Why aren’t We United?

I grew up around people who would be offended by this video (video at bottom of post). It has people of ‘incorrect’ belief systems in it singing together. They would not laud the accomplishment of unity, they would tear down the value through hypocrisy and division.

Jesus prayed for unity (John 17:21). In this moment He did not pray for tolerance or acceptance or inclusiveness, or even equality. He prayed for unity. He asked that we be united in the same way that He was united with God. That we be one. “One”. When the disciples saw other men casting out demons they complained to Jesus. Those other men weren’t part of the Jesus clique.

Jesus responded by saying, “For the one who is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40). But with scripture in hand we look aside and pass judgement.

Unity is quite simple. One person stands and points to Jesus. Others join, also pointing to Jesus. When we stop and point at each other, we are committing multiple sins.

What a powerful song. Join in. Sing it. Point to Jesus. The world needs Jesus. The world does not need hypocrisy, judgement, condemnation, or division. (Romans 8:1).

Mark 9:40 works both ways. “For the one who is not against us is for us”. It would then also be true that the one who is NOT for us… is against us. The call is not to join a church who doesn’t line up with your understanding of scripture. It’s simply to point to Jesus. To not oppose the Savior.

I think there is grave importance in the 3 cord analogy (where 2 or more are gathered). Matthew 18:20. God created power in unity. He puts Himself in the midst of harmony. He sets it as an example for prayer and worship.

Some of us truly believe that we can speak out of hatred and direct the gaze of the world away from Christ and still bear His name. May we hear the words of the Messiah fresh today. The greatest command is love and the one who defines love seeks unity among His believers. Sing Amen! Lift those eyes and voices and fingers up and be about the Father’s business ONLY.

Check out other versions of the blessing, sang in unity across the globe by searching “The blessing over”… on Youtube and other places. Hear from the U.S., Pakistan, Canada, Africa, France, Japan, and many other.

How do I know when I have won?

  1. The bell rings
  2. The crowd cheers
  3. The fight stops
  4. The ref declares it’s over
  5. Your hands are held up over your head

It’s a simple list. When the 5 things listed above happen, it’s a pretty clear indicator that you have, in fact, won. I would give one caution though… the enemy knows this too.

Take a good look at the winner and the loser in the picture above (It’s a very famous picture by Neil Leifer). Notice any similarities?

You ever get the last word in? You ever tell someone off that really deserves it? You ever get paybacks when they cut you off or ride your bumper? Do you mock other beliefs? is, ‘na na na na na’ in your vocabulary? Can you show them who is boss? Are you someone not to be messed with?

I could actually go on for quite some time. The enemy is an expert at ringing the bell, sounding the crowd, and declaring a winner. The problem is that we get so excited at the victory, that we don’t notice the canvas on our backs.

Who really wins when we are playing at vengeance, revenge, greed, dominance, or simply making a name for ourselves?

His trick is simple… when fighting in a spiritual war, he puts real people in our path. When we fight the people instead of the combatants, we lose. It doesn’t feel like it at first. We take swings, we hear the chants, the crowd jumps to its feet! But how can we win when we aren’t even fighting the real enemy?

If Muhammad Ali shows up to fight and you punch out a collegiate lightweight, did you just beat Ali? No! That would be ludicrous. But we do it everyday when we turn on each other at the delight of the one who is truly against us. It is, quite simply, Satan who turns us towards each other. And when we raise our gloves to take that crown, it ends the same everytime… on our backs listening to the cheers trying to figure out where things went wrong.

The solution is easy… instead of fighting someone who isn’t our enemy, lets let the man who took our place in the actual fight do what He came to do. Jesus came to win where we couldn’t. And isn’t it interesting, that when Jesus took our place so we didn’t have to fight, Satan puts us in his place, so we end up fighting each other?

Jesus took the cross so we wouldn’t have to. It’s time to retire the trunks and the gloves and get out our kneepads. Satan wants us to fight our battles all wrong and on his terms. Jesus wants to fight for us. Stop fighting the wrong enemy… you want to really deal a blow in this spiritual war? Pray for those you see standing against you!

Jesus’ message was very simple. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. If you feel the need to dig in and battle it out… take a good look at your surrounds, you might just be laying on your back thinking you won.


