Max Lucado

By Max Lucado

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Category: Christianity

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Subscribers: 503
Reviews: 2

Kir
 Apr 12, 2019

Greg H
 Oct 28, 2018
Excellent. Short but powerful devotionals, worth listening to over and over again.

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Episode Date
Let God Finish His Work
Suppose I invited you to experience the day of your dreams. Twenty-four hours on an island paradise with your favorite people, food, and activities.  The only stipulation?  You’ll need to begin the day with one millisecond of distress.  Would you accept my offer?  I think you would. A moment is nothing compared to twenty-four hours.  Compared to eternity, what is seventy, eighty, ninety years?  A finger snap compared to heaven. We point to our sick child, crutches, or famine.  “This makes no sense!”  Yet of all of his creation, how much have we seen?  Of all his work, how much do … Listen Now
Jun 05, 2020
God’s Definitive Answer
At some point we all stand at this intersection and ask this question: Is God good when the outcome is not?  The definitive answer to the goodness of God comes in the person of Jesus Christ.  He’s the only picture of God ever taken.  He pressed his fingers into the sore of the leper.  He inclined his ear to the cry of the hungry.  He didn’t retreat at the sight of pain, just the opposite.  Cruel accusations of jealous men?  Jesus knows their sting. Is it possible that the wonder of heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain? … Listen Now
Jun 04, 2020
God Is Always Good
When the cancer’s in remission, we say God is good.  When the pay raise comes, we announce God is good.  But is God only good when the outcome is?  Most, if not all of us, have a contractual agreement with God.  I pledge to be a good, decent person and God, in return, will: Save my child.  Heal my wife.  Protect my job.  Only fair, right?  Yet, when God fails to meet our expectations we’re left spinning in a tornado of questions.  In such times remember this: God is sovereign.  James 1:17 tells us He does not change like shifting shadows.  God … Listen Now
Jun 03, 2020
Wait on the Lord
Waiting is easier said than done.  Waiting doesn’t come easy for me.  I’ve been in a hurry all my life.  Pedal faster, drive quicker.  I used to wear my wristwatch on the inside of my arm so I wouldn’t lose the millisecond it took to turn my wrist.   I wonder if I could’ve obeyed God’s ancient command to keep the Sabbath holy.  To slow life to a crawl for twenty-four hours.  The Sabbath was created for frantic souls like me, people who need this weekly reminder: the world will not stop if you do.  Isaiah 40:31 promises: “Those who wait … Listen Now
Jun 02, 2020
Your Pain for a Higher Purpose
God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2)  Will your unhappy marriage become happy in a heartbeat? Well not likely.  Does God guarantee the absence of struggle?  Not in this life.  But He does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose. It won’t be quick.  Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers abandoned him.  He was 37 when he saw them again.  Another year passed before … Listen Now
Jun 01, 2020
God’s Ancient Answer for Racism
“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.”  Genesis 1:26 MSG Recent racially charged incidents including the tragic death of George Floyd have stirred ensuing riots and torn open the rawest of wounds–racism. Judging a person according to skin color is an ancient sin. For that reason, God gave this ancient solution. In the earliest words of Scripture, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, … Read More
May 31, 2020
God’s Waiting Room
We don’t like to wait.  We’re the giddy-up generation.  We frown at the person who takes eleven items to the ten item express checkout.  We drum our fingers while the microwave heats our coffee.  “Come on, come on, come on!”  We don’t like to wait.   But look around you.  Do you realize where we sit?  This planet is God’s waiting room.  The young couple?  Waiting to get pregnant.  The guy with the briefcase?  Waiting for work.  Waiting on God to give, to help.  Waiting on God to come. This is the land of waiting.   And you?  Are you in God’s … Listen Now
May 29, 2020
Your Mess Will Become Your Message
I like the conversation Bob Benson recounts in his book, See You at the House, about his friend who had a heart attack.  For a while it seemed his friend wouldn’t make it, but he recovered.  Months later Bob asked him, “Well, how did you like your heart attack?”  “It scared me to death, almost.”  “Would you do it again?”  “No!”  “Would you recommend it?” Bob asked.  “Definitely not.” And then Bob said, “Does your life mean more to you now than it did before?”  “Well, yeah.”  “You and your wife always had a beautiful marriage, but are you closer now more than … Listen Now
May 28, 2020
Let God Train You
All tests are temporary, limited in duration.  1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”  Some tests end on earth, but all tests will end in heaven, right?  In the meantime, let God train you.  He watches the way you handle the little jobs.  Jesus promised in Matthew 25:21, “If you’re faithful over a few matters, I will set you over many.” Do you aspire to do great things?  Excel in the small things.  Don’t complain.  Let others grumble, not you.  When you’re … Listen Now
May 27, 2020
God Delights in Our Development
Howard Rutledge came to appreciate his time as a POW in Vietnam.  He wrote:  “After twenty-eight days of torture, I could remember I had children but not how many.  I prayed for strength. During long periods of enforced reflection it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial.  My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for steak.  It took prison to show me how empty life is without God.” God is at work in each of us, whether we want it or not.  He takes no pleasure in making life hard. Philippians 1:6 says, “He doesn’t relish in our … Listen Now
May 26, 2020
Your Test Will Be Your Testimony
God can make something good out of your mess.  The test you’re experiencing will become your testimony.  2 Corinthians 1:4-5 says, “God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings alongside someone who’s going through hard times so we can be there for that person, just as God was there for us.” (MSG) You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting?  No, God enrolled you.  He’s taken the intended evil and rewoven it into this curriculum.  Why?  So you can teach others what He’s taught you.  Rather than say, “God, … Listen Now
May 25, 2020
Trust God’s Training
Each day has a pop quiz, and some seasons are like final exams.  Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness.  What is the purpose of the test?  James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”  Test, test, test! This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you’re in training.  God hasn’t forgotten you, just the opposite.  He has chosen to train you. … Listen Now
May 22, 2020
For God’s Purpose
In 1965 Howard Rutledge parachuted into North Vietnam and spent the next several years in a prison in Hanoi, locked in a filthy cell, breathing stale, rotten air, trying to keep his sanity.  Few of us will ever face the conditions of a POW camp.  Yet, to one degree or another, we all spend time behind bars.  After half-a-century of marriage, my friend’s wife began to lose her memory.  A young mother just called, diagnosed with lupus.  Why would God permit such imprisonment?  To what purpose? Jeremiah 30 in verse 24 promises, “The Lord will not turn back until He has … Listen Now
May 21, 2020
You Will Never Go Wrong Doing What’s Right
Dad, would you intentionally break the arm of your child?  Of course not!  Such an action violates every fiber of your moral being.  Yet if you engage in sexual activity outside your marriage, you’ll bring more pain into the life of your child than a broken bone. Mom, would you force your children to sleep outside on a cold night?  By no means.  Yet if you involve yourself in an affair, you’ll bring more darkness and chill into the lives of your children than a hundred winters. Actions have consequences.  Make this your rule of thumb: do what pleases God.  Your … Listen Now
May 20, 2020
Choose What Pleases God
Don’t make matters worse by doing something you’ll regret.  Years ago, a friend gave me this counsel: “Make a list of all the lives you would impact through your sexual immorality.”  I did.  Every so often I re-read it: Denalyn.  My three daughters.  My son-in-law.  My yet-to-be-born grandchildren.  Every person who’s ever read one of my books or heard my sermons.  My publishing team.  Our church staff. The list reminds me: one act of carnality is a poor exchange for a lifetime of lost legacy.  You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs.  You don’t … Listen Now
May 19, 2020
Finding God’s Presence
Depression can buckle the knees of the best of us, and a pastor’s wife is no exception.  Years ago my wife Denalyn battled depression.  Every day was gray.  Her life was loud and busy—two kids in elementary school, a third in kindergarten, and a husband who didn’t know how to get off the airplane and stay home.  The days took their toll. But Denalyn was never one to play games.  On a given Sunday when the depression was suffocating, she armed herself with honesty and went to church.  If people ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell them.  She … Listen Now
May 18, 2020
God Is Waiting on You
Whatever it is that’s troubling you, you’ll get through this.  Cancel your escape to the Himalayas. Forget the deserted island.  This is no time to be a hermit.  Pray.  Lean on God’s people.  Be a barnacle on the boat of God’s church.  Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Don’t quit, don’t hide.  Would the sick avoid the hospital?  The hungry avoid the food pantry?  Would the discouraged abandon God’s Hope Distribution Center?  Only at great risk. God is waiting on you, my friend.  He is with you. … Listen Now
May 15, 2020
Lay Claim to the Nearness of God
God surrounds us like the Pacific surrounds an ocean floor pebble.  He is everywhere: above, below, on all sides.  We choose our response—rock or sponge?  Resist or receive?  Everything within you says Harden your heart. Run from God, resist God, blame God.  But be careful – hard hearts never heal.  Spongy ones do.  Open every pore of your soul to God’s presence.  Here’s how: Lay claim to the nearness of God.  He says in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Grip this promise like the parachute it is.  Repeat it over and over until it trumps … Listen Now
May 14, 2020
God Is Not Far From Us
You will never go where God is not.  Envision the next few hours—where will you be?  In a school?  God indwells the classroom.  On the highway?  His presence lingers among the traffic. In the operating room, the executive boardroom, the in-laws’ living room?  God will be there. Acts 17:27 says, “He is not far from each of us.”  Each of us.  God doesn’t play favorites.  From the masses on city streets to isolated villagers in valleys and jungles, all people can enjoy God’s presence.  But many don’t.  They plod through life as if there is no God to love them.  As … Listen Now
May 13, 2020
The Prescription for Justice
The Bible says “vengeance is God’s; He will repay” (Romans 12:19).  What a great reminder. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice, it just entrusts it to God.  We tend to give too much or too little, but the God of justice has the precise prescription.  God can discipline your abusive boss. He can soften your angry parent. He can bring your ex to his knees or her senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice, it just entrusts it to God. Unlike us, God never gives up on a person. Never. Long after we’ve moved on, God is still there, probing the conscience, stirring conviction, always … Listen Now
May 12, 2020
God’s Unchanging Character
We pass much of life at mid-altitude.  Most of life is Monday-ish obligations of carpools, expense reports, and recipes.  Occasionally we summit a peak: our wedding, a promotion, the birth of a child.  But when the housing market crashes or a test report comes back negative, before we know it, we discover what the bottom looks like. In Psalm 139:7 David asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?”  You’ll never go where God is not.  Acts 17:27 reminds us, “He is not far from each of us.”  The Psalmist determined, “When I am afraid, I … Listen Now
May 11, 2020
God Keeps His Promise
All of a sudden you’re cleaning out your desk.  The voices of doubt and fear raise their volume. “How will I pay the bills?” you think.  “Who’s going to hire me?”  Do you think you’ve lost it all? Determine not to make this mistake.  You haven’t lost it all.  Romans 11:29 promises God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.  What do you have that you cannot lose? Here’s what you tell yourself: “I’m still God’s child.  My life is more than this life.  These days are a vapor, a passing breeze.  This will eventually pass.  God … Listen Now
May 07, 2020
You Are God’s First Choice
I’m entering my fourth decade as a pastor, and I’ve learned the question to ask.  If we were having this talk over coffee and you were telling me about your tough times, I’d lean across the table and say, “What do you still have that you cannot lose?”  The difficulties have taken much away, I get that.  But there’s one gift your troubles cannot touch—your destiny.  Can we talk about it? You are God’s child.  He saw you, picked you, and placed you.  Jesus said, “You did not choose Me.  I chose you.”  I remember a groom once leaned over, just minutes … Listen Now
May 06, 2020
Sometimes God Takes His Time
Sometimes God takes His time.  One-hundred and twenty years to prepare Noah for the flood. Eighty years to prepare Moses for his work.  God called young David to be king, but returned him to the sheep pasture.  He called Paul to be an apostle and then isolated him in Arabia for fourteen years. How long will God take with you?  His history is redeemed, not in minutes, but in lifetimes.  We fear the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave.  Will this sky ever brighten?  This load ever lighten? Life in the pit … Listen Now
May 05, 2020
Deliverance Comes
You’ll get through this!  You fear you won’t.  We all do.  We feel stuck, trapped, locked in.  Will we ever exit this pit?  Yes!  Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras— bold, brassy, and everywhere. Out of the lion’s den for Daniel, the whale’s belly for Jonah, and prison for Paul. Through the Red Sea onto dry ground. Through the wilderness, through the valley of the shadow of death. Through! It’s a favorite word of God’s! Isaiah 43:2 says,  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not … Listen Now
May 04, 2020
Deliverance Comes
You’ll get through this!  You fear you won’t.  We all do.  We feel stuck, trapped, locked in.  Will we ever exit this pit?  Yes!  Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras— bold, brassy, and everywhere. Out of the lion’s den for Daniel, the whale’s belly for Jonah, and prison for Paul. Through the Red Sea onto dry ground. Through the wilderness, through the valley of the shadow of death. Through! It’s a favorite word of God’s! Isaiah 43:2 says,  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not … Listen Now
May 04, 2020
A Mess for God to Use
Twenty years of marriage, three kids, and he’s gone. Traded in for a younger model.  She told me her story, and we prayed.  Then I said, “It won’t be painless or quick. But God will use this mess for good. With God’s help you’ll get through this.” Remember Joseph?  Genesis 37:4 says his brothers hated him.  Far from home, they cast him into a pit, leaving him for dead. A murderous cover-up from the get go.  Joseph’s pit came in the form of a cistern.  Yours may be in the form of a diagnosis, a foster home, a divorce.  Pits have no easy exit. … Listen Now
May 01, 2020
Remind God of His Promises
I remember sitting in high school Algebra class staring at my textbook as if it were written in Mandarin Chinese.  Fortunately I had a patient teacher.  He issued the invitation and stuck to it: “If you cannot solve a problem, come to me and I will help you.”  I wore a trail between his desk and mine.  I would remind him, “Remember how you promised you would help?”  I still had the problem, mind you, but I entrusted the problem to one who knew how to solve it. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said, “Put the Lord in remembrance of … Listen Now
Apr 30, 2020
Cast Your Anxiety on God
On my good days I begin my morning with a cup of coffee and a conversation with God.  I look ahead into the day and make my requests.  I am meeting with so-and-so at 10:00AM.  Would you give me wisdom?  This afternoon I need to finish my sermon.  Would you please go ahead of me?  Then if a sense of stress surfaces during the day, I remind myself, Oh, I gave this challenge to God earlier today.  He has already taken responsibility for the situation.  I can be grateful, not fretful. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him … Listen Now
