Monthly Archives: April 2011

Friday’s BEST OF: “You Want Rules?…I got your Rules!”

Following All the Rules Can Ruin Your Faith!

#9  Following All the Rules Can Ruin Your Faith

Seems strange to say but it is true. Following all the rules can, and I believe will, greatly diminish or even RUIN your Faith. Here is what I mean…

The Pharisees found this out as the relatively few old testament guidelines ballooned into hundreds of well-intentioned, albeit, suffocating rules. These rules essentially boiled God down to a list of “do’s and don’ts”. The same can be true of well-meaning Christians who have developed rules for almost every area of their lives. From where they can and cannot go, whom they can be seen with,  how they must worship, music they must listen to etc…..

Jesus Gave us two primary rules to follow……. Love the Lord Your God with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself…… the rest is just window dressing.

Matthew 22:37-40   “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I am convinced that far too many of us rely on our rules (or systems) for guidance without a thought for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  In doing so we diminish our need to “walk” with Jesus at all!

About two years ago a man sat in my office, embarrassed and uncomfortable. He was the epitome of rule following Christianity. He dressed well for church, looked you in the eye when he spoke, his kids were orderly if not a little stiff, his wife was pleasant and quiet, he gave both his time and income to the church, he was a leader in the community and had the civic awards to prove it, he understood much of what he was taught about scripture and how God works in our lives. After all,  he had endured a thousand conservative biblical sermons……………………… and yet he was also drowning in despair.

During our long meeting together he confessed to deep disappointment in God. God, it seems, had not delivered on His promise to bless my new friend. He did everything he was supposed to do, he followed every rule he knew and yet……. he confessed….. he and his wife were not getting along, his kids were distant and rebellious, his faith was dry and stale and he had even thought about just “walking away”.

He had altered what was supposed to be a dynamic, exciting life of faith into a simple checklist of behaviors……very dangerous indeed.

Today my friend has found great freedom in two simple rules:



Quick points:

  • Too many rules “Insulate us” from a dynamic walk with the Lord.
  • Too many rules prevent God from working in our lives.
  • Too many rules “dumb down” our faith.
  • Too many rules create a checklist to present to God for approval instead of a life willingly offered to bring Glory to the Most High God.

from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


“Do it, like YOU do it!” WEEK: “Now You’re Talkin!” Devo 4-27-11

Several months ago a friend recounted the story of his visit to London. His account was spellbinding! It wasn’t that the actual story was all that different than any other story you would hear from a recently returning tourist. But it was the WAY HE TOLD it that grabbed me. It was as if I could hear the sounds of Heathrow, see the Christmas lights at Piccadilly Circus and antiques at Portobello Square. After hearing his story I wanted to go and experience London for myself!

Maybe that is the way God wired you to tell HIS story. A simple engaging story about the most important thing in your life. If so, then you may have a TESTIMONIAL STYLE of evangelism. You are probably able to Clearly Communicate, tell a good story, and are a good listener.  You also are similar to the blind man found in 

John 9:17-25

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”The man replied, “He is a prophet.” 18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” 20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”  25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

The blind man simply told people what Jesus had done in his life. Maybe that is exactly how God wants YOU to share your faith with others….  whatever the case is….



SARAH-CLARE’S BIRTHDAY!!! “Repost 5 Reasons…”

Today is my daughter’s 16th Birthday!  She has grown into a beautiful (inside and out) young woman with a great heart for Jesus!.  Margie and I could not be more proud of who she is becoming: gracious, loyal, generous, gentle and fierce. I have learned a lot from her.  The following is a repost of something I wrote over a year ago. What was true then is STILL true to day…..
Sarah-Clare (daughter), and I wear (wore) bracelets that represent our support for the “Invisible Children” in the war-torn country of Uganda (small donation).  Getting them was her idea.  I’m not even sure exactly where she first heard about the children but before I knew it she had researched the supporting organization, formulated a plan to support the relief efforts and figured out how to get the word out around here.
Through that little bracelet, she opened my eyes to injustice in the world….and showed me I can learn a lot from my passionate 15 16 year old daughter.
Here are just a few things I have learned watching her grow up:
  1. SHE IS PASSIONATE! My daughter throws herself wholeheartedly into projects that she cares about! No cynicism, pessimism or other negative “isms”. Whether it is ballet or injustice in a country thousands of miles away, she brings enthusiasm to it. I need to be more passionate about the things that God is passionate about!
  2. SHE IS SENSITIVE TO INJUSTICE – When I pray for my pastor and those in leadership I typically pray that they have a “thick skin and a heart like Jesus”. While she is working on the “thick skin” part, she has the “heart like Jesus” down pat!   Job 5:15-16   I need to be sensitive to injustice!
  3. HER OWN SIN REALLY BOTHERS HER! – She has not learned to “harden her heart towards the things of God”.  As I watch her grow up I see a young woman who is developing the ability to recognize when her heart is leaving the things of God. She is often quick to come back to Him.    Hebrews 3:13   I need to weep over my own sin!
  4. SHE “LISTENS TO THE SERMON” – I know, I know….we ALL listen to the sermon right?  BUT she REALLY LISTENS! This afternoon was a great example: Our pastor preached a message he called “En-Vision 2010”. In it he explained what he believes God is asking the church to do as to local missions, discipleship etc….. an absolutely great message. Afterwards, I was quickly on to the next thing…. a leadership meeting at noon and the all church fellowship tonight, outreach, and staff retreat at the end of the week.  Not Sarah-Clare…late this afternoon she “plopped down” next to me on the sofa and explained what God had told her during the message. “Wow”, I thought, “He told me to worry about the leadership meeting, all church fellowship, blah, blah, blah”)    James 1:22  She is a do-er!  I need to be a do-er and not a hearer only!
  5. SHE DOES NOT “CHANGE THE CHANNEL” – I have gotten pretty good about looking the other way when confronted with the homeless, disadvantaged or stricken. “I can’t help everyone” or “It is probably a scam”,  I remind myself as I switch back to the ballgame.  Sarah Clare, on the other hand, is willing to look at these things with eyes of genuine concern and desire to help. She is actually frustrated the she can’t help them all!   I need to be frustrated more!

