Monday, August 29, 2016

Quantum Leap

Several weeks ago I found out that one of my favorite shows as a teenager had made it to Netflix. When I found out that Quantum Leap was available through Netflix I decided to expose my boys to this great show. Cooper didn't take to it, but Dru asks regularly for us to watch it together. I'm glad I'm able to share with him this piece of my past.

The premise of the show is that the main character, Sam, travels through time "leaping" from one point in time to another and all within his own lifetime. When Sam leaps his mind inhabits the body of the person he leaps into and that person's mind leaps into Sam's body in the future. After the first couple of episodes you find out that God is the one directing Sam's leaps in an effort to, as the show says, "put right what once went wrong." Sam rescues people from death, changes the course of people's lives, and even helps bring justice where injustice originally prevailed. It is a noble thought and it is interesting to see how Sam is able to change the future by helping to adjust the past.

As I started watching shows I had not watched in over 20 years, a certain aspect of the show caused me to rethink my view of the show. Yes, I still enjoy the show, but the idea that God needed Sam to "put right what once went wrong" really stood out to me. This idea that things in the past needed to be changed is more deeply theological than we would originally think. We all have parts of our past that we would like to change if we were able to "leap" into the past or jump in a Delorean with Marty McFly. But what we need to ask ourselves is could we change things?

There is a theological term called sovereignty. When it is used in reference to God, we refer to God as being sovereign, exercising supreme control over everything. This means there is not one aspect of existence where God is not in control. (Yes, God does give us freewill to choose to follow Him or not, but that is a deeper discussion for another day.) What that means for us is two things. First off, there is nothing to be put right that once went wrong. According to God's sovereign will, things went right the first time. Secondly, we can rest assured that God is in control, even when we think things are falling apart. There is a certain level of peace that comes with this second aspect of God's sovereignty. The peace comes from the fact we have a good and loving God in control of all we experience in this life. Yes, sometimes we struggle to see the good in the more difficult situations God allows into our lives. But we have to remember that God isn't "doing" anything to us, but He does allow things to occur in our life. Sometimes it is to draw us closer to Him. Other times it is to strengthen our faith in Him. Sometimes it is to get our attention. And yet other times it is to bring glory to Him. Regardless of what we face, we can rest easy knowing that God is sovereign and in control.

I'll close with this, even though we'd all like to "leap" back and change the things in our life that we think went wrong, we need to remember that those events made us who we are today. From birth to death we are a work in progress. As God works to mold us into what He wants us to be, we have to trust in His sovereign control over our lives and the situations He allows into them.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

The mountains couldn't be found.

Recently my sons and I were doing our morning devotions through the book of Revelation. They wanted to do a chapter each day and I obliged them. As we worked our way through, I shared with them how things progressively get worse and worse for those on earth during the end times. We talked about famines, pestilence, war, and supernatural events that brought suffering and pain to those still on the earth.

Keep in mind that I have read through Revelation several times and I've taught through the entire book a couple of times. Yet verse 20 in chapter 16 really caught my attention like I was reading it for the first time. It says in Revelation 16:18, "Then there came...a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake." John makes an unbelievable observation following the cataclysmic earthquake in verse 20. It says, "Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found." Let that thought soak in for a second. Not a single mountain on earth -- Everest, K-2, McKinley, Mitchell, Grandfather -- could be found. They were completely leveled by this unimaginable earthquake.

I'm not much of a beach guy, but I do enjoy my hikes and visits to the mountains. I guess that is why the last part of this verse caught my attention. Those mountains that I have spent hours hiking with my boys will one day be gone. Razed. Leveled. Gone. But why would God do such a thing to His creation and do it to the thing He said in Genesis 1:10 was "good." The answer is simple and can be summed up in just one word. Judgment. 

The reason God would shake the earth like a 3 year old shaking a snow globe is all based in His love and judgment. I know it's crazy to think that anything so catastrophic could be based in love but it is. God's judgments described in Revelation are a result of mankind's disobedience and rejection of God. When man rejects God and His salvation from their sins, they continue to sin and be an enemy of God (Colossians 1:21). Disobedience to God's law is like disobedience to any law or rule. The result is judgment and punishment. When God finally ends the opportunities for mankind to receive His salvation from their sins, then comes His judgment and punishment. One of those punishments is a teeth-chattering, bone-jarring earthquake that levels every mountain on earth.

The good thing is God tells us we don't have to be here to watch the mountains be turned into mole hills. God tells us in His Word that we can have forgiveness of our sins and receive eternal life. All we have to do is admit to Him we've broken His laws and disobeyed Him, believe that Jesus is His Son who died on the cross to offer you forgiveness for your sins, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be Lord of your life. It's that simple. All it takes is faith in Jesus being who He says He is and belief that He did what the Bible tells us He did. 

If you want to miss the shake up at the end of time and more importantly, a life without God's direction and grace, then I'd encourage you to put your faith in Christ. His love knows no bounds and His forgiveness covers every sin imaginable. It is definitely a decision you won't regret!

