Thursday, September 29, 2011


Today is National Coffee Day! This significant calendar day has only been around a few years but I am anticipating that it will someday be a nationally recognized holiday. You can get a medium coffee at Dunkin' Donuts for 50 cents today and there is free coffee at 7-11 till 11am. I must admit that making coffee is one of my first thoughts and actions every morning - I actually look forward to it. My Mom was always the first to rise and I would wake up each morning to the great smell of coffee and breakfast. There were only a couple of occasions when My Mom failed to get up. On one of those days I came into her room to see what was going on - she informed me that she was unable to get up because we were out of coffee! She sent me out with a few quarters to get her a cup!

So - what really gets me up in the morning - what should be foremost on my mind and heart as I prepare to enter a new day? Ephesians 2:10  says "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works ..." When I rise there should be a fresh shout of praise within my heart that I am His, that I am in Him, that He is reigning and at work, that He goes before me, and that my day is infused with value and purpose. That is what should get me up.

"Holy, Holy, Holy!
Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning
our song shall rise to Thee!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My dad passed away yesterday afternoon. One of his favorite subjects was grace about which he talked frequently. Yet ... my dad, like many of us, seemed to resist grace's full experience. I am thankful that today he is enjoying its fullest measure but grace is for us today  - completely.

Ephesians 1:6 declares "... to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely
bestowed on us in the Beloved."

We embrace His grace for salvation but often try to diminish its power in living. His grace - all of it - is poured out on us today! We diminish its tangible impact by embracing condemnation (which Romans tells us has no place in the life of the believer), by saying that we can only experience it in heaven (2 Cor. 8:9 says we can know His grace fully now), or by believing the lie that we "get" more grace as we get "more right" with God. Truth is, grace is greater and better than we have ever imagined. It is abundant, always present, given not in increments but poured on us always and completely, and it is "freely" given - never added to by what we do right or lessened by what we don't do. There is nothing else like it! Today God has fitted and made you to reflect the praise of the glory of His grace - enjoy His gift - share His gift.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Last week I missed two appointments - I completely forgot about them. The first time I am under my car trying to line up a new alternator and my cell phone rings - "Chris, where are you?" The second time, a day later, my cell phone rings while I am shopping at Safeway - "Hi Pastor Chris, where are you?" I mess up many things but I never miss appointments! So I began to ask myself - "Chris, where are you?"

I have a few personal indicators when something is not right in my life - a messy car, a trashed closet, an unbalanced checkbook, and now - missed appointments. They usually show that I am running through my day rather than walking with Him in my day... that I am being pressed through my responsibilities rather than being led into my responsibilities ... that I am "scrambling to make a play" rather than listening to Jesus "call the plays". (note the appropriate football metaphor)

This struggle happens frequently - these sabbath patterns that I seek and speak about slip away all too often. My response - as it was last week - is to "catch up", bring order, pull it together, get ahead of the game.... When things piled up on Jesus and life pressed in - He got away, He "did" less, He stopped! (Mark 6:31-32) It is the opposite of what I tend to do. It should be noted that He did not stop and become inactive but He stops and it results in better activity, intentional ministry, working that flows from a place of quietness.

So, missed appointments are not a cause for panic but a call to Jesus, a call that we should hear each day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Last Sunday we began our study of the nature and character of God. Even thinking that we can categorize Him and study Him like a subject just doesn't seem to sit well with me. We are called to "know Him" so our study has a good rational, but it is important that we see this as a small step, a pressing towards Him as we wait for His revelation of Himself through the Spirit. The Lord reveals Himself both propositionally - information/truth about Himself - as well as personally - a revelation of Himself and a call to relationship. He does both. As we saw last week, not only does God reveal - He also conceals. We cannot know everything about God nor can we ever say we know Him to the fullest depths of relationship. We continually grow both in our knowledge of Him as well as our awareness of  "how unsearchable" He is. (Rom. 11:33)

In Acts 17, Paul describes the Lord as one that "does not live in temples built by hands" - He is wholly other than us. Yet, Paul also describes Him as "he is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being." I love this aspect of God... that I can experience His very real presence and grow in knowing Him and yet at the same time He is transcendent - unconfined - unhindered - absolutely free. We can never plumb the "depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God." And what should be our response? The same as Paul's in Romans 11:36 - "To Him be the glory forever! Amen"