To those who use well what they have been given…

I’ve been on a mission lately to try and share my faith with as many people as I can on a daily basis. Not to try and push my beliefs on anyone,  but just to try and be a good example of the love of Jesus Christ.

In doing this I’ve had numerous people tell me things along the line of,  I’m not a Christian but I try and treat people the way I want to be treated. Or, I was saved a long time ago,  I don’t go to church or anything but I have my own sort of thing goin with God. Or,  yeah,  Jesus was a good guy, he had good principals. Or even, yeah I go to church,  so I’m saved. Basically lots of people are very willing to admit that they KNOW Jesus in some form or fashion,  and they want it to be known that they are good people. And don’t get me wrong,  there is nothing wrong with being a good person, or trying to live a good life. Those are both awesome things!! Let the record show,  I am for these things… Haha

However,  I wonder how many of us actually know there is more to it than that? Once you KNOW Jesus or even know ABOUT him, you now have a choice to make… 1. Serve Him.  Or 2. Don’t. There really is no in between.

Now I’m not trying to say everyone needs to be a preacher once they know Jesus, or you have to become a missionary now…  Nothing like that. But decisions have to be made and there should be a conscious effort on your part to do something with the knowledge you have about how truly amazing Jesus is.

Let’s take the story Jesus tells in Luke 19:12-27 for example. I want to post the text but it’s extremely long. So I will just give you the story in my words but I encourage you to read it on your own as well.

Jesus is basically telling a story to explain that he will be going away to heaven to be crowned but will then be coming back for us. But he has a job for us to do in the meantime. So in the story a man is going off to be crowned and prepare to rule the country. Before he leaves he calls his servants to him and gives them each a coin and tells them they are in charge of that till he comes back.  As soon as he leaves, a bunch of people in the city try and make a petition to not let him become the ruler  because they hate him….  Finally the man comes back,  crowned and ready to rule the country. He calls his servants that he gave the coins to and has them come back.

The first servant comes to him and says,  here I’ve doubled what you left me in charge of!  And the man says good job!  For that I will put you in charge of 10 cities! Then the second servant come and says, here, I’ve gained a 50% increase on what you left me in charge of!  And the man says,  good job! For that I will put you in charge of 5 cities!  Then the third servant comes and says,  I know how you are about your things so I hid your money while you were gone and kept it safe for you. Here it is,  exactly what you left me with. This made the man angry and he said, if you really knew me,  then why wouldn’t you have at least put this in the bank so it would have at least made a little interest!?  Then he takes away what he had given him and gave it to the servant who had doubled what he was in charge of. The people who were around were like,  he already has a bunch,why give him more?  And the man says,  to those who use well what they have been given,  will be given even more. And those who do nothing with what they are given,  even the little they have will be taken away. Then he address all those who tried and petition for him not to be in charge and he has them all removed/killed…  Depends on what version you read….

Anyway, this story is essentially a very plain and simple vision of what we are expected to do and what will be our reward for doing it.

Jesus was obviously the man going off to be crowned. Meaning he’s going to heaven but will be back soon. We,  as Christians, who claim we know Jesus are the servants. The coins he gives us are an example of the work he wants us to do.  Meaning, he has given us something very valuable and he wants us to make the most of it and increase what he has put us in charge of. Then lastly the people who hated him are the representation of the people who choose to deny or not follow Jesus. 

So God is giving us these coins. He is giving us a job to share with the world the amazing,  valuable, unbelievable love of Jesus. And one day he’s going to return for us. And he will ask us,  what did you do with what I gave you? 

If you look at your life right now, from the moment you decided to serve Jesus till today….  What have you done with that investment?  Have you shared it?  Have you helped grow God’s Kingdom?  Have you shown love to those who Seemingly don’t deserve your love?

