Standing On God’s Promises!

At church yesterday I was deeply moved and shaken to my core. We were finishing up a series on Daniel called “What Matters Most!”. Here are some brief notes on that message from Sunday:

Pulling form Daniel 6:16-24, also touching on Jeremiah 29:11 and Proverbs 3:5.

– Promises are not meant to be broken, but fulfilled. Whenever God makes a promise, God fulfills it…. This was the beginning to God breaking into my life Sunday, so here it is again… Whenever God makes a promise, God fulfills it!

– Trustung in God will generate hope in the seemingly ‘impossible promises’ of life. Daniel 6:16… No one is exempt from Lion Den experiences!

– Our trials are often for others! Daniel 6:18-19. The King, who is a non-believer, prays and fasts for Daniel’s life to be saved. Here in the story, Daniel stops talking… maybe we should shut-up and trust that God’s promises will be fulfilled.

– No matter what – Stand on God’s promises! Daniel 6:22… accept eternal life and be grateful.

Words Of Wisdom: “Live the promise!”

Our faith will lead us to the lion’s den. The question is: What will we do while we are there? (sermon over)

To be totally honest, I don’t stand on God’s promises… I think I run from them. Im not sure I have trusted that God’s promises, for my life, are true and will be fulfilled. Yesterday I submitted to God and promise to do my best to stop making excuses and pursue what God has called me to in my life. I will allow God to be my God and for me to be God’s follower.

My lack of trust is astounding. I confess to the white knuckle control I have attempted to have in my life. I confess that I have placed myself in control of my life and not God. I have sinned against my God, whom my life should reflect. I push God away in order to pursue my selfish dreams and aspirations. God has granted me favor, which i squandered.

Unlike Daniel, I feel like I spend my time avoiding the Lion’s Den. I try to avoid the pain, the uncertainty, and the helplessness. I have avoided the Lion’s Den because I thought I could control my life better then God could. I have tried to place myself as the god of my life, which is only a battle ground for torment with Satan.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.” It takes it all… everything… not holding anything back… not pulling any punches… ALL.

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a fortune filled with HOPE.” I’m not sure of the last time I had peace and hope for my life and future.

I’m ready to stand on the promises of God… to enter the Lion’s Den, if needed. May I keep my mouth shut and stand firm on God’s word, instead of my own. I’m ready to live the promise… are you?

My response to this Sunday is to make changes in my daily life, but also it means that I’m going to Seminary in the Spring…. after all, God’s not the only one who must keep his promises.

What’s your response?

How does healing take place?

Lately I have had these conversations, with guys, about healing. Most of them say the same thing, “I guess I’ll just have to get over it” or “God has a plan through this”. I’m not really sure that either of these are correct assumptions.

Guys are (I speak from experience) great are bottling up emotions, feelings, and everything else in order to move on. Why? What’s the point?

Everyone who has bottled something up knows that it will come back to the surface sooner or later. Sure, it might not look the same or feel the same, but our “stuff” has a tendency to manifest it’s way back into our lives at the worst times.

Why is it so hard to “deal”?

I, for one, am a great compartmentalizer. Seriously… I’m great at it. When I am at home with my girls; I’m at home with my girls. When I am at work; I am at work. I have a real hard time letting those two things mix. In fact, I wanted to get to this point, because I am someone who would work all the time if I allowed myself. I guess I really like my job, I want to be good at it, and I want to succeed.

The same thing goes for my emotions. I will compartmentalize them and “deal with them later”… on my terms. This does not happen. I have found that if I don’t deal with things, they come back to haunt me at the worse times. Sometimes I’ve decided to carry around some “stuff” that I didn’t deal with and I end up getting in a little bit of a heated discussion with someone. Instead of being rational and hearing the other person, I decide to tear them a new one. This had nothing to do with them, but everything to do with the emotions that I never dealt with.

So, back to the question of the day. How does healing take place?

For me, I write (journal) and talk with people. I used to go to counseling. (Now am thinking that it’s about time to go back.) Healing is a tricky thing. Some people choose God, who is the great healer. Some find it through prayer and reading God’s word.

How do you seek healing?

There is this wholeness that I have had in my life at times. It’s the place that I desperately seek to live in, but have found myself outside of in my life, as of late. Which leads me to the next topic… time. How do you do the things you need to do in your life to be healthy when there seems to be no time.

What are the imperatives in your life? What has to happen to keep you sane and healthy?

Teens Killing Teens


Over the last week I have seen three major news stories come across about teens killing or horribly injuring other teens. These stories bring up some serious questions and I believe that our response make all the difference in the world.

Here are the stories…

2/29/12 A 13 Year-old boy set of fire by two other teens.

