Monday, October 31, 2016


I was going to put "Halloween" as the title to today's blog, cuz it is, but I just couldn't bring myself to write it at the top.  Just because.  So '31' it is.

It's all ghosty and demon-y and ghoulish today for a lot of people.  There's a house up the street decorated to the nines with spider webs and white sheets and creepy-crawling type things hanging all over.  It isn't exactly HGTV, but it gets a lot of attention.  You probably have one of those in your neighborhood.  It'll draw a lot of little Supermans and mini-Miley Cyrus' tonight.

For Hollywood, the idea of demons and hauntings and ghosts is a favorite topic.  How many Friday the 13ths did they make, after all?  If you Google it, it's like Friday the 13th Infinity.  But it's pretty much the same movie over and over with different pretty girls getting slashed and clever characters like Truck Driver and Boy in Camping Circle and Extra Counselor.  Plus, the Jason character now is like the grandson of the original Jason.

What Hollywood likes to do, and what a lot of us seem to want to believe, is when it comes to things demonic and evil versus the things of a good God, sometimes the bad guys win and sometimes the good Guy wins.

Biblically, that isn't even close.

Sure, the demon world has power.  They can flex a little bit, but only in ways that God allows.

Remember Job in the Old Testament?  Classic.

Satan comes to present Himself before God.  In military talk, if you present yourself to someone, you're under their authority.  You're there being inspected in some way or another.  So when Satan presents to God, you know which one of them is in authority, don't you?

Very important.

God:  'How about that Job, huh?'
Satan:  'Yeah.  Your favorite.  Rich.  Tons of great kids.  King Midas when it comes to touching things.  But take that away and you'll see.  He'll curse You, Your majesty.'
God:  'Let's see.  But don't touch him personally.'

So Satan does.  Takes his stuff.  Takes his kids.  Everything Job owns.  Destroyed.  The only thing Satan leaves untouched is Job's wife, which is not a blessing, if you're feeling me.

Her advice in the middle of all this is: 'Blame it on God, you moron.'
Job:  'Thank you, honey.  It's such a joy coming home to you every night.'

But Job hangs tough.  In the middle of it all he says, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.'

So Satan takes another stab at it - round two with God.

God:  'Hey. What's that I hear?  Is that Job worshipping Me even though he has nothing but a harpie for a wife left?  Yes, I believe it is.'
Satan:  'Sure, but let me take his health and he'll be cursing the living daylights out of You.'
God:  'You can take his health, but don't kill him.'

In all of that, the evil one is restrained by God.  Controlled.  He has no real power but what is allowed him by God, the Father.

The great news is that Job ends up loving God more and living a deeper, fuller life than he ever would have had God not allowed Satan to wound him.

And in your struggle against the forces of darkness, on day 31 or whenever, know that Christ is in authority.  You have nothing to fear.

And '31' can rock because of that.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


When Adam fell there were all kinds of manifestations that resulted, and even yet today we're all fallen.  And without God to help us redirect, we'll all continue to fail.

Oh sure, there'll be some rich failures - some Benz-driving failures - but they'll be failures because none of that is success with God.

Money and success don't make you better; they just make you more of what you were before.

So if you were a whorish man when you were broke and then you got some money, you can just do it better now.  If you were hateful when you were broke, now that you're rich, you're just twice as nasty.  Those things just make you more of what you already were.

So your prayer has to be, 'God, give me the information that sets my mind and heart free from my idols and free from my past.'

To get there you may have to delete your entire mental data base -- delete, delete, delete, delete -- free up your hard drive so God can do a new thing in you -- learn to do everything differently.  But if we develop this idea of being renewed in our minds, we'll never be the same.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


We have to decide if we're going to fight the good fight of faith.

We have to decide if we're going to let our minds be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit so we can go forward together.

We have to decide if we're going to allow God to change us, not change the person we live with.

Over time the billions of sensory receptors in your imagination can begin to describe what you wish rather than what's real and they become idols that have your full attention - your full devotion - your full expectation - and you begin to serve a fantasy, because idols are something God hates.

That's why men crave porn -- because they begin to chase imaginations rather than face their God-reality.

And in nearly every case in the Bible, whenever there was idolatry, there was also fornication and perversion because idols are the result of vain imaginations.

And I know you and I don't think we're idolators -- but anytime we're committed to making someone else into who we want them to be rather than letting God do what He wants with them, we may as well stick little pins in the doll that looks like them.