I don’t know about you, but on the day Jesus asks me what I did, I do not want to reply that I hid his love away. That I kept it all to myself. I want to come running to him,  happy to show him what I did!  And again,  it’s not about being a minister or a missionary. It’s as easy as helping someone who needs help, praying with someone who needs prayer,  loving someone who feels unloved, inviting someone to church….  Its all very basic and it’s all very easy, but I think sometimes we get to busy, or feel to uncomfortable, and we let these moments and opportunities slip right past us.

So today I want you to remember what Jesus said,  to those who use well what they have been given,  will be given even more. The more you do for others, the more God wants to do for you!  On earth and in heaven!  God will most definitely bless you now for the work you are doing, but you’re also storing up rewards in heaven!! 

And also remember the flip side, And those who do nothing with what they are given,  even the little they have will be taken away. I can’t pretend to know the full extent to that statement, but I also don’t want to find out. I know that when God can trust us with little, he will give us a whole lot!!  So only makes since that if he can’t trust you at all,  it can easily be taken away.

I’m not into Christian scare tactics to lead people to Jesus. I’m just all about loving people and showing them they don’t need to change they just need to meet my amazing God. So don’t think I’m saying all that to scare you into telling people about Jesus. What I’m Actually trying to do is get you to focus on the awesome blessings God has for you for doing something that’s extremely easy and that you should want to do anyway!!!

I want to encourage you all today, to show someone how amazing Jesus is! In whatever way that is for you!!  Because I know for a fact,  that blessing someone else’s day, will actually bless yours even more!  And not to mention, God will be so pleased with even the smallest of actions, and I love to please the God who gave everything so that I could be free and saved forever! Amen!!

God is good,  oh so good!

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You are qualified, NOW!

Did you ever have a friend in high school that you really didn’t know why you hung out with them? Like, they were just mean to you for no reason but you still hung out? Well,  I had Michael. He was a JR and I was a Freshman. Michael and I loved the band CAKE, so when the new album came out, it didn’t take long for us both to have it memorized from start to end. He used to give me rides to school, lunch, and just pretty much everywhere I needed to go back then,  and the new Cake album was the CD we would always listen to on a daily basis.

Quick side note….  maybe something you didn’t know about me…. I’m pretty much a professional…. No a prodigy… of air drums! Oh yes! When I’m in my car, I give the performance of a lifetime every other mile! My wife tries to hide in the seat, my kids laugh, but I know what I have is truly a gift from GOD and I will not waste this gift…

Anyway, back to Michael and the CAKE album… when we would be in his car, I would want to bust out singing these awesome songs and just let loose with my PHENOMENAL air drum skills. But that’s not what happened at all… Track 1 starts to play, we both break out into air guitar… we notice each other, but say nothing. The song really starts to kick in… BOOM, We both lay into the air drums simultaneously! I catch a little look of hate out of Michael’s eye… (He can probably tell my skills are far superior to his.) Then the vocals, “WE KNOW OF ANCIENT RADIATION….” And Michael slams on the breaks, and pulls the car over! He turns off the radio and looks me directly in the eyes, points in my face, and says, “from now on you ONLY sing the back up parts, and You can ONLY play air keyboard or air trumpet!” Air TRUMPET?! Are you kidding me?! There is NOTHING cool about air trumpet! But he was older and It was his truck, so I had to oblige.

After that, you could catch me and Michael ridding around with him singing all the awesome songs, playing the best drum and guitar parts, and then there was me…. AHhhhhhh ahhhhhhh AHHHHHH ahhhh… It was absolutely HORRIBLE!

Whats funny is, I still like to play that record sometimes now on long road trips and my wife cant figure out why I’m pretending to play trumpet and keyboard and singing only Oohs and Aahs….

I tell you all this to say, I let Michael DISQUALIFY me from the good stuff. I let him tell me what I was and wasn’t good enough for and I let him dictate what I could and couldn’t do.

Now this is a funny story, but what I’m trying to get at is,  a lot of times, we let people put labels on us that dictate how we live our lives. We live in the most insecure generation in history that begs for others to tell us who we are or how good we are. Then we go live our lives based on what they said about us.

