Monday, January 30, 2012

An Interceding Spirit

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27 ESV)

Augustine was a well known leader in the early church. Most of you might be familiar with his most popular work, Confessions. Growing up Augustine lived a pretty "worldly" life which led his mother to constantly pray for him. One particular prayer was for Augustine not to be able to go on a trip to Rome. She prayed, "Oh Lord, do not let him go to Rome because he will only get into further debauchery." So what was God's answer? He allowed Augustine to go to Rome. It just so happens that Rome is the place where Augustine transformed into a believer! You see, the Spirit interceded and lined up the mother's desire with the will of God. God said no to her request but yes to the desire of her heart. No wonder the next verse in Romans reads...

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 ESV)

With peace thanks to Jesus,


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scatter Shooting

50% Off of All 9Marks Books - 9Marks is a ministry led my Mark Dever - elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in DC. Excellent books on the church, biblical theology, christian living, and the gospel.

Many of us want to be mentored, but don't know how to find one. Michael Hyatt gives 5 ways to find a mentor.

How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls - For those of us who went to the UPI retreat and heard Jeremy Affeldt's testimony, this article will add more fuel to the fire of indignation.

Jonathan Edwards Resolutions in Categories - Jonathan Edwards is arguably the greatest theologian, philosopher, and thinker in American history. During his late teens and into his early twenties he wrote down a series of resolutions - that Matt Perman helpfully categorized - that should challenge each one of us to live and die for the glory of God.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Leadership Corner: Defining Leadership

The art and skill of leadership has been a subject that has fascinated me for years now. Whether it is in the sports world, the business world, or the church world, I believe that leadership is extremely important.

For this reason, I want to start a series of posts called the Leadership Corner. In these posts I will draw upon the many books - and other resources - I have accumulated over the years written by leaders who have far superior knowledge and experience on the subject than myself.

If leadership guru John Maxwell is right when he says that "leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less," then I believe anyone who has influence over someone will benefit from these posts.

In their book Launching a Leadership Revolution, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward give several helpful definitions of leadership that I think would be fitting to look at as we start this journey. Let me know which ones you think match your understanding of leadership.

James C. Hunter: "We define leadership . . . as a skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good."

Andy Stanley: "Leaders provide a mental picture of a preferred future and then ask people to follow them there."

Vance Packard: "Leadership is getting others to want to do something that you are convinced should be done."

Garry Wills: "Leadership is mobilizing others toward a goal shared by the leader and followers."

Kenneth O. Gangel: "I consider leadership to be the exercise of one's special gifts under the call of God to serve a certain group of people in achieving the goals God has given them toward the end of glorifying Christ."

Baby Steps in Gratitude

My body is worn and my eyes remain heavy from eight months of nightly interrupted sleep. Our youngest boy still wakes a couple of times during the night despite desperate prayers for his sleeping. Why no answer? Is this not a simple request? However, last night amidst the midnight wake up call I found myself praising God that we've been blessed with this restless sleeper. There's great joy to be found in the presence of a crying child for that very reason - he is present. Life is so much clearer now with these new lenses - ALL is grace.

I recently listened to a sermon in which the pastor declares that "anything God uses to bring us to His feet - that thing is good". Amen! This particular message showed me what it truly looks like to believe the promise of God that ALL things are worked for the good of those who love the Lord. Oh the peace that is found in that promise! If we'd only believe those words to be true.

Just wanted to share my baby steps toward a heart of gratitude. Be blessed, there's grace all around!

- Terry

Monday, January 23, 2012


On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19 ESV)

I just finished chapter two of Ann Voskamp's book titled, One Thousand Gifts, and I must say that her book is soaring up into my top five of all time. In chapter two, Ann discovers what she describes as the mystery of the fullest life. In a word - Eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is a greek word meaning to give thanks or to be grateful. Ann describes it as life-filling gratitude. Life-filling?

How many of us believers who have been saved still feel empty or incomplete? Could it be that some of us have never experienced the completeness of our salvation because we never turned back to fall on our faces at the feet of Jesus thanking Him? "Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace." (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me. (Psalm 50:23 ESV) As John Piper puts it, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him". This was that first great sin in the garden. Man was discontent, unsatisfied and therefore ungrateful. The same is true of us today. We are discontent people and are therefore ungrateful. Our eyes are blind to the grace all around us because we consume ourselves with that which we are lacking rather than what's been abundantly given. May we stop this moment right where we find ourselves and turn back to give thanks for the abundance of grace thats been given to us.

I'll conclude with this challenge. I believe Ann presents it in the book, and I've been presented with it through a class on prayer that I am currently taking. May each of us begin to compose a running list of ALL the things in everyday life that we are thankful for and daily add to this list. To give an example, today I was thankful for the excitement in Asher's eyes when we pull into Chick-fil-a. "The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now." (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

With peace thanks to Jesus my Everything,


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deliverance From Fear

Admit it or not we all have fear's. Underneath anxiety is the fear that we don't have control and an outcome that is less than desirable may jump up and bite us. We believe this unknown outcome has the potential to take things from us that will strip us of comforts and we don't like to be uncomfortable. I know I don't. However I don't like sinning and I don't like being a rollercoaster of a man, where one hour I'm this and the next I'm that. I want to be congruent, I want to live a life that my kids can see a reflection of a dude who really has peace and joy. This verse struck me today as a weapon to deal with my hours where I'm lacking faith.

Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Human Trafficking Awareness

Last weekend at the UPI retreat San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt shared his testimony of how God put a burden on his heart to join forces in the fight against human trafficking.

With his talk on my mind as I went back to work on Monday, I found an excellent interview with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb on their new book Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault, as well as a CNN story on the Passion 2012 Conference where students raised more than $2 million to help fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery.

- Tyler

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 11th Commandment

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)

My last post titled, Redistribution of Wealth?, was meant to awaken a specific duty that we as followers of Jesus are called to undertake. This is no one else's responsibility but our own as followers of Jesus. Now, I wanted to follow that post up with how we are to execute this duty. I believe the answer is clearly given to us in this "new commandment" that Jesus gives on His last night with the disciples. Jesus raises the bar of "loving your neighbor as you love yourself" to "love everyone as I have loved you". "And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us." (1 John 3:23 ESV)

So how do we love like Jesus? "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:17-18 ESV) We love like Jesus by loving in deed and truth. "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:3-8 ESV) Loving like Jesus is loving others sacrificially. What are you sacrificing? What are you giving up so that others may gain? Let me be the first to admit that most of us can do more than we are currently doing. None of us will ever sacrifice as much as Jesus did by choosing to come into earth to rescue us.

And that leads to my last point. It's a choice! Taking care of those in need out of obligation or selfish ambition is not love. Taking care of those in need because you are forced to by some outside authority is not love. Love requires the freedom to choose. Jesus did not cling to His equality status with God and chose to empty Himself. Love is not forced, it chooses. May we ask our Father to transform us into servant leaders with the love of Jesus abiding in us all.

"And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2-3 ESV)
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)

With peace thanks to Jesus,


Monday, January 2, 2012

Redistribution of Wealth?

"When someone steals a person's clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor." - Basil of Caesarea

"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."
(Acts 4:32-35 ESV)

May this challenge you as it is challenging me right now.

- Terry

Here's the kicker: "If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV)