Showing posts from 2015

Survive or Thrive, when normal really isn't normal!

     Have you ever been stuck in a situation so long that you begun to think "this is never going to end"? I have and I have lived like the problem facing me will never change. So I accept the problem as mine and live like the problem will never end. I create patterns that lie within the problem and live these patterns out as if they are normal. When I have done this long enough, I actually begin to be threatened when someone might actually help me solve the problem. I might push that person away because the problem has begun to feel normal and I think I have control within the problem. I live as my life is now consumed to the point where I think this is how it has always been.      Have any of you ever done that? Maybe, maybe not, but I see this pattern in many people. They have gotten so use to defeat, hurt, rejection, being alone that they live like it is normal. I have seen people actually be threatened when they see the solution to their problem coming. There is a fals

The glory and pain of being conduit to the life of Jesus!

     It has been almost 2 years since Michelle and I left the Hawaiian life; coming back to the mainland. There are days that we miss the islands but not the pain being there brought, although that pain had a glorious and great purpose by our Father in Heaven. I had become a very cocky pastor before we left for Hawaii. I used my questioning as a tool to tear down other pastors and ministries in my mind, instead of trying to learn from them. I had gotten so cocky that at one point, I felt the need to remove myself from certain gatherings because of my arrogance. God crushed that in Hawaii, along with other attitudes and the lack of making God my only pursuit.     Since that time, it has been the foundation to what God has allowed me to teach. Pursuing Jesus and allowing His life to be lived through us as our primary calling. He saved us, not to have us do a bunch of good things for Him, but to live His life through us. In many conversations I have with other Christians, I hear come ou

Suffering in the hands of God has a great purpose!

     I believe most of us can agree on; that we do not like suffering! Maybe we can even use the word "hate" when it comes to suffering. There have been many times that I have questioned the Biblical writers when they tell me to find joy within the trials and struggles of suffering. I have looked at Paul with curious doubt after reading statements like, "I rejoice in my suffering for you" (Colossians 1:24). I don't like to hurt and really don't enjoy watching others hurt. My sense of justice arises when I see Christians throughout the world being slaughtered for loving Jesus. I am guilty of wishing the wrath of God on those who are hostile to God's people. I really don't like suffering.      However, in studying this subject last week, God has shown me He has a glorious purpose for suffering. God doesn't waste our suffering, but uses it for intentions that we rarely see while in the midst of our suffering. I see three main purposes for the Chri

Today, everything changes and yet, the mission doesn't change!

      Today, my Twitter and Face book have been bombarded by those celebrating and those protesting the Supreme Court of the United States' decision to give those of same sex orientation the rights to marry.  As someone who has a few friends who see this as a positive and as a leader of a few that see it as a negative, I am divided in my emotions. Let me very clear that I do not believe that this ruling changes God's Word or redefines what God has already defined. However, my mix of emotions comes from a hurting for those who got what they wanted and a hurting for those who will now fear because of this decision.           Yes, this changes how our country will write laws for people of differing sexual orientations. Yes, this will put pressure on the churches to accept and perform marriages that they do not believe are Biblically backed. Yes, this will once again put the church at odds with the culture (at least those who stand and believe what God has said on this). But as D

I don't know Paul, there are days where I feel I am the worst of sinners!

    One of the most refreshing things the Lord is doing in my life right now is His work of incredible Grace. This Grace is never earned and is given abundantly by God and I am constantly overwhelmed at God's work toward me and in me. There are days where I absolutely blow it, yet, He still uses me and cleans me up. I don't know why He loves me so much since there is nothing I have done to deserve any of His love. It is simply because He wants to love me that He gives me Grace.     Paul, the Apostle, wrote a peculiar statement in a letter to one of his young apprentices. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul makes this statement: "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." (1 Timothy 1:15 NASB)      Paul declares himself to be the worst of everyone who has ever offended God. What did he do, well he harassed and had imprisoned those who were followers of Christ

Everything God will do with me will be out of the overflow of what He does in me!