Photo by Neil Leifer, 1966

Jesus, the Cat Herder

Cat’s can be expensive. Every single day they need food and water and litter. Every day. And they take time too. You have to clean out water bowls, scoop out the litter box, play, pamper and pet.

They need toys and vet visits, which can lead to medicines, vaccines, and special diets. It all became clear just how much they cost when the vet used the word, ‘hydrolyzed’ diet. To be blunt, hydrolyzed means that a 7 dollar bag of cat food now costs 50 dollars.

I didn’t have to think about it for long. Toby (the cat) is in pain and this could relieve that discomfort. It’s worth it to keep him happy. And that is what we do. We keep the cats happy. They get treats and playtime and they get my seat and my shoes. They have fancy cat stands and hammocks to sleep in, they have special places on the porch and in the other rooms.

We have a rule that if someone has a cat in their lap, someone else has to bring them things so as to not disturb the cat.

Sure, they are cats and they act like cats which means being jerks and all, but we still love them.

Now I’m going to ask you a question that a cat owner never asks… what does the cat do for me?

They don’t cook or clean or help in any way. They don’t contribute to chores, finances, or stability. They bring their needs and their affections and that is all. They are a burden, an extra responsibility, and every cat owner knows this.

But, we love them and not only want to take care of them, we genuinely want them to be happy. Not for what they bring us, but for we want with them. We want that family and relationship they provide. And this is how you know its a genuine and true and honest and fully loving relationship… because we don’t ever expect anything in return… in fact, it’s physically impossible for them to do anything for us.

While cat owners do deserve a special pat on the back, there is one thing we need to clear up.

You are the cat.

You bring absolutely nothing to Jesus except for yourself… just as you are. You can’t create. You have no power or authority. You are a mess that brings along a lengthy list of needs and frustrations.

But Jesus, picks us up, sets us in His lap, and desires to hear us purr. What He wants from us is that relationship… and nothing else, as it would be impossible for us to even bring anything else anyway.

If you have a hard time understanding how Jesus could love a mistake like you, consider the cat. They scratch the good furniture, leave hairballs in the most inconvenient places, wake us up all hours of the night, hiss, run away… and all we really want is have them purr in our laps as we comfort them and take care of all their problems.

Jesus wants a real, honest, true, genuine, loving relationship with you. No strings attached. Not only does He not want anything from you… you couldn’t bring it anyway. He just wants you. Not the results of you, but JUST you.

There is nothing more rewarding to a cat owner than a purring, cuddle session. To know they trust us, love us back, and want to be with us. Go ahead…. be a cat. Climb in God’s lap and let Him know His love is returned. Accept the safety. Accept the food. Accept the gifts… Accept the Savior.

Vote Soft but Carry a Big Prayer

So many of us freely proclaim our political beliefs and have no problems sharing over social media, the water cooler, or coffee. All the while keeping our faith in God top secret.

“I don’t want to offend”

“What if they think differently”

“it wouldn’t be politically correct”

These are the things that come into our minds over the anxiety of sharing about a selfless, loving healer that gave everything He had for you… I don’t want to offend. And it isn’t Jesus we are worried about offending… it’s the very people that need His name on their lips and in their heart that we fear upsetting with the actual medicine that they need.

But jumping into the violent, highly polarized, extremely biased political arena requires no thought at all.

I’ll talk about Covid and gun control and immigration and racism and elections and taxes and… many other things that are highly opinionated, extremely volatile, and by their very creation… divisive. I’ll buy stickers and change my online profile images and maybe even march! But on Sunday, my family will quietly slip out into the safety of the church building before I dare offer up any identity towards the eternal.

My prayer is for hard core, full scale reversal of this practice. May we slip in and out of the voter’s booth having cast our ballot based on our convictions and principles… and never utter a word of the choices we made or why. The power of your vote does not come from grandstanding or filibustering on the internet. It comes from that little check mark. Clicking that box is your duty as a citizen. Nothing else counts, matters, or will be remembered.

And when done, praise His name! Shout to the heavens. Live a life of thanksgiving. Live in humility. Share the Savior. Speak good. Do well. Have compassion. Exemplify love. Be Jesus! This doesn’t lead to a checkmark… it points towards the eternal. It’s not our temporary, it’s our foundation.

