For this reason…

I wrote this awhile ago but never published it. . . Be blessed!


Paul was in prison while writing this letter to Ephesus, but he took the circumstances of his life in stride; the hardship that came along with a Roman dungeon; the lack of freedom and the basic comforts of life because these were not his focus. Christ in him was his hope and he fully placed his unwavering trust in the person who had so completely transformed him. It was because Paul recognized his weaknesses, his sin, his shortcoming and failures that he understood the grace he so personally speaks of in this passage.

The key to understanding and living in the grace of God, given to each believer is the ability to accept it. In order to accept it, one must understand the depth of their own sin and what it cost to reconcile their damaged relationship with God. My son is working with a personal trainer and recently I asked him why this experience has really changed how he views his health.  His response was that it was expensive and because he had invested in the process, he could not afford not to pay attention. This was not the answer I expected to receive from him. But the same is true for living in this grace place Paul speaks from, this place of surrender. He knew who he was and from what he was redeemed and understood what it cost of the one who paid the price for him.

This changed his focus, it was the driving force of the ministry to which he was called, it affected all his relationships and colored all his conversations. Grace received cannot be held. Grace received must be given.  In order to receive grace, full surrender must change ones focus and circumstances become the vehicle from which grace can be given.

Lord,shut out the world as I live in it

hearing only it’s muffled tones, 

Listening only for your mercy

Focused in on you alone.

Drown the call of all it’s pleasure,

cover it with just your voice,

Calling me in boundless measure;

Calling me to make the choice.


Choices that were made at Calvary

When you chose to rescue me.

Let me see in unmarred measure

All that you have done for me.


Move me past this earthen vessel

Move me past this earth’s strong pull.

Help me Lord, your grace sufficient.

Help me live for you alone.

Being still in spite of the noise . . .

I was reading day nine of the devotional by Connection   about household gods. The writer’s God was peace and quiet, which in his home was a luxury.

As I write, I sit in the middle of about 700 acres of nursery stock in various stages of production. It is harvest season, the season for which nursery folk, plan, grow and frankly live and die by. It’s a noisy season so what is typically a quiet hill with an amazing view, changes. In the background right now, is a low, constant drone of the chopper (it reduces the height of the trees making digging and grading easier for orchard stock). This noise has been constant for about 5 days straight. It’s similar to the buzzing of a fly on steroids. (imagine an elephant fly). After 5 days, I have become sensitive to it, angered by it, developed a headache and complained about it to no one that matters. Thing is, I know it is a necessary part of harvesting orchard trees. I imagine that guy driving the digger with the chopper on back and what he is feeling and hearing . . . much worse than my exposure, still, the sound has become tedious. Until yesterday when the chopper didn’t run and the digger was not in the field below my house. It was quiet again. Even as I write the words, the tension in my shoulders is gone. I noticed it’s absence early in the morning and enjoyed the quiet of my office but after a bit I had forgotten how wonderful the quiet is and moved on as normal. Today, the chopper is back at work. The drone buzzing of the elephant has returned and my serenity is threatened. My location has not changed, my view is still the same, it is only the quiet that has changed.

Psalms 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

I quote it often, I have artwork with it proudly displayed as a reminder, it is engraved on the back of my first IPad. But listen to the verses that proceed it . . .

Vs.8 & 9: Come behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

Does that sound quiet to you? But then verse 10 says, be still not be quiet, be still and know that I am God. In the midst of this chaos and in spite of it, stop, silence yourself and be aware that God is on his throne and fully in control. Be Still!

What’s the drone buzzing in your ear? What the noise in your life today? I think of my family as they are in the midst of the noise of death and dying, yet God encourages them to Be Still in spite of the noise and Know without a doubt God is enthroned and in control of this noise. He is the same yesterday today and forever. Be Still and Know that HE IS GOD.

Immeasurable Greatness

I was reading this morning in Ephesians 6:10-20 where it says in verse 10

“Finimageally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

I was struck by the words ‘strength of his might’ and that lead me to Ephesians 1:19 that says this . . .and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe . . .

The proof or example he gives to underscore this immeasurable greatness and strength of his might is the power that resurrected Christ from the dead and seated him in heavenly places.

In my world of coaching and psychology measuring is a big deal. In coaching we observe and measure patterns then define measured steps to change behaviors. Psychology, as in other sciences, empirical data is accumulated, evaluated, measured to disprove theories. Yet in God’s economy the strength of his power toward those who believe, who trust him is immeasurable. Think about that . . . it cannot be measured. Scripture tries to help us put guardrails on that concept by offering the example of resurrection power and our minds struggle to even grasp that concept. So this available power is greater than or at least equal to the resurrection power that sustained and empowered Christ through the resurrection process to his current position, at the right hand of God the Father. We often hear that we only use a portion of our brain’s capacity. A far greater example of power under utilized or even  disbelieved is the availability to us of the immeasurable greatness of his power toward
us as believers. Whom then shall I fear? Of what shall I be afraid?

Be encouraged today by his great love and immeasurable greatness and power available in the midst of whatever you are facing.


Why is Doing Hard Things Hard?

This may seem like a silly question and could be answered with ‘duh, because they are hard’ (visualize a smirk) but not all things that are hard for me are really ‘hard’. They could better be described as unpleasant or boring maybe even gross. (I’m thinking about parts of my house right now). I’m sure you could come up with a few yourself that are really not difficult just not high on your list of  favored ways to spend time. Maybe it’s going to church when you’d rather watch a movie or sleep in, or maybe its weeding the garden when planting is much more fun. Perhaps it’s redecorating rather than just rearranging and cleaning; eating out rather than cooking a healthy meal. Why do we resist doing hard things particularly when we know they need to be done?

I have a couple of projects on my desk that are not hard or even unpleasant but they still remain incomplete. I often tell myself I work better with a deadline but reality is I might, but my family and other responsibilities suffer in the process.

Then there are hard things that I want to do like running a 10K, or saving to build a house or developing a healthy lifestyle surrounding food. Things for which I have sufficient information and know what to do I just don’t do them. Some of these choices threaten my life and health and yet . . . Inertia.

Three categories come to mind as I look back over this list:

  • Narcissism (Pride)-  Things I should do
  • Fear – Things I would do
  • Disbelief-Things I could do

They all have something in common, a held belief or opinion about myself for which scripture has something to say (we’ll explore that later).  All could be interchangeable, but at the core of each one is a place of conflict and tension. My friend Jon Byron of Press Pause Ministries always tells me to pay attention to those places of tension, looking for God at work. The category that rises to the top because of this tension is fear. Jon would say, don’t run from that, explore what God might be teaching you. To that end . . . Fear of what? Failing again? Success? Letting go of an excuse that has worked well for so long? Who  would I be without that excuse?
How would I define myself if I moved beyond my fears? EF651074-775E-460C-83A9-EA02D76647C7 (1)

Yesterday, Pastor Matt Whiteford, CrossPoint Community Church , provided some clarity surrounding fear. Fear comes from concerns and anxiety, evidenced in the question above and they are ‘me’ focused. Convictions on the other hand come from a belief system, are less reactive, but respond  to a calling that is greater than myself.

For now, as we begin this journey, I’d ask you this question . . .What is keeping you from Doing Hard Things?  I hope you’ll come back journey with me. It may be ugly and raw. The path may jump and dart around corners but at the end of 2016, frankly at the end of today and every day, I want to be able to say, I did hard things to the glory of God.