On this journey, I have had this one nagging question when it comes to pastoring my church and my family. Do I really believe what I am preaching and teaching?  Do I really think what I am saying is applicable to my life also or am I just passing along truth? Many of you know that grace is continuing to change the way I think about and approach God. Many of you also know that I recently (7 months ago) was given the position of Senior Pastor at Faith Lakeside Community Church in McMurray, PA. Several times during these last months I have heard this question nagging at me. The problem I found was this question always came at a time when I was struggling through an issue our church was in the middle of or about to face. It has revealed how controlling I act and think. It has also reveal my beliefs about what I have been taught and currently teaching. What am I currently teaching (thank you for asking because the seg-way to the next statement was a little hard for me to come up with)? I

My real problem and how God rescues me from it!

As most of you know, we are trying to sell our house and move to PA, where my family and I serve every week. It has been both an exciting time and a hard time. Our house has been on the market for over 4 months, and though we have had 7 showings, we have only had 1 offer (it was too low for us to take). Our desire grows more every day to move to PA and stop the weekly 4 hour drive there and the 4 hour drive back. When someone gets sick, we drive back to help them heal in their bed (throwing up in a room with all of your family is neither comforting nor helps recovery). Michelle and I have begged God every day for Him to sell our house. He is very capable but yet we still live in the house weekly. Through this trial, I have struggled with idolatry! Yes, I have worshipped at the throne of comfort and self desire. JD Greear explains that idolatry is the root of all sin. He defines idolatry as giving something more weight in your life than God. I know many of us think of idolatry as havi

The trap of results based intimacy!

     Some of you might know this, but the last few weeks have been tough. I am not asking for pity but am sharing that so you will see what has been revealed to me yesterday. I have had many of my prayer requests answered in being the Lead Pastor (I know it is suppose to be Senior Pastor but I like Lead better) at Faith Community Church Lakeside. I asked God to be able to preach the Word weekly, He has answered well. I asked God to be able to be part of a church that loves my family, He has answered well. I have asked God to use the gifts and abilities He has put in me and boy has He answered well. It has been an incredible pleasure to be in a church that desires God the way I am seeing. However, it has also been a hard past month with tough decisions that needed to be made, with leading through some struggles and casting vision without a complete picture from God yet (not to mention we are still living at the church 5 days a week).       It has been a little overwhelming and simply

The Hook brings you back! But Jesus breaks the hook through His hands on the cross!

Some of you may know the song I am referring to in the title of this writing. It is the theme of our struggle recently. Several months ago, while I was watching Jimmy Fallon on, I came across a section of Fallon's late night fun; the lip sync contest. As many of you know, I love to throw down some sic lip sync. I mess around getting ready each day in lip sync, I mess with my family in lip sync, I even entered a talent show with lip sync (that was a little discouraging, I rocked that air song). On that entertaining night, Jimmy Fallon had Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider Man) on his show and challenged her to a lip sync contest. Emma Stone kick his tale and one of the songs she sang was "Hook" from Blue's Traveler. It has been in my head ever since. I don't think I am interpreting the song how it was meant, but it has become something that has represented a struggle in my and my family's life these past 2+ months. We are struggling with leavin

A Dangerous Prayer! I triple dog dare you

Yesterday was like most days in the past weeks. Me dragging myself into my office, waiting for God to sell my house and get us to PA permanently. Tired of sleeping on a twin bunk while my wife is having to cuddle with Nathan. All of us in the same room every night we are in PA. I have to admit, yesterday I was just coasting as a follower of Christ. I had a small quiet time with me telling God a bunch of stuff. I struggled to get my motivation to study for the sermon Sunday. I was just coasting. Then God messed me up. As I was studying for this Sunday's message, I decided to watch a message from Paul Gotthardt on sharing Jesus. (here it is for you to watch) <iframe src="//" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> It exposed a problem I had while planning these sermon series. I was heading back down the path of calling people to

ALL IN! What the life of a pastor should look like in the church.

Over the past few Sundays I have been preaching a sermon series called "We are the Church". So far we have dealt with how people are important to God, how everyone is necessary for the kingdom work God has invited us to, what a community of love looks like and how to loving each other is a result of being intimate with God. It has been a lot of information but it has been necessary as we head into a season of looking at who we are as a church. One of the truths I spoke on is how we many times say we are going to church; making the church a building or gathering place. I often make this mistake with my kids when we are driving to our gathering times on Sundays. However, I believe this might be adding to an underlying problem that I have suffered with for many years. The problem: we believe that when we have left our gathering times, we have disconnected with the church!. If the church is treated as a building or gathering time, then are we still the church when we are not to