Your citizen duty is to vote. Your purpose in life is to praise. Can we shift this back to where it belongs? Can we see how a desperate enemy would use such confusion to his advantage?

Vote. Vote with all your heart. Vote in every election. But live for Jesus. Live outwardly, inwardly, and fully for Jesus. Jesus was asked a political question once and just like a common click-bait title we would see today, He made them regret having asked. He blew up their argument. He ‘destroyed’ them. 😉 They were ‘shredded’ because He didn’t fall for their trap and give them a political ground to stand against Him on.

What He basically said was to give to the government what belonged to the government and to give to Jesus what belonged to Jesus. When we give our time and energy to these ‘issues’ and fill the interwebs with our opinions… what we are doing is giving to the government… ourselves. That doesn’t belong to them. We are giving our efforts to the government and then trying to vote for Jesus quietly on a Sunday and it simply doesn’t work that way.

We are meant to quietly vote on election day and give our lives to the one who gave everything to us. With all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. Live like you are saved and embrace the Christian lifestyle that Jesus so openly and freely lived for our benefit.

If we should have learned one thing by now, no matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, is that everyone in that arena has an agenda. There, quite frankly, is no truth in politics. I would define politics as the desire to make something that is wrong, appear to be right.

The Christian should know… there is only one truth. It has never wavered and has never changed. God’s word has not flip-flopped, it has not excluded, and it does not obscure. It does the opposite. His truth brings light, clarity, and hope. This is what we should be sharing. Hope! Jesus is our hope. Are you bringing hope to the world? Are you bringing Jesus? Or do you feel the need to quote someone who makes a fortune and career out of making sure you stay upset?

Prayers for a permanent 180 degree turn around. Vote with your ballot and live for your Savior.

Live IN the Future, Not for it

We spend our lives trying to get to the good moments. When bad things happen we strive to overcome and repair. It’s often about getting back to our happy places.

Pain is not just inevitable, it’s a guarantee. It’s a promise wrought on by a fallen world desperate to take it all. Where is the hope? There are glimpses here and there, but in its fullness we won’t see it until we have nothing left. Death, for instance, doesn’t cost different things for different people… it’s the same price for all and it simply costs everything. This can be difficult to understand whether we fear our own or lose others we care so much about.

We take nothing with us. Jesus knew this and yet stayed on mission. His task was not to find Joy only to lose it in the end when all is left behind. He didn’t amass wealth or accolades that would be stripped from Him as He passed on. His death was how He returned to the Father and it’s also how He saved us. And so He locked on to that moment and bee-lined straight to it.

No time to waste, no distractions, ‘I’ve got a death to get to’. Why me? Nope he never said those words, ‘why me?’. How silly would it have sounded for the only person equipped to live out his life and death for us to ponder if someone else not capable could take His place… and how ironic as His task was exactly that… to take our place.

You are expertly equipped and placed into your life circumstances unlike any other. Others know pain, but no one knows YOUR pain. Why you? You are the only one who can. You can wallow in regret and pity or you can embrace the inevitable and bee-line through destiny knowing the truth of Jesus.

Life isn’t the relationships we make in this world. It’s not about getting back to the good moments or experiencing the peace and calm… it’s about that mission that takes us from one rocky moment to the next… the ones we were trained for… the ones we have been made and prepared for. And when our mission is complete, it’s not about what we leave behind or are left without… it’s about what is ahead.

Whether we lose children or parents or struggle with illness and debt and loneliness and many other things… it’s never, why me? Why NOT me? Who else could do this? Getting through this moment with eyes on God, thinking eternally… that is exactly what Jesus came and showed us how to do.

COVID, school, jobs, sickness, death, despair, heartache… we have the tools to look up. It’s not about getting back, it’s about getting up. We can stand up and face any day that we give to God. Not through our strength, but with His.

The enemy offers consolation in grief and utter loss. His cure is stagnation. His goal is doubt and confusion. He will whisper that you deserve more, he will dangle sad memories and terrible challenges through your anxiety and frustration. He wins when we give in to ‘why me?’.

