Biblical Uncertainty

This is my life right now…
I am leading my family into a time of what I call Biblical Uncertainty…

What does that mean?
Glad you asked!!!

When I read the Bible I notice themes like Human Brokenness, Humans trying to be God, God’s Power, God’s Love, God’s Truth… But there is one that grabbed my attention recently more than ever before… God’s Faithfulness…

There is a song by the band Crowder that reads:
I used to shake You like an 8-ball
I used to shoot You like a gun
I used to hold You like a hammer
Try to nail down everyone
I used to keep You in a steeple
Used to bind You in a Book
I used to take You like prescription
Without knowing what I took
But now I just don’t buy it anymore
No, I’ve tried and I’ve tried to know everything for sure
But I find I know less as I come to know You more
You’re not who I thought You were
Praise the Lord

See this song sings about a faith in Jesus that flaps in the face of traditional wisdom. It speaks of radical love and hope and the understanding that, Praise the Lord, He is more of a mystery and more truthful than I thought I knew…..

Biblical Uncertainty: Trusting the proven faithfulness of God, even when I do not understand what He is doing…

In a way, I have always lived this way but am just now phrasing it this way.
When I trusted Jesus with my life at a very young age I spent time learning, who He was and How He works through reading His Word. I didn’t read the Bible as a book of rules, but a book about the Ruler the Creator… Because of this I often pray to know Jesus better.

As I was reading God’s Word recently I saw an old passage that speaks to the season we are in and reminds me that Biblical Uncertainty is a great place to be!

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:18-21

Biblical Uncertainty, Trusting the proven faithfulness of God, even when I do not understand what He is doing…

He is wise and I am not… So I will walk in obedience to Him… I trust God more than I doubt what He has called us to… I don’t have to know the ending of my story, BUT, I have read the end of History and I can tell you that God wins… I don’t want to waste my life on myself…

Think about it, are you willing to look humanly foolish if it means that people will one day believe and put their faith in Jesus as their Hope as their Savior…

Because of the “foolish sharing” people will know Jesus as the Father they never had, as the Forgiveness they thought wasn’t possible, to be comforted and held during times of uncertainty…. Because The Cross is REAL, Jesus died for all of us and His tomb is EMPTY, He did not stay dead but stands ready to welcome us into His Kingdom through surrender… Sounds foolish right? Unless you realize that every human wisdom has failed us and you are ready for something Hopeful…

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Called Out By God

Ever feel like you’re are doing everything right, and then God says, “Well, there is this one thing…”. That was me in terms of ministry. I thought what we were doing was amazing and honestly, I learned awhile ago, that if you don’t believe in what your doing, you shouldn’t do it; Don’t even start. So I was very surprised when I was sitting in a coffee shop, doing my devotions, when God called me out!
If you have ever been called out by God, you know it’s scary. Some people have aligned their whole life, to appear in control, in an effort to not allow God to speak to them. Being called out by God is something we should want though. I want to run after things in the right direction. I want to honor Him and live the life He has for me!
Side note: You don’t get to live your best life, if you are not living His way.
So what did God say?
He said “Get Out”
Did He say that?!
Sorta, He really said, “Stop Hiding”
For real?! He said that?
Actually what He said was this, “Get out and stop hiding in the building we call “the church” and bring the Church to the people!

As a kid, I used to sing a song that said, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”
Confidently, me and the other kids would hold up our thumbs, pretending to be holding the light. It was awesome! A powerful reminder that we have been given a light that can not be overcome by darkness! Then another line in the song says, “Hide it under a bushel, NO, I’m gonna let it shine…” This to me, is how I began to see the ministry I was leading.
I realized that we were hiding, that ministry was being done with light under the bushel. The very thing I had yelled “NO” about because it was crazy to do, I was doing…
How did this happen?

Convenience.

It’s much easier to lead a ministry when your not concerned with what happens outside the “bushel”. Inside the four walls of a church is often the most segregated place in America. Our natural response to things, that are different than our “normal”, is to isolate and hoard the things and people who keep us comfortable. Convenience keeps the kingdom of God from spreading in America unlike it has in other countries. People in other countries don’t mind being inconvenienced, even to the point of death. Here in America, we love comfort. We love the familiar. We love control. We do not like to be inconvenienced.
If the gospel is so good, why don’t we live in a way that invites others to leave behind the hopeless end of living for ourselves. Why don’t we live like missionaries, always aware of the Goodness of our Great God, ready to reveal how He is working in our community?!