Apr 29, 2020
Cast Your Anxiety on God
On my good days I begin my morning with a cup of coffee and a conversation with God.  I look ahead into the day and make my requests.  I am meeting with so-and-so at 10:00AM.  Would you give me wisdom?  This afternoon I need to finish my sermon.  Would you please go ahead of me?  Then if a sense of stress surfaces during the day, I remind myself, Oh, I gave this challenge to God earlier today.  He has already taken responsibility for the situation.  I can be grateful, not fretful. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him … Listen Now
Apr 29, 2020
Your Problem is a Prayer-Sized Challenge
Praying specifically about a problem creates a lighter load.  Many of our anxieties are threatening because they are ill-defined and vague.  If we can distill the challenge into a phrase, we bring it down to size. It’s one thing to pray, “Lord, please bless my meeting tomorrow.” It’s another thing to pray, “I have a conference with my supervisor at 2:00 PM tomorrow.  She intimidates me.  Would you please grant me a spirit of peace so I can sleep well tonight?  Grant me wisdom so I can enter the meeting prepared.  And would you soften her heart toward me and give … Listen Now
Apr 28, 2020
Your Problem is a Prayer-Sized Challenge
Praying specifically about a problem creates a lighter load.  Many of our anxieties are threatening because they are ill-defined and vague.  If we can distill the challenge into a phrase, we bring it down to size. It’s one thing to pray, “Lord, please bless my meeting tomorrow.” It’s another thing to pray, “I have a conference with my supervisor at 2:00 PM tomorrow.  She intimidates me.  Would you please grant me a spirit of peace so I can sleep well tonight?  Grant me wisdom so I can enter the meeting prepared.  And would you soften her heart toward me and give … Listen Now
Apr 28, 2020
When You See God at Work
When God responds to our specific prayer in specific ways, our faith grows.  The book of Genesis relates the wonderful prayer of Abraham’s servant.  He was sent to find a wife for Abraham’s son. How does a servant select a wife for someone else?  This servant prayed about it.  “O Lord God of my master, Abraham.”  I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water.  This is my request.  I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug of water.’  If she says, ‘Yes, … Listen Now
Apr 27, 2020
When You See God at Work
When God responds to our specific prayer in specific ways, our faith grows.  The book of Genesis relates the wonderful prayer of Abraham’s servant.  He was sent to find a wife for Abraham’s son. How does a servant select a wife for someone else?  This servant prayed about it.  “O Lord God of my master, Abraham.”  I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water.  This is my request.  I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug of water.’  If she says, ‘Yes, … Listen Now
Apr 27, 2020
Pray Specific Prayers
A father was teaching his three-year-old daughter the Lord’s Prayer.  She would repeat the lines after him.  Finally she decided to go solo.  She carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer.  “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from e-mail.” (…not a bad prayer). God calls us to pray about everything!  We tell God exactly what we want.  We pray the particulars. When the wedding ran low on wine, Mary wasn’t content to say, “Help us, Jesus.”  She was specific:  “They  have no more wine” (John 2:3).  A specific prayer is a serious … Listen Now
Apr 24, 2020
Pray Specific Prayers
A father was teaching his three-year-old daughter the Lord’s Prayer.  She would repeat the lines after him.  Finally she decided to go solo.  She carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer.  “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us from e-mail.” (…not a bad prayer). God calls us to pray about everything!  We tell God exactly what we want.  We pray the particulars. When the wedding ran low on wine, Mary wasn’t content to say, “Help us, Jesus.”  She was specific:  “They  have no more wine” (John 2:3).  A specific prayer is a serious … Listen Now
Apr 24, 2020
God Hears Your Prayers
God loves the sound of your voice—always!  God never places you on hold or tells you to call again later.  He doesn’t hide when you call.  He hears your prayers.  For that reason “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).   With this verse the apostle calls us to take action against anxiety.  We tell God exactly what we want.  We pray the particulars of our problems.  What Jesus said to the blind man, he says to us: “What do you want me to do for … Listen Now
Apr 23, 2020
God Hears Your Prayers
God loves the sound of your voice—always!  God never places you on hold or tells you to call again later.  He doesn’t hide when you call.  He hears your prayers.  For that reason “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).   With this verse the apostle calls us to take action against anxiety.  We tell God exactly what we want.  We pray the particulars of our problems.  What Jesus said to the blind man, he says to us: “What do you want me to do for … Listen Now
Apr 23, 2020
Ask Your Father for Help
In his fine book, The Dance of Hope, Bill Frey remembers the day he tried to pull a stump out of the Georgia dirt.  One of his chores as a twelve-year-old was to search for stumps of pine trees that had been cut down and chop them into kindling.  But there was one root system he just couldn’t pull out of the ground.  He was still struggling when his father came over to watch.   “I think I see your problem,” the dad said.  “What’s that?” the son asked.  “You’re not using all your strength.”  Bill exploded and told him how hard he’d … Listen Now
Apr 22, 2020
Ask Your Father for Help
In his fine book, The Dance of Hope, Bill Frey remembers the day he tried to pull a stump out of the Georgia dirt.  One of his chores as a twelve-year-old was to search for stumps of pine trees that had been cut down and chop them into kindling.  But there was one root system he just couldn’t pull out of the ground.  He was still struggling when his father came over to watch.   “I think I see your problem,” the dad said.  “What’s that?” the son asked.  “You’re not using all your strength.”  Bill exploded and told him how hard he’d … Listen Now
Apr 22, 2020
Start with Jesus
We can calmly take our concerns to God because he is as near as our next breath!  This was the reassuring message from the miracle of the bread and the fish.  In an event crafted to speak to the anxious heart, Jesus told his disciples to do the impossible: feed five thousand people. Now you aren’t facing five thousand hungry bellies, but you are facing a deadline in two days, a loved one in need of a cure.  On one hand you have a problem.  On the other you have a limited quantity of wisdom, patience, or time.  Typically you’d get … Listen Now
Apr 21, 2020
Start with Jesus
We can calmly take our concerns to God because he is as near as our next breath!  This was the reassuring message from the miracle of the bread and the fish.  In an event crafted to speak to the anxious heart, Jesus told his disciples to do the impossible: feed five thousand people. Now you aren’t facing five thousand hungry bellies, but you are facing a deadline in two days, a loved one in need of a cure.  On one hand you have a problem.  On the other you have a limited quantity of wisdom, patience, or time.  Typically you’d get … Listen Now
Apr 21, 2020
As Near as Our Next Breath
God repeatedly pledges his presence to his people.  To Abram, God said, “Do not be afraid. . .I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1).  God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  In the ultimate declaration of communion, God called himself Immanuel, which means, God with us.  He became flesh.  He became sin.  He defeated the grave.  He is still with us.  In the form of his Spirit, he comforts, teaches, and convicts. Don’t assume God is watching from a distance.  Isolation creates … Listen Now
Apr 20, 2020
As Near as Our Next Breath
God repeatedly pledges his presence to his people.  To Abram, God said, “Do not be afraid. . .I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1).  God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  In the ultimate declaration of communion, God called himself Immanuel, which means, God with us.  He became flesh.  He became sin.  He defeated the grave.  He is still with us.  In the form of his Spirit, he comforts, teaches, and convicts. Don’t assume God is watching from a distance.  Isolation creates … Listen Now
Apr 20, 2020
Let Your Gentleness Be Evident to All
How many disasters have been averted because one person refused to buckle under the strain? It’s this kind of composure Paul is summoning when he says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:5-6). The Greek word translated here as “gentleness” describes a temperament that’s seasoned and mature.  It envisions an attitude fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered.  This gentleness is “evident to all.”  Family members take note.  Your friends sense a difference. Coworkers benefit from it. The gentle person is sober minded and clear thinking.  The contagiously calm … Listen Now
Apr 17, 2020
Let Your Gentleness Be Evident to All
How many disasters have been averted because one person refused to buckle under the strain? It’s this kind of composure Paul is summoning when he says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:5-6). The Greek word translated here as “gentleness” describes a temperament that’s seasoned and mature.  It envisions an attitude fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered.  This gentleness is “evident to all.”  Family members take note.  Your friends sense a difference. Coworkers benefit from it. The gentle person is sober minded and clear thinking.  The contagiously calm … Listen Now
Apr 17, 2020
It Is Well
Sometime ago I made a special visit to the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.  I wanted to see the handwritten lyrics that hang on the wall, framed and visible for all to see.  Horatio Spafford wrote them, never imagining they would become the words to one of the world’s best-loved hymns. On December 2, 1873, he received a telegram from his wife that began, “Saved alone.  What shall I do?”  The ship she was on had collided with another ship and had sunk.  Their four daughters drowned and Anna survived.  While sailing on the ship to bring her home, Spafford … Listen Now
Apr 16, 2020
God Is Not Finished
In the famous lace shops of Brussels, Belgium, certain rooms are dedicated to the spinning of the finest lace, with the most delicate of patterns.  These rooms are completely dark, except for a shaft of natural light from a solitary window.  Only one spinner sits in the room.  The light falls on the pattern while the worker remains in the dark. Has God permitted a time of darkness in your world?  You look but you cannot see him.  You see only the fabric of circumstances woven and interlaced.  You might question the purpose behind this thread or that.  But be assured, … Listen Now
Apr 15, 2020
God Has a Higher Purpose
No moment, event, or detail falls outside of God’s supervision.  God is the one who “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  He isn’t making up this plan as he goes along.  Daniel 5:21 says, “The most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will.” So if God is in charge, why does he permit challenges to come our way?  Wouldn’t an almighty God prevent them?  Not if they serve his higher purpose!   The ultimate example is the death … Listen Now
Apr 14, 2020
Rejoice, God is Always Sovereign
Paul urges us to “rejoice in the Lord always!” (Philippians 4:4).  Not just on paydays, good days, or birthdays.  But rejoice in the Lord always.  Rejoice in the Lord always?  Yeah, right, mumbles the person from the hospital bed.  How? sighs the unemployed dad.  Always? questions the mother of the baby born with a disability. It’s one thing to rejoice in the Lord when life is good, but when the odds are against you?  It’s not easy, but it is possible.  Lay claim to the promise of God in Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” … Listen Now
Apr 13, 2020
Easter Canceled? Not on Your Life
There has been much discussion recently over what to believe. Are the coronavirus numbers accurate? Are the reports from other countries dependable? Dare we be optimistic about treatments and vaccines? Like you, I’ve struggled to separate caution from overreaction. There was one headline, however, that we can quickly discard. Don’t believe it. Don’t fall for it. The message just ain’t true. Here it is: “Easter Canceled.” The article detailed the sad reality that most church sanctuaries will be closed this coming Sunday. Hence, the announcement, “Easter Canceled.” Hence, my reply, “Not on your life, friend.” Easter cannot be canceled. The … Read More
Apr 10, 2020
A Lesson in Trust
In one of Henri Nouwen’s books, he tells about the lesson of trust he learned from a great trapeze artist.  The acrobat said, “The flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything.  I have simply to reach out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron.”  The flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.” In the great trapeze act of salvation, God is the catcher, and we are the flyers.  We trust.  Period.  We rely solely upon God’s ability to catch us.  And as … Listen Now
Apr 10, 2020
But God is Good
There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.  Your future matters more than your past!  God’s grace is greater than your sin.  You thought the problem was your calendar, your marriage, your job.  In reality, it’s this unresolved guilt!  Don’t indulge it.  Don’t drown in the bilge of your own condemnation.  What you did was not good.  But your God is good.  And He will forgive you. He is ready to write a new chapter in your life.  Say with Paul, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end … Listen Now
Apr 09, 2020
He Took My Sin
Denalyn and I had enjoyed a nice dinner at a local restaurant. As we received our bill, a church member spotted us and came over. After we chatted a few moments, he took our bill.  “I’ll take this,” he said.  Guess what?  I let him do what he wanted to do.  I let him take it away. Someday we will stand before God.  All of us will be present.  All of us will have to give an account for our lives.  Every thought, every deed, every action.  Were it not for the grace of Christ, I would find this to be … Listen Now
Apr 08, 2020
Great Grace
I can bear witness to the power of God’s grace!  I could take you to the church, to the section of seats in the church auditorium.  I might even be able to find the very seat in which I was sitting when this grace found me.  I was a twenty-year-old college sophomore, living with a concrete block of guilt that had made a mess of my life. But then I heard a preacher describe the divine grace that is greater than sin.  At the end of the message he asked if anyone would like to come forward and receive this … Listen Now
Apr 07, 2020
The Problem with Unresolved Guilt
What kind of person does unresolved guilt create? An anxious one, forever hiding, running, denying, pretending. As one man admitted, “I was always living a lie for fear someone might see me for who I really was and think less of me.  I hid behind my super spirituality but this lie was exhausting and anxiety producing.” Unresolved guilt will turn you into a miserable, weary, angry, fretful mess.  In a psalm David wrote after his affair with Bathsheba, the kind said, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.  Day and night your hand … Listen Now
Apr 06, 2020
Cast Yourself Upon the Grace of Christ
Guilt sucks the life out of our souls.  Grace restores it.  No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul.  He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians—he was an ancient version of a terrorist. Paul gave his guilt to Jesus.  Period.  He surrendered it to Jesus.  As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive … Listen Now
Apr 03, 2020
Our Sovereign God
Many years ago I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a longtime missionary pilot.  Just to say, Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft!  I could not get comfortable.  I kept thinking the plane was going to crash in the jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas.  I kept shifting around, looking down and gripping my seat—as if that would help. Finally the pilot had enough of my squirming.  He looked over at me and shouted over the airplane noise, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle.  You might as well trust me to fly … Listen Now
Apr 02, 2020
God is Testing the Church
I think God is testing the church.  By that I mean He is strengthening us.  He’s calling upon us to be the people He desires for His church to be. You will remember that when Jesus fed that crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children, the gospel tells us that Jesus tested his followers by telling them to feed those people.  They could have and they should have looked to him and said, “Lord, you can do this.”  And so that’s the call of the church right now…to be the people who come to God and say, God we … Listen Now