God isn't looking for you to change the other person into the image of what you want; He's looking for someone who will accept the other for who they are and then pray the power of the Holy Spirit does a transformation in you first, and them second.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I remember the first time I ever walked into a gym and picked up a set of weights.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I had to read up, watch other people, get acquainted with everything, but over time I got some skills and became comfortable with it.

I don't particularly like running - kind of despise that elliptical thing - cardio, huh-uh - stretching, the worst -- but that's what you have to do.  There aren't big shortcuts with any of that.  You push your limits - you leave feeling miserable some days - then you go at it again.

To be successful in the fight, you have to develop skills and get training.

This is why to win our spiritual fight, we read Scripture - we pray - we get good counsel - we join healthy community.  We're developing skills and endurance and training for the fight.

One of the most important things when you get hit in a fight is to keep your feet spread.  Keep your foundation solid.  Don't let your feet come together.  Because if you don't you'll fall over if you get hit really hard.

You get hit with a big life shot one day.  It's the day you find out.  It's infidelity - it's something financial - it's the loss of a job - it's the health of someone you love - BAM!  You didn't see it coming.

And now you're spinning.

What happens next?  Your feet come together - there's no solid foundation - and you end up going back to things that were harmful to you - you return to situations and people that got you into the bad place - you re-visit the unhealthy relationship - you go back to the habit.

Instead, let's say: 'I'm going to plant myself on a solid base - on a good truth - on the Word.  I'm going to move toward God, not away from Him.'

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Have you ever had an idea that, once you committed to it, there was no going back?

Strapping on the parachute at 15,000 feet and leaning forward out of the plane ... no turning back.

Getting on the giant rollercoaster you're deathly afraid of ... once you're locked in, no turning back.

Deciding it's time to get pregnant - and now you are ... no turning back.

Making the marriage vows ... no turning back.

Whatever your fight is right now, you have to make a decision in your mind to do something about it. Because making a decision not to fight is making a decision to lose.

If you refuse to face the thing you need to fight for -- the issue in your marriage -- your moving from one bad relationship to another -- the problem you have with authority -- that addiction -- if you refuse to face it, you've chosen to lose.

You have to make a decision.

That might mean re-opening a wound you've tried very hard to keep closed.
   ... the fact that you were unfaithful,
   ... the fact that you made a poor decision,
   ... the fact that you made promises and then broke them,
   ... the fact that you said something you should never have said.
Time to face it.

You have to make a decision.

But if you decide not to - if you decide not to fight for it - then you've passively made a decision to lose.

This might be the most difficult step in the entire process - just deciding to fight for what matters.  But it will be the most courageous decision you've ever made to move you and your family forward.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


When you and your family are doing what God has called you to do, the attack is inevitable.  Because the enemy is after the family, there's no doubt about that.

He's standing there outside your door -- jeering -- taunting -- mocking -- scoffing.  He does not want your success.  He does not want your unity.  He does not want you to thrive.

He wants to see you wounded.  He wants to see you offended, hurt and divided.  He wants to see you make small things into big things and big things into insurmountable things.

Peter said not to be surprised when trials come on you, as though that were something strange.  He says to expect them.

If your desire is to be obedient to the Gospel and in your walk with God, then may I just say, 'Be ready?'  

Because the attack is going to come.  Stand fast.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


UThe enemy is after the man.  He's after women, too, but he wants to destroy the man.

"The seed of the woman will bruise the serpent's head."  If the enemy can destroy the seed, he'll leave the whole house uncovered.  He can get everybody if he gets you, sir.

Because when it comes down to the business of being men, the pressure is on - from little boys to teenagers to guys in their early 20s to middle age and beyond -- all your life the pressure is on.

It's hard work to be Superman.  

So this weekend at Journey Church we've planned a Friday and Saturday specially designed to help you fight the fight you're in.


It's all here.

Tickets are available at the door.

Let's go.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Down through history God kept raising up saviors - deliverers to point the way to Jesus:


Deliverers with great flaws and multiple issues and yet they kept taking the head off the enemy, reminding us there's One coming who will fully and finally crush the serpent's head.

Jesus.  The Father's Son.

And as His Son, He bore the identity of His Father.  Hebrews says Jesus was the exact representation of the Father.  Image Bearer.  You want to see the Father?  Look at the Son.  You've seen Me, you've seen the Father.

The Son received the identity and the inheritance of the Father.

