Tag Archives: faith

We Are One

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-6

God has called us, saved us, and we should live in a way worthy of that calling. Since God Himself, who is over and in and through all – especially His church – is one, we must love one another and treat each other with humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance – be at peace – so as to preserve the unity that already exists in God. We are under one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we all share the same hope, faith, baptism. We are one. We must work to preserve that.

The unity of the body is one His highest priorities. We are bound together.

Treat other believers with humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, love, peace for the sake of the unity of the Spirit.

When we lack gentleness, patience, tolerance, we divide the unity of the Spirit. We are not working diligently enough to preserve that unity.

God has made us one across all human barriers. He has given us all hope and salvation.

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Proven

In God, whose word I praise,
In the LORD, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Your vows are binding upon me, O God;
I will render thank offerings to You.
For You have delivered my soul from death,
Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living.
(‭Psalm‬ ‭56‬:‭10-13‬ NASB)

In God, whose word is worthy of praise, let us put our trust. No one can stand against Him, so we are completely protected. Thank Him because He’s already delivered us from death. He’s already protected us from stumbling. He’s already preserved our lives.

God’s strength is greater than that of man. His word is worthy of praise. He is trustworthy. But we are weak. We must trust Him for everything.

Praise Him. Praise His word. Trust Him. Thank Him. He has already saved us, proving His trustworthiness.

There is every reason to trust Him and no reason not to. When we forget this, we become afraid or we try to take control ourselves.

If nothing else, Jesus is the proof that God has already preserved our lives, protected us, delivered us from the hand of our enemy.

If this truth becomes fully alive in us we will trust God in all things. He’s calling us to trust Him more.

Our Protector

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to You;
For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.
(‭Psalm‬ ‭59‬:‭16-17‬ NASB)

No matter what anyone else does, let us sing of God’s strength and His lovingkindness because He’s always protected us before. Let us praise Him because He is our fortress, our strength, and He has always loved us and been kind to us.

God is strong. He protects His children. He loves us and is kind to us.

We are weak and in need of His protection and strength. We have an enemy from whom we need protection (though not necessarily a physical enemy as the psalmist’s was).

If we are His, God will protect us from our enemy. The psalmist praises God before he is protected, while he is in distress, because He knows who God is.

Even though we know He is strong enough, kind enough, and loves us enough to take care of us, we don’t always trust Him to. We are afraid.

Jesus’ sacrifice was the ultimate act of God’s lovingkindness. Couple that with His resurrection – He is strong enough to overcome death – and there is every reason to trust Him. There is no reason not to.

We need not fear because God is our strength. We need to have the courage that arises from faith. And in that courage we can joyfully sing the praises of God, our protector.

Wisdom of the Foolish

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭18-25‬ NASB

Unless we believe, unless God is at work in us, the Gospel is foolishness to us. The truth is we are the foolish. God is wise beyond measure, so wise that our “wisdom” cannot stand before Him.

God wisely chose to save us, not through ways that seem wise to us, but through a way that looks foolish to us. In fact, God’s plan of salvation is essentially the opposite of what we look for in a way to heaven. But those He calls see His wisdom. We see that we are fools, we are weaklings, in light of His wisdom and strength.

We have to trust God’s wisdom more than that of men. It’s only by His grace that we are called and can receive both salvation and wisdom.

He is infinitely wise, and the only wisdom we have comes from Him. When we forget this truth, pride takes over. We need the wisdom He offers and the humility that arises from knowing that need.

Let’s have the humility to ask for and receive His wisdom, to learn to actually trust God.

National Worship Leader Conference 2014

Last week, I traveled with four members of my worship team to the National Worship Leader Conference in Centreville, Virginia.  If you’re involved in worship ministry, and you have never been to NWLC, you need to go.  It’s an amazing time of learning, spiritual refreshment, and fellowship with others who are involved in what can be a lonely line of work – something we all need.

I shared last night with my team three takeaways that I think are going to have a huge impact on our ministry.  It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just three, but here they are, readers!

  1. In his workshop on inductive worship leading, Tim Timmons posed the question, “How would Jesus lead worship?”  (First off, Timmons is real, hilarious, and great fun to spend an hour listening to.) Jesus, he said, invited people into their own stories in such a way as to help them really own their response to Him.  Think about the woman at the well or the rich young ruler.  He asked them questions about their own stories that brought them to (very different) realizations about each of their places in the kingdom of God.  This is what Timmons called Inductive Worship Leading. So, as worship leaders, How are we helping people respond to Jesus? Are we just speaking to them and expecting agreement, or are we looking for ways to draw them into a genuine, personal response to Jesus?
  2. We are all in the mission field.  That’s what theologian and author Leonard Sweet told us.  And the first job of a missionary is to learn the language of the culture. This culture communicates in story. The church has tried to build an identity on words, but story is our original language. A strong identity is built on narrative, and if we can begin to rebuild our identity in our original language, we can reach this culture.
  3. Probably the most important thing I came away with is something that we all ought to know anyway, but it’s something that we forget to easily. Again from Tim Timmons: the only job I have is to seek first the kingdom of God. I can’t make people respond genuinely to Jesus.I’m just a branch. The Father is the gardener. He’s doing all the work.

A Little Sad. And Really Happy.

I’m a little sad today.

I left a job at NASA’s Johnson Space Center today for the third time. I started work with the Public Affairs Office Web Team in May of 1999. I left in 2003 to pursue ministry in Florida, and I returned to the web team in 2008. I was laid off last September and returned to a different position at JSC in November.

As I head to my exit interview in a few minutes, I can’t help but think how big a part of my life the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been, how much I’ve learned there, how many great people I’ve gotten to know.

I’m a little sad today. But I’m also incredibly excited.

Monday, the movers come. In a little over a week, Kacy, the girls, and I head to Maryland to begin a new adventure. I’ll be serving as Pastor of Worship and Media at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury. This is a move orchestrated by God – no one involved in the process has any doubt about that. There are fears, questions, concerns as there always are with a move of this magnitude. (We’re leaving family, friends, and church for an opportunity 1,500 miles away.)

But I’m excited about the challenge and the joy of doing ministry full time, of embarking on the journey God has for me and my family.

I’m a little sad today. But I’m really happy.