Apr 01, 2020
Surviving April
This isn’t the April we wanted. We wanted spring training. We wanted to go to church on Easter Sunday. We wanted a weekend trip to see the spring flowers. We wanted the Masters golf tournament. I love the Masters. I don’t just like it, I love it! I keep pictures of Amen Corner on my computer screen. I love April. But this April? This isn’t the April we wanted. But this is the April we’ve been handed: daily reports of disease and death. An economy that’s in freefall. Dwindling supplies. Another 30 days of distance and isolation. And, most of … Read More
Mar 31, 2020
God is Always Sovereign
I love what Chuck Swindoll always says.  That “God is not sometimes sovereign.  He is always sovereign.”  The challenge that awaits us is to not give in to despair…to not do foolish things, but to trust. The key question that we all need to be asking right now is, “What is God saying to us?”  I think He’s talking to the whole world.  I think He’s telling us that our priorities have gotten misplaced.   We need to dislodge those priorities and return to our heavenly Father.  I think He’s calling us back to Himself.  I do…I do. Is this a … Listen Now
Mar 31, 2020
Feed Your Faith, Not Your Fears
I’m just checking in to make sure that you are feeding your faith more than you are feeding your fears. You know if you feed your faith, your fears will starve.  But if you feed your fears, your faith will.  So we have to make an intentional decision during this season of high anxiety and turbulence to encourage one another and to feed one another’s faith.  And also we need to take the initiative to feed our own faith. So I encourage you my friend, I encourage you.  Don’t give into despair.  Don’t give into anxiety.  We’re gonna get through … Listen Now
Mar 30, 2020
I Will Give You Peace
There is a story in the Bible about some men in a boat who were caught in the midst of a big storm. They are afraid for their lives. All hope seems lost. But then they call on Jesus who is in the boat with them. He answers their call and speaks peace to the storm. He calms the raging sea around them, and most importantly, the fear in their hearts. God wants to bring peace into the storms in our lives. He doesn’t want us living in fear or losing our hope. When the storm rages around us, we can find comfort knowing … Listen Now
Mar 27, 2020
Do Not Fear
In times like these, it is easy to let fear grip our hearts. Fear of sickness. Fear of lack. Fear of the unknown. But when fear and anxiety try to plague our every thought, we can remember this one important truth—  God is with us.  He his with us. He is for us. He loves us. And he invites us to enter into his rest. We are not alone. When the storm rages, he offers us peace and refuge in the midst of it. He promises hope and strength to those who turn to him.  What is God saying in this crisis?” Among the … Listen Now
Mar 26, 2020
The Unchanging Creator is For Us
Everything is changing! Flight schedules are changing. The economy is changing. The school schedule is changing. Changes, everywhere. But what hasn’t changed? God’s love for us. The four most welcome words in the Bible are God is for us.  GOD is for us—  the unchanging Creator is FOR us. His love for us is constant and unchanging.  He’s not plotting to take us down. He wants to build us up. He hasn’t turned away from us.  He has turned toward us and is inviting us to run to him for peace and strength. Among all the changes in this season, find comfort in … Listen Now
Mar 25, 2020
Peace in the Face of Uncertainty
Everything is being canceled. The NBA games. The NHL games. March Madness. Broadway plays. Flights. Cruises. Cancellations, everywhere! But can I tell you the one thing that has not and WILL not be canceled? God will never cancel his promise to take care of us. Do not interpret the presence of problems as the absence of God. God has promised, “Never will I never leave you, never will I forsake you.” He is with us. He is for us. He offers us peace in the face of uncertainty, and hope in exchange for heaviness. The question of this crisis is simply this, what is … Listen Now
Mar 24, 2020
He is Our Refuge and Strength
In this season, talk of shortages is everywhere we turn. A shortage of hospital beds. A shortage of supplies in the grocery stores. A shortage of the needed vaccine. A shortage of answers for the questions everyone is asking. But with all the talk of shortages, there is one thing of which we will never run short… We will never run short of God’s love.  He is with us. He loves us. He is strengthening us. And he is watching over us. When it feels like we don’t have what we need, God promises to provide for us. When it feels like things are falling … Listen Now
Mar 23, 2020
Please, Lord, Do it Again
Dear Lord, We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a horrible dream. How could this have happened? Just a moment ago moms were packing school lunches.  Just a moment ago chefs were planning the day’s menu.  Just a moment ago arenas were noisy, brides were walking down the aisle, and neighbors were discussing the weather. In just a moment, everything changed.  A phantom disease invaded our peace, our plans, and our security.  In a heartbeat our language and behaviors were upended.  Even young children understand the term “social distancing,” “quarantine,” … Read More
Mar 21, 2020
Rejoice in the Lord Always
If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul!  Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read, and awaiting trial before the Roman emperor.  His future is as gloomy as his jail cell. Yet to read his words, you would think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel.  His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint.  Not one!  Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same.  “Rejoice in the Lord always.  … Listen Now
Mar 20, 2020
God Oversees Your World
It is not God’s will that you face every day with dread and trepidation!  I have a childhood memory that I cherish.   My father loved corn bread and buttermilk.  About ten o’clock each night he would meander into the kitchen and crumble a piece of corn bread into a glass of buttermilk, stand at the counter and drink it. Then he’d make the rounds to the front and back doors, checking the locks.  Once everything was secure, he would step into the bedroom I shared with my brother and say something like, “Everything is secure, boys. You can go to … Listen Now
Mar 19, 2020
A New Chapter for Your Life
The anxious heart says, “There’s trouble out there!”  So you don’t sleep well.  You don’t laugh often.  Misfortune lurks; it’s just a matter of time.  And, as a result, you’re anxious.  You are not alone.  Our society is crippled by anxiety.  How can this be?  Our cars are safer than ever.  We regulate food and water and electricity.  Yet if worry were an Olympic event, we’d win the gold medal! Keep in mind that anxiety is not a sin; it’s an emotion.  It can, however, lead to sinful behavior.  When we numb our fears with six-packs or food binges, when … Listen Now
Mar 18, 2020
Anxiety Ain’t Fun
Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs.  The sky is falling, and it’s falling disproportionately on you.  Anxiety ain’t fun! One would think Christians would be exempt from anxiety, but we are not.  It’s enough to make us wonder if the apostle Paul was out of touch with reality when he wrote in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing.” Is that what he meant?  Not exactly.  He wrote the phrase in the present active tense— implying an ongoing state…as if to say Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst.  The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, … Listen Now
Mar 17, 2020
No Ordinary Night
Only one word describes the night Jesus came—ordinary.  No reason to expect a surprise.  An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds.  And were it not for a God who loves to hook an extra on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. But God dances amid the common.  And that night he did a waltz.  The black sky exploded with brightness.  Trees that had been shadows jumped into clarity.  Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity.  One minute the shepherd was dead asleep.  The next he was rubbing his eyes and … Listen Now
Mar 16, 2020
A Great Descent
Gabriel had his orders. Take the message to Mary.  She must be a special girl, he assumed.  But Gabriel was in for a shock.  Mary was a Jewish peasant who’d barely outgrown her acne and had a crush on a guy named Joe. But Gabriel followed through with his assignment.  He wasn’t about to rebel against his boss, who also happened to control the universe.  He visited Mary and told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS” … Listen Now
Mar 13, 2020
God Became a Baby
Prior to Bethlehem God gave us his messengers, his teachers, and his words.  But in the manger, God gave us himself.  Extraordinary, don’t you think? I imagine even Gabriel scratched his head at the idea of “God with us.” Gabriel surely was not one to question his God-given missions.  When God sent, Gabriel went.  And when the word got out that God was to become a human, Gabriel was no doubt enthused.  He could envision the moment!  The Messiah in a blazing chariot.  The King descending on a fiery cloud.  An explosion of light from which the Messiah would emerge. … Listen Now
Mar 12, 2020
God is With Us
Jesus understands you.  He’s faced hunger, sorrow, and death and wants to face them with you. Scripture says Jesus “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). If Jesus understands our weaknesses, then so does God.  Jesus was God in human form.  He was God with us.  That is why Jesus is called Immanuel.  Immanu means “with us.”  El refers to Elohim, or God.  So Immanuel is not an “above-us God” or a “somewhere-in-the-neighborhood God.”  He came as the “with-us God.”  All of us. “I am with you … Listen Now
Mar 11, 2020
Jesus Became Flesh
John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (The MSG). Let’s begin where the earthly ministry of Jesus began— in the womb of Mary.  The God of the universe, for a time, kicked against the wall of that womb.  He was born in the poverty of a peasant and spent his first night in the feed trough of a cow.  He didn’t have to, did he?  Jesus could have become a voice— a voice in the air.  He could have become a message— a message in the night.  Jesus could have become a light— a … Listen Now
Mar 10, 2020
Interrupt the Downward Spiral
Anxiety is an out of control thought pattern.  It settles over the mind like a severe weather system, spewing thunderclouds and casting lightning bolts.  Life feels like an airplane in a tailspin.  It feeds on what-ifs and worst-case scenarios. What if the Coronavirus is unstoppable.  What if a pandemic takes over?  I’ll be quarantined for weeks!  The economy is sliding into a bear market.  I’ll lose my health.  I’ll lose my job.  I’ll lose it all.  How will I survive on unemployment? Down. Down. Down.  Don’t give in to this thought pattern.  It’s a sinkhole. Don’t catastrophize your way into … Read More
Mar 09, 2020
Let’s Talk About Jesus
Jesus:  J-E-S-U-S. Five letters.  Six hours.  One cross.  Three nails.  We live because of Jesus.  We Live because he lives; hope because he works; and matter because he matters.  To be saved by grace is to be saved by Jesus—not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, our Redeemer who will sweep into heaven anyone who gives him the nod. Timid Jesus?  Not on your life.  Timid Jesus happens only on Christmas and Easter.  The real Jesus claims every tick of the clock.  Timid Jesus winks at sin.  The real Jesus nukes it.  Timid Jesus … Listen Now
Mar 09, 2020
The Real Jesus
The Jesus of many people is small enough to be contained in an aquarium that fits on the cabinet. He never causes trouble or demands attention. If you want a goldfish bowl of Jesus, steer clear of the real Jesus Christ.  He changes everything! No, Jesus doesn’t make you sexy, skinny, or clever.  Jesus doesn’t change what you see in the mirror.  He changes how you see what you see.  He will not be silenced, packaged, or predicted.  He is the pastor who chased people out of church. He is the prophet who had a soft spot for crooks and … Listen Now
Mar 06, 2020
Just Jesus
Is Peter speaking to us when he urges, “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it” (1 Peter 2:11)? We know our Father’s name, and he has claimed us, but he has yet to come for us.  So here we are.  Caught between what is and what will be. No longer orphans but not yet home.  What do we do in the meantime?  Indeed, it can be just that—a mean time.  Time made mean with disease, deceit, death, and debt.  How do we live in the meantime?  How do we keep our hearts headed home? … Listen Now
Mar 05, 2020
Joint Heirs With Christ
God sought you.  He searched you out.  Before you knew you needed adopting, he’d already filed the papers.  Listen to this passage from Romans 8:29, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” What’s more, he covered the adoption fees. “God sent him, speaking of Christ, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:5). The moment we accept his offer we go from … Listen Now
Mar 04, 2020
Look at Jesus
These words are found in the book of Psalms: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23–24). Do the words of the psalmist surprise you?  Where did we get this idea of a God who does not care, who is not near?  We certainly didn’t get it from Jesus. Jesus Christ is the perfect picture of God.  Want to know how God feels about the sick?  Look at Jesus.  What angers God?  Look at Jesus.  Does God … Listen Now
Mar 03, 2020
He Knows You
Are you open to the idea of a Father, a heavenly Father, who knows you?  A soon-to-be home that awaits you?  Would you consider this life- changing idea?  The almighty and all-knowing God has set his affection on you.  Every detail about you he knows.  Your interests, your hang- ups, your fears, and your failures…He knows you! About his children God says, “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9).  King David wrote, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me…you knew my path” (Psalm 142:3). Do you know this God who knows you?  He … Listen Now
Mar 02, 2020
Prayer for Repentance from Arrogance
I’m wondering if you’d be willing to join me in a prayer of repentance—repentance from arrogance.  What have we done that God didn’t first do?  What do we have that God didn’t first give us?  Have any of us ever built anything that God could not destroy?  Have we created any monument that the Master of the stars can’t reduce to dust? God asked this question through the Prophet Isaiah: “To whom will you compare me?  Or who is my equal?  says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these? He who … Listen Now
Feb 28, 2020
Why God Hates Pride
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Proverbs 26:12).  God hates pride.  How do we explain God’s abhorrence of the haughty heart?  Simple.  God resists the proud because the proud resist God.  Arrogance will not admit to sin. The heart of pride never confesses, never repents, never asks for forgiveness.  Pride is the hidden reef that shipwrecks the soul. Pride comes at a high price.  Don’t pay it.  Choose instead to stand on the offer of grace.  “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” … Listen Now
Feb 27, 2020
When You Speak, God Listens
You may find yourself in an impossible situation; outnumbered and outmaneuvered.  You want to quit.  Could I implore you to memorize this promise and ask God to bring it to mind?  Write it where you’ll find it.  Tattoo it, if not on your skin, at least on your heart…“When a believing person prays, great things happen” (James 5:16). If you’ve taken on the name of Christ, you have clout with the most powerful being in the universe.  When you speak, God listens.  Jesus said, “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer … Listen Now
Feb 26, 2020
Prayers Matter to God
God delights in hearing your prayers!  We can’t even get the plumber to call us back, so why would God listen to our prayers?  Your prayers matter to God because you matter to God.  You aren’t just anybody, you are his child. When God saved you, he enlisted you.  He gave not only forgiveness for your past but also authority in the present and a role in the future.  This life is on-the-job training for eternity.  “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). When you, as God’s child, seek to honor the family business, God … Listen Now
Feb 25, 2020
When You Face a Wall of Fear
Perhaps standing before you is a wall of fear.  Brick upon brick of anxiety and dread. Haunting you are the kings of confusion.  Thanks to them, you’ve struggled with your identity and destiny.  You’ve bought the lie that life has no absolutes or purpose.  As a child of God, it comes down to a simple decision to believe and receive your position as an heir of God and coheir with Christ. “In this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17).  Our inheritance is every bit as abundant as that of Jesus himself.  What he receives, we receive.  What message … Listen Now
Feb 24, 2020
Do You Choose Inheritance or Circumstances?