It means we have lost sight of the Savior who constantly chanted, ‘it HAS to be me’ while He sacrificed beyond all understanding. You have the power to do the same. His name is Jesus and He gave it to you. You can look the doubt and fears and turmoil square in the eyes and giggle with the faith of being created to be led directly through the storms and into the hope that awaits you.

You can do this. You were made for this. It’s not about the people around you or the weakness within you. It’s not for the stuff or the memories. It’s certainly not for posting and sharing… It’s about getting through while looking up. Eyes on the Father. That is how Jesus did it. That is what we have been prepared for.

We get to live in the future. IN the future. Normally that isn’t possible. You might think I meant to say, “FOR” the future. No. For the future is planning ahead. You exercise today to be buff tomorrow. You study today to be smart tomorrow. That is living “FOR” the future.

Living “IN” the future is being aware of when eternity begins. It’s knowing God who is omniscient (all knowing). It’s doing things today BECAUSE of tomorrow. Crazy things that don’t build you up at all. Sacrificing money and food, or even just being kind to someone that will still hate you after. That is living IN the future. It doesn’t better yours, it betters theirs.

Living IN the future knows the score. It knows how things have already turned out thanks to the death of Jesus Christ. It exclaims, “I’m there!”. I want in on that! I receive the gift of Jesus. And everything I do will be with that gift in mind. It’s not building a better tomorrow, you already have the best tomorrow! It’s accepting and knowing what your tomorrow will be no matter how terrible today seems.

You will be tempted to look out on life and try to get back to some point, some moment, or maybe even some feeling. This is where despair comes from. Trying to get to something that you were never meant for. Try living each moment as though God is leading you through to something fantastic… because if you let Him, He will. The confusion comes from temporary fantastic and eternal awe and amazement. Living IN the future will help discern between the two.

‘Civilized Dialog’ Record Broken

Guinness World Records has reported that after thousands of years, the world record for dialogue amongst humanity has been officially broken.

Friday, July 24th 2020 marks the end of the centuries old streak of being able to communicate, sometimes even oppositionally, with fellow mankind.

At precisely 6:02 p.m. a tweet was released seemingly innocent in its claims that skunks will not stink in heaven. After a few retweets and “lol‘s” a discussion began on Facebook. The core response being that God made skunks “and all of their skunkiness” and to remove the smell post-life would indicate a mistake.

This response was not received well and a flurry of escalating tweets, memes, gifs, and posts were made that clearly established a battle line over the conflicting views.

Pouring into Youtube, Parler, Instagram, and even mainstream news outlets, the protesting is believed to have begun when CNN launched a headline titled, “This Stinks!”.

Celebrities have taken sides in the debate with former voice actor of Pepe Le Pew, Eric Bauza, taking offense at the rhetoric being hurled by so many who don’t know or understand the soul’s of the potent creatures. Meanwhile animators have created newer renditions of some of the classic cartoons where he does not smell at all, claiming that they never meant to offend anyone or anything having scent glands.

Now that the lengthy record has been put in the books and all rational dialogue has come to an end, it is speculated whether anyone will have the nerve to attempt a new record at some point in the future.

An opinion piece in the Times later pondered, “We all knew it was coming, the end of civilized dialog certainly has its place in our history, but we never knew which issue would be our last. Now knowing what we know, should we have picked a different hill to die on?”

Answering an anonymous survey, below are some of the responses to the question, ‘do you think we will begin an attempt to break the newly acquired record?’:

“If there is another opinion out there, It’s wrong! So why bother?”

“Sure, I’m open to discussion… as soon as they change their views!”

“This was the final straw, if we can tell God what He can and can’t do with stinky critters, we have no hope”.

As that record fell, a new era has begun. We aren’t sure what the record is for refusal to logically debate, engage in ignorant hate, severe intolerance, and division by opinion… but we think we can beat it.


Image by Vicki Roberts from Pixabay

The Three Tombs

If you read your Bibles closely, you might be surprised to know there were 3 tombs that are extremely significant to us.

The first one was the tomb that Joseph owned. In Luke we read that no one was ever laid in this tomb. This tomb was the grave of anticipation. It’s job was to lie in wait completely empty. It’s very purpose is to house the dead, but until Jesus’ mission was complete, it’s aspiration was unfulfilled.

