Repent, Reform, and Forgive Yourself!

Ezekiel 33 7-9 Danger Wrong Way Turn Back

In retrospect, making the decision to follow Christ and accept Him as my Lord and Savior through baptism, was the easy part of becoming a Christian.

And while I truly believe those word spoken by Christ, “my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” these days I’m beginning to find out how gifted I am at making the yoke heavier.

I suppose it’s a bit like committing to anything else, the first steps are the most joyous, full of hope, and bursting with potential, but as time goes by we do a wonderful job at placing obstacles in our own path which ultimately lead to us returning to our old ways, our old habits.

For me personally, this isn’t a yearning for my old sinful ways. I do not miss the person I was! Rather, the more difficult task is moving beyond the person I use to be and accepting the grace which God offers me each and every day.

I feel guilty.

I feel ashamed.

I feel unworthy. Continue reading “Repent, Reform, and Forgive Yourself!”

Painting Myself into the Crucifixion

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The Crucifixion by Bellini Jacopo

My pastor’s teaching yesterday was quite honestly the most powerful and convicting one I’ve encountered in my entire life. He started with showing a painting by Rembrandt in which the artist had painted himself into the Crucifixion scene at the foot of the Cross.

Tyler, our pastor, then went on to talk the last days of Jesus on Earth, taking time to discuss the Crucifixion process and what Jesus’ body would have endured. The information was interesting and delivered compellingly.

Then, we were asked to do the same thing the artist had done, which changed the feeling of the situation entirely.

The luxury of attentive listening and learning was gone and the process of facing my shortcomings had begun.

I’d like to tell you I finished the process by the end of the service or after twenty minutes of quite reflection afterwards, but the truth of the matter is I’m still fixated on and struggling with my answers to this task some twenty-four hours later.

That, my friends, is an excellent sermon! Continue reading “Painting Myself into the Crucifixion”

Finding Purpose in the Midst of Pain

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This past year has been difficult for my family. I contracted a rare muscle virus which has been so debilitating I lost my job, spent the better part of twelve weeks in a wheelchair, and went into debt searching for answers, which haven’t really come.

To make matters worse, even though I am improving, I still have setbacks, which cause all of us to believe everything is coming back.

One such setback came last week, on the worse possible day, my daughter’s graduation from elementary school. I had to sit during the festivities, be helped around as we made it from event to event, and eventually had to excuse myself from the celebration and return home to bed.

I cried, my wife cried, my daughter cried and felt guilty for having a good time while her father was suffering. Continue reading “Finding Purpose in the Midst of Pain”

“Publicly Proclaim Bold Promises”

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I haven’t thought much about promises in quite some time. Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I uttered the words, “I promise” to anyone. This, I suppose, is a symptom of living in a time in which commitment is something we avoid.

Yesterday, however, our new lead pastor at church, Tyler McKenzie, talked about the power of promises to the congregation, and made seven promises to the church he was now shepherding.

At the end of his talk, he asked us to prayerfully consider making our own promises to the church and to God.

As I thought about this last night and into this morning, the first thing I needed to do was figure out why the words, “I promise” had not crossed my lips in quite some time. Initially, I surmised it was because I didn’t want to let others down, especially my children.

How many times had I as a father made promises to my children simply to get them off my back?

And, how many times had my children reminded me of this horrible tactic I used to manage their expectations? “But, Dad! You promised!”

See, for me promising had become a device, not a solemn oath. I used it with my kids, I used it with my coworkers, and I even used it on myself. Yet, I never followed through, often let others down, and many times simply forgot what I had even said in the first place. Continue reading ““Publicly Proclaim Bold Promises””

Thank God for the Flaws!

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As humans we tend to want to run away from our mistakes, sins, and flaws.

Why?

Well, I suppose it is simply because we see them as weaknesses which represent the very anthesis of what we’d like to be.

I’m certainly no different than anyone else when it comes to this.

However, this morning I had a revelation which I’d like to share with you on this rainy and dreary Monday.

Like all Christians, I believe Christ took all my mistakes, sins, and flaws to the Cross with Him. Yet I further believe, the more my sin, the more numerous my mistakes, the more deep seeded my flaws … the greater the redemption, the more powerful the love, and the more complete Christ’s Victory!

That’s the beauty of the salvation we are given through God’s Grace!

But while important, this wasn’t my revelation … Continue reading “Thank God for the Flaws!”