One of the most famous stories in the Bible has to do with inheritance.  The Hebrews had just been delivered from Egyptian captivity.  God led them and Moses to the edge of the promised land and made this offer:  “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.  From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders” (Numbers 13:1-2). God didn’t tell the Israelites to conquer, invade, or secure the land.  No, He told them he was giving it to them.  Their choice was clear–  promises or circumstances?  The circumstances said,  “No way…stay … Listen Now
Feb 21, 2020
Live Adventurously Expectant
As a child of God, this resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘What’s next, Papa?’  God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.  We know who he is, and we know who we are:  Father and children.  And we know we are going to get an unbelievable inheritance!” (Romans 8:15-17 MSG). God says, “Hey, Lucado.  You are an heir to the joy of Christ.  Why not ask Jesus to help you?”  “And you, Mr. Without-a-Clue, aren’t you an heir to God’s storehouse of … Listen Now
Feb 20, 2020
Heirs of God and Co-Heirs With Christ
After spending the better part of an hour reciting the woes of my life to my wife, Denalyn interrupted me with a question.  “Is God in this anywhere?”  I hate it when she does that.  What had happened to me?  I was focusing on my resources.  I wasn’t consulting God.  I’d limited my world to my strength, my wisdom, and my power.  No wonder I was in a tailspin!  For such moments God gives this promise:  “We are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). The cronies of dismay, gloom and rejection have no answer for the promise … Listen Now
Feb 19, 2020
You Have a Spiritual Inheritance
Let’s talk about your inheritance!  As a child of God, you have one, you know.  You aren’t merely a slave, servant, or saint of God. No, you have legal right to the family business and fortune of heaven.  The will has been executed.  The courts have been satisfied.  Your spiritual account has been funded.  He “has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Need more patience?  It’s yours.  Need more joy?  Request it.  Running low on wisdom?  God has plenty.  You will never exhaust his resources.  At no time does he wave away your prayer with … Listen Now
Feb 18, 2020
Our Conflict is With Satan
Make no mistake… the devil is a real devil!  Every conflict is a contest with Satan and his forces.  For that reason, the Bible says, “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). What are these weapons?  Prayer, worship, and Scripture.  When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil.  When we worship, we do what Satan did not do.  We place God on the throne.  When we pick up the … Listen Now
Feb 17, 2020
God’s Truth Defines All People
Every person you see was created by God to bear his image and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  Imagine the impact this promise would have on the society that embraced it.  What civility it would engender.  What kindness it would foster.  Racism will not flourish when people believe their neighbors bear God’s image. Will society write off the indigent, the mentally ill, the inmate or the refugee?  Not if we believe, truly believe, that every human being is God’s idea.  And he has no bad ideas.  High IQ or low standing—doesn’t matter.  First string or cut from … Listen Now
Feb 14, 2020
When It’s Time to Grow Up
Children have a tendency to say, “Look at me!”  On the tricycle– “Look at me go!”  On the trampoline– “Look at me bounce!”  On the swing set– “Look at me swing!”  Such behavior is acceptable for children.  Yet many adults spend their grown-up years saying the same thing.  “Look at me drive this fancy car!”  “Look at me make money!”  “Look at me wear provocative clothes, or use big words, or flex my muscles.  Look at me!” Isn’t it time we grew up?  We were made to live  a life that says, “Look at God!”  People are to look at … Listen Now
Feb 13, 2020
You Are Worth Dying For
Has someone called you a lost cause?  A failure?  Has someone dismissed you as insignificant?  Don’t listen to them.  They don’t know what they’re talking about.  You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your parents.  You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth.  You aren’t an accident. When you say yes to God you are being made into God’s image.  Print that on your resume!  In the eyes of God you are worth dying for.  Would you let this truth define the way you see yourself?  Would you let this truth define the way … Listen Now
Feb 12, 2020
Your Resemblance to Him
Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value!  According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image.  Period.  He cherishes you because you bear a resemblance to him.  And you will only be satisfied when you engage in your role as an image bearer of God.  Such was the view of King David.  “As for me,” he wrote, “I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). How much sadness would evaporate if every person simply … Listen Now
Feb 11, 2020
God’s Image and Likeness
We are all made in God’s image and in his likeness!  Sin has distorted this image, but it has not destroyed it.  Our moral purity has been tainted, but do not think for a moment that God has rescinded his promise or altered his plan.  He still creates people in his image to bear his likeness and reflect his glory. As we fellowship with God, read his Word, obey his commands, and seek to reflect his character, something wonderful emerges.  We say things God would say.  We do things God would do.  We forgive, we share, and we love.  In … Listen Now
Feb 10, 2020
Made in God’s Image
We all ask the question, “Am I somebody important?”  It’s easy to feel anything but important when your ex takes your energy, or old age takes your dignity.  Somebody important?  Hardly. But remember this promise of God:  you were created by God, in God’s image, for God’s glory. God spoke, “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:26 MSG). God never declared, “Let … Listen Now
Feb 07, 2020
God’s Great and Precious Promises
According to Peter, God’s promises aren’t just great, they are very great.  They aren’t just valuable, they are precious! (2 Peter 1:4). It is God’s great and precious promises that lead us into a new reality, a holy environment.  They are direction signs intended to guide us away from the toxic swampland and into the clean air of heaven.  They are strong boulders that form the bridge over which we walk from our sin to salvation. Promises are the stitching in the spine of the Bible.  Receive them.  Allow them to soak you like a spring shower.  Let’s be what we were … Listen Now
Feb 06, 2020
It’s a Shaky World
It’s a shaky world out there.  Could you use some unshakable hope?  We live in a day of despair.  The suicide rate in America has increased 24 percent since 1999. How do we explain the increase?  We’ve never been more educated.  We’re saturated with entertainment and recreation.  Yet more people than ever are orchestrating their own deaths.  How could this be? Among the answers must be that people are dying for lack of hope. Secularism reduces the world to a few decades between birth and hearse.  Many believe this world is as good as it gets.  But people of the promise … Listen Now
Feb 05, 2020
Our Dependable God
From the first chapter of Scripture, the Bible makes a case for the dependability of God.  Without exception when God spoke, something wonderful happened.  By divine fiat there was light, land, beaches, and creatures.  God consulted no advisers.  He needed no assistance.  “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9). The same power is seen in Jesus.  He is unchanging.  He’s never caught off guard by the unexpected. “God never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17).  God is strong.  He does not overpromise and under deliver.  “God is able to do whatever … Listen Now
Feb 04, 2020
Heirs of God’s Promise
Heroes in the Bible came from all walks of life—rulers, servants, teachers, and doctors—male, female, single, and married.  Yet one common denominator united them:  they built their lives on the promises of God.  Noah believed in rain before rain was a word. Joshua led two million people into enemy territory.  One writer went so far as to call such saints “heirs of the promise” in Hebrews 6:17. As God prepared the Israelites to face a new land, he made a promise to them. “Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the … Listen Now
Feb 03, 2020
Stephen Remembered
The greatest example of humility is none other than Jesus Christ.  Who had more reason to boast than he?  Yet he never did.  He was utterly reliant upon the Father and the Holy Spirit. What gift are you giving that he did not first give?  You love. But who loved you first?  You serve. But who served the most?  What are you doing for God that he could not do alone?  How kind of him to use us.  How wise of us to remember. Stephen remembered.  As Stephen’s accusers reached for their rocks, he looked toward Christ. “Stephen, full of … Listen Now
Jan 31, 2020
Remember Who Holds You
Frightening thing, this pride. Doesn’t it sneak up on us?  We begin spiritual journeys as small people. The act of conversion is a humbling one.  We confess sins, beg for mercy, bend our knees.  We come to God humbly. No swagger, no boasts. And God works. He works the miracle of salvation. He immerses us in mercy. He stitches together our shredded souls. He deposits his Spirit in our hearts and implants heavenly gifts. Our big God blesses our small faith. Gradually our big God changes us. People notice the difference. They applaud. They admire us. And kudos become ladder … Listen Now
Jan 30, 2020
Stephen’s Message
Stephen was one of the seven men tasked to care for the Gentile widows. His ministry, however, provoked antagonism. A sect of jealous enemies falsely accused him of blasphemy. They marched him to the council of the Sanhedrin and demanded that he defend himself…and did he ever! He caused a stir before he even opened his mouth. “Everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s” (Acts 6:15 NLT).  Did heaven bathe him in a tunnel of brightness? I don’t know how to imagine the scene. But I know how to interpret … Listen Now
Jan 29, 2020
Stand Up for the Have Nots
In the game of life, many of us who cross home plate do so because we were born on third base. Others aren’t even on a team. Some people are poor because they are lazy and they need to get off their duffs. Others, however, are poor because they were born in the wrong place. A latitude largely vacant of libraries, vaccinations, clean water, and paved roads. The ultimate solution to poverty is found in the compassion of God’s people. Scripture endorses not forced communism but Spirit-led volunteerism among God’s people.  No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. … Listen Now
Jan 28, 2020
Do Good, Quietly
Hypocrisy turns people against God.  So God has a no-tolerance policy. Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. Expect no credit for good deeds.  Give financial gifts in secret.  Don’t fake spirituality.  When you go to church, don’t select a seat just to be seen or sing just to be heard.  And if you raise your hands in worship, raise holy ones, not showy ones.  Bottom line: don’t make a theater production out of your faith.  Slay the desire to be noticed.  Stir the desire to serve God. Heed the counsel of Christ. “First wash the inside of the … Listen Now
Jan 27, 2020
The Meaning of Hypocrisy
When Jesus saw the religious hypocrite, he exposed every self-righteous mole and pimple. “All their works they do to be seen by men…” (Matthew 23:5 NKJV). This is the working definition of hypocrisy: “to be seen by men.” We must do good works, and some works such as benevolence  or teaching must be seen in order to have an impact. To do a good thing is a good thing. To do a good thing just to be seen, however, is a serious offense. Hypocrisy turns people away from God. When people enter a church to see God yet can’t see God … Listen Now
Jan 24, 2020
Persecution: Prepare for It; Resist It
Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” What set Peter and John apart was the fact that they had been with Jesus.  Could you use some high-octane boldness?  Could you use some courage?  Are you being criticized, mocked, persecuted?  If so, imitate the disciples.  Linger long and often in the presence of Christ.  Meditate on His grace.  Ponder His love.  Memorize His words.  Gaze into His face.  Talk to Him.  Courage comes as we live … Listen Now
Jan 23, 2020
Touch the Hurt
Bzuneh Tulema lives in Ethiopia.  Just a few years ago he and his wife were so consumed with alcohol that they farmed out their kids to neighbors and resigned themselves to a drunken demise. But then someone saw them.  A member of an area church shared Jesus with them.  Then Meskerem Trango, a World Vision worker, arranged a loan through the World Vision microfinance department.  Within a year Bzuneh had repaid the loan, built his house, and reclaimed his kids. Could this be God’s strategy for human hurt?  Kind eyes meet desperate ones, strong hands help weak ones, then the … Listen Now
Jan 22, 2020
Jesus, the God Who Knows Your Name – Available Now!
We are releasing a new book today!  This book is about the single most important person in history- Jesus Christ. The reward of Christianity is Christ. Not money in the bank or a car in the garage or a healthy body or a better self-image. Those are likely, yet secondary and tertiary fruits. But the first fruit, the cache, the treasure of faith is Him. The heart-stopping realization that in Him you are a part of something that is ancient, endless, unstoppable and unfathomable. And that He, who can dig the Grand Canyon with his pinkie, knows you and thinks … Read More
Jan 21, 2020
See the Need
He sat near a gate called Beautiful.  The man, however, was anything but.  He couldn’t walk but had to drag himself about on his knees.  “Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us!’” (Acts 3:4 NCV). The thick, meaty hand of the fisherman reached for the frail, thin one of the beggar. Peter lifted the man toward himself.  The cripple stood and began to shout, and passersby began to stop.  Peter explained that faith in Christ leads to a clean slate with God.  What Jesus did for the legs of the cripple, he does for our … Listen Now
Jan 21, 2020
To Love a Stranger
“Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (1 Peter 4:9). The Greek word for hospitality compounds two terms: love and stranger. The word literally means to love a stranger. All of us can welcome a guest we know and love.  But can we welcome a stranger?   Every morning in America more than 39 million people wake up in poverty.  When we provide food stamps, we stave off hunger.  But when we invite the hungry to our tables, we address the deeper issues of value and self-worth.  God’s secret weapons in the war … Listen Now
Jan 20, 2020
Open Your Door
Hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they both lead to the same result– healing.  When you open your door to someone, you are sending this message:  “You matter to me and to God.” Do you know people who need this message?  Your hospitality can be their hospital.  All you need are a few basic practices. Issue a genuine invitation.  Let your guests know you want them to come. Make a big deal of their arrival.  One of God’s children is coming to your house! Address the needs of your guests.  Modern-day hospitality includes the sharing of … Listen Now
Jan 17, 2020
Be Hospitable
Our society is set up for isolation.  We communicate via e-mail and text messages.  Our mantra is “I leave you alone; you leave me alone.”  Yet God wants his people to be an exception, people of hospitality. “Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued teaching the people and telling the Good News— that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42). Even a casual reading of the New Testament unveils the house as the primary tool of the church.  The first generation of Christians was a tinderbox of contrasting cultures and backgrounds.  Yet, through the clearest of messages (the … Listen Now
Jan 16, 2020
Team Up
What if the missing ingredient for changing the world is teamwork?  “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matthew 18:19 MSG).  This is an astounding promise! The Jerusalem church found a way to work together.  They found common ground in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ.  Because they did, lives were changed.  As you and I work together, the same will happen.  The congregation is a microcosm of God’s plan.  No one can do everything, but everyone can do … Listen Now
Jan 15, 2020
The Body of Christ
None of us can do what all of us can do.  Remember Jesus’ commission to his disciples?  You (speaking to all of you collectively) will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).  Jesus didn’t issue individual assignments.  He works in community. “Jesus is the head of the body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:18).  I am not his body; you are not his body.  We—together—are his body.  But this body has been known to misbehave.  The brain discounts the heart.  Academics discount worshippers.  The hands criticize the knees. People of action criticize people of prayer.  It is a clear case of mutiny … Listen Now
Jan 14, 2020
Receive the Bread
Acts 2:38 records the sermon of the apostle Peter.  In it, Peter said, “Turn back to God!  Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven. We cherish pardon, don’t we?  And God offers it.  He does not give us what we deserve.  He has drenched this world in grace.  It has no end.  It knows no limits.  It empowers this life and enables us to live in the next.  God offers second chances, like a soup kitchen offers meals to everyone who asks.  And that includes you.  Make sure you receive His pardon.  And … Listen Now
Jan 13, 2020
The Bread of Life