The second tomb is the one Jesus was laid in. This is the tomb of defeat. When Jesus slept here, the world wailed in disappointment. The only thing worse than having a messiah is to get one and then lose Him. Was Jesus simply crazy… or did they kill their only hope? Men’s hearts hurt deeply when this tomb was occupied. Everything was questioned and nothing made sense. How could the man that raised the dead succumb to death himself? This was one of history’s darkest days. Three of them, in fact. Men sobbed, demons cheered, and the great I Am was seemingly buried having not yet fulfilled all of His promises.

The third tomb still exists to this day. It’s the one that the women and the disciples and the soldiers all found open and empty. In it rests neatly folded burial garments. This tomb has many names. Hope! Victory! God lives! This is my favorite tomb, because it’s not just an empty one, but it’s one whose purpose has been fulfilled.

You might be thinking, these are all the same tomb! Please understand, they are each very different from the other. Each could not be without the other and each one gives birth to the next.

We too are three different people. Not at the same time of course, but each one is a possible us. Just like the first tomb, without Jesus, we are empty. We have no purpose other than to hope something somehow happens to us.

Just like the second tomb, if we reject Jesus, or ignore His pleas for too long, He will leave us to lead a life without Him, should we Choose. Of course, we still have Jesus… He doesn’t actually leave. But… rather than keep Him in our hearts, which were prepared for Him, we wrap Him up and seal the door. What makes this tomb the saddest is that, just like the guard at the cross, we don’t realize what we are doing. We think we are ‘living’, but all we are doing is wrapping our Savior in the clothes He is to be buried in… away from our active lives.

The last tomb is by far the most amazing. It sits empty. But not like the first tomb. The first never had anyone lay in it. The third tomb has. It’s purpose is fulfilled. How many bodies don’t need their resting places anymore? How many times can you resell a full burial plot? You can’t. There is no value in an occupied grave. And all the unoccupied graves are waiting on time to fulfill their destinies. But what about this strange anomaly? This one tomb in all of history that both served its purpose and sits open and empty? This is our tomb if we have Jesus. We serve a risen Savior that defeated death. Not just for Himself but for us too.

To reach our full potential we each die to self. Through Jesus we exit the tombs of our past and arise victorious with Him. We leave fear, uncertainty, condemnation and defeat behind and take on hope, peace and love. This third tomb is a crucial part of God’s plan. He planned for His Son to take the tomb so that we could follow and arise. It’s important to remember all three tombs. But of greatest importance is to make sure we fulfill our purpose. To fill that tomb, take on Christ, and exit a new creation.

Three tombs. One who has no Savior at all, one who has a Savior but hides, rejects, or ignores Him, and the last one… the one that lets you enter a sinner and walk out redeemed.

It’s not JUST about remembering Christ. It’s not a story to be told about a man that deserves our respect on Easter. It’s about opening our own tomb doors and leaving dead end lives behind. It’s about emerging with Christ out of the grave and in our hearts where He Has always wanted to be. And it’s about living each day for the one that did this for us.

This day, more than any other, is about where you put your Jesus. have you never met Him? Is he banging on your heart’s door never to be answered? Or have you followed Him to a new life?


Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

You Don’t Have to Tell Me Thrice!

I have a new favorite verse. So you don’t skip ahead out of shear frantic anticipation, it’s Jonah 3:3

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.

Jonah 3:3

I laugh out loud when I read it now, because it’s so typical of me… and us, as people. Jonah is a very short book of just 4 chapters. The first 2 are laying down the foundation for the scripture quoted above.

God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and speak against the people there. But Jonah doesn’t obey. Instead he tries to run from God. The men on the boat he is fleeing in throw him overboard where he is swallowed by a great fish. For 3 days AND nights (72 hours) he is inside the belly of this fish.

I imagine he had some time to think, don’t you? Guess what Jonah did… he repented! You saw that coming didn’t you? What else was there to do? Well, I’m sure he was anticipating how the fish was digesting him, or how he might drown, or how other scary critters might be eaten alive by this fish… all around him is death. It’s not whether he will die or not, it’s in which horrific way will he die and how many seconds left until that happens?

