being free

I like being free. I like the way it feels.

26 July 2011

morning meditations

One of the most significant habits I've developed in my life has been morning prayer and scripture reading. To me it has become like food. I don't know how I would survive without it. The habit of prayer and scripture meditation helps me start my day focused on God. It prepares my mind and heart to face the circumstances and challenges of each day. It allows me to put my life in proper perspective, trusting in God.

Over the years I've done a number of different types of prayer and reading. The one I would like to share here I found a few years back called Morning Prayer Affirmations. It has been adapted from a book entitled "Handbook to prayer: Praying scripture back to God". It takes about 20 minutes to pray through this meditation. If you are looking for a way to connect with God each morning, this is a great place to start.


•Because of all You have done for me, I present my body to You as a living sacrifice for this day. I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, affirming that Your will for me is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)


•Offer a brief word of praise to God for one or more of His attributes (e.g., love and compassion, grace, mercy, holiness, goodness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, truthfulness, unchanging character, eternality) and/or works (e.g., creation, care, redemption, loving purposes, second coming).

•Thank Him for the good things in your life.


•Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness. (Psalm 139:23–24)


•“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

•I have forgiveness from the penalty of sin because Christ died for me. (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3)

•I have freedom from the power of sin because I died with Christ. (Colossians 2:11; 1 Peter 2:24)

•I have fulfillment for this day because Christ lives in me. (Philippians 1:20–21)

•By faith, I will allow Christ to manifest His life through me. (2 Corinthians 2:14)


•Ask the Spirit to control and fill you for this day.

•I want to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) When I walk by the Spirit, I will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16) If I live by the Spirit, I will also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)


•Pray on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23)

•“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7)


•I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and I want to love my neighbor as myself. (Matthew 22:37, 39) My purpose is to love God completely, love self correctly, and love others compassionately.

•I will seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

•I have been called to follow Christ and to be a fisher of men. (Matthew 4:19)

•I will be a witness to those who do not know Him and participate in the Great Commission to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8)

•I want to glorify the Father by bearing much fruit, and so prove to be Christ’s disciple. (John 15:8)


•I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I will acknowledge Him, and He will make my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

•“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28; also see 8:29) I acknowledge that You are in control of all things in my life, and that You have my best interests at heart. Because of this I will trust and obey You today.

•Review and commit the events of this day into the hands of God.


• Pray for people you know who are in need. (1 Thess. 5:25)

• Ask God to show you those who don't know his love and salvation. Pray that they may hear the good news of Christ and have responsive hearts. (Colossians 4:2-4)

• I am an ambassador for Christ, given the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) Ask God for guidance, wisdom and love in representing Christ to those around you.


Against the World: Renew

•I will set my mind on the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

•Since I have been raised up with Christ, I will keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I will set my mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1–2; also see 3:3–4 and Hebrews 12:1–2)

•I will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, I will let my mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:6–8; also see 4:9)

Against the Flesh: Reckon

•I know that my old self was crucified with Christ, so that I am no longer a slave to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin. I will reckon myself as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. I will not present the members of my body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but I will present myself to God as one alive from the dead, and my members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:6–7, 11, 13)

Against the Devil: Resist

•As I submit myself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from me. (James 4:7)

•I will be of sober spirit and on the alert. My adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But I will resist him, firm in my faith. (1 Peter 5:8–9)

•I will take up the full armor of God, that I may be able to resist and stand firm. I put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness; I put on my feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; and I take up the shield of faith with which I will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition I will pray at all times in the Spirit and be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13–18)


•Your kingdom come, Your will be done. (Matthew 6:10)

•You have said, “I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

•I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to me. (Romans 8:18)

•I will not lose heart, but though my outer man is decaying, yet my inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for me an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while I look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

•My citizenship is in heaven, from which also I eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

13 April 2011

lessons from the garden - part iii

After you’ve amended your soil and planned your garden, you’re ready to plant. Planting can be done a couple different ways. You can direct seed (sow directly into the ground) or you can transplant (sow into flats then once established transplant into the garden). Some plants do better when directly seeded, like carrots, beets, corn, peas, beans, and spinach. Others do better as transplants, like tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, and cabbage. It is important to remember that if you are transplanting greenhouse grown seedlings you need to “harden off” your plants. Seedlings grown in a greenhouse are not as rugged as plants sown in the garden. Greenhouse grown plants do not have the same resistance to wind, rain, and strong sun.