2/27/12 Ohio School Shooting

2/27/12 A 10 year old girl dies because of an after school fight

I wonder if this is another time where the church will be silent. I wonder if we will hear these news stories and simply concede that these are horrible events and they make us sick… only to forget about them later. If we stay silent, what will change? If we only hope it wont happen in our neighborhoods, what will that do? The work of nothing produces exactly what we put into it.

What do we do? Is prayer the only thing we can do?

What actions will you take in your youth ministry to raise up people of grace and peace?

Necessary Endings Part 2

“Reality Check!”

Before you go looking, I didn’t write about Necessary Endings Part 1… So please take Part 2 as Part 1. Maybe I’ll go back to do Part 1… but knowing me… I won’t. Sorry.

This is from the sermon Rev. Stephen Handy is teaching at McKendree UMC.

Luke 5:1-11

There’s two kind of Hope: Faithful Hope and False Hope. Faithful Hope always points to Jesus. False Hope points to everything else. Faithful hope is full of change… after all… Jesus is the only thing that is said to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. Right?

The Points: 1. God will allow us to hit “Rock Bottom!” 2. Get in touch with Reality 3. Understand where there is risk, Reward waits! 4. Discover a new Disciple.

Our whole job in life is to Produce Fruit. If something is not producing fruits, it’s unproductive and needs to be let go. It’s a new year… try something new! Don’t settle for the same unproductive life… do something new with Faithful Hope.

In 2012 let’s go deeper then before. Let’s look for the deep water… cast your nets and go DEEP! This might mean that you must follow Jesus and not the Church. This might mean we have to make crazy choices and not to do what seems ‘normal’. Will you go deeper?

Allow yourself to be overwhelmed with God’s Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope. “Let Christ lead your CHANGE!”

Pursue the deep, unrealistic, and ridiculously God focused Hope in your life! #jacob2012


It’s 2012… Do Something About It!

I was on my way to work this morning when I heard a song come on the radio (yes, I still listen to the radio sometimes). It was a song that caught my attention and got me thinking about life, love, the Mayans and the church. It led me down a deep road of great inspiration and truth… the song was:

As I traveled down the tunnel of Britney, I started thinking about the Mayan Calendar and how it ends toward the end of this year. This isn’t anything that gets me upset or anything… after all, I’m ready to go whenever it happens… but all I could think about was… this is the year!

As most of you know from my previous status updates and tweets, I have dubbed this year: the year of Jacob. This has had, up until now, been totally unrelated to the Mayan calendar. (I’m even so Dorky as to of created my own hash tag for the year #jacob2012)

This year I am pursuing God like never before. I’m digging deeper and wider then I have ever gone. I’m going to be happy and joyous. I’m going to do things that fill me up and open me to encounter the Holy Spirit in new ways. Im going to live as though the Bible is the true word of God, which I confess it to be. I’m going to believe that God will do what God says God will do. This is the year, my life changes. This is the year that things will happened and God will do mind blowing things in and through me. #jacob2012

As far as the song and other people who are not named Jacob, it made me dig into the questions of: What’s if the Mayan’s got it right?

This should be a huge celebration for all people of faith, because if they get it right… this is the year! All or nothing. Go big or go home. Dance or die.

As Christians, if this is the last year before Jesus comes back, then maybe this is the year when we (as a church and a people) live our faith in ways we have always been scared to do. Maybe this is the year where we become the living Jesus to a dark world desperate to be loved. It’s what we are supposed to do… love the unloveable, forgive the unforgivable, bring joy to the world of depression and self-loathing, and to actually do the things we always said we would do “if”.

If the Mayan’s are right, then we all should get up on the floor and join Britney (or King David) in the dance. Who wants to join the dance party until the word ends?

Welcome to the year of Jacob! #jacob2012

2012 is Coming…

At the end of 2010 I was an emotionless, fried, broken, and worn-out lump of God’s creation. I hurt and was dying on the inside. I left a job that I loved, was called to, and ordained by God to do from the time I was in High School.

I walked away from the church and didn’t want anything to do with it for a time. I wanted to do anything that didn’t involve the church. All I knew, for sure, is that I needed some time away. I needed a break. I needed to do something else for a time. I needed time to seek God and remember what it was like to fall in love with the creator of the world. In my life, when I feel that I have nowhere to go or that I am stuck, the only thing to do is to draw as near to God as possible.

For the last year, I have sought God. I have sought wise council. I have allowed myself to be broken down to nothing. I have learned valuable lessons. I have allowed God to reignited a passion and desire for God to reign in my life like never before. I desire to be the guy that God has created me to be and settle for nothing less.

I have remembered who I am and I have allowed myself to, once again, be defined by God and not by people. I have been able to remember my value and my worth.  I have been able to remember my calling and to seek it without fear and worry about how it will work within my family.