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again” (John 6:35). You know, the grain-to-bread process is a demanding one.  Bread is the end result of planting, harvesting, and heating.  Jesus endured an identical process.  He was born into this world.  And then He was cut down, bruised, and beaten on the threshing floor of Calvary.  He passed through the fire of God’s wrath, for our sake.  Jesus “suffered because of others’ sins … He went through it all— was put to death and then made alive— to bring us to God” … Listen Now
Jan 10, 2020
The Word Was Out
From Acts 2 we read: “Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them where filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (vs. 2-4). What a moment on the Day of Pentecost.  Whatever could this mean?  Peter responded to that question with a trio of God-given endorsements of Christ.  He talked about when Jesus healed … Listen Now
Jan 09, 2020
The Word Was Out
From Acts 2 we read: “Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them where filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (vs. 2-4). What a moment on the Day of Pentecost.  Whatever could this mean?  Peter responded to that question with a trio of God-given endorsements of Christ.  He talked about when Jesus healed … Listen Now
Jan 09, 2020
Get Out of Your Shell
God loves all people groups and equips us to be his voice.  He teaches us the vocabulary of distant lands, the dialect of the discouraged neighbor, the vernacular of the lonely heart, and the idiom of the young student.  God outfits his followers to cross cultures and touch hearts. Pentecost makes this promise: if you are in Christ, God’s Spirit will speak through you. Let God unshell you.  Galatians 6:4 says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Discover your language. With whom do you feel most … Listen Now
Jan 08, 2020
Get Out of Your Shell
God loves all people groups and equips us to be his voice.  He teaches us the vocabulary of distant lands, the dialect of the discouraged neighbor, the vernacular of the lonely heart, and the idiom of the young student.  God outfits his followers to cross cultures and touch hearts. Pentecost makes this promise: if you are in Christ, God’s Spirit will speak through you. Let God unshell you.  Galatians 6:4 says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Discover your language. With whom do you feel most … Listen Now
Jan 08, 2020
God Loves the Nations
Pentecost was the busiest day of the year in Jerusalem.  And Jesus’ followers were gathered in prayer.  They were not separated from society but smack-dab in the center of it.  Once God had them where he needed them, the Holy Spirit came upon them suddenly; first as wind and then as individual tongues of fire (Acts 2:4 KJV).  Individual flames hovered over each person and they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. People from all over the world heard the wonderful works of God.  Whatever could this miracle mean?  It means at least this … Listen Now
Jan 07, 2020
An Ordinary Life
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. I invite you to pray this prayer with me: Loving Father, you made me, so you know very well that I am but dust.  Yet you have called me into your kingdom to serve you at this specific place, at this specific time, for a very specific purpose.  Despite my ordinariness, I belong to you—and you are anything but ordinary!  Help me pour out your grace and compassion among others that they, too, may experience the richness of your … Listen Now
Jan 06, 2020
An Ordinary Life
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. I invite you to pray this prayer with me: Loving Father, you made me, so you know very well that I am but dust.  Yet you have called me into your kingdom to serve you at this specific place, at this specific time, for a very specific purpose.  Despite my ordinariness, I belong to you—and you are anything but ordinary!  Help me pour out your grace and compassion among others that they, too, may experience the richness of your … Listen Now
Jan 06, 2020
Common Folk
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV). Does Jesus still use simple folks like us to change the world?  You know, we suffer from such ordinariness.  But God does not call the qualified.  He qualifies the called. Don’t let Satan convince you otherwise.  He will tell you that God has an IQ requirement or an entry fee.  When Satan whispers such lies, dismiss him with this truth: God stampeded the first-century society with swaybacks, not thoroughbreds.  There is no evidence that Jesus chose the … Listen Now
Jan 03, 2020
Common Folk
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV). Does Jesus still use simple folks like us to change the world?  You know, we suffer from such ordinariness.  But God does not call the qualified.  He qualifies the called. Don’t let Satan convince you otherwise.  He will tell you that God has an IQ requirement or an entry fee.  When Satan whispers such lies, dismiss him with this truth: God stampeded the first-century society with swaybacks, not thoroughbreds.  There is no evidence that Jesus chose the … Listen Now
Jan 03, 2020
An Opportunity to Make a Difference
A few years back, three questions came from different people in the span of a month. Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response? I didn’t mind the first two questions.  Those choices were not mine.  But the … Listen Now
Jan 02, 2020
An Opportunity to Make a Difference
A few years back, three questions came from different people in the span of a month. Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response? I didn’t mind the first two questions.  Those choices were not mine.  But the … Listen Now
Jan 02, 2020
A Fire to Change the World
Can God use us?  I have one hundred and twenty answers to that question— the 120 charter members of the Jerusalem church.  They had nothing more going for them than a fire in the belly to change the world.  Luke recorded their stories in the book of Acts.  It cracks with the sounds of God’s ever-expanding work. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?  You know ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever.  We have enough food to feed the hungry.  And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans.  I don’t mean to … Listen Now
Jan 01, 2020
A Fire to Change the World
Can God use us?  I have one hundred and twenty answers to that question— the 120 charter members of the Jerusalem church.  They had nothing more going for them than a fire in the belly to change the world.  Luke recorded their stories in the book of Acts.  It cracks with the sounds of God’s ever-expanding work. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?  You know ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever.  We have enough food to feed the hungry.  And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans.  I don’t mean to … Listen Now
Jan 01, 2020
The Hope-filled Heart
You and I live in a trashy world.  Unwanted garbage comes our way on a regular basis.  Haven’t you been handed a trash sack of mishaps and heartaches?  Sure you have.  May I ask, what are you going to do with it?  You could hide it.  Pretend it isn’t there.  But sooner or later it will start to stink.  So what will you do? If you follow the example of Christ, you’ll learn to see tough times differently.  He wants you to have a hope-filled heart… just like Jesus.  Wouldn’t you want that?  Jesus saw his Father’s presence in the … Listen Now
Dec 31, 2019
The Hope-filled Heart
You and I live in a trashy world.  Unwanted garbage comes our way on a regular basis.  Haven’t you been handed a trash sack of mishaps and heartaches?  Sure you have.  May I ask, what are you going to do with it?  You could hide it.  Pretend it isn’t there.  But sooner or later it will start to stink.  So what will you do? If you follow the example of Christ, you’ll learn to see tough times differently.  He wants you to have a hope-filled heart… just like Jesus.  Wouldn’t you want that?  Jesus saw his Father’s presence in the … Listen Now
Dec 31, 2019
A Perfect World
Try this.  Imagine a perfect world.  Whatever that means to you…imagine it.  Does that mean peace?  Then envision absolute tranquility.  Does a perfect world imply joy?  Then create your highest happiness.  Will a perfect world have love?  Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it.  Get it firmly fixed in your mind.  Delight in it.  Dream about it.  Long for it.  And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one…no … Listen Now
Dec 30, 2019
A Perfect World
Try this.  Imagine a perfect world.  Whatever that means to you…imagine it.  Does that mean peace?  Then envision absolute tranquility.  Does a perfect world imply joy?  Then create your highest happiness.  Will a perfect world have love?  Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it.  Get it firmly fixed in your mind.  Delight in it.  Dream about it.  Long for it.  And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one…no … Listen Now
Dec 30, 2019
The Never Failing Love of God
God will not let you go.  The big news of the Bible is not that you love God but that God loves you!  He tattooed your name on the palm of his hand.  His thoughts of you outnumber the sand on the shore.  You never leave his mind, escape his sight, flee his thoughts.  You need not win his love.  You already have it. He sees the worst of you and loves you still.  Your sins of tomorrow and failings of the future will not surprise him; he sees them now.  Every day and deed of your life has passed … Listen Now
Dec 27, 2019
It’s Important to Forgive
You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you?  If so, go one more time to the upper room.  Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple.  Can you see him?  Can you hear the water splash?  Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Keep that image in mind.  John 13:12 says,  “When he had finished washing their feet…”  Please note–  Jesus finished washing their feet.  That means he left no one out. Why is that important?  Because … Listen Now
Dec 26, 2019
The Virgin Birth of Christ
The virgin birth is more…much more than a Christmas story.  It’s a story of how close Christ will come to you! The first stop on His itinerary was a womb.  Where will God go to touch the world?  Look deep within Mary for an answer.  Better still—look deep within yourself.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Scripture says in Colossians 1:27. Christ grew in Mary until He had to come out.  Christ will grow in you until the same occurs.  He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions.  Every place you live will be … Listen Now
Dec 25, 2019
He Seemed Anything But a King
In Bethlehem, the human being who best understood who God was and what he was doing, was a teenage girl in a smelly stable.  As Mary looked into the face of the baby, her son, her Lord, his majesty— she couldn’t take her eyes off him.  Somehow Mary knew she was holding God.  So this is he.  And she remembered the words of the angel when he said, “His kingdom will never end!” He looked like anything but a King.  His cry, though strong and healthy, was still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. Majesty in the midst of … Listen Now
Dec 24, 2019
No Room in the Inn
Some of the saddest words on earth are we don’t have room for you.  Jesus knew the sounds of those words.  He was still in Mary’s womb when the innkeeper said, “We don’t have room for you.” And when he hung on the cross, wasn’t the message one of utter rejection?  “We don’t have room for you in this world.” Today Jesus is given the same treatment.  He goes from heart to heart, asking if he might enter. Every so often, he is welcomed.  Someone throws open the door of his or her heart and invites him to stay.  And to that person Jesus … Listen Now
Dec 23, 2019
Christmas Immigrants
The moonlight was their only light. Huffing and puffing were the only sounds. José walked in front. The trail was narrow. He didn’t want his wife to stumble. She carried the baby. He’d offered to do so, but she’d refused. “He’s asleep,” she’d explained. “Let him sleep,” he’d agreed. So, they hurried, José in the lead, all their earthly possessions crammed in the backpack he’d purchased from the street vendor in San Salvador. That was weeks ago. How many trains since then? How many miles? How many cold nights? He glanced over his shoulder. Her eyes caught his. Was that … Read More
Dec 23, 2019
We Need Some Christmas This Christmas
Don’t we? Don’t we need some Peace On Earth and Goodwill to Mankind? Don’t we need some Silent Night, Holy Night? Don’t we need the appearance of angels, the sudden joy of shepherds and the hope, the blessed hope of a baby whose very name means salvation? We need someone to save us. From this rancor, this bitterness, this hostility. The question came in the form of a text: “Max, are you for or against impeachment?” This is a “for or against” day. Red or blue. Elephant or donkey. Trump or Pelosi. Sigh. Here is what I’m for: the baby … Read More
Dec 20, 2019
On Which Side Are You?
(simulated news broadcast)  “No question, the Nazarene will  be executed!  They’ve got the Galilean in custody—our sources tell us one of his own men turned him in… film at 11:00.” A few weep.  A few smile.  A few walk up the hill to see the spectacle. The immensity of Jesus’ execution makes it impossible to ignore.  See the women arguing on the street corner?  The countless pilgrims entering Jerusalem for the Passover?  They’ll go home with a spellbinding story of the teacher who was raised from the dead. Everyone is choosing a side.  You can’t be neutral on an issue like this … Listen Now
Dec 20, 2019
Don’t Quit Too Soon
Our human tendency is to quit too soon.  To stop before we cross the finish line!  It shows up in the smallest of things– a partly mowed lawn, a half-read book, or abandoned diet.  Or it shows up in life’s most painful areas like a cold faith; a wrecked marriage; an un-evangelized world. Am I touching some painful sores?  If I am, I want to encourage you to remember Jesus’ determination on the cross.  Did he ever want to quit?  You bet.  That’s why his words are so splendid. “It is finished!” (John 19:30). What was finished?  The history-long plan of redeeming … Listen Now
Dec 19, 2019
Jesus Understands
Who will love me?  I feel so old.  Unloved.  Unwanted.  Abandoned.  I just want to cry and sleep forever…  It’s a cry.  Can you hear it?  The divorced.  The abandoned child.  A one-night stand.  A silent phone.  Cries of loneliness. The most gut-wrenching cry of loneliness in history didn’t come from a widow or a patient.  It came from a hill, from a cross, from a Messiah.  “My God, my God,” Jesus screamed.  “Why did you abandon me?” (Matthew 27:46). I think of all the people who cast despairing eyes toward the dark heavens and cry, “Why?”  And I imagine Him listening. … Listen Now
Dec 18, 2019
Our Values Are a Mess
Have you noticed?  We say you’re valuable if you’re pretty.  We say you’re valuable if you produce.  If you can slam-dunk a basketball or snag a pop fly.  Appearance and performance. Pretty tough system, isn’t it?  Where does that leave the ugly or uneducated?  The aged or the disabled?  The unborn child?  Please understand, this is man’s system.  It’s not God’s. If there was anything Jesus wanted everyone to understand it was this– a person is worth something simply because he is a person.  That’s why Jesus treated people like He did.  Jesus’ love doesn’t depend on what we do … Listen Now
Dec 17, 2019
Extended Hands
When a law-abiding, timid electronics buff blasted four would-be muggers in a New York subway, Bernhard Geotz became an instant hero!  It’s not hard to see why.  He clobbered evil over the head.  He embodied a nationwide anger—a passion for revenge.  Yet reality makes us ask the questions:   What good was done?  Are the streets now free of fear? On the cross Jesus said,  “They do not know what they are doing.”  It doesn’t justify kiddie-porn peddlers or heroin dealers.  But it does help explain why they do the miserable things they do. Once we see ourselves for what we are, we … Listen Now
Dec 16, 2019
God on the Cross
“All right—this is a toss for the sandals.” “How about the cloak?” “Come on—hurry up—it’s my turn!”. . . Casting lots for the possessions of Christ.  Heads ducked.  Eyes downward.  Cross forgotten.  The symbolism is striking.  Do you see it?  I’m thinking of us.  Those who claim heritage at the cross.  The stuffy.  The loose.  The evangelical.  The Spirit-filled.  Ameners.  Robes.  Collars.  I’m thinking of us! “Those selfish soldiers,” we smirk.  And yet, are we so different?  Our divisions are so numerous we can’t be cataloged.  Is it that impossible for us to find a common cause?  “May they all be … Listen Now
Dec 13, 2019
A Wild Roller Coaster Ride
If life was just simpler, we reason.  More predictable!  But it isn’t.  Life is like a wild roller coaster ride of hairpin curves and diving dips. Don’t we all live with a fear of the unknown?  The eerie inconsistency that keeps us living on the edge of our chairs?  And yet it’s that inconsistency in which God had his finest hour.  Never did what is right involve itself so intimately with what is wrong. God on a cross.  Humanity at its worst.  Divinity at its best!  God doesn’t gasp in amazement at the depth of our faith or the depth of … Listen Now
Dec 12, 2019
Acceptance and Forgiveness
It doesn’t matter what I do—it’s never enough.  I’ll never meet their expectations!   Ever caught yourself using these unhealthy expectations?  Your brother made an A in chemistry, and we know you’ll do just as well!  or…  If you had a better job we could afford that house! Expectations.  They create conditional love.  I love you, but I’ll love you more if… Jesus expects that we leave everything, deny all, and follow Him.  The difference?  Jesus’ expectations come with two important companions:  forgiveness and acceptance.  No strings.  No hidden agendas.  Jesus’ love for us is up front and clear.  His sacrifice … Listen Now
Dec 11, 2019
Watch and Pray!
Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”  It doesn’t get more practical than that!  When you see sin coming—duck!  When you sense temptation, go the other way.  Pay attention!  You know your weaknesses.  You also know the situations where your weaknesses are most vulnerable.  Stay out of those situations.  Late hours.  Movies.  Internet.  Social media. Whatever gives Satan a foothold in your life, stay away from it.  Watch out! And pray!  Prayer invites God to walk the shadowy pathways with us.  To watch ahead for falling trees and tumbling boulders; to bring up the … Listen Now
Dec 10, 2019
Hello, Contentment
No cell phone?  No computer?  You’re kidding right?   “Not now, thank you, I’ve too much to do,” we say.  It’s crazy, since the reason we kill ourselves today is because we think it will make us content tomorrow! But a funny thing happened on the way to the rat race that made me slip into neutral. My infant daughter had a stomach ache.  Mom was out so it fell to Daddy to pick her up. I started trying to do things with one hand and hold her with the other.  You’re smiling….you’ve tried that too? I sat down, held her tight little tummy … Listen Now
Dec 09, 2019
God Uses People to Change the World
I’ve waited too long to believe. Way too long. What can I possibly do now for God? God uses people to change the world!  People!  Not saints or super humans or geniuses, but people.  Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars— He uses them all.  No wagging fingers.  No crossed arms.  Only sweet, open arms!  If you’ve ever wondered how God can use you to make a difference in the world, just look at those he’s already used and take heart.  Look at the forgiveness found in those open arms and take courage. By the way, never were those arms opened so … Listen Now
Dec 06, 2019
Second Chances
Not many second chances exist in the world today!  It’s more like “three strikes and you’re out.” It’s a dog-eat-dog world! Jesus has a simple answer.  He would say, “Well, then don’t live with the dogs.” Why let a bunch of other failures tell you how much of a failure you are?  Sure you can have a second chance!  Just ask Peter.  One minute he felt lower than a snake’s belly and the next he was high hog at the trough. When Peter denied Jesus, the message came loud and clear, “Be sure and tell Peter he gets to bat again!” … Listen Now
Dec 05, 2019
Jesus is a Good Friend
I’ve always perceived the apostle John as a fellow who viewed life simply. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.  But I like John most for the way he loved Jesus. Jesus was a good friend with a good heart and a good idea.  A “once-upon-a-time” storyteller with a “somewhere-over-the-rainbow” promise.  Jesus was above all a loyal companion.  Messiah?  Yes! Son of God?  Indeed!  But even more to his closest disciple, Jesus was a pal.  Jesus was a friend. Now what do you do with a friend?  You stick by him.  Maybe that’s why John is the only one of the … Listen Now
Dec 04, 2019
The Word “Almost”
Almost.  It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary.  It runs with nearly, next time, and  just about!  It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities.  It’s honorable mention, on the bench, and burnt cookies! One of the most famous almosts is in the Bible.  His name was Pilate.  He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy.  He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace.  He almost released the Son of God. He had the power.  He had the choice.  The option to free God’s Son was his.  And he did it… almost! Jesus never had room for almost. With Him nearly has to … Listen Now
Dec 03, 2019
You Are Free to Go
GUARD:             “You’re free to go!”  BARRABAS:     ”Wh…what?” GUARD:             “They took the Nazarene instead of you!” It happened so fast.  One minute Barabbas was in his cell on death row playing tic-tac-toe on the dirt walls. The next, he’s squinting his eyes at the bright sun. In many ways Barabbas stands for us; a prisoner freed because someone he’d never seen took his place.  Someone tossed him a life preserver and he grabbed it; no questions asked. I can’t imagine him pulling some of our stunts.  We take our free gift of God’s grace and try to earn it or … Listen Now
Dec 02, 2019
Jesus Welcomes Our Problems
Do you want to see a father’s face go ashen?  Watch as he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy– “Some assembly required!” What follows are hours of squeezing A into B, bolting D into F, sliding R over Z, and hoping no one notices if steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether.  I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly.  Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts. “Some assembly required.”  Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one.  Life is a gift, albeit unassembled.  The pieces don’t fit.  When … Listen Now
Nov 29, 2019
Thank God—Every Day for Everything
A person never runs out of reasons to say “thanks!”  Just the word lifts the spirit!  To say, “thanks” is to celebrate a gift.  Something.  Anything. In Scripture the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or a recommendation; it’s a command.  It carries the same weight as “love your neighbor” and “give to the poor.”  More than a hundred times, either by imperative or example, the Bible commands us to be thankful.  If quantity implies gravity, God takes thanksgiving seriously. Ingratitude is the original sin.  Adam and Eve had a million reasons to give thanks.  They lived in … Listen Now
Nov 28, 2019
God is a Father to the Fatherless
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  A glimpse of God’s goodness changes us.  If He is only slightly stronger than us, why pray?  If He has limitations, questions, and hesitations, then you might as well pray to the Wizard of Oz. Psalm 68:5-6 says that God is  “a father to the fatherless.  He sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.” Will you pray this with me?  Dear God, today, remind me that you protect me.  Be my father and defender.  Defend those who’re weak and afraid and feel … Listen Now
Nov 27, 2019
The Power of a Moment
A lot of us make unnecessary messes.  But we can change that.  May I make a suggestion?  Before you face the world, face your Father.  Take this pocket prayer:  Father. . .You are good  Your heart is good.  The words come slowly at first, but stay at it. . . Your ways are right.  The weather’s bad, the economy is bad, but God, you are awesome. Don’t underestimate the power of this moment.  You just opened the door to God and welcomed truth to enter your heart.  Who knows, you might even start to worship.  Is your world different because … Listen Now
Nov 26, 2019
Our God Cannot Be Contained
Most people have small thoughts about God.  In an effort to see God as our friend, we have lost his immensity.  In our desire to understand him, we have sought to contain him. The God of the Bible cannot be contained.  With a word he called Adam out of dust and Eve out of a bone.  He consulted no committee.  He sought no counsel.  He has authority over the world and…He has authority over your world.  He’s never surprised.  He has never, ever uttered the phrase, “How did that happen?” God’s goodness is a major headline in the Bible.  If … Listen Now
Nov 25, 2019
A Heartfelt Cry to God
When my eldest daughter was 13 years old, she flubbed her piano piece at a recital.  The silence in the auditorium was broken only by the pounding of her parents’ hearts.  She hurried off the stage, threw her arms around me and buried her face in my shirt.  “Oh, Daddy.”  That was enough for me.  At that moment I’d have given her the moon.  All she said was, “Oh Daddy!” Prayer starts here.  Prayer begins with an honest and heartfelt, “Oh Daddy!”  Jesus invites us to approach God the way a child approaches his or her daddy. Here’s my challenge … Listen Now
Nov 22, 2019
Approach God As a Beloved Child
Jesus invites us to approach God the way a child approaches his or her daddy!  And how do children approach their daddies? When a five-year-old spots his father in the parking lot, how does he react?  “Yippee!” was screamed by a redheaded boy wearing a Batman backpack.  “Pop!”  Over here!  Push me!”—yelled a boy wearing a Boston Red Sox cap who scooted straight to the swings. Here’s what I didn’t hear:  “Father, it is most gracious of thee to drive thy car to my place of education. Please know of my deep gratitude for your benevolence.  For thou art splendid in … Listen Now
Nov 21, 2019
Our Prayers Are Not Graded
Jesus downplayed the importance of words in prayers.  We tend to do the opposite.  The more words the better!  We emphasize the appropriate prayer language, the latest prayer trend, the holiest prayer terminology.  Against all this emphasis on syllables and rituals, Jesus says in Matthew 6:7, “Don’t ramble like heathens who talk a lot.” There’s no panel of angelic judges with numbered cards.  “Wow, Lucado, that prayer was a ten.  God will certainly hear you!”  or… “Oh, Lucado, you scored a two this morning.  Go home and practice.” Prayers aren’t graded according to style.  If prayer depends on how I … Listen Now
Nov 20, 2019
A Closet Chat with God
Religious leaders loved to make theater out of their prayers.  The show nauseated Jesus.  In Matthew 6:6 He said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who cannot be seen.  Your Father can see what is done in secret, and He will reward you.” The words surely stunned Jesus’ audience.  The people were simple farmers and stonemasons.  They couldn’t enter the temple.  But they could enter their closets.  The point?  He’s low on fancy, high on accessibility.  You need not woo him with location or wow him with eloquence.  It’s the power of … Listen Now
Nov 19, 2019
Whispered Reminders
In Matthew 6 Jesus prayed, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” A prayer that begins…May I not view you as a distant father, but as one who has come to earth and understands the challenges and temptations of my life.  Be near me today, whisper reminders that you’re close.  My friends need you today as they make difficult decisions in their workplace and in their families.  Show them you are closer than even their earthly fathers. Thank you for hearing me and listening to … Listen Now
Nov 18, 2019
Prayer Can Be Simple, Yet Powerful
Prayer really is simple.  Resist the urge to complicate it.  Don’t take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don’t apologize for incoherent prayers.  No games.  No cover-ups.  Just be honest.  Honest to God. Climb into His lap, tell Him everything that is on your heart.  Or, tell Him nothing at all.  Just lift your heart to heaven and declare “Father, Daddy.” Stress, fear, guilt, grief…demands on all sides. At times, all we can summon, is a plaintive, “Oh Father.”  If so, that’s enough.  Your Heavenly Father will wrap you in His arms. Here’s my challenge for you!  Every day for four weeks, … Listen Now
Nov 15, 2019
Be Like Little Children
We prayer wimps fear “mis-praying.”  What’s the expected etiquette and dress code of prayer? What if we kneel instead of stand?  Jesus’ answer?  In Matthew 18:3, He says, “Become as little children.” Carefree. Joy filled. Playful. Trusting. Curious. Trust more—strut less. God prefers this greeting:  “God, you are my Daddy, and I am your child!”  It’s hard to show off and call God “Daddy” at the same time.  Impossible, in fact.  Remember, prayer doesn’t depend on how you pray.  The power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer! Here’s my prayer challenge for you!  Every day for … Listen Now
Nov 14, 2019
A Recovering Prayer Wimp
Yes, I’m a prayer wimp—but a recovering prayer wimp. Not where I long to be, but not where I was.  This simple, easy to remember, pocket-size prayer has become a cherished friend. “Father, You are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.” Jesus’ disciples faced angry waves and a watery grave.  You face angry clients, a turbulent economy, and raging seas of stress and sorrow.  Let this simple prayer punctuate your day.  “Father, you are good.”  As you commute to work or walk the hallways at school, “I need help.”  … Listen Now
Nov 13, 2019
God Changes His People Through Prayer
This much is sure:  God will teach you to pray.  Don’t think for a minute that he’s glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together.  Just the opposite!  In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with Me.” Jesus waits on the porch.  He taps…and calls.  He waits for you to open the door.  To pray is the hand … Listen Now
Nov 12, 2019
Jesus’ Compelling Prayer Example
Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer! Jesus set a compelling prayer example.  He prayed before He ate.  He prayed for children.  He prayed for the sick.  He prayed with thanks…and with tears.  He had made the planets and shaped the stars, yet He prayed. Here’s a prayer for us today: “Father, you’ve made me your child through your Spirit. In your kindness you adopted me and delivered me from sin and death. Remind me today what it means to be your child. It’s so easy for me to live every day on my own terms. Help me live … Listen Now
Nov 11, 2019
Prayer is a Heartfelt Conversation
Prayer isn’t a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few.  Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child.  When we invite God into our world, He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, resilience.  Anxieties come, but they don’t stick.  Fears surface and then depart. I’m completing my sixth decade, yet I’m wired with energy. Happier, healthier, and more hopeful! Struggles come, for sure, but so does God. My friend, He wants to talk with you.  Even now as you hear these words, He taps at the door.  Open it.  Welcome Him in … Listen Now
Nov 08, 2019
Conversation With God
Mark 1:35 says, “Jesus went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” This dialogue must have been common among His friends: Has anyone seen Jesus? Oh, you know. He’s up to the same thing. Praying again? Yep. He’s been gone since sunrise. Jesus would even disappear for an entire night of prayer. Prayer for most of us, isn’t a matter of a month-long retreat or even an hour of meditation. It’s a conversation with God driving to work, or waiting for an appointment. God will teach you to pray. We speak, He listens. He speaks, we listen. … Listen Now
Nov 07, 2019
Revive Us Again!
A wonderful thing happened last Sunday. While I was preaching about revival, a dear saint in our church stood up and began to sing the old hymn, “Revive us, again.” Dave is an 81 year-old, God-fearing, Jesus-loving, Spirit-led elder in our church. He later told me that the Spirit told him twice to do this, but he refused. He dared not refuse a third time. The moment was quite impromptu as is testified by the surprised look on my face. Here is the segment:  https://vimeo.com/371417389 Revival can come at any moment. At the right hour, God will open the floodgate … Read More
Nov 06, 2019
A Lesson in Prayer
We can’t even get the cable company to answer us, yet God will?  The doctor’s too busy, but God isn’t?  We have our doubts about prayer! Jesus raised people from the dead. But a “How to Vacate the Cemetery” seminar?  His followers never called for one.  But they did want Him to do this:  “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Might their interest have something to do with the jaw-dropping promise Jesus attached to prayer?  “Ask and it will be given to you.” When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray He gave them a prayer Could you use the same? … Listen Now
Nov 06, 2019
Some Prayer Guidance
When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do.  I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray! Can you relate? But wouldn’t we all like to pray. . .More?  Better?  Deeper?  Stronger?  With more fire, faith, or fervency?  Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. We want to pray, but when? We want to pray, but why?  We have our doubts about prayer, our checkered history of unmet expectations, unanswered questions. We aren’t the first.  The sign-up for Prayer 101 contains familiar names:  John, James, Andrew, and Peter. … Listen Now
Nov 05, 2019
A Portable Prayer
Some people excel in prayer.  They are the SEAL Team Six of intercession.  They’d rather pray than sleep.  Why is it I sleep when I pray? It’s not that we don’t pray at all.  We all pray some.  Surveys indicate one in five unbelievers prays daily.  Just in case, perhaps?  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer.  A quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.  Could you use the same? Father, You are good.  I need help.  Heal me and forgive me. They need help.  Thank you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Here’s my challenge for you! … Listen Now
Nov 04, 2019
Tune Up Your Prayer Life
I’m a recovering prayer wimp.  For years my prayers seemed to zig, then zag, then zig again.  Maybe you can relate.  Perhaps your prayer life could use a tune up, a reboot?  If that sounds overwhelming, I’m inviting you to a simpler plan.  Four minutes, plus four weeks, equals forever change!  Every day for four weeks, pray for four minutes, focusing on these core elements of prayer: “Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you.” It’s that simple.  Really!  Talking with God doesn’t have to be complicated or complex.  The power isn’t in the words we … Listen Now
Nov 01, 2019
The Happiness Challenge
Desire a rain shower of joy?  Then do this:  serve someone, greet someone, give up your seat, listen to someone’s story, write a check, pen a letter, give your time, your counsel, and your heart.  Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I’d like to challenge you to set out to alter the joy level of a hundred people over the next forty days.  Pray for people, serve more, practice patience, and bring out the best in people.  Keep a journal in which you describe the encounter and what you did. I took the … Listen Now
Oct 31, 2019
Works in Progress
Keep in mind that we are all works in progress.  God isn’t finished, and some of his works—well, some of us—need extra attention. Be the cheerleader who brings out the best, not the critic who points out the rest.  You have a tool chest of encouraging words, a phrase of admonition, a warm greeting, genuine forgiveness, patience, kindness and unselfishness.  Do whatever it takes to bring out the best in others. Why?  Because God is bringing out the best in you.  Little by little, God is making a new you out of you. Your Father is following you, my friend. … Listen Now
Oct 30, 2019
God’s Art Gallery
The reason God loves you is that he has chosen to love you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you.  God will love you.  These are his words: “I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved” (Romans 9:25 THE MSG). Let this love happen in your life, and prepare yourself for a new day.  As God has his way with you, he will not let you live with your old hatred and prejudices.  You will see people in a different way.  The neighbor down the street?  He’s not a person who … Listen Now
Oct 29, 2019
Have You Let God Love You?