It turns out that I really need to be a lot more like my 15 16  year old daughter…

Comments Off on SARAH-CLARE’S BIRTHDAY!!! “Repost 5 Reasons…”

Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


“Do it, like YOU do it!” WEEK: “Thick Glasses, Dusty Books” Devo 4-26-11

I wear thick glasses and read dusty books! Thick glasses because I have 20/400 eyesight and read dusty books cuz I’m a history buff. (All the good history books were written before the turn of the century (20th not 21st) and are dusty). If you were to come over to my house on any given evening you might find me perusing through one of the hundreds of old books we have in boxes, on shelves, under lamps (to make the lamp look bigger) and on the coffee tables. On the surface I would look like quite the intellectual but in reality…well…. not so much.


Acts 17:22-34

 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[b]

 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. 

Paul addresses the men at the Areopagus. (Council or Court, which for a time met on a low hill near the Acropolis.)  As Paul stood there the men could look past Paul to the City of Athens and see the idols that represented the gods that Paul knew were worthless.

Essentially these were a group of philosophers and academics who met to debate this theory or that theory.  This would have been a place where Peter and his confrontation, would have gotten his “repent and be baptized” (see yesterday’s devo) thrown back in his face. But where a man like Paul, whom God put together, was well received. Or at least much better received than Peter.

Great example of this is Ravi Zacharias who travels all over the world speaking in academic institutions like Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and Texas Tech! (All of the great centers of higher learning 🙂 )  See his website here: http//:

Intellectual person is typically Inquisitive, Analytical and Logical. If that describes you then you may want to share your faith like Paul did in the above passage……. intellectually.



“Do it, Like YOU do it” WEEK: “Not Your Style?” Devo 4-25-11

One of my favorite preachers in America is a man named Mark Driscoll. He is the Lead Pastor at a church called Mars Hill in Seattle. His style is very direct and biblically conservative. He is a great communicator and God has blessed his hard work and leadership. I encourage you to check out their website at

http//:     I absolutely love the guy! He is bold, self assured, direct….an absolute genius. His style is vastly different than mine... BUT HIS MESSAGE IS THE SAME!!!

Scripture lays out several models of evangelism that allows the shy, the intellectual, the “behind the scenes”, the inarticulate, the uneducated etc… to share their faith in Jesus with those “far from God”. They may be vastly different than the model you use…. BUT THE MESSAGE IS THE SAME.

This week I’m going to look at four BIBLICAL models of evangelism starting this morning with the one most people recognize. CONFRONTATIONAL STYLE OF EVANGELISM. 

It is modeled in Acts 2:36-41

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 


  1. This can be a VERY EFFECTIVE way to tell people about Jesus. It was just the style needed for the situation in ACTS 2. These folks were calloused religious “do gooders” that needed to be shaken a bit in order to “hear” the Gospel.
  2. Peter’s motives were to bring people to faith not to tell people they are lost. I actually know folks who love telling people they are going to hell…but do they love telling people they don’t have to?
  3. This was true to who Peter was….he was Confident, Assertive, DIRECT…confrontational.
  4. If you try to share your faith this way but are not “wired” like Peter you may very well struggle.
  5. Confronting people is A WAY to share your faith….but not the ONLY WAY!



GOD ROCKS! WEEK: “Evidence for the Resurrection” Devo 4-22-11

Evidence for the Resurrection

by Josh McDowell

For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.

A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”

“For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?


After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.

From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.


The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”


Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.

Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist, said: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”

Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of “authentic evidence” concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. ”

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .  E. M. Blaiklock Professor of Classics, Auckland University


The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:

As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus’ disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was “too notorious to be denied.” Paul Althaus states that the resurrection “could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.”
Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the “Toledoth Jeshu.” Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine.”
Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God’s doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ’s body.
Paul Maier observes that ” . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”


On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.
There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies . . . Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.  – Clark Pinnock , McMaster University
Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus’ body, how could they have done that without the guards’ awareness?


