Wednesday, October 20, 2010

new eyes

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown.2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, "Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?"3 Then they scoffed, "He's just a carpenter, the son of Marys and the brother of James, Joseph,s Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
4 Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

mark 6

whoa. this was convicting. it seemed like people's familiarity with Jesus made them miss out on the amazing person that was Jesus! because they knew His family, His past, His upbringing, they couldn't respect Him, or they wouldn't. it seemed like i always applied this story to myself. as if i'm the one that's not completely respected at my home church because they've seen me grow up there. they've seen me be a hooligan and stirring up trouble and that kind of speaks louder than the person i am today.

but how have i been judging the people in my life who i've become familiar with? how have i not been respecting and appreciating because i've known them for so long? family? friends? man, this was so convicting. who have i not been letting affect me and seeking God's voice from just because i've grown familiar or "used to" them? who have i not been giving my full attention because of what i know of their past? who in my life do i think hasn't changed? who is it do i think that God isn't really using to speak into my life? how much have i been missing out on because of this? i don't want to be like Jesus' hometown. i don't want to miss out on something amazing because of my pride, jealousy, or simple ignorance.

i want to be able to see people grow, no matter how familiar they are to me. i want to hear God speak from them. i want to see God use them in my life and in other people's lives. i need new eyes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

being with Him

Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles

13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him.14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles.s They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach,15 giving them authority to cast out demons.16 These are the twelve he chose:

Simon (whom he named Peter),
17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them "Sons of Thunder"s),
18 Andrew,
James (son of Alphaeus),
Simon (the zealot
19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

mark 3

the part that has been really hitting my heart lately is, "they were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, giving them authority to cast out demons." just this idea of being with Jesus. in private and in public. all of the time. watching everything that He did. seeing miracles unfold. observing how He cared for people. listen to how He talked. witness His love. all so the disciples could then be ready to preach the Gospel, to spread the Good News. only after they had spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus could they truly have the authority to cast out demons. i'm thinking to myself that this may go against some teaching that we hear at church. that no matter where you are with Christ, you can spread the word about Him, you can evangelize and preach the Gospel. i think that's still true because the Holy Spirit is working inside of you, even if you are a new follower. but i think of how much stronger the testimony and witness would be after spending every single day with Jesus. seeing Him move inside you to love other people. seeing Him dissolve the bitterness and discontentment in your heart. seeing Him push you and challenge you to forgive those that hurt you. seeing Him change your heart that you actually start loving the people that hate you. what a powerful testimony that would be!

another thing that God has been putting in my heart is mentorship or discipleship. i see the way Jesus taught His disciples and it doesn't seem impossible today. it's about including someone in your life so they can see the way you love people and so that they can see what a christian looks like outside of a sunday or "holy" days. what does a christian look like on a "regular" day? what does living out love for God entail? that's where discipleship comes in. i've been mentored years now and not known it. i do believe it's played a part in the way i love people. and i want to pass that on. i want all of us to pass that on. to be filled up with the Spirit and go out and change the world is amazing, but it doesn't continue if we don't pass that on to a younger generation! we can't just hoard all of the Spirit for ourselves. i want to show people who are younger than me that Jesus Christ is the most revolutionary man that i've ever met and that a life lived out for Him is completely dangerous and it's a life of adventure and unpredictability!

i want to know Jesus more so i can truly give a powerful testimony to the people around me. so i can give a powerful testimony to my mentoree. i want him or her to witness how much Christ compels me. i want him or her to see how much i love the King and the King loves me.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Crowds Follow Jesus

7 Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea,8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.
9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him.10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.11 And whenever those possessed by evils spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, "You are the Son of God!"12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.