See, when God called me out, he did not call me into convenience, He called me into action. I find it interesting, that when I read the scriptures, I don’t see any reason to just build a building and gather people inside to do ministry out of. I see, over and over again, that Jesus would be among the people and a lesson would develop. Or someone, who was not expecting it, would meet the Hope they were longing for but didn’t think was available for them. The Church was never meant to be defined by four walls but rather by people who believe that Jesus is God. Living in Relationship with God, in awe of His Grace, prepared to show and tell the world all He has done in their lives!!

So, why are we planting a church and starting a business? Because we believe the Gospel is to good to build another empty building, only to be filled on the weekends! We are weird, in that, we believe the Gospel is best shared through relationship and to people who, don’t know or didn’t realize, the love of God is available for them!
God might not be calling you out to plant a church, but I know He is calling us all into a new way to live in our communities. Present. We are called to live in full faith and belief that God is faithful and His love is better than anything we will experience here on earth. Then, we can show up in the lives of people, who would not normally expect your love. God loved you when you weren’t expecting it, even before you knew Him! So let’s follow His lead to love other people, when they are least expecting it.

 

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What did God NOT do

As some of you know where in the beginning process of taking this dream and vision (Opening a Donut Shop with a church inside of it) God has given us and turning it into a reality. I am careful to say “process” because often in our culture we see the “idea”… and believe it should become a reality overnight. But there is a process…

I woke up today thinking about process and about a guy named Noah. Noah was someone I want to be like. It is recorded that Noah was someone who “walked in close fellowship with God.” Most of us know the end of this mans story. But what we don’t know is the beginning. We don’t have the start… I bet it could be because it wasn’t “sexy enough” to write about. But that seems like a a great story for another day…
Today I want to focus on something unique in Noah’s Story…
God told Noah: “Build a large boat from gopher wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior.” (Genesis 6:14)
Then Noah… “Did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” (Genesis 6:22)

Now incase you have not read this story, the boat that God asked him to make was one that would hold a lot of animals, a lot of them!!

What has me excited today is that God gave Noah the job to do… and Noah did it…
BUT what did God NOT do for Noah….. He didn’t build it for him…. 

Another way we often look at dreams and visions is similar to my kids cleaning up their room… My kids think: “Mom and Dad will clean up my room, I don’t have to do anything and it will happen.” For my kids to have a clean room, they have “what they need” to get the job done, but they don’t because they are waiting for me to do it for them….

Noah was given all he needed to do the job God had given him… and unlike my kids… Noah got to work, and people thought he was crazy… and Noah kept working… because Noah believed that God had more for Him through the process than what Noah experienced when things were “Normal” as before… 

God isn’t going to build your dreams and the Plans He has placed in your heart… But He is going to give you everything you need for you to make them a reality…
Each of us has a CHOICE… pick up the axe and start chipping away at it or watch the trees sway back and forth… Wondering why they aren’t magically turning into a large ship…

Don’t think for a moment that the dream God has given you doesn’t include you being stretched and broken and hurt (Nobody builds a large boat without at least a splinter) in the process… Nobody who does the LEAST will ever experience God’s Best for their life! 

As we plan and prepare to move to Savannah, GA we invite you to join us!!!!
* Pray, for our family (Tom will be visiting in May, Pray for connections, a home and work)
* Pray, for the people we are going to (Fathers and Families who have no hope because they don’t know Hope)
* Give, talk with us about how you can help support us as we take this leap of faith
* We have less than 10 weeks in WNY and will be having a goodbye party on JUNE 8th!!! Hope you can make it!!!

 

Check out the full context for this amazing story in Genesis 6-9

Click it… YOU WON’T!!!

I love that when I open facebook I have friends who are on every side of literally every argument out there… Nothing is untouched:-) It is good, I think if you don’t listen to both sides you can not truly make an informed decision on the topic you are fighting for…

Here is my concern though… Many people are not willing to listen… How do I know this… I see the same arguments posted by the same people, sometimes every day…

The Bible is where I go for my source of authority and truth, I am a follower of Jesus. My hope is in Him. WHY? Short answer, I believe the Bible tells our story. Where we came from, Why we are here… and even how our story ends… Spoiler alert: humans are not God, only made in His image….