You can begin hardening off a week before planting by placing them outside during the day while putting them inside during the night. You may also want to put them in a shady place the first couple days. It will take a few days for the plants to bear up under the harsh outdoor conditions. If you plant seedlings directly into the ground without first hardening them off the stress of the transplant and the harsh elements may take your seedlings out! It is better to take it slow. Lastly, when seeding and planting you will want to take note of the recommended spacing. Spacing plants to closely can limit growth and spacing them too far apart is an inefficient use of space.

So what’s the principle here? Well, I’d say it’s that artificial environments do not produce real world results. Artificial environments have their place, but one needs to take into consideration “real world” variables which may shock, weaken, or possible destroy a product.

Have you ever heard of the merry go round water pump? It was a test tube idea. The idea was to create merry go round water pumps for rural third world populations. The pump drew water as children played on the merry go round. Sounds like a good idea. In reality it was a complete failure. I mean, think about it, how many times can a kid go around a merry go round before he/she throws up? A merry go round is a temporary play devise. It is not something kids play on all the time. In the end, kids were either forced to pump the water or women from the village walked in circles like livestock to draw water. This was an idea that wasn’t “hardened off”. It was not tested against real world variables. In the end, it failed.

Maybe you are an “idea” person. If so, test them out first before you jump in head over heels. Put your idea up against the harsh reality of our world. Does it stand up under pressure? Is it real world hardy? Give it a try and see what happens. As the scripture 19:2 says “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”

10 March 2011

lessons from the garden - part ii

Now that you've got the foundation strengthened your ready for the next step. Some may say it's planting, but I say it's planning. Planning is actually the very first step in gardening. Testing and amending the soil should be the first action step in your plan. But now that we are onto planting, we definitely need a plan. The plan helps you answer questions like: What are you going to plant? Where are you going to plant it? And when do you need to plant it?

Answering the what are you going to plant question helps you determine your crops. You've got to know what your going to plant before you plant it. Not all plants will grow in all climates. Different breeds grow better in the North than they do in the South. You will also want to determine what kinds of seeds to plant, will they be organic, conventional, hybrid or heirloom?

Next you have to determine where your going to plant. You want to avoid planting the same crop in the same location year after year. Instead you want to rotate your crops. Crop rotation is important for disease resistance as well as nutrient availability. There are a variety of opinions on how one should rotate crops. The one I've found to be simple and easy to remember is rooting, fruiting, vegging, and resting. You have one plot for rooting vegetables, one for fruiting, one for vegetative (leafy greens), and one for resting (nothings grown but a cover crop, which I will talk about another time). Every year you rotate these four plots.

After you determine the what and where you need to know when. Different crops grow better at different times of the season. Peas, onions, carrots, and spinach can be planted early, while tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers need to be planted later. To maximize your growing season you'll want to get the "when" question right.

One last thing to note, in the planning stage it's important to do your homework. Study, read, and inquire about what to plant, where to plant it, and when. The more research you do the more likely your are to succeed. As Proverb 15:22 says "Plans fail for lack of council, but with many advisers they succeed."

Now for the principle, if you haven't guessed it already: don't proceed before you've planned. If I could add to that I'd say, don't proceed before you have a well informed plan. That's the principle. One that I've missed a time or two....

Take for example starting a church. There is a lot that goes into starting a church. You need to do a lot of research. You need to have a plan for whose it going to be done with, what it's going to look like, where your going to do it, when it's going to take place, and how it's going to be done. Who, what, where, when, and how are the foundational questions for any planning endeavor.

So, what are you trying to accomplish? Maybe you want to start a business, get married, go to school, or start a garden. Do you have a well informed plan? A well informed plan is a key to success.

09 March 2011

lessons from the garden - part i

Over the course of the past couple years I've done some contemplating on the parallels between gardening and life. There is a lot one can learn from the garden. Lessons from the garden can apply to relationships, work, family, and spirituality.

Every step in gardening is a lesson and every lesson can be applied to much of life. I am reminded how Jesus used a variety of farming illustrations to teach spiritual principles. Over the next few posts I am going to attempt to do the same. I will share a step of gardening, a principle and an application. There may be many applications to the principle, but due to time, I am going to stick with one. My first lesson is from the dirt.

To grow healthy plants you need to start with healthy soil. Many people over look this crucial step. If you don't have the right soil, then you will never get good fruit, which of course is what all vegetable growers desire. We want yummy, abundant, disease free fruit. To get this, you have to start with the soil. You could put it this way, healthy soil is the foundation for healthy growth.

First the soil needs to be tested. In testing the soil you can determine its strengths and weaknesses. From there you can determine how to amend the soil. Maybe the soil lacks potassium or maybe it has to much clay and not enough organic material or maybe the ph is to low. Whatever the case, your soil test helps you determine how to improve the soil and thus improve your growing potential. Not only will you get more fruit from healthy soil, you will also get stronger plants, meaning they will be more disease resistant. Bugs have a knack for attacking weak plants, if your plants are strong they will both deter and resist attacks.