“Love one another as I have loved you” James 13:34.  The Greek word used for love (agape) denotes an unselfish affection.  The final phrase is the essential one: “as I have loved you.” Have you let God love you?  Please don’t hurry past the question. We don’t love people because people are lovable.  People can be cranky, stubborn, selfish, and cruel.  We love people for this reason: we have come to experience and believe the love that God has for us.  We are beneficiaries of an unexpected, undeserved, yet undeniable gift— the love of God. It is only by receiving … Listen Now
Oct 28, 2019
Offering Grace
Forgiveness is the act of applying your undeserved mercy to your undeserved hurts.  You didn’t deserve to be hurt, but neither do you deserve to be forgiven.  Does it not make sense to give grace to others?  You’ve been immersed in forgiveness, submerged in grace.  Can you, standing as you are, shoulder-high in God’s ocean of grace, not fill a cup and offer the happiness of forgiveness to others? In 2015 the world watched in horror as ISIS released its hatred on the streets of Paris.  Antoine Leiris lost his wife to their bullets.  But he didn’t lose his heart … Listen Now
Oct 25, 2019
Tenderhearted, Forgiving One Another
The question is not, Did you get hurt?  The question is, Are you going to let the hurt harden you?  Wouldn’t you prefer to be “tenderhearted, forgiving one another”? Try these steps. Decide what you need to forgive.  Be specific.  Narrow it down to the identifiable offense. Ask yourself why it hurts.  Why does this offense sting?  What about it leaves you wounded? Take it to Jesus.  Talk to Jesus about the offense until the anger subsides.  And when it returns, talk to Jesus again. Tell your offender.  If it feels safe, simply explain the offense and the way it … Listen Now
Oct 24, 2019
The Upper Room of Mercy
Jesus has seen every backstreet, back-seat, backhanded moment of our lives.  And he has resolved, “My grace is enough.  I can cleanse these people.  I will wash away their betrayals.”  For that reason we must make the Upper Room of Mercy our home address. Jesus said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15). You are the creation of a good God, made in his image.  You are destined to … Listen Now
Oct 23, 2019
Are We Listening
Are we listening?  Are we, white, male, aged leaders of the church, listening?  Are we heeding the message of our sisters in Christ?  Over the weekend, derisive comments were made about women in ministry (such as Beth Moore) that grieved my heart. Really?  Dare we be dismissive?  The message of #metoo is a sobering one.  Theirs is not an appeal for power or position, it is a request to be taken seriously; for all of us to recognize their unique calling.  Respect and common courtesy should be the dialect of the church. Yet, our soprano chorus continues to decry its … Read More
Oct 23, 2019
Forgive Like Christ
Scripture says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). It was the eve of the Crucifixion and Jesus’ final meal with his followers.  Jesus stood up, hung his cloak on a hook, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin.  He washed feet.  Jesus used some of his precious final moments in this silent sacrament of humility. The disciples pledged to stay with their Master.  But, later that night when the soldiers marched in, the disciples ran out.  When they looked at their feet in … Listen Now
Oct 22, 2019
Path of Forgiveness
Resentment sucks satisfaction from the soul.  Bitterness consumes it.  Revenge has a monstrous appetite.  One act of retaliation is never enough.  Grudges send us on a downward spiral. Some people perceive the path of forgiveness to be impossibly steep.  So let’s be realistic.  Forgiveness does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed, or ignore it.  Forgiveness is not even necessarily reconciliation.  The phrase “forgive and forget” sets an unreachable standard.  Painful memories are not like old clothing, easily shed. Forgiveness is simply the act of changing your attitude toward the offender; it’s moving from a desire to harm toward an … Listen Now
Oct 21, 2019
Words of Power
When we stand at the altar of Christ on the final day, we will appreciate the influence of those who stepped out and spoke up to help us. You can do this.  Do not shrink back.  Step out and speak up. After all, you are an ambassador for Christ.  Can the ambassador stay silent?  You are a coheir with Christ.  Can the heir remain silent while blessings are available?  Of course not. After Jesus admonished Martha, he did the unthinkable.  He went to the tomb, wept for his friend, and then shouted for the dead Lazarus to come out.  And … Listen Now
Oct 18, 2019
The Path of Faith
The faith-filled prayer is a prayer of admonishment.  The prayer of faith invites God to be God, to be sovereign over a tumultuous time. Dennis McDonald models this type of admonishment.  He was our church’s hospital chaplain for many years.  I was always struck by the transformation that came over him as he began to minister.  When he entered the hospital room, he went straight to work.  Dennis would anoint the sick person with oil and pray, “Lord, this is your servant, whom you love and whom we love.  Let your healing happen in this room.  Satan, you must leave.  … Listen Now
Oct 17, 2019
Words of Hope and Prayers of Faith
I recently met a ten-year-old boy by the name of Joshua.  His mother explained that Joshua’s father was no longer a part of the boy’s life.  I squatted down eye level with Joshua and I asked, “Do you know the story of your namesake?”  He nodded. “You will do what he did,” I admonished. “You will bring down Jericho’s walls and pray prayers of great faith.” He wasn’t quite sure how to respond.  But his mom?  She was wiping away tears. Strugglers don’t need our opinions.  They don’t need our philosophies on suffering.  They need someone to admonish them with … Listen Now
Oct 16, 2019
Unsheathe God’s Sword
“His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.  Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word.  We can’t get away from it—no matter what” (Hebrews 4:12–13 MSG). Unsheathe God’s sword, the Word of God, and brandish its glimmering blade in the face of evil. When you read or quote a scripture in the face of pain or doubt or evil, you activate a weapon of the Spirit.  Say… I know a verse in the Bible that might help.  Or… A scripture that means much to me … Listen Now
Oct 15, 2019
Speak Up
Not only did Jesus not make it to the deathbed of Lazarus, he didn’t make it to the burial.  He was four days late.  Martha was forthright.  “Lord, if only you had been here my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).  Martha was to Jesus what your hurting friend is to you.  How can we respond when our friend is undone? Here is what Jesus did.  He looked Martha in the face and said these starchy words: “I am the resurrection and the life. . . . Do you believe this?” (vv. 25–26).  The Bible’s word for such a response is admonishment.  Above … Listen Now
Oct 14, 2019
Peace in the Middle East
Brian Reed served in a military unit in Baghdad, Iraq, in the fall of 2003.  He and his unit went on regular street patrols to protect neighborhoods and build peace.  It was often a thankless, fruitless assignment.  Brian said his unit battled low morale daily. An exception came in the form of a church service his men stumbled upon.  It was filled with Arabic-speaking Coptic Christians who invited the soldiers to partake in the Lord’s Supper with them.  Brian wrote, “Celebrating the Lord’s Supper and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was the most important bridge builder and wall destroyer … Listen Now
Oct 11, 2019
Love the Sinner
The catchphrase “hate the sin and love the sinner” fits nicely on a bumper sticker, but how do we embed the principle in our hearts?  Maybe these ideas will help. Reserve judgment.  Let every person you meet be a new person in your mind.  None of this labeling or preconceived notions.  Listening is a healing balm for raw emotions.  Happiness happens, not by fixing people, but by accepting people and entrusting them into the care of God.  Jesus did this. Resist the urge to shout.  It’s better to keep quiet and keep a friend than to be loud and lose … Listen Now
Oct 10, 2019
Grace, Truth, and Acceptance
How does Jesus receive us?  I know how he treated me.  I was a twenty-year-old troublemaker on a downhill path.  Though I’d made a commitment to Christ a decade earlier, you wouldn’t have known it by the way I lived. Finally I came to Jesus, and he welcomed me back.  Please note– he did not accept my behavior but he accepted me, his wayward child.  He said, “Come back.  I’ll clean you up.”  He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Not just grace, but also truth.  Not just truth, but also grace. Grace and truth. Grace told the adulterous … Listen Now
Oct 09, 2019
Responding to Your Opposite You
Matthew was an apostle, a gospel writer.  But before he was Matthew he was Levi, a Jew who worked for the Roman IRS.   As long as Rome got its part, the tax collectors could take as much as they wanted.  They got rich by making people poor. One of the most difficult relationship questions is “What do we do with a Levi?”  Your Levi is the person with whom you fundamentally disagree.  You follow different value systems.  Your Levi is your “opposite you.”  What if your “opposite you” is your boss?  Your parent or child? How does God want us … Listen Now
Oct 08, 2019
Courtroom Compassion
A gesture of forgiveness. A moment of kindness. The first is stirring hearts. The second is stirring controversy. Amber Guyger had just been convicted of murdering Botham Jean. She shot him on the evening of September 6, 2018. He was in his apartment. She was ending a shift on the Dallas Police force. He was eating ice cream, sitting on his couch. She thought he was an intruder in her apartment. She was sentenced to ten years in prison. Brandt Jean is the victim’s brother. He was given an opportunity to address Guyger in court. This moment was a tinderbox. … Read More
Oct 07, 2019
A Model of Servanthood
In the hallway of my memory hangs a photograph.  It’s a picture of two people— a man and a woman in the seventh decade of life.  The man lies in a hospital bed in the living room, not in a hospital room.  His body, for all practical purposes, is useless.  Muscles have been ravaged by ALS.  And even though his body is ineffective, his eyes scan the room for his partner, a woman whose age is concealed by her youthful vigor. She willingly goes about taking care of her husband.  With unswerving loyalty she does what she’s done for the … Listen Now
Oct 07, 2019
It’s Your Serve
“And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27–28). Jesus came to serve.  Suppose you took that role.  Be the family member who offers to wash the dishes after dinner.  Be the neighbor who mows the grass of the elderly people.  Find happiness in serving others.  Doing good does the doer good. What would happen if everyone took on the role of a servant?  How many marriages would be blessed?  If … Listen Now
Oct 04, 2019
Jesus Served His Disciples
The disciples were on the Sea of Galilee when they heard Jesus call out from the shore. When they reached the beach, they saw the most extraordinary sight.  Jesus was cooking!  He told them, “Come and eat breakfast” (John 21:12). Shouldn’t the roles be reversed?  Jesus had just ripped the gates of hell off their hinges.  He’d made a deposit of grace that forever offsets our debt of sin. He, the unrivaled Commander of the Universe, wore the apron?  Even more, he has yet to remove it.  He promises a feast in heaven at which “he will gird himself and have them … Listen Now
Oct 03, 2019
Quiet Servants
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Quiet servants. The supporting cast of the kingdom of God.  They seek to do what is right.  They cook dinners.  They visit the sick.  It was the servant spirit of Mary that led God to select her to be the mother of Jesus.  She was simple.  She said, “I am the servant of the Lord.  Let this happen to me as you say” (Luke 1:38). When God wants to bring Christ into the world, … Listen Now
Oct 02, 2019
Happiness in Intercessory Ministry
Nothing activates happiness like intercessory ministry.  The scripture says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). So you come, not as a stranger, but as an heir to the promise.  You are his ambassador.  “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Our King will listen to our request.  After all, you are a member of his priesthood.  Peter said, “But you are a chosen generation, … Listen Now
Oct 01, 2019
Prayer is All You Need
We have the opportunity to offer heartfelt prayers for every person we see.  The attendant at the grocery store.  The nurse in the doctor’s office.  You don’t have to tell them of your intercessory prayer. When we seek to bless others through prayer, we are blessed.  Studies draw causal links between prayer and faith and health and happiness. The act of praying for others has a boomerang effect. It allows us to shift the burden we carry for others to the shoulders of God.  Don’t grow angry at the church’s condition.  Pray for her.  Don’t fret about the future of your … Listen Now
Sep 30, 2019
The Power Posture
Someone you know is under attack.  Your neighbor is depressed.  Your sibling is off track.  Your child is facing an uphill challenge.  You may not know what to say.  You may not have resources to help.  But you have this–  you have prayer.  According to this promise your prayers prompt the response of God in the lives of those you love.  James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” When we pray for one another, we enter God’s workshop, we pick up a hammer, and help him accomplish his purposes. Our prayers … Listen Now
Sep 27, 2019
The Greatest Greeting in History
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University concluded that “huggers are happier.”  Another study linked hugging with a diminished rate of sickness.  So greet people for your sake and experience the joy of showing people that they matter. And greet people for their sake.  What is small to you may be huge to them.  Most of all, greet one another for Jesus’ sake. He said, “In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). By the way, the greatest greeting in history has yet to be issued. … Listen Now
Sep 26, 2019
The Fine Art of Saying “Hello”
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Paul gave these instructions to the Romans and repeated them to other churches. Twice to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:20 and 2 Cor. 13:12); and then to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:26).  Peter flew the friendliness flag as well in his first epistle (1 Peter 5:14) when he said, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” We tend to overlook these passages.  Why the big deal?  Why should we be careful to greet one another?  The answer is out of respect.  Respect is a mindfulness of another person’s situation.  Respect says “Hello” … Listen Now
Sep 25, 2019
Joy in the Success of Others
We are not God’s gift to humanity.  God can use each of us, but he doesn’t need any of us.  We are valuable but not indispensable.  You love.  But who loved you first?  You serve.  But who served the most?  What are you doing for God that God could not do alone? How wise of us to remember Paul’s antidote to joy-sucking self-promotion.  “With humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself” (Philippians 2:3). Here is a helpful exercise that can turn your focus off yourself and on to others.  During the next … Listen Now
Sep 24, 2019
Ministry Vs. Vain Ambition
“Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?  Tell her to come and help me!” (Luke 10:40). Of all the ironies.  Martha was in the presence of the Prince of Peace, yet she was the picture of stress.  Martha’s downfall was not her work or request; it was her motivation.  Rather than making a meal for Jesus, it seems she was trying to make a big deal about her service. Might there be a bit of Martha within us?  What begins as a desire to serve Christ metastasizes into an … Listen Now
Sep 23, 2019
The Society of the Bent Timber
One of my favorite places on earth is a grove that sits on the Guadalupe River.  It’s a peaceful place.  And trees, oh the trees.  They weather the winters and celebrate the summers.  And they are all bent.  There is no perfect tree.  Even so, they provide the perfect place to find peace. Humanity is like that grove of trees.  Though we attempt to stand tall, none of us succeed.  We all twist and turn.  We are a collection of bent timber.  And that’s okay. There is beauty in our bent-ness.  So enjoy the Society of the Bent Timber.  Cut … Listen Now
Sep 20, 2019
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
D. L. Moody was one of the most influential Christians of his generation.  He led thousands of people to faith and established many institutions of education and training.  He was famous for saying, “Right now I’m having so much trouble with D. L. Moody that I don’t have time to find fault with the other fellow.” There is a time to speak up.  But before you do, check your motives.  The goal is to help, never to hurt. Look at yourself before you look down on others.  Rather than put them in their place, put yourself in their place.  The … Listen Now
Sep 19, 2019
A Beam in Your Eye
“Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). Anyone who thinks Jesus never cracked a joke hasn’t read these words from the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus envisioned a fellow who has a two-by-four sticking out of his eye.  He doesn’t see the log in his own eye but can’t help but notice a man who stands across the street dabbing his eye with a tissue.  He declares, “Don’t you know that if you get something in your eye, it … Listen Now
Sep 18, 2019
Don’t Pet the Peeves
There is a way the world should be run.  And when others behave in ways we don’t like, we call that a pet peeve.  Not a colossal divide or a  legal violation…just a pet peeve.  You know, joy is such a precious commodity.  Why squander it on a quibble? The phrases we use regarding our pet peeves reveal the person who actually suffers.  He “gets under my skin” or “gets on my nerves,” or she is such a “pain in my neck.”  Whose skin, nerves, and neck?  Ours!  Who suffers?  We do!  Every pet peeve writes a check on our joy … Listen Now
Sep 17, 2019
The Gift of Encouragement
Every person needs to hear a “wonderful.”  Here is why.  Companies spend billions of dollars to convince us that we are chubby, smelly, ugly and out-of-date.  Inadequacy indwells a billion hearts. Would you distribute encouragement?  Will you make some happiness happen?  Will you remind humanity that we are made in God’s image?  That we are chosen, destined, and loved? Start by listening intently.  Ask someone to tell you his, or her, story.  Give the rarest of gifts— your full attention. Praise abundantly.  Biblical encouragement is no casual, kind word but rather a premeditated resolve to lift the spirit of another … Listen Now
Sep 16, 2019
Recession-Proof Your Joy
Turn on the TV or open a paper and the financial news can be unsettling. “A recession is coming!” says one expert.  “No recession,” argues another.   “Save more, spend less, just in case!” cautions a third.  And with all the conflicting reports, our joy level sinks lower and lower. But does financial security equal personal joy? Does our economic status serve as an accurate barometer of our happiness level? In a classic study psychologists determined that recent winners of the Illinois State Lottery were no happier than recent accident victims who were consequently disabled. The two groups were asked to … Read More
Sep 14, 2019
The Michelangelo Impact
Three years into my role as senior minister of our church, a former senior minister returned to live in our city and serve on our staff.  Charles Prince was thirty years my senior, Harvard educated, and a member of the Mensa society.  I was in my thirties, a rookie, and a charter member of the Dense Society.  Charles said, “There will be no tension in our relationship.  I’m going to be your biggest cheerleader.”  And he was— for twenty-five years, until the day he died! Intentional encouragement has a Michelangelo impact on people. The sculptor saw the figure of David … Listen Now
Sep 13, 2019
Jesus Affirms Peter