This may be my favorite thing to teach people right now, and I really want you all to dig in deep to what I’m about to share with you. I think God is about to give you a new revelation of who you are what you’re supposed to do with your life if you will be open to let Him.

Write this down somewhere. Post this on Facebook. Tweet it. Just don’t forget it. “WHO I AM IS NOT DEFINED BY WHAT I DO… ITS DEFINED BY WHO JESUS IS TO YOU”

I could say that over and over and over again… In fact, when I first heard Carl Lentz say it, I did. I repeated that so much that I made it a permanent thought in my mind even to this day.

So in order to know who Jesus is to us, we need to know what the Bible, which is God’s holy word, says He is…

Who is Jesus to you? To me… He is my Strength. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I also know that, HE who began a good work in me will carry it on until the day of completion. Philippians 1:6 So I know everything is going to work out for me in the END!

I also know that my God will supply all my needs according to HIS riches and Glory! Philippians 4:19 So I know I will have everything I need!

Therefor, if you know and believe all these things God said about us, (and there are many, many, more awesome things in the Bible God says about us) Then you no longer need the labels of this world, cause you’ve already been labeled by your God! It doesn’t matter what anyone else says about you, because you already know what God proved to you!

Maybe some of you have been clinging to, and holding on for so long what someone else has said about you, or said to you and you’ve let that be your identity. Maybe someone has said you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re not tall enough. You’re not rich enough. You’re not thin enough. You’re not pretty enough. Etc. And maybe its not even what someone else has said about you, but its what YOU have said about yourself that you’re believing! Maybe you have been holding onto what your parents said about you as kid, and you continue to still think those things today. Or maybe its what your boss said, or what you overheard said about you, or what you read online…  And this world can be mean and brutal place, but the truth is you can stand SOLID because you know what God has called you to be! It doesn’t matter what ANYONE else thinks of you!

The fact of the matter is, HE qualified you! Some of you need to get a clear picture of that, YOU ARE QUALIFIED! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, You are qualified right now. Just as you are at this very moment!! The things you have done and gone through are going to help You reach people I never could! My sins and issue are going to help me reach people you never could!

Don’t miss this! This is huge!

Some of you have been waiting for some big event, or some special moment to come before you start serving God. When in reality, He’s ready for you now!!!

Im sure youve heard this story a million times, but lets look at the story of Zacchaeus real quick…

Luke 19 1-10 MESSAGE

1-4 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

5-7 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”

9-10 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

So, if you notice here, Zacchaeus never did ONE thing right EXCPET collide with Jesus! He never went to church, never went to church camp, he never went to bible school, no prayer meeting, no life group, no online devotional… He just MET Jesus! That’s all he did, and his life was completely changed in an instant!

This is an awesome story and a great example of, you never know who might be “wanting to see Jesus”. Zaccheaus was a bad dude. It says he was a tax man, but if you know anything about tax collectors in those times, youll know that they were pretty much like gangsters now, or even 70s, Vegas style mafia! Zacc was one bad dude!!! He was feared by everyone including his own family! Who would have known he wanted to see Jesus? Who would have given him the time to even find out? There may be people you see everyday, or talk about everyday that you think are just bad people, or you think they would never want anything to do with Jesus or being a christian… But you never really know who may actually be wanting to get a glimpse of who Jesus is.

Jesus and the disciples weren’t planning on changing Zacchaess’ life that day when they woke up… well, maybe Jesus was… the point is, Jesus turned a point A to point B trip into a revival. A simple walk changed someones life forever. And all Jesus was to those people was a carpenter! No label, no nothing! He Just had the knowledge that he brings heaven with him!! That he has the hand of God on him! That he was qualified!

I know this getting extremely long, and I hope you’re still reading at this point, but I feel this is extremly important and I dont want to leave any of this out.

What if you stopped waiting to be qualified and thought maybe Gods qualified me NOW?

What if all the weakness in your life are the very things God’s going to USE to lead someone to Him?