And in a world of rebellion like we live in now where we've lost connection with the Father, how do you get your identity back?  You get adopted.

God sent His Son.  His Son always obeyed Him and He received all the blessing of the Father.  So now everyone who puts his faith in the Father through the Son has his identity restored.  He too becomes an image bearer of God - she too receives a Kingdom inheritance.

That's why the Bible says believers cry out:  "Abba."  (Father!)

"I'm on my own, with no identity and no inheritance."  (Father!)

We scream it.  (Father!)

"We need an identity.  We need an inheritance."  (Father!)

You can come into the family of God and have your identity restored.  You can have your inheritance reclaimed.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Your life is not primarily about what happens with your externals.  It isn't that your externals aren't important - they sure are - but it's the internal transformation that matters.  That then impacts your external.

What happens when a faith family of several thousand people goes to Jesus - the One who cares more about the lost and hurting than we can ever begin to - and those thousands submit their lifestyles, habits, thoughts and words in ways that God is glorified?

What happens?

I'm convinced the windows of heaven are poured out on the people of God in ways we've never fathomed.

God doesn't want to strip you of all your pleasure.  Don't think that.  He wants to satisfy you with His treasure.  Which do you want - your pleasure or His treasure?

Because if our situation ever becomes that we're people in a faith community running after the very same externals the world is running after because our internals aren't that much different - if that happens it will be a sure sign that we don't have a clue about the treasure that's over here.

Because if we did, we throw it all down.  I mean right now we would.  We'd throw it down with joy.  Because brothers and sisters we have a treasure.  We've found something worth losing everything for.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Be willing to give everything.

I don't know if you've ever put a definition to the word 'everything' - or needed to - but I'm pretty sure that means the car, the house, the furniture, the dishes, the doilies, the salt & pepper shakers - everything.

There's an account in the Bible where a guy asks Jesus how to get eternal life.  Jesus' answer is startling:  'Sell everything and give it to the poor and come follow Me.'


Sell it all.  Give it away.

I've heard people interpret this passage by saying what Jesus was really calling this guy to do was to be willing to sell everything -- not to actually do it.

The only problem with that interpretation is that it's wrong.

If Jesus had meant to be willing to give everything He'd more likely have said:  "Be willing to give everything.'

Why must we twist that?

Could that rich guy have said, "Well, I'd sure be willing, Jesus?"  

Yes.  That fits a way more fun version of Christianity.  I'm willing.

Who'd be WILLING to do that if Jesus asked you to right now?

And if you'd agree that in this case Jesus was actually asking this guy to sell it all and give it away, then we have to ask if He'd ever say that to you or me?  And if your first thought to that in your heart is reasons why He probably wouldn't say that, you need to be careful.

Because the follow up question to that follow up question is: 'If Jesus did say that to you, how would you respond?'

The reality is that it would be very easy to say, 'I'd be willing.'  Because we all know there's a huge difference between 'I'm willing' and 'I will.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Imagine someone claims Christ is in their heart, but they live a grossly immoral lifestyle - involved with multiple partners, living in direct disobedience to everything Scripture speaks of - yet they claim Christ is in them.

Imagine someone just rips people up and down, flopping their tongues in gossip left and right, with no regard for what they're saying or who they're saying it about - yet they claim Christ is in them.

Imagine someone day after day, week after week, year after year, indulges in more and more for themselves while completely ignoring those who are poor - yet they claim Christ is in them.

And even when shown in the Word where their behavior isn't honoring to Christ, they continue in those things and there's no sign of conviction or repentance.  They repeatedly and deliberately dishonor Christ.

If they repeat that behavior month after month, is there reason to at least question whether or not Christ is in their heart?

I'm just asking.

I'm not saying any of us are the judges of the world, but is there at least reason to wonder if there's a heart problem there?  Is there reason to warn them?

Only Christ can do all of this work inside of us.

"I want more Jesus."

We tend to focus on external manifestations and modifications.  But what we need to do is take the Word and see what the life of Christ looks like.  Then we ask God to show us areas in our lives that don't measure up with the life of Jesus so we see the possible disconnect and then begin to say:  'I want more Jesus.  I need Christ to change my heart.'

Not beat down because we don't match up and then have to write down 30 ways we have to change, but being driven toward wanting more of Jesus in our lives.

Let's ask God to bring about an internal transformation that will deeply impact our external manifestations.

And be blessed.