Now here's the principle: a good foundation is essential for a successful ________________. You fill in the blank. It could be marriage, business, relationship, church, or career. It all starts with a good foundation.

I recall Jesus talking about building your house on a good foundation - the rock. The rock being his Word. Building your life based on the truths and principles of God's Word will give a person a solid foundation, one that will last through the storms.

So how's your foundation? Have you tested it? Do you know where it needs to be strengthened or amended? Do you need some organic matter or possibly some nitrogen? Maybe you need some integrity or faithfulness or maybe it's honesty or humility you need.

We all need to amend our soil, whatever it may be. Starting with a good foundation or strengthening your existing foundation means bearing healthy and abundant fruit. And who doesn't want that!

27 December 2010


Have you ever had a conversation that resulted in personal reflection and introspection? Well, I had one of those on Christmas night. Over a nice fondue dinner (thank you Lindy) with our neighbor's, conversation turned towards how I got into ministry, which lead me to explain how I became a Christian. You see, I didn't grow up a Christian or in per say a Christian home. I didn't believe in Jesus or even know much about him. It wasn't until later in life that I learned about God's salvation in Jesus and as a result decided to place my faith in him. Telling my story on Christmas night got me thinking about how much my life has changed because of Jesus. I started thinking about where life would have taken me without the knowledge of his salvation.

The day after Christmas I was reading Psalm 40 and came across verse 5, "Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare." This verse pertains to Israel, but in a very real way it pertains to my life as well. "Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done." God has done many wonders in my life, too many to declare, but here are a few:

Before learning of the gospel (the message of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection) I lacked meaning, purpose, and direction. In the gospel I discovered a God who loved me and created me with a purpose. I discovered I was created to live in a relationship with Him and to glorify him by reflecting his likeness on earth.

Before the gospel I struggled with negative self image, negative thinking patterns, and low self esteem. In the gospel I found a God who loved me, accepted me, and forgave me. I discovered that God wanted me, that in Christ he purchased me, and in doing so he adopted me into his family. I was given a new identity. I was now a child of God, he had become my Father, and I his son.

Before the gospel I lacked peace. I was confused, insecure, and discontent. In the gospel I found peace. The God of the universe, who is Peace, now dwelt in my heart. I didn't have to search for peace, it was now in me. Not only did I have peace in me, I discoverd the God of the Bible is good. I could trust in him. I could rest in his love and nothing could shake that.

Before the gospel I lacked joy and happiness. Because of my confusion, fear, and lack of meaning I didn't have inner joy. Sure I sought happiness in "things" whether it was experiences, drugs, or people. What I didn't have was a deep and abiding joy. In the gospel I found the joy I lacked. Because of God's forgiveness I not only had His peace in me, I also had His joy in me. I began to experience true happiness. I started waking up with songs of praise in my heart. It bubbled up from within me. Something I had never experienced before.

Before the gospel I had an impatient and judgmental attitude towards people. In the gospel I discovered that God loved all people. I discovered that I was just as sinful as the next guy and because I needed forgiveness I should extend forgiveness. I started to see people through eyes of compassion rather than eyes of judgment. I began to care for them because God cared for them. I began to desire helping them know the love God had for them.

Lastly, before the gospel I lacked hope. Life was meaningless. It was an accident, an evolutionary fluke. Not only that but it was a selfish world. Humans were destroying the earth, people were suffering from loneliness and injustice. The strong survived the weak died. And for what point? Why would I ever want to bring children into such a world? That was my thinking. In the gospel however I found something different. I discovered a God who cared. Life wasn't meaningless. Our Creator reached out to us. In Christ he showed us a different way to live and through His Spirit empowers us to live differently. In Christ I learned that God took the nature of a servant. He is our model. If we serve and love one another and the creation as he did there is hope for the world. Additionally there was also hope that Jesus would return. He would one day come to right all wrongs. He would restore all things to their intended purpose.

All these things and many more have shaped the course of my life. They have given me a purpose to live for. They have led me to mental health and wholeness. They have guided me into a career of serving others. They have led me to committing my life to a woman in marriage. They have helped me keep the marriage strong. They have given me confidence in raising children, knowing that there is both meaning and hope for them. This list could go on and on. The miracles and transformations that have occurred in me are too numerous to list.

I am forever grateful for what God had done in my life. I dread to think what my life would be without him. Glory be to God.