What are you waiting for!?

I want you to know that God has labeled you. He has labeled you FORGIVEN. He has labeled you ACCEPTED. Some of you may be thinking, OK, cool, I’m gonna get my life together then Ill serve God, Then I’ll start living different, then I’ll start trying to help other people. As soon as I get over this addiction… As soon as I stop drinking… as soon as I quit this job… as soon as I… YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER, HE GOT IT TOGETHER FOR YOU!!!!

So I want to end with this… I’m gonna give you 2 words I want you to remove from your vocabulary…. Ready??

SOMEDAY and ALMOST

Those should be like curse words to you from now on! Some of you think, Someday I’m gonna get involved, Someday I’m gonna talk to my friend about Jesus, someday Im gonna make a change…

Or, Almost… I almost prayed for that person. I almost went and helped them out when they needed me. I almost went to church this week. I almost told them about Jesus…

All I know is I’m glad Jesus didn’t ALMOST save me!! He did!! He didn’t ALMOST die on the cross for my sins, HE DID!! He didn’t almost give everything so that you and I could be free, HE DID!! He wont SOMEDAY come back for us, HE WILL!!! He wont SOMEDAY bless your life, HE WILL NOW!! He wont SOMEDAY give you a peace and joy beyond all understanding, HE WILL NOW!!!!

So you really have no other reasonable response than to say Jesus you gave it all for me, Im gonna give my all for you!!

That is technically the end of the blog, however I want to pray over anyone who felt this was for them. If you feel that you have been living under the lie that someone has spoken over your life, or under a lie you’ve been telling yourself and if you wanna break that off, and start living under the truth that God is the one who labeled you accepted and forgiven. Or maybe you’ve been waiting for that big moment to finally give your life to God, and start serving Him and you realize now that you’re already qualified and you want to give your life to Jesus today… If you are either of those people then keep reading, this prayer is for you.

Jesus we thank you so much for your amazing grace and love. God we thank you so much for giving your Son as a sacrifice for our sins. God, I thank you even right now that you are breaking off all the lies that have been placed on our lives from others and ourselves telling us we aren’t good enough. God you told us who we are. God you labeled us accepted, forgiven, good enough, loved and qualified . God I thank you that we no longer have to look to anyone or anything else in this world for validation because you already gave it to us! God you are so awesome and holy! I think you God that from this moment on we can live knowing you are proud of us, you love us, and you’re ready to use us every single day!! And God, for those giving you their lives today, I thank you that you are making your home in their heart and qualifying them even right now as they say this prayer with me…. Dear Jesus I thank you for dieing for me. I thank you for giving your life so that my sins could be forgiven. Jesus take my life. I give everything to you. I realize you are all I need and I’m ready to give you my heart. Thank you for qualifying me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for labeling me accepted. I’m so happy to spend the rest of my life with you! In Jesus mighty name, AMEN!!

I would love to hear from you if you gave your life to Jesus today! I would love to praise God with you on making that amazing decision and I’d love to be praying for you! God is going to do so much with your life! Get ready for one amazing ride!!

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You are qualified!!

* I would like to site sermons by Carl Lentz and Judah Smith as reference for some of the teachings and quotes in this blog.

An evening to remember…

You know, my entire life I’ve looked up to bands and have always been a bit star struck with certain musicians or singers…  I even remember the first time I got to see the Alkaline Trio live and had tears in my eyes during the opening song…  And I remember the first time I got to meet and hangout with Matt Skiba, the lead singer for the Trio. It was nothing short of magical!

For over 30 years music had been the focal point of my life.  However,  about a year ago when I really started focusing on Jesus, I didn’t even notice at first,  but I started listening to music less and less and preaching and sermons more and more…. 

Now I hardly watch movies,  listen to music, play music or anything like that.  I’ve really gained such a hunger and desire for God, that the only entertainment I really want is more of Him! Weather at home or in my truck,  I’m listening to Judah Smith, Carl Lentz, Steven Furtick or Craig Groschel!