mark 3

i think sometimes we read verses like these where it talks about multitudes of people and we kind of overlook it. we hear the story of the feeding of the 5000 and we go, "how nice." i don't think we think about the magnitude of people that Jesus is touching and healing and changing. so when i read that people came from all over galilee, judea, jerusalem, idumea, from east of the jordan river, and even from as far north as tyre and sidon, it didn't strike me that hard until i really thought about it. dang. this is a huge, incredibly big, epic gathering of people. it got so crowded that at a certain point, Jesus had to tell His disciples to grab a boat for Him so that He can teach without being what? crushed!! i just think of rockharbor and how that gathering is a couple thousand people in itself, and that's only people from orange county! imagine finding out a man that heals diseases and casts out demons. wouldn't you travel great distances to see Him and be healed?? i'm thinking widescale, off-the-map, people coming from all over the us to see this man. this is Jesus. He was something to behold. the crazy thing? He didn't back down, He healed all of them. it's beautiful. no matter how many people, He did what He felt like doing, touching them and changing their lives.

here's the part that gets me. "He had healed many that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch Him." they saw what He did, and they reacted. they saw the miracles He was doing. they saw the lives He was changing. and they wanted Him. they wanted to touch Him. they wanted to be near Him. in the esv version, they "pressed" in around Him to touch Him. now i ask myself. if i see all that He's done? i see the lives that He's changed. i see the miraculous stories of His healing. why don't i "press" in? there are people coming from all over the region to see and touch and be near this man. this man who takes the time to heal each and every one of them and why am i not "pressing" in?

i think sometimes we forget how amazing Jesus is. how He attracted thousands of people to Him, and today, millions of people to Him. there's something about Him. it can't be emulated by man. there is something out of this world about Jesus. this guy had so much love and compassion for people. so much so that He rebuked anybody who was a religious leader that forgot about loving people. He had authority. He had power. He was righteous. He was forgiving. He is everything that i want to be like. and He wants to have a relationship with us. isn't that just crazy?? the Savior of the world, the Creator of the universe, the Truth, and the Life, and the Way, wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with me. and i'm brought back to this state of humility. who am i, God, to receive your grace and mercy? thank you for loving me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

mercy, not sacrifice

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

1 Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand.2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus' enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man's hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
3 Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand in front of everyone."4 Then he turned to his critics and asked, "Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?" But they wouldn't answer him.
5 He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man,"Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!6 At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.

mark 3

i was originally going to write this myself but i found this and thought it said what needed to be said. =]

"I have read this section of Scripture nearly 100 times, and I think I finally got it today. A man with a shriveled hand comes to Jesus in the synagogue and everyone is wondering what Jesus is going to do. Is He going to break the Sabbath law by healing the man on the Sabbath? He asks the question and becomes angry with all of the religious leaders because of their silence and hard heartedness. Why were they silent? And why was Jesus angry? Look at the two options in Jesus' question again. What are the only two options Jesus leaves on the table? He only leaves good and evil. The religious leaders are looking for another option. They are looking for the "nothing" option. Their argument would be, “Isn't that what the Sabbath is about? We do nothing on the Sabbath. We aren't allowed to work.” They spent centuries defining what working and not working on the Sabbath was. Now Jesus is telling them that not doing a good work on the Sabbath might be paramount to doing evil. Jesus is addressing the sins of omission in our lives. These are the things we ought to do but don't. Jesus told them, and is telling us, how wrong it is to use our religion to justify a good work not done. Throughout all of Scripture God says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." If we are going to error, we are better off erring on the doing side and not the side of doing "nothing". If you want to raise God's fury, get in front (in the way) of His mercy and grace. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, God wants our obedience to His Word, but He always wants that obedience rooted in grace and mercy. Today, may we see the clarity of our choices, and may we always choose to do good! Peace!"

- Tom

Sunday, September 12, 2010


"It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life."

- Aristides 137 AD

"Every culture has particular ways of eating. Some folks eat with chopsticks; others sit on the floor. In India we ate with our right hands. How do Christians eat? Christians eat with poor folks, with the outcast, the marginalized, and the excluded--all who were never invited to anyone else's party. Ours is a different kind of party. It's more like a divine banquet than another political program. Society's misfits are our people, our 'constituency.'