30 November 2010

in the name of

Recently our home church has been reading and discussing the Book of John. Two weeks ago we were reading John 16 and a good question came up about what it means to "pray in Jesus name". This is a topic I too, even after being a Christian now for sixteen years (I can't believe it has been that long!), was still unclear about. So I decided to do a study about it. Here are my gleanings.

Jesus came in the Father’s name

John 5:43 “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.”

John 10:25 “Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.

John 17:11 “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me.

John 14:9-11 “Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

Jesus came with the Father’s authority and power

John 8:28 “So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak just as the Father taught me.”

John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

John 17:1-2 “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.”

Luke 4:31-36 “And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are— the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!"

Luke 5:23-25 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the man who was paralyzed – “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them.”

Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Because Jesus is an authoritative power, there is authority and power in his name

Matthew 18:20 “For when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 24:46-47 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

John 1:12 “But to all who receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

John 20:31 “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Acts 2:21 “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 3:6, 16 “Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong…. And his name – by faith in his name (Jesus) – has made this man strong whom you see and know and the faith that is through Jesus have given the man his perfect health in the presence of you all.”

Acts 4:7-10 “And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…. Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by him this man is standing before you well.”

Acts 4:17-18 “But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. “ So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.”

Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives
forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Acts 16:18 “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it (the spirit) came out that very hour.

Acts 22:16 “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

1 Corinthians 1:2 “We are writing to the church of God in Corinth, you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did all Christians everywhere--whoever calls upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs”

1 Corinthians 6:11 “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Philippians 2:9 “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knew should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Hebrews 1:3-4 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you?”

James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

The authority and power of Jesus has been extended to us, if that is we are in accordance with his will/word

John 18:18-20 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

John 15:7; 16 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples… You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 16:23-24 “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

1 John 3:21-23 “Beloved, if your heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.”

1 John 5:14 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Concluding Thoughts

To bear the name of Jesus as a Christian means to be his representative, as he was the representative of the Father. Jesus did the Fathers work in the Father's name. We are to do Jesus' work in Jesus' name. Jesus has extended his authority, power, and work to us, that is, if we are in alignment with his will and word. He has given us the ability to intercede directly to the Father and ask for anything that would be in accordance with his name. Praying in the name of Jesus is not a magic formula, no, it is a gift that includes us in the work of Jesus here on earth. May we bear this great privilege with wisdom and humility.

Further Study

What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name?
Praying in the Name of Jesus

04 November 2010

new blog

Hello blog followers and facebook friends...

Lindy and I are starting a new blog. It is called This Old Farmhouse. The blog will be based on our life in an old farmhouse. Lindy and I will be co-authoring the blog and are planning on updating it a couple times a week, so please check it out, put it on your RSS feed, and enjoy the journey with us.

I am going focus my being free blog more on my spiritual reflections. It has already been a lot of that, but this is going to become my main focus with it.

Thanks for following along with us, our journeys and our thoughts!

02 November 2010

house church

Here's an interesting news report on house churches from NBC:

Part 1

Part 2

19 September 2010

good news

Society of St. Andrews (Gleaning America's Fields - Feeding America's Hungry) is a great organization we recently found out about.

The Society of St. Andrews bases their work on Deuteronomy 24:19
"When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings."

Did you know the USDA estimates 20% of all food grown in this country is wasted - either because it’s not commercially marketable or it is missed during mechanical harvesting.

The Society of St. Andrews address the problems of hunger and waste through the Biblical practice of gleaning...the gathering of crops left in fields after harvest. This food is then distributed to the hungry through shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, and other hunger relief agencies.

We are glad to have recently found out about St. Andrews. We were actually able to donate 336 pounds of unused apples! What is even better is that they were distributed locally to such organizations as the ABCCM Women's Shelter, the Welcome Table in Swannanoa, the Welcome Table in Black Mountain, and the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry.

I wish the media would highlight such organizations as the Society of St. Andrews. There are so many wonderful organizations out there doing good work. It would be uplifting to hear the positive news rather than the negative. So take heart, there is still much good going on in our world!

31 August 2010


I've been reading Amos. Quite a book.