All of that to say,  it was such a cool feeling to get excited to go hear a preacher tonight!!  I looked forward to it,  I posted on Facebook about it,  I invited friends…  It was the same feeling I used to get for concerts,  but now for a preacher! 

They way I felt tonight going to see Judah Smith preach was nothing short of the first time I saw my favorite band! Taking my daughter to see a preacher and her being excited to hear the word of God like I was, was one of the best feelings in the world to me!!  Then when she and I got to meet Judah at the end of the night,  and we were both so exited, she was shaking,  and I was thrilled…. I just can’t explain how happy I was that God has given me such a joy and passion for his word!!!

This isn’t my normal type of blog…  I just wanted to reflect on this night,  and write about it so I remember the joy I felt tonight…  God is good! Oh so good!!!

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IF YOU SAY SO…

Today I want us to look at a scripture I’ve read many many times that spoke a little more to me this time when I read it. Also,  just to clarify, most of the time when I post scripture it will be from the message Bible, unless stated otherwise. I’ve heard many arguments about NOT using that version of the Bible, and we won’t get into that today. Just know that my opinion on the most holy version of the Bible, is the one you will ACTUALLY READ!

So,  let’s get started!

LUKE 5:4-8

4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”

5-7 Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come
help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.

Have you ever felt like you were doing what you were supposed to be doing, but not getting the results you hoped for? Not getting the results that maybe you felt God had promised you?

Me too!!

I’ve been there before and that’s exactly where Simon is in this story! It says
he had been out fishing HARD all night, and hadn’t even caught a MINNOW!!

That’s how it is too isn’t it?! Sometimes were expecting a Jaws size blessing and we don’t even get a minnow!!! So many times in our lives we hear God tell us to do something and at first we are
quick to respond,  but then when we don’t see the results WE hoped for
as SOON as we had hoped it would come…. And we stop doing what it
is we were supposed to be doing!!!

It may even be as simple as serving at church, Going to work everyday,
Tithing, Hanging out with your kids, Not screaming and cussing out the
guy who just cut you off!! It may be something that seems totally trivial to you at the time, but you really don’t know what God is going to do in those areas of your life if you JUST STAY FAITHFUL!!

You may feel like you’ve been out working HARD all night and haven’t even caught a minnow!!!

But the key to this whole verse is what Simon says next!!

Yes, I’ve been out working hard all night, and haven’t even caught a minnow, BUT IF YOU SAY SO, I’ll let out the nets…. BUT IF YOU SAY SO Jesus, Ill try again!! And it was no sooner said than done and he caught a HUGE haul of fish!!! So big it was breaking the nets and they
had to call over another boat!!!!

You may feel like, I work hard everyday, I’m doing every day what God has asked me to do and I see no reward! I see no change!!!! But I want to challenge you right now, even in those moments, when you feel beaten down, when you feel behind, when you feel at a loss, just say, BUT IF YOU SAY SO…. I will keep trying IF YOU SAY SO…. Ill keep pushing If YOU SAY SO….

You never know when God is going to turn your persistence into a miracle.  You never know when God is going to use your faithfulness to bring in the BIG catch. You never know what all God is lining up for you while you’re not seeing any changes. I want to encourage you to keep going. Stay strong. Stay persistent.

IF YOU SAY SO…

I lost my job a few years ago and I was collecting unemployment. It was only about $300 a week and that was not even close to enough for what I needed to pay my bills. But it was at that time I was really pressing in on God and He told me to start tithing. I argued at first
trying to explain to God that I really couldn’t afford to do that right now, and he let me know I really couldn’t afford not too.  He told me that if I tithe all my needs will be met….