If you want to learn more about putting your faith in Christ check out this linkMy hope for you is that you'll put your faith in Christ while you still have the opportunity to do so. When this life is over there are no second chances. If you need to talk to someone about salvation, then feel free to email me at

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Keep your fence pulled tight.

Recently I had to enter our pasture with my truck. I drove to the edge of the barn and opened the gate which consists of two strands of electrified barbed wire fencing. I carried them back out of the way like I have many times before and laid them on the ground and went into the pasture. When I was leaving I went to close the gate and found that the two strands of electrified barbed wire were now entangled. After some nifty moves that resembled a Crossfit participant using the heavy ropes, I was able to untangle the wires and close the gate. I stood there for a moment in the midst of this frustrating event and marveled at something I had witnessed more times than I could count. A barbed wire fence, even after years of being pulled tight and strung between posts, when released from the posts will still coil up like a Slinky or a spring. Often times when that happens it is with disastrous effects. You have to spend valuable time unwinding and untangling a convoluted mess that usually leaves you bleeding and looking like you've been in a fight.

The spiritual reality of what I witnessed with that fence seemed to speak loudly to me that day. A Christian can spend many years of spiritual sobriety drawing close to God. They can serve Him faithfully in the church or on the mission field. They can lead their family to faith and help their faith grow. All the while being a tightly pulled barbed wire fence between the fence posts of faith. But remember when something happens to the post and the wire is released, it coils up into a terrifying bundle of pain, agony, and lost time. When a believer allows temptation to unhook their spiritual fence from the post, they will find themselves in a convoluted mess of hurt and pain as sin coils them up like a broken Slinky. 

Now don't think this only happens to those who backslide from the faith and walk away from God. It does, but the hurt and pain sin causes occurs even with the slightest of transgressions against God's commands. Although we often times try to sweep those minor infractions under the rug, they eventually become a mound that causes us to trip. The catch is that even minor sins cause a distance between us and God. This is why it is so important that we keep our spiritual life drawn tight between the posts of faith. When we keep our fence tight and stay close to God, temptation has less of an affect on our life. Not that we won't ever fall to temptation again, but the closer we are to God, then the more we see Satan's temptations for what they really are. Lies, deceit, and pain.

Take it from one who has had to unwind and untangle both his physical barbed wire and spiritual barbed wire. It is much easier to keep your barbed wire tight than it is to untangle the mess because you allowed slack in your wire.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Cheeseburgers & Church

One of my all-time favorite quotes goes like this: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonald's makes you a cheeseburger." It's humorous and gets across one of the truths about being a Christian. Another similar quote goes like this: "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car." The truth that is shared by these quotes is that church attendance does not guarantee you are a Christian. All church attendance implies attended church. It doesn't guarantee that you even paid attention to the songs or the sermon. It doesn't mean you encountered God in a way that brought transformation into your life by His grace. It doesn't mean your sins are forgiven because you've been washed by the blood of the Lamb. All church attendance implies attended church.

This quote about cheeseburgers and church came to mind when I recently performed a funeral for a person where the family was unsure of the deceased person's spiritual condition. Comments made by the deceased have not given much hope that they had a relationship with Christ. The Gospel or "Good News" of Jesus Christ had been repeatedly shared with this person in the hopes they would put their faith in Christ (click here to read how you can put your faith in Christ). The family is uncertain if their loved one ever followed the words of Romans 10:10 (NIV) where it says, "it is with your heart that you believe and are justified..." Their loved one may have believed after they were unable to speak but the family doesn't know. Following the graveside service I had an interesting conversation with one of the friends of the deceased. This friend told me they were certain the deceased "was saved because we went to church together." The tone of the friend's conversation was trying to put the deceased in heaven based on the fact they "went to church." The deceased person's salvation wasn't determined by a repentant heart and a life changed by Christ. The matter of their friend's eternal salvation was being considered based on the reality they had sat on a padded pew in a brick and mortar building.

The sad reality is that there are thousands, if not millions, of self-proclaimed Christians who grace the pews every Sunday but are no closer to salvation than the most vile person alive. Salvation, a relationship with God through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, is not based on anything other than faith in Christ. God tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast." Basically, God is saying you can't do anything here on earth from your own intellect, skills, abilities, aptitude, or physicality to receive salvation. That means you can't use your muscles to walk into a church, sit in a pew for an hour, listen to a sermon, and expect to have a relationship with Christ based on those actions. That isn't how it works. Salvation is all based off of your belief in Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Son of God. If you put your eternal security in anything other than Christ and what He did for you on the cross, then you will be sadly disappointed when you take your last breath.

I know the tone of this blog can seem a little aggressive but that is not the case at all. We live in a world of watered-down, feel good theology that does not stand on the truths of God's Word. When people put their belief and faith in something other than Christ for their hope and salvation, they are putting their faith in something that will eventually fail them. I hope this post will help to steer some towards the truth rather than giving them false hope in eternity based on their ability to sit on a bench in a building.

If you have questions about salvation and need to talk to someone, then feel free to email me at

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