The book of Amos shows me what God cares about (what pleases him) and what He finds offensive (what angers him). My findings may be different than you might first think. Check em out:

What Angers God:
Injustice - v. 5:7, 12
Exploitation/oppression of the poor - v. 1:9; 2:6-7; 4:1; 5:11-12; 8:4
Violence - v. 1:3, 13; 2:1
Rejection of his law - v. 2:4
Religious hypocrisy/show - v. 3:14; 4:4-5; 5:21-23
Material indulgence - v. 2:8; 3:15; 6:3-6

What Pleases God:
Justice and righteousness for all people- v. 5:15, 24
Seeking good not evil - v. 5:14, 15
Seeking of God not religious ritual or hypocritical worship - v. 5:4-6

So, what does this mean for me?
It teaches me that following the way of God is not about religious ceremony, but about loving people and seeking justice for the oppressed. It reminds me to be mindful of what I purchase and who I purchase it from. It shows me that I should support companies and institutions that promote just, ethical and socially responsible practices. It motivates me to oppose oppressive marketing practices, corporate exploitation of the poor, child abuse, and unjust governmental law.

Amos teaches me that God is concerned with the oppressed and so should we, as Martin Luther King Jr. once so famously quoted: "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream" Amos 5:24

24 August 2010



That is what I declared to my kids Friday night when to my delight we caught the groundhog. I can't tell you how happy I was. I have been trying to catch that bugger for the past month (I've been like Bill Murry in Caddyshack). He was an illusive, sneaky and fat rodent. When I would spie him in the garden nibbling on veggies he would stealthy slip into the bushes or hide under the shed. I finally found one of his hiding spots and placed the trap (full of carrots) right in front of his entrance. Two days went by and nothing. Then on the evening of the third day, walla, he took the bate. My garden gopher is finally gone!

03 August 2010

garden church

"The church should be more like a community garden and less like a supermarket." Arthur Sido

I like this statement. It puts two of my worlds together - gardening and church. These worlds have more in common than we may think. Wasn't it Jesus that talked about his kingdom being like a mustard seed and about him being the vine and us the branches? Jesus often used organic illustrations when describing God's purposes. God's kingdom is organic in nature; spiritual seeds are sown, new life grows, bears fruit and multiplies. The same principles in a physical gardening are at work in the "spiritual garden". Just like there are pest in the physical garden there are pest in the spiritual. Just like there are seasons to the physical there are seasons to the spiritual. We can learn a lot from gardening. Heck, wasn't it a garden we were placed in in the beginning?

If you want to read more of where the quote came from check out the blog entry Gospel Grocery Stores.

13 July 2010


We are slowly getting settled into our new home. It has been a lot of work but we are in the home stretch. The kitchen is being put in today. Once the kitchen is in we are hoping to regain our sanity. It's like we are on one big camp out. We cook our food on a grill. We wash our dishes in the bathroom sink. And we have greasy hair from infrequent showering. We even gave our kids a bath in a kiddy pool. :)

We are also getting to know our neighbors. We have some good neighbors and some not so good neighbors. The good ones are the black snakes (we saw a five footer a couple days ago, they eat rats and mice, we're glad to have them around), the skinks (a type of lizard, they eat bugs), the bats, birds, turtles, and frogs. Oh and our human neighbors have been good too. The not so good ones are the groundhogs (they are eating our cabbage! Gabe and I are gonna try trapping them so to relocate em), the wasps, the ants (they found a loaf of zucchini bread in our dinning room, gurrr... I also had an ant bite my tongue, but that's another story), black bears (they don't seem to cause a problem, still they are a little scary!), rabbits (been eating our beans), poison ivy (which I got all over my arms), and Chimney Swifts (they are in our chimney and we are not aloud to remove them because they are protected under a migratory bird law).

So that's life on the homestead. It is a beautiful place and we hope many can visit and fellowship here once it is a bit more livable.

More to come later...

06 July 2010


Moved in on Saturday.... still remodeling.... it's getting there....

08 June 2010

blog lag

Ok, so I have been slacking on my blog.... The reason is that all my "free time" has been spent at a new house Lindy and I just bought. Yep, we bought a house. After being in America for a year we are finally settling into a home.

The home we bought is an interesting one. It was first built in 1875 and I think it still has some cobwebs dating to that time period. Seriously though, it is a big project for us. We are currently tearing out the kitchen, the wallpaper (reminds me of Amsterdam), and part of the ceiling. It is a lot of work, but I think it will pay off in the end.

The house sits on a really neat acer of land. It has seven apple trees, six peach trees, two cherry trees, three rows of raspberries, three rows of grapes, one row of blackberries, and the oldest holly tree in the county. We have two large areas for vegetable gardening, a wood shed, a workshop, and a spring feed creek. The land is frequented by turkeys, foxes, turtles, snakes, lizards, and bears. Yes even bears! It is quite a place. There is a lot of potential for this home, not only with raising children, but also for homesteading and ministry. We are looking forward to the days ahead. But for now, it is doing the hard work to get it livable. Hopefully once things settle down I'll be able to get back to blogging!