Don’t Go Back

USA Today reported that January 17th is the day most new year resolutions fail. Research for why we fail reveals everything from unclear goals to not having an adequate plan for change. The real problem is that making change in our lives is tough. It’s hard work. We want the product but not the process. If we could all just spend a day and learn that foreign language, drop those pounds, or become a Bible scholar we would. But if it takes longer than a day, we’re not sure it’s worth the work. 

We’re not alone. The original audience of the book of Hebrews was struggling with finishing strong, with staying the course.  Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down a…

Becoming a Spiritual Visionary

Watching Hamilton and celebrating the 4th of July this weekend made me ask, "How did this happen?" How did our founding fathers/mothers create this great experiment in democracy? America isn’t perfect, but it has in it’s DNA permission to speak-up, change, and improve. It has that because they believed we could live free and could govern ourselves. We might call this vision, but it’s really faith. Our founding forefathers and mothers saw what could be, believed in it, and worked to make it a reality. 
Faith believes in what is possible. It is the ability to see what can be, but isn’t yet. Faith moves us forward. Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV) "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
This passage references creation, which is best understood as the belief that G…

Four Steps To Walking Away

We all have personal baggage we carry that holds us back. John Maxwell has observed that moving trucks move people everyday to "happy land." They think, “This town will be better." Or maybe they hope the job will be better. Some people even trade in their spouse because they need a better one. The problem is that the problem isn’t the town, the job, or the spouse, it’s you. The same moving truck moving your belongings is also loaded with your disfunction and moving it into your new job, relationship, and town.We'll never be able to start over until we walk away from the stuff that holds us back. 

Sometimes it's easy to identify what is holding us back. Perhaps you have a bad habit (ok its an addiction) that keeps you from moving forward. Sometimes it's the way we treat people with our gossip. Sometimes it's our laziness (aka procrastination) that holds us back. We're trapped regularly by fear, guilt, shame, and sin. This happens on a personal level an…

You Get What You Pay For

You get what you pay for, I've learned this the hard way...a few times. I "saved" money buying a used lawnmower only to have it break, pay to fix it, and then pay to replace it. It would have been much cheaper to buy a new one from the start. We get what we pay for in life whether it's lawnmowers, homes, or relationships. If we want life-giving relationships they require constant investment. We have to continually work to make our relationships work, which might explain why so many relationships don't work out.

The Apostle Peter was a man who knew a thing or two about broken relationships. He was impulsive and constantly put his foot in his mouth. He cut off a servant's ear in anger and denied knowing Jesus in fear. He learned many lessons the hard way by the time he wrote the books of 1 & 2 Peter. He had also seen God's love come through time and time again. It was with this well-earned wisdom that he wrote about the four key investments we all have …

What is Lent?

Sunday we started a new series for the lenten season "LENT: Leave Everything Not Transformed." I know many of you have never practiced any type of lenten observance and may even wonder what Lent is. Early on in the church and I mean the first 300 years we read that there was a tradition of fasting before celebrating the resurrection. Many churches fasted weekly, on Friday, to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. These fasts were sometimes total, meaning only water was consumed. Sometimes these fasts were of meat and they only ate vegetables. Some people modified this and ate fish. While the exact expression of it changed, the practice of self-denial was nearly universal. It was a sacrifice that you felt in your body which was a reminder of the sacrifice Christ felt in his body.

Give it some time and this fast turns into a season of self-denial leading up to Easter. They felt that 40 days leading up to Easter was a good time to remind us of the sacrifice of Christ. Why 40 da…