"There's an old story of a bishop whose cathedral was about to be robbed. The bandits demanded the 'treasures of the church.' So the bishop went into the shelter and gathered up the poor, saying, 'These are the treasures of the church.' The bandits left empty-handed that night."

- Jesus for President

i look at that first quote and i think to myself, man, i want the world to look at the church and see that. i want the world to see sacrificial people who go out of their way to love on others. i want the world to see people who starve to be able to feed someone in need. i want the world to see God's love. if i didn't have a relationship with Christ, i would look at this description and think, "wow, these christians are really something. why do they live this way? who are they living for? who is this Jesus that they worship? can i get to know Him?"

i also think, "man, how do we get there? how do we live that radically?" and the real answer is, we don't. at least, not by ourselves. we need each other and we need the Holy Spirit. through living by the Spirit, listening, waiting, praying, being sensitive to Him, by feeling and recognizing His love, we start to just LIVE it. it doesn't become "spiritual fruit" that we tape on ourselves, it doesn't become just an act, but it becomes a way of living that reflects what's on the inside.

i'm excited to see God raise a generation that is passionate for truth and action. for God and living in response to His love. let the world see the way we live and give praise to God. let the world see us and fall in love with Him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jesus for President

Just some excerpts from a book I've been reading that I wanted to share. =]

"The church is a people called out of the world to embody a social alternative that the world cannot know on its own terms. We are not simply asking the government to be what God has commissioned the church to be. After all, even the best government can't legislate love. We can build hundreds of units of affordable housing (a good thing by the way) and people still might not have 'homes.' We can provide universal health care and keep folks breathing longer (another nice move), but people can be breathing and still not truly be 'alive.' We can create laws to enforce good behavior, but no law has ever changed a human heart or reconciled a broken relationship. The church is not simply suggesting political alternatives. The church is embodying one."

"Remember when ole John the Baptizer sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was the one they were expecting and he didn't answer with a simple yes? Jesus instead told them to go tell John what they saw him doing. He knew that John could read the trail of crumbs. John knew that when lepers were healed, the blind saw, the dead rose, and the good news was preached to the poor, the one they were awaiting was indeed here.

What does our trail of crumbs look like? If someone asks if we are Christ-followers, can we say, 'tell me what you see?' Is there enough evidence to prove that we are taking after the slaughtered Lamb? What if they ask the poor around us? What if they ask our enemies? Would they say that we love them? Christians haven't always looked like Jesus. Perhaps the greatest barrier to Christ has been Christians who pronounce Jesus so loudly with their lips and deny him so loudly with their lives."

"A recent survey of young adults who are 'familiar outsiders' to Christianity showed that the three most common perceptions of Christians by onlookers are that we are anti-homosexual (an image held by 91 percent of the folks surveyed), judgmental (87 percent), and hypocritical (85 percent). How sad that the very things that Jesus scolded the religious elites around him for are the very things for which Christians are now known. We have a major image problem. To hear more about this study by the Barna research team, check out the book Unchristian (Baker, 2007) by our friends David Kinnaman and Gabe lyons."

Some tough things for me to hear. I know I can't change the way people look at Christians. I can't change people's hearts. But I know that the Holy Spirit can, God can, Jesus can. When we put on Jesus, when we live out LOVE, not condemnation, people see who we live for. They see Christ by the way we live. Not just by the things we say.

Trying to love a little more each day. Trying to be like Jesus a little more each day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the kid

Jesus Blesses the Children

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

matthew 19

i know. i haven't blogged in a while. i forget why. was i making it into a routine? maybe. did i find something better to do with my morning time? not really. maybe i was just copping out. maybe i made up the excuse that i needed to stop blogging because i wasn't really spending time with God. instead, what i really should have been doing was blogging and trying to spend time with Him as well, rather than just blogging and leaving it at that. it's 6:53 on a thursday morning and i'm leaving for a san diego in a couple of hours. and i need God more than ever. i need Jesus to come steal my heart. i've been letting so many other things consume me. i want to fall in love with Jesus again. i want to be swept off my feet. oh, phil wickham, you got it right, bro. it really is a divine romance.