I was very hesitant but I started tithing.  Every week I gave $30 and every week
I said God, if you say so… God you know my needs…. If you say so…

I did this all month. The 31st of that month was on a Sunday. I gave my
tithe that morning and that evening I told God, tomorrow is the 1st and I’m about $2000 short of all I need to pay my bills tomorrow. I needed rent money, phone bills, Internet bills… you name it…

I remember praying that night, God I did what you said, and You said you would take care of me. I gave it to him and I went to bed. The next morning I woke up, still $2000 short and I just praised God and thanked him for the day and let Him know that I trusted him with my situation.

It literally wasn’t 10mins after that prayer that my mom called and said she and her Husband had gone to the casino last night and she had won $50,000 and she wanted to give me a couple thousand dollars…

In an instant I went from not having caught a minnow all month to having more than my nets could hold!! All month it looked hopeless, BUT IF YOU SAY SO!!! I kept my promise to God and he answered! God was there waiting for me on the other side of my faithfulness and he is there for you too!!

It might haven taken a little longer than I
wanted, or even a little longer than I hoped. I may have had to sweat it out a bit, But God came through with the promise he made me in His perfect time!

I have tithed every week since that first day, and since that day my bills have always been taken care of. I’m not rich; I don’t have tons of money to blow extra every month. But I’m taken care of.

So just remember, when it seems like you’re working hard, day and night, and not even catching a minnow, Stay faithful to what you’re doing. Keep saying, IF YOU SAY SO… Cause you never know when God is going to turn that situation into the biggest catch of your life!

God is good!!

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Take 5!

So, this is my first “BLOG” in over 5 years! I used to write blogs and things all the time but honestly, when MySpace died, so did my blogs… I tried a few blog sites over the years but I never felt they had the traffic that MySpace did.

Anyway, my wife has started blogging recently and I really enjoy reading hers, So I thought I would start again! However, when I would write before, it was all strictly for comedy and trying to make people laugh!! I still love to make people laugh but my main goal in life now is more on showing people how much God loves them! So that’s what I intend to do here! And if I can make you laugh, that will just be a bonus… haha.

What I really want to do here is help people have a way to stay connected, or growing in Jesus. I completely believe most people go to church on Sunday and worship God and have every intention to get closer to him during the week as well, but then by default and being busy with life, we forget to actually do it. It can be hard to remember to grab your bible in the morning, or stop to read it through out the day… Or to even remember to go to a daily devotional website…. However, we all seem to find the time to go to Facebook and see what others are posting, or click on funny video links… So what I want to do is make this very accessible through Facebook and twitter so that you can take 5 mins in your day to click on the link and actually get encouraged by the word of God or get lifted up by something written here! Then hopefully you will share it with your friends as well!!

I remember in the 90’s there was a commercial on TV that said “Take 5 to stay alive!” meaning take 5 seconds to put on your seat belt and it may save your life. Well, I feel we should use this slogan again in our everyday life, meaning, take 5 minutes a day with God and STAY ALIVE! I totally believe if you aren’t growing, you’re dieing. Being close to God is so much more than going to church on Sundays. But for so many, that’s all we do. If we even do that…  We need to get into a habit of spending time with God every single day, even if its only 5mins a day. And I also believe, if you will commit to giving God 5mins a day, you will start to see your life change!! And then,  that 5 minutes may actually turn into 15, or 30, or even an hour! I remember when I first started trying to spend time with God daily, it seemed so difficult!! Even for just a couple of minuets it was so hard! I would get distracted, I would fall asleep, I wouldn’t remember what I read… But as time went on it got easier and easier. Now it is no problem for me to spend hours at a time reading the Bible and praying! It consumes me, its all I want to do!!

Now I’m not saying I want you all to spend hours a day in prayer or reading the Bible… I mean, unless that’s what you want… haha… I just want to give you all an easy way to spend some time learning about God during your week. Commit that much to God and see what he starts to do in your life! I hope to be able to post praise reports along the way and I want everyone to know you can contact me anytime with questions, prayer requests, or anything else you may need!

I hope that this blog will encourage you and help you through your days, as well as encourage me and help grow me into the Preacher of God’s word that I feel I am called to be!! I have a lot to teach, but even more to learn!

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God is good!!