In 2012 I am starting a time in my life that I am so excited about what God is doing in and through me. I’ll be working a full time job, which allows me to provide for my family. It allows me to use some of my gifts at times to reach youth with Christ’s message… which is good. The parts that I am really excited about is one work continuation in the Center for Youth Ministry Training as a coach. This is the place where my experience gets to be fruit for younger youth workers who hopefully will not fall into the same holes that I fell into in my life. In January I will start a NEW thing that I am SUPER pumped about… a new job on a church staff. In 2012 I will add to my other two jobs to become the Youth Director at McKendree UMC in downtown Nashville. I have completely fallen in love with this place and how God’s Holy Spirit is at work there. My heart both fills and is broken when I am there. I praise God for the last year of pain and hurt to be delivered into a place where my heart beats with love.

2012 is deemed, for me, as the year of Jacob. I don’t know how I will work a full time job, two part time jobs, and home life, but I know that in each place that God will use me and I will be an instrument of God’s Mercy and Grace. I whole-heartedly can not wait to see what God will do in me this year and I can’t wait to see what God will do through me. May my life honor God and show the light of Christ in the darkest of places in the name of Jesus, my LORD and Savior.

Bring on 2012!

In ALL things… Christ

This is a tough deal!

Most of use don’t like to think about this every minute of our lives. We don’t. We do, however, like to think we can be good most of the time. As if we can shift the odds in our favor if we, more times then not, choose correctly.

God demands ALL, not most, not some, not every once in a while. In all things…

How in the world do we do that?

How in the world can we live up to that?

How often have we TOTALLY distorted that notion?

How we respond…

One of the things I love about my life… you know, besides my family and friends… is the fact that I get to talk with a lot of people. I love having conversations with people! The only problem I have is that I continually evaluate the conversation long after it’s over. This can easily become a burden… Did I respond appropriately? Did I communicate effectively? Did I share what God wanted me to share in that situation? I can literally tare myself apart about each one of these things.


I had a conversation with a friend the other day that has been playing over and over again in my head. As we talked the conversation got a little heated and I was able to feel the full force of their pain and stress within the situation they found themselves trapped in. It was a little extreme, and it wasn’t going to go anywhere within that moment… that was for sure! It was pain, fear, anger, and extreme frustration.

After hearing it all and trying to help (unsuccessfully), we needed to switch gears and talk about other things.

As I have played that conversation over and over again… I have come away with a couple of take-aways.

1. Sometimes people need a place to be heard.

So many times we don’t have people to go off on or to be real with. It’s such a valuable and honoring experience to have someone be completely real and honest about life with you… even though it might hurt a bit.

2. We desperately want to blame anyone and everyone for the messes we find ourselves in.

One thing I have learned over the last few years is this… Through all the experiences in my life that were ‘other people’s fault’, I was the common denominator. If I am the constant in all bad circumstances, then I MUST claim responsibly for some, if not all, of the issue. When I was pushed out of a job, it wasn’t solely ‘their’ issue… I have to claim the fact that I was doing a crappy job in some aspects of my job. That’s mine to own.

At the same time, I think this is a difficult lesson to learn for younger people. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be the case.

3. Poop or get off the pot!

I get tired quickly of talk without action. There’s always an amount of time that people MUST sit in their funk, but then there comes a time for action. No one is a good friend to people who encourage stagnation. We MUST have people in our lives who push us forward and encourage us to be the people God created us to be… not people who stop and decide to blame everyone else for our issues, which must be address.

Evaluate the situation. Create a plan of action and Go. For more on this, go read about OODA Loop.

So today, grab the hand go a good friend and thank them for loving you enough to listen and encourage you to KEEP MOVING.

Since when did life get easy for people of faith?

Today I finally had the chance to explore some of things out int he twitterverse and the blogosphere being written about the upcoming book release of Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins”.  It astounds me how much time people have on their hands. It’s as if there are real people out there looking for religious fights to get into. No constructive conversations, but harsh and hard words toward a person. I don’t think this does any good for the gospel progression to the unchurched, former church attender’s, or believers alike.

It often seems to me that we should have already learned a lesson about wars within and against the faithful. It has never been a fruitful time. Im all for religious debate and conversations… but person attack for the sake of beating someone down is not the answer.

On some level I know that Rob has to be affected by the harsh words, but I also know that he must be somewhat used to it. Im not sure about ‘not caring’ because we always care and it never stops hurting. It seems that people equate not caring with no action. But honestly, what action would he take that would benefit believers or non-believers?

To end my thoughts on this whole thing… (which I know people will comment about)

I have way to much to worry about in my life and my life within my own family to publicly beat down other people in faith. The plank is so big in my eye that I have enough to deal with, without getting into a public war where the outcome will not be beneficial to anyone besides my own ego.

This, of course, is merely a sinners perspective. I can’t speak for those who feel the need to condemn others.