The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors’ wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one wand be punished with death for the guard unit’s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment “produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches.”


In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty–because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty–like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar’s cocoon. That’s enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes–undisturbed in form and position.


Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.


Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ’s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience’s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: “What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.


Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ’s appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ’s followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.

If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.


THURSDAY’S BEST OF: “Reluctant Leaders Wanted”

God sometimes calls us to ministries that seem “out there”! But when you are sure it is God doing the asking….you can be sure he will also order your steps to succeed at that which he has called you to do. (His definition of success and not ours)

The following is inspired by OS Hillman.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor 12:9).

If there is one thing that is consistent throughout scripture, it is this: God calls people when they are not ready. God will never call you into service when you think you are ready. This is intentional on God’s part. And, you can be sure when God calls you, you will have similar responses as Saul did when he was called to be the first king, or Gideon, when he was called to take down the idols in his nation, or Moses, when he was called to deliver his people from Egypt.

  • Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Sam 9:21).
  • “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judg 6:15).
  • But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11).

When God calls, you will most likely be in the most unlikely circumstances to receive that call. You will be in the midst of a crisis, you will lack resources, you will not have the skills you think you need. This too is the way of God. God does this because He wants you to know your call is only based on His ability, not yours. When you think it is based on you, this is a false humility. And, it is unbelief and disobedience on your part. Has God called you to something you have failed to do because you felt you were not ready? Repent before the Lord and let God accomplish great things through you.


“GOD ROCKS!” WEEK: “Attention” Devo 4-20-11


Saul, who later becomes Paul, is “ROCKED” by God on his way to persecute even more Christians…..

ACTS 9:1-6   Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up…” 

This is the same guy whom God uses to write 2/3 of the New Testament!  Saul (who later become PAUL) had an encounter with God and was radically changed! 

MOST OF US believe that we TOO would be radically changed if we had a similar such encounter….but would we….really?

I have watched men and women walk away from powerful worship experiences and even unexplainable miracles and go right back to lives of half-hearted church involvement, arrogance and faithless living. They clearly see God, like Isaiah and Saul did,  but choose to simply dismiss it as something they can “visit” from time to time when things get bad. (I know this is true of many… b/c it it true of me….and I’m normal….ish)




“GOD ROCKS!” WEEK: “Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready to Play!” Devo 4-19-11

John Fogerty (formerly of CCR) wrote a song in 1985 called “Centerfield”. If you have ever been to a professional baseball game then you would recognize it. The song is about a guys who is “born again” because there is “new grass on the field” (baseball season is here) He has a “beat up glove” and a “home-made bat” (who does that?) and a “brand new pair of shoes” and he pleads “Put me in Coach, I’m Ready to play….today!”

The guy is anxious to get in and play in the game! He thinks he is ready, he has practiced and now he wants in!

Yesterday we looked at what Isaiah saw in the Temple. He saw God High and lifted up. He saw mighty seraphim singing praises to God. He saw and felt the walls of the temple shake with the voices of the angels. He was terrified and responded with humility, embarrassment and repentance.



He thinks he is ready, he has practiced and now he wants in!

Isaiah 6:8   

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”   

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”   

What is God asking you to do RIGHT NOW to further His kingdom. For some it might be to begin to lead your home well. For others it is that step of faith He has laid on your heart AGAIN. For still others it is finally breaking free form the bondage of sin that so easily “entangles us”.

Whatever He is asking…will you respond like Isaiah did?




“GOD ROCKS!” WEEK: “I Am Ruined” Devo 4-18-11

Isaiah 6:1-5  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their

voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Setting the Stage:

This is an amazing story about the prophet Isaiah’s Commissioning. He is taken to the temple and experiences the majesty, power and glory of God.   Isaiah SAW…

  • God seated on a throne (Kings)
  • His train (of His robe)  filled the temple (Almighty King, longer the train…more grand the king)
  • Angels (not “Precious Moments” figurine angels either) these were massive, fierce creatures with 6 wings! Ever wonder why every time someone sees and angel they are afraid?  This is why…they are huge, ripped, intimidating, supernatural beings!!!
  • Temple shook with the sound of their voices (love to see a sweet little cupid angel do that!!!)
  • The smoke represented the very presence and Spirit of God.
Look at Isaiah’s response to what he sees: (v 5)  It is as if he is becomes aware of his sin…and not just his sin but the sins of his people. We see later that…
ISAIAH’S RESPONSE IS NATURAL – his response is the same as anyone who sees God for who he really is. He is amazed, embarrassed and motivated to change.
ISAIAH’S RESPONSE IS NECESSARY  – everyone who wants to “walk well” with God must understand that He is holy, sovereign and worthy to be praised.
ISAIAH’S RESPONSE IS TRANSFORMING – He is different having been with God.  Are we different b/c we have been with God?  Have you been with God? People will be able to see it.