That said, I have been reading some articles that have been posted and I was reminded of a verse in the Bible that seems to hit very close to home with how things are posted these days. Here it is: 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” 

Next time you are sucked into a click bate article with a catchy title that backs your point of view ask yourself… Am I only hearing what I want to hear? Are the ideas I am promoting based in TRUTH?

NOW… Before you take this article and add it to the noise of social media and claim that I am promoting your idea and your Hate or your idea of Love… Remember these verses…

Romans 2:4:
” Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin.” 

John 9:40-41: (full context: read John 9, INCREDIBLE STORY)
“Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” 

 

 

 

Questions you must wrestle with: 
* Where does truth come from?
* Can something be true even if I don’t want it to be true?
* If what God says is true, will I follow it?
* How do I love like Jesus in a world of hate?

 

 

Protection and the Illusion of Control

As a dad I want to protect my kids.

I will do anything in my power to keep them safe.

BUT, “my power” is so limiting because children, make individual choices….

 

I tell them not to talk to strangers, they offer them donuts

I tell them not to run and they race through the china shop

I tell them to be kind and they throw fists

 

My power is so limiting… It is an illusion…

My desire to protect does have a foundation…

My goal as a parent is lead them to that foundation…

 

Foundations are future choices at the conception of  current ideas and thought

Foundations are felt but can not be Forced

Foundations take Trust or fear will be the foundation

Foundations are proven when Faith is needed

 

 

We all will build a life by the choices we make…. What is your foundation?

 

 

 

 

Here We Go…

So, I am leaving on a Jet Plane… I am hoping I won’t be back…. The same person I was when I left…

Many have asked, If I am afraid of going… Not Really… I am honestly more afraid of NOT going… Leaving is scary but you know, not leaving is even more scary to me….
Who knows what I might have missed out on if I had stayed…

I talked with a friend earlier about Obedience and acting out of Obedience to do what God has called, gifted and prepared you to do… We both agreed that Obedience in the tough times of life is both uncomfortable and necessary for growth in your relationship with Jesus… So I will go in Obedience…

Obedience to go, when “my work” is here.
Obedience to go, when the summer just got two weeks shorter.
Obedience to go, when the unknown is there and known is here.
Obedience to go, when the hugs from my children and beautiful wife are here.

Am I afraid nope. Why because I know I am loved by Jesus and I am willing to be obedient to His call, and the doors He opens… He. is. Faithful. Always.

I read this passage this morning and it encouraged me. I hope it does the same for you:
Psalm 108:12b-13a
All human help is useless. 
With God’s help we will do mighty things

Please Pray: 
For my team: We will be working a youth camp, we will need His Help
For me: That I experience Him and His Love in greater ways than I can imagine
For my family: Grace and the kids, Especially Tyler (He’s Two Year Old Bruiser)

 

 

The Act of Faith

But seriously, how often do I really have to trust Jesus with my life?

Hear me out… I have a great job, great relationship with my wife (by the Grace of God), great family life, my kids love me, great friendships! Overall things in my life are pretty predictable. I wake up, I exercise, make breakfast for my kids, go to work, come home, eat dinner, play with my kids, kiss my wife, help put the kids to bed and then go to bed.

When I read scripture I notice that Jesus was always putting opportunities for the disciples to “use their faith in God.” This is above the normal faith in Jesus to just exist in a community. This was stuff nobody else was doing, stand out and move out kind of action in faith for God to move type of opportunity! Recently, I was reading in Mark 14. Where Jesus sends his disciples (First Followers) into Jerusalem to prepare for the passover meal. He gives them simple instructions: Follow the pitcher.
You can read it here:

Matthew 14:13-16

13 So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 15 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” 16 So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

I wonder what it was like for those disciples as they approached the city. Did they have doubts, “Jesus said a man would carry the pitcher right?” Or maybe “did Jesus say before the city or after we entered that the pitcher man would be found”…  Regardless of what their doubts were, they showed the Act of Faith! They didn’t sit around allowing doubts and fears to stop them from accomplishing the mission Jesus had sent them on: Follow the pitcher.

Right now the pitcher I am following, the thing that is requiring unusually large amounts of faith, is my trip to the Middle East. This is a time for action no matter the doubts or fears. Trusting God and stepping forward following His lead. What pitchers are you following? How are you stepping out and trusting God with your life?