God, our creator, seems to know this about us. We get easily distracted. So when He wants our attention, he removes EVERYTHING else from our view so we can focus on Him. And what I’m learning is that if we don’t do it for Him, He will do it for us. Jonah’s horrific life altering episode was simply God clearing His throat and saying, ‘pardon me, Jonah, might we speak?’ (essentially).

It’s hard to put ourselves into Jonah’s shoes, isn’t it? The reality of this happening to us is fairly non-existent… unless, that is, God wants our attention. But we can get back to that in a minute… so Jonah repents and the fish spits Jonah out on dry land. Chapter 3 starts off the exact same way chapter 1 starts off…

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”

Jonah 3: 1- 2

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.

Jonah 1: 1 – 2

I put them both above so you can compare. Notice how God doesn’t embellish? There is no disapproving tone, no ‘I told you so’, and no threat. He simply restates the mission and Jonah has the same options he had before. He could obey or disobey. He already tried disobedience and that did not work out well. Jonah must not have wanted to try the odds of God releasing him again, because the very next words on paper were, “so Jonah arose”… and he did exactly what God asked him to do.

My question is, what is God asking you to do? Do you feel like you are in the belly of a fish? Maybe not a literal one, but how is your job? How is your spouse? How are your relationships? Do you feel like you are about to drown in suffering? Can you not see the healing at the end of the pain?

Consider this. Maybe there is something that needs to be repented. Perhaps God is removing distractions for you? What is keeping both eyes and your heart off of God?

Whatever you are going through, lets be chapter 3 Jonahs and not chapter 1’s. But what about chapter 4? Even better! The people of Nineveh actually listened to the words from Jonah and they repented. God didn’t punish them because they repented. This confused Jonah. He went in as a prophet speaking the words of God and God didn’t destroy Nineveh like He said.

Jonah… the one who JUST repented and was saved… didn’t understand why Ninevah was saved when they repented. Easy… it’s that easy to take your eyes back off God and get distracted again. Whether you are Jonah or Nineveh, or the Israelite’s at almost any point in history… God wants your attention. Give it. Give it always.

Feeling distracted? Let God in, repent, and listen.

Is Your Christianity Out of Style?

How many of us are still trying the same things we learned to do 5 years ago? Perhaps even 10 years? 20? Even longer? Consider the picture of the handsome young boy trying to put on a shoe that barely goes over his big toe.

How silly is that? His laugh is genuine. At 6 years old, he knows how unbelievably ridiculous it is to try on a shoe meant for a new born. His body is growing and he is constantly trying on new clothes to fit into. He can’t even wear clothes from last year, let alone 5 years ago.

What he knows to be true of his clothes, should be similar with our faith. Are you still wearing last year’s faith? Is your relationship with God sustained over holidays and rare needs you just have to ask for?

We can hardly keep up with technology. Our phones keep changing, our internet keeps growing, the apps keep multiplying. Medicine is ever growing, changing, and educating us in new ways of health, exercise and diet. Our fashions change, not only in trendiness, but fabrics and colors go in and out of season.

Everything around us follows this flow of renewal, refreshing, upgrading, growing, advancing, empowering…. where does your faith stand in the midst?

Is it growing? Is your faith busting at the seams, demanding a new, larger space to hold it? Are we constantly throwing out the old and small because we keep getting bigger and better where it matters most?

Stop trying to squeeze into yesterday’s faith… it shouldn’t fit anymore. Faith is putting on baggy clothes knowing we will grow into them. My mom taught me that growing up. She grew so tired of buying new shoes, I never had a pair that fit. I grew accustomed to walking around in shoes so big that my feet slid around in them.

Guess what happened when my feet grew? Did the shoes finally fit? NO! She bought bigger shoes. It’s time for those safe, comfy shoes that wrap around our toes and gently hug our heals to get tossed. We need bigger shoes to fill! We need uncomfortable room to grow into.

Peter was used to walking on dry ground. When Jesus called him into the water, he had to step into much bigger shoes to be able to stand on the water. And he stood! Even if only momentarily, he stood. Then he raced back to his smaller shoes out of fear and he began to sink. With bigger shoes comes bigger potential and bigger opportunity, but also a requirement to step faithfully in them no matter how they feel.