"Jesus. i need you. i need you, i need you, i need you. so much. i'm lost without you. my world's topsy turvy without you. i have no sense of direction, to clear vision of where i need to go, no love in my heart for myself or the people around me without you." sounds like an n'sync song. i've been reading my old blog posts for about an hour now and i keep asking myself, "man, where did that kid go? that kid that was full of passion and love. that kid who loved the Lord with his every breath. the kid whose every word was a form of praise to the King. where did he go?" i am sitting on my bed, desperate, and in need of Jesus to take over. i want there to be less of me and more of Him. i know, i know, i know that when i live for myself, i get absolutely nowhere. i dig myself into a hole. there's a hole in me that no one else can fill except Jesus. "God, i need you so much right now," is all that's coming out of my mouth. i want to say, "God, i need you for all of eternity." that's what i really mean. but man, do i need Him to be close right now.

i'll be gone for a month. and i've been thinking so much about what i'm going to be missing out on. i've been thinking about how much i'll miss my family and my friends. i've also been thinking about the adventure that's to come. the new friendships that are going to be made. the amazing things that are going to take place. but it's all been kind of for myself. i haven't thought about the real reason i want to do this. it's because i love Jesus. it's because i love Jesus so much that i'm willing to spend a month away from my loved ones and my comfort and safety and thrust into the fray. i love Jesus so much that i want to share about Him to everyone that i meet. and i love the people in san diego so much that i want to spend a month there with them. letting them know, reminding, encouraging them that Jesus loves them so much. He has a plan. He has big things in store for each and every one of them. He wants to use them in AMAZING, LIFE-CHANGING ways.

back to the verse. =] imagine being a kid who has heard about this man who performs this amazing miracles. you hear about him healing the blind and the lame and even raising people from the dead! your parents say that you're going to see him today. how do you feel? stoked! excited! but for me, i'd be nervous and even scared. you know you're not very important already, being a kid and all. especially in that culture, knowing that kids couldn't contribute much, you're not even sure that the man would even consider glancing your way. you get up to where he is and what happens? his disciples yell at your parents and push you aside! bum to the er. you start leaving discouraged and heartbroken. and then you hear a voice. he says, "let the children come. don't stop them!" you're filled with joy and confusion! he blesses you.

who are we to be blessed by Jesus? who am i to be blessed and considered by Him? sometimes, i feel like those kids. unworthy, a second thought, discouraged, thinking, "why would Jesus, the Son of Nazareth, the Savior of the World, want to spend time with me?" and yet, He yells at His own disciples for not letting me come to Him. He touches me, i mean, really lowers and humbles Himself to my level to bless me!! and i'm filled with awe and tears. why would this amazing man want to spend time with someone as insignificant as me?? He must really love me. despite His status and the respect that people have for Him, He lowers Himself in front of everyone to bless me. despite His holiness, His sinlessness, His righteousness, His greatness, He humbles Himself in front of the world to die on the cross for me. for me. to make me blameless before God. to make me clean. to make me whole. to make me white as snow. and i am just amazed by how much He loves me.

i think we lose that sometimes. i know i lose it. i forget to be like the child who is just filled with awe because of what He's done for me. i forget that i'm the frightened child who is amazed that He would do something like that for me. i get filled with pride and forget that i didn't "earn" this gift. it was freely given to a helpless and broken boy.

"God, remind me of who i am. Your son. Your kid. i want to make You proud. fill me with that awe again. with that joy. the joy of my salvation. fill me wonder and amazement. don't let me just be filled with those emotions. let me live in response to it. let my life look different because of how much you love me. so the world may know how much you love them, too."