don’t be afraid to discipline from time to time. Your child loves you and only wants your beautiful and caring love back. Be messy and break things, it’s okay. What’s important is flesh and blood, the eyes of a child pleading for love.

Our Prison is Built on Lies

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How many times do we go through life listening to the lies, over and over again until they become part of us. I’ve had trouble feeling that I was not good enough. Just needed to try harder, be better, look cooler, be smarter but never enough. These lies that surround us, ends up becoming our own prison that we live in. Our own invisible prison of lies.

A lot of these falsehoods we don’t even recognize anymore. Ads on TV, social norms and other expectations that we end up putting our own children through. How did we get here, and how do we get out!

Just today my wife was not feeling like a good teacher. She expected better results and felt that she did not reach her students. How easy it is to beat yourself up and put so much pressure onto your own shoulders. I texted her back and said. “Remember some truths: [1] you are a good teacher, [2] you can only teach as well as they want to listen and remember, and [3] you can’t control what goes on in their life.”

How did we get here? It started way back when both Adam and Eve felt convinced that they would not die and they would be like their Father, so they disobeyed Him. A lie of all lies that ended up separating them from Him. Since then other lies started entering their heads of feeling shame of their own nakedness.

So, how do we get out from under these lies? How do we breakout of our prison that we are held captive? The TRUTH is that the door is unlocked and all we need to do is believe in the truth. When Jesus told His disciples that He was the way, the truth, and the life. He knew that we were being held captive to the lies of this world and that the only way to come to the Father was through Him. To really know Jesus is the only way to know the Father.

As we become deeper into our relationship with Jesus, the more we recognize the lies of this world and can combat those lies with Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd with both a staff and a rod. He is the Truth that shows us the way to the Father, and in doing so we are reborn to a new life. A life dependent upon Truth and not lies.

Stop building your own prison and becoming comfortable in it, and walk through that door. Jesus is there waiting and He believes in you because you are good enough

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭

 

I See God.

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Have you ever wondered what God looks like, or if He is really there? I know I do from time to time, I can’t help to wonder what it would be like to be in the presents God or His son Jesus. What would I say? What would I ask? …What would I do?

The picture above was taken during a hike my wife and I went on with the kids in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. It was a beautiful day, and we were amoung a few exploring God’s creation. It was one of those days that we felt so at peace with the Lord. We were following a path that kept leading us up further and further. My wife Tanya was behind with the boys, and I ended up taking off like a mountain goat. I later found out that she was singing the song by Matt Redman “Bless the Lord“.

As for me, I had a conversation going with Jesus; thanking Him for this wonderful and amazing day, and just being in awe with the love that He has for us. I thought for a second, Jesus show me a sign or something. I want to see like Thomas, the scares on your hands and in your side. But then I realized that I didn’t need a sign, I didn’t need confirmation that He was here with me. I knew He was, I could see Him. In everything from the flowers growing up through the rocks, to hearing my kids’ laughter; He was there as He always is.

Just then I looked up and we saw a cross formed from clouds just floating there.

Think what you want, but for us it was Jesus telling us that He heard us and He’s willing to spend the time to confront our thoughts. God is everywhere, all we have to do is open our eyes and see Him.

How I would Live my Life, if there was no God


The Beatles wrote a song called Imagine that starts off imagining of no heaven.

“Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky, Imagine all the people living for today…”

A popular song to say the least but a song written during a time of brutal war in Vietnam and civil conflict around the world. GOD became a nasty and mean god, whose wrath was to punish those who have sinned against him. How could God allow this! It’s easy to blame and even justify war in the name of God. Especially if we don’t really know Him.

So imagine for a moment if there was no heaven or hell, and this life was your only one to live. How do you think people would behave? Now, keep in mind we are a very selfish people where money and power become our main driving forces in today’s society.

Here is John Lennon’s second verse:

“Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people living life in peace, you…”

Yes, there would have to be some major changes in our society for peace to happen. A kinda  heaven on earth, where our attitudes toward each other would change. Hmm

The song goes on and on…

“You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, And the world will be as one, Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man, Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you, You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, And the world will be as one”

Doesn’t this sound a lot like Jesus? Didn’t the religious leaders at the time think of Jesus as a dreamer.

If you can imagine if God was not this ‘man made God’ but instead a God that was and is GOOD, and there was absolutely no evil in Him. That the evil was due to our behaviors and greed toward each other. Imagine if Jesus was right that if we loved each other, we would live a life of peace.

If there was no God then there would be no good in this world. I would live a life of dark and hateful and … just the thought scares me. So I live a life for a good God, the One I see in Jesus.