The biggest shoes of all were worn by Jesus. They went through poverty, wilderness, wedding feasts, celebrations, resurrections, the cross and they finally made it home to the Father in heaven… we are meant to follow in those mammoth footsteps. Did you catch that? It wasn’t all easy. There was some pain in His path. But it lead to the Father.

You can’t get to God in small shoes of faith. Jesus will take us, but only if we follow in His big steps. Jesus constantly praised those with faith. The roman centurion who knew Jesus could command the sickness to leave without entering his home, the men who lowered the paralytic through the roof on a mat, the woman who touched his robe, the other woman who gave her last two mites (all of her money)… faith, faith, faith, faith.

From what I can gather, Jesus will bring us to the Father if we bring the big faith.

What can you do to grow a size today?

I’m a Disciple and I’m Sorry

I am a disciple of Jesus. But before I get into the apology, I should state that I’ve always wanted to be one. Look at them. Biblical legends. Walking on water, tongues of fire, healing, communing with Jesus. And why shouldn’t they have been? He took every opportunity to teach them. He sought their company and even asked for their prayers.

I guess where it went wrong for me is that I kept reading after the Sunday School excerpt stopped. Before Peter could walk on the water, he had to question Jesus first. In an act of both doubt and testing, he asked, “if it is you, command me to walk on the water”. If? Jesus had already announced who it was. But lets cut him some slack, maybe a translation problem made it sound worse than it really was.

So he walks on water. Jesus commanded him, he stepped on faith (what an amazing testament to faith, by the way… it’s why he is a Bible icon after all), but just a few steps and the wind reminded Peter that his legs are meant for land. His faith exited stage left and his fears jumped into the driver seat. Then he sank into the water. But as he began to plummet, he still managed a final plea, “Lord, save me!”. More faith? No. Desperation. Faith kept him above the water, fear drug him into it. Submission to fear caused him to cry out.

I don’t think I’m taking things too harshly or literally here, after all, Jesus had to rebuke Peter for his lack of faith. Now, it goes on to say that after the wind died down (because Jesus made it), that they all believed. Here is the problem. Peter believed… until it got difficult. Then he returned to his pre-Jesus ways of living. How is that heroic?

But, it’s not just Peter. It’s all of them. I should have started with the worst of all… Judas. Do we even remember that he was a disciple? I think most of us just frown at the sound of his name and move on. What about doubting Thomas who demanded evidence over faith? The disciples in bulk tried to send a woman seeking healing away because she was “crying out to them”. When they couldn’t heal a demon possessed man, Jesus seemingly mocked their dismay with the reason of their failure… they did not have the faith that the healing required.

They argued over who was the greatest among them, they desired to know the forgiveness limit, they tried to stop the children from getting to Jesus, they denied Him, rebuked Him, questioned Him, abandoned Him, tried to stop others from working in His name… our heroes. Our Bible legends. In all of their mistakes and selfishness.

Through the power of Jesus, these men did amazing and miraculous things. Through the power of the tempter and great liar, they did horrible and despicable things. The same men. One great feat followed by a giant failure, later to be followed by an amazing miracle. Why? How?

  1. Jesus did not wait until the men were perfect before leaving them to their mission. They were still human when he left them. We are still human now.
  2. They were never expected to be perfect this side of heaven. Neither are we. They were forgiven and still maintained the company of the Savior even after massive regression to sin, fear, and doubt… we too are forgivable, and can maintain our relationship with Jesus even after we mess up.

I feel like I must apologize. I’ve made the same mistakes. As someone who claims Jesus in His life and has read and experienced such amazing things… I still have fear and doubt and struggles… just like the disciples. And in one way, I am incredible proud to be one:

  1. They never stopped following Him… even after He went to a place they could not physically follow. Neither should we.

So while we are human and imperfect, just like our predecessors, I pray we remember this truth… that while we are in the company of the Savior we can enjoy all of what makes him our Lord, including forgiveness. Go easy on yourself at times. There is only one Jesus… the rest of us are Peters and Judases. Flawed, yet in the Master’s presence.

I pray you find encouragement and also resolve to strive to learn. While they made many mistakes, each one was a learning opportunity. Don’t neglect the teaching moments.