Encouragement occurs when we “come alongside and call out.”  Jesus modeled this.  Peter was prone to speak too soon and boast too much.  Yet Jesus saw something in the heart of this crusty fisherman worth calling forth.  Jesus asked his followers, “Who do you say that I am?”  I hear silence.  Finally Peter spoke up.  He looked at the penniless rabbi from Galilee and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus all but jumped for joy at the confession.  He even changed the apostle’s name.  Simon would now be called Peter, a name … Listen Now
Sep 12, 2019
A Crowd of Encouragers
God is “the God who gives endurance and encouragement” (Romans 15:5).  God encourages us.  So does Jesus.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit paraklétos, the noun form of the very word for encouragement. Scripture encourages us.  “The Scriptures, according to Romans 15:4, were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.”  The saints in heaven encourage us.  Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run … Listen Now
Sep 11, 2019
Encourage One Another
My big brother used to pick on me.  For Dee no day was complete unless he had made mine miserable.  He stole my allowance.  He called me a sissy. But all his cruel antics were offset by one great act of grace on a summer day in the park. He picked me to play on his baseball team.  Everyone else was a middle-schooler.  I was a third-grader.  I went from the back of the pack to the front of line, all because he picked me.  Dee didn’t pick me because I was good.  He called my name for one reason only.  … Listen Now
Sep 10, 2019
Agents of Happiness
Jesus wants to bring joy to the people of this generation, and he has enlisted some special agents of happiness to do the job.  You and me!  It’s not an easy task.  The people in our world can be moody, fickle, and stubborn.  And that just describes my wife’s husband. If we are going to find the joy that comes through giving joy away, we need instruction.  No wonder the Bible has so much to say about finding joy in the act of sharing.  The New Testament contains more than fifty “one another” statements. You and I indwell a lonely … Listen Now
Sep 09, 2019
Jesus Wants Us to Be Happy
Jesus was accused of much, but he was never described as a grump, sourpuss, or self- centered jerk.  People didn’t groan when he appeared.  He called people by name.  He listened to their stories.  He answered their questions.  He visited their sick relatives and he helped their sick friends.  Jesus fished with fishermen and ate lunch with the little guy and spoke words of resounding affirmation.  He went to weddings.  He went to so many parties that he was criticized for hanging out with questionable people. Thousands came to hear him teach.  Hundreds chose to follow him.  They walked away from … Listen Now
Sep 06, 2019
The Unexpected Door to Joy
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  The words of Jesus are spot- on.  When you give, it has a boomerang effect.  Happiness happens when we give it away.  That is such great news! You can’t control your genetics, the weather, the traffic, or the occupant of the White House.  But you can always increase the number of smiles on our planet.  You!  Yes, you can help people to sleep better, laugh more, hum instead of grumble, walk instead of stumble.  You can lighten the load and brighten the day of other human beings. And … Listen Now
Sep 05, 2019
Doing Good Does Good for the Doer
Doing good does good for the doer.  Research bears this out.  When volunteers were put in a functional MRI scanner and were told they would be giving some of their money to charity, the areas of their brains associated with pleasure— like food and sex— lit up like Christmas trees. Giving to others triggers dopamine.  Perhaps that could be a new fund-raising slogan? In another study a team of social psychologists distilled happiness factors into eight common denominators.  Two of the first three involve helping others.  Happy, contented people “devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, … Listen Now
Sep 04, 2019
Changing Doors
As one Harvard professor said, “We think money will bring lots of happiness for a long time, yet actually it brings a little happiness for a short time.”   We’ve all seen happy peasants and miserable millionaires, right? There is another option.  It requires no credit card, monthly mortgage, or stroke of fortune.  It demands no airline tickets or hotel reservations.  Age, ethnicity, and gender are not factors.  You don’t have to change jobs, change cities, change looks, or change neighborhoods.  But you might need to change doors. The motto on the front door says “Happiness happens when you get.” The … Listen Now
Sep 03, 2019
Mr. Happy Man
Ninety-two-year-old Johnny Barnes stands on the edge of a roundabout in Hamilton, Bermuda, and he waves at people as they drive past.  He’s not asking for money or begging for food.  He’s making people happy. “I love you!” he shouts.  “I’ll love you forever!” And they love him!  Bermudans call him Mr. Happy Man. They route their morning commute to see him.  If Johnny’s not standing in his spot, people call the radio station to check on him. Johnny’s philosophy is simple.  “We human beings gotta learn how to love one another.  One of the greatest joys that can come to … Listen Now
Sep 02, 2019
Why We Worship
Worship adjusts us.  It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened. It bows the knees, singing to him our praise.  It opens our hearts, offering to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh, how we need it!  We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King. Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1). We worship God … Listen Now
Aug 30, 2019
The Gifts God Brings
Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father had you covered!  “Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).  Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one!  And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, I’ve already given it, dear child.  I’ve already given it. There’s more!  When you place your trust in Christ, he places his Spirit in you.  And when the Spirit comes, he brings gifts– housewarming gifts of sorts.  “A spiritual gift,” the Bible says, “is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7). … Listen Now
Aug 29, 2019
Religious and Yet Lost
A person can be religious and yet lost.  Attending church won’t make you God’s child.  You must accept his offer.  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his.  “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God.  Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life.  You might find … Listen Now
Aug 28, 2019
The Kingdom of God Needs You
Christ takes away your sin, and in doing so, he takes away your commonness.  You no longer need to say, “No one knows me” because God knows you!  “LORD, you…know all about me,” David discovered.  “You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know everything I do…You are all around me…and have put your hand on me” (Psalm 139:1-3, 5). God knows you and he is near you!  See how these four words look taped to your bathroom … Listen Now
Aug 27, 2019
The Great Gospel of God
No one knows me, we think.  People know my name, but not my heart.  They know my face but not my feelings.  I have a social security number, but not a soul mate.  No one really knows me. The response of heaven is that God does!  Prophets weren’t enough.  Apostles wouldn’t do and angels won’t suffice.  God sent more than miracles and messages.  He sent himself; he sent his Son. In God’s great gospel, he not only sends, he becomes. He lives with us… as one of us.  He knows our hurt.  He knows our hunger.  He knows betrayal.  Most of … Listen Now
Aug 26, 2019
God’s Heart for Hurting Parents
I don’t care how tough you are. You may be a Navy Seal who specializes in high altitude skydiving behind enemy lines. You might spend each day making million-dollar, split-second stock market decisions. Doesn’t matter. Every parent melts the moment he or she feels the full force of parenthood. The semi truck of parenting comes loaded with fears. We fear failing the child, forgetting the child. Will we have enough money? Enough answers? Enough diapers? Vaccinations. Education. Homework. Homecoming. It’s enough to keep a parent awake at night. Fear distilleries concoct a high-octane brew for parents, a primal, gut-wrenching, pulse-stilling … Read More
Aug 26, 2019
Loneliness Has a Language
We may relish moments of solitude—but a lifetime of it?  No way!  Many of us, however, are too fluent in the language of loneliness.  The kids used to need me…the business once needed me…my spouse never needs me.  Lonely people fight feelings of insignificance. What do you do?  How do you cope with such cries of insignificance?   Some stay busy; others stay drunk.  Some buy pets; others buy lovers. Some seek therapy.  Yet only a few seek God.  He invites us to do so.  God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger  “…and they shall … Listen Now
Aug 23, 2019
Well Done, Good & Faithful Servant
God gives gifts, not miserly, but abundantly!  And he doesn’t give gifts randomly, but carefully, “to each according to each one’s unique ability” (Matthew 25:15).  Remember, no one else has your talents.  No one.  God elevates you from common-hood by matching your unique abilities to custom-made assignments.  “Well done good and faithful servant,” Jesus will say to some (Matthew 25:23). Maybe your dad never praised you or your teachers always criticized you, but God will applaud you!  And to have him call you good… well, when he does, it counts.  Only he can make bad sinners good.  And only he can make … Listen Now
Aug 22, 2019
Let Your Life Illustrate Christ
Tucked away in the cedar chest of my memory is a Sunday school teacher in a small West Texas church.  She gave each of us a can of crayons and a sketch of Jesus torn from a coloring book.  We didn’t illustrate pictures of ourselves, we colored the Son of God.  We used what she gave us.  No blue crayon for the sky?  Make it purple.  If Jesus’ hair is red, the teacher won’t mind.  She taught us to paint Jesus with our own colors. God made you to do likewise.  He made you unique so you could illustrate Christ. … Listen Now
Aug 21, 2019
Let Your Uniqueness Define Your Path
For the love of more, you might lose your purpose!  Just because someone gives you advice, a job, or a promotion, you don’t have to accept it.  Let your uniqueness define your path of life.  Isaiah prayed, “You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Before you change your job title, examine your perspective toward life.  As the Japanese proverb says,  “Even if you sleep in a thousand-mat room, you can only sleep on one mat.” Success is not defined by position or pay scale but by this– doing … Listen Now
Aug 20, 2019
Consult Your Designer, Not Your Greed
Jesus warns, “Be on your guard against every form of greed” (Luke 12:15).  John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?”  He answered, “Just a little more.”  Wise was the one who wrote, “Whoever loves money never has enough money; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income”  (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Urge your mate to choose satisfaction over salary.  Better to be married to a happy person with a thin wallet than a miserable person with a thick one.  Besides, “a pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life … Listen Now
Aug 19, 2019
Examine Your Gifts and Strengths
Be careful!  In a desire to be great, one might cease being any good.  Not every teacher is equipped to be a principal.  Not every carpenter has the skill to head a crew. Not every musician should conduct an orchestra.  A promotion might promote a person right out of their sweet spot.  For the love of more, a person might lose their purpose.  Greed makes a poor job counselor. Examine your gifts; know your strengths.  Romans 12:3 says to “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.”  Proverbs 15:16 says, “It is better to have little with fear for the LORD than … Listen Now
Aug 16, 2019
You Were Made for This
Listen to the way God described the builder Bezalel, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence and skill in all kinds of crafts. . .” (Exodus 31:3-5). Can you hear the pleasure in God’s voice? When you do the most what you do the best, you pop the pride buttons on the vest of God.  In the movie Chariots of Fire Eric Liddell defended his devotion to running by telling his sister, “God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”  When do you feel God’s pleasure?  When do you look up … Listen Now
Aug 15, 2019
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
The apostle Paul said, “Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life”  (Galatians 6:4-5). Before Thomas Merton followed Christ, he followed money, fame and society.  He shocked many of his colleagues when he exchanged it all for the life of a Trappist monk.  Many years later a friend visited the monastery and could see no important difference in him.  “Tom, he said, “you haven’t changed at all.”  “Why should I?  “Here,” he said, “our duty is to be more like ourselves, not less.” God never called … Listen Now
Aug 14, 2019
Each Person is God’s Brand New Idea
God made you and broke the mold!  Every single baby is a brand-new idea from the mind of God.  Scan history for your replica; you won’t find it.  God tailor-made you.  You aren’t one of many bricks in the mason’s pile or one of a dozen bolts in the mechanic’s drawer.  You are it!  And if you aren’t you, we don’t get you.  The world misses out. You offer a gift to society that no one else brings.  When you and I do the most what we do the best for the glory of God, the Bible says that we … Listen Now
Aug 13, 2019
Life in Your Sweet Spot
Are you living in your sweet spot?  Doing what you do well—what  you’ve always loved to do? That last question trips up a lot of folks.  God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he?  Yes he would.  “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).  “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart”  (Psalm 37:4). Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery.  See your desires as gifts to heed rather than longings to … Listen Now
Aug 12, 2019
The Child is the Father of the Man
“The child is the father of the man,” wrote William Wordsworth.  If you want direction for the future, then read your life backward.  Job placement experts asked over seventy thousand people this question:  “What things have you done in life that you enjoyed doing and believe you did well?”  In every case people reverted to the same pattern of functioning.  Or to put it succinctly, our past presents our future. The Bible says, “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we … Listen Now
Aug 09, 2019
Sculpted From Nothing Into Something Unique
You are more than statistical chance— more than a marriage of heredity and society.  Thanks to God, you have been “sculpted from nothing into something” (Psalm 139:15).  He made you you-nique.  Secular thinking, as a whole, doesn’t buy this.  Society simply says, “You can be anything you want to be.” But can you?  God never prefabs or mass-produces people.  “I make all things new,” he declares (Revelation 21:5).  So, you can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it.  Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have … Listen Now
Aug 08, 2019
The Big Idea for Your Uniqueness!
Scripture says “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). I just heard a groan.  “But Max, my work is simply that—work!  It pays my bills.”  “Job satisfaction? I have no clue how to find my skill.”  “Honor God?  After the mess I’ve made of my life?” Here’s the big idea:  Use your uniqueness to make a big deal out of God every day of your life.  At the convergence of all three: what you do, why you do it, and where you do it…is the cure … Listen Now
Aug 07, 2019
Your Work is Important to God
God views your work worthy of its own engraved commandment. “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21 NASB).   Whether you work at home or in the marketplace, your work matters to God.  And your work matters to society.  Cities need plumbers.  Bones break.  We need people to repair the first and set the last.  Someone has to raise kids, raise cane, and manage the kids who raise cane. So, whether you log on or lace up for the day, you imitate God.  Jesus said, “My Father never stops working, and so I keep … Listen Now
Aug 06, 2019
Making a Big Deal “To Do” of God
God endows us with gifts so we can make him known. Period!  God endues the Olympian with speed, the salesman with savvy, the surgeon with skill. Why?  The big answer is to make a big to-do out of God. To brandish him. Herald him. God has given gifts to each of us from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well. . .then God will be given glory” (1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT).  Make it your life’s encore to the end of time that “he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything (1 Peter 4:11 MSG). And when … Listen Now
Aug 05, 2019
These Stormy Times
More bad news. Killings in El Paso. Shootings in Ohio. All this on the heels of a violent weekend last week. All this violence adding up to too many mass shootings in just 216 days. Is our society coming unraveled? How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed? Anger is the choice of many. Anger at politicians. Anger at the NRA. Anger at God. We become bitter and sour toward this world; toward one another. Fear is another option. Lock the doors and close the windows. Avoid every shadow and dark alley. Yet, do we want to … Read More
Aug 05, 2019
Your Uniqueness Shows Who God Is
The Bible says that each person is given something to do that shows who God is!  (1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG).  When God gives an assignment, he also gives the skill.  Look at your life.  What do you consistently do well?  What do you love to do?  And what do others love for you to do? So much for the excuse, I don’t have anything to offer…or… I can’t do anything.  And enough of its arrogant opposite, I have to do everything!  Imitate the apostle Paul who said, “Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us” (2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT). So … Listen Now
Aug 02, 2019
God Made One Version of You
Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa.  Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony.  And God made one version of you!  God custom-designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment—“to each according to each one’s unique ability” (Matthew 25:15). “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others” (1 Corinthians 12:7).  Did the apostle Paul say, “The Spirit has given some of us. . .”? Or a few of us. . .?”  No!  “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.” You don’t have to do everything!  You’re not God’s solution to society, you are a solution in society.  Don’t worry … Listen Now
Aug 01, 2019
Church, A Place of Healing
Friends, I urge you to find a church congregation that believes in confession. Avoid a fellowship of perfect people—you probably won’t fit in. Seek one where members confess their sins and show humility, where the price of admission is simply an admission of guilt.  Healing happens in a church like this. Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23).  1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say we have no sin, we’re fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, … Listen Now
Jul 31, 2019
Need a Spiritual MRI?
What would an X-ray—an MRI—of your soul reveal?  Regrets over teenage relationships? Remorse over a poor choice?  You become moody, cranky…angry or irritable.  That’s understandable if you have shame lodged in your soul. Interested in an extraction?  Confess!  Request a spiritual  MRI.  Psalm 139: 23-24 is just that: “Search me, O God and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; see if there’s any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We need a grace-based confession.  God, I’ve done what You say is wrong.  Would you wash away my guilt and make me clean … Listen Now
Jul 30, 2019
Freedom in Confession
Confession!  It’s a word that conjures up many images—some not so positive!  Confession isn’t telling God what he doesn’t know.  That’s impossible.  It’s not pointing fingers at others without pointing any at me.  That may feel good, but it doesn’t promote healing. Confession is a radical reliance on grace— a trust in God’s goodness.  The truth is, confessors find freedom that deniers of sin do not!  Scripture says, “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can … Listen Now
Jul 29, 2019
Guilt Beneath the Surface
What would an X-ray of your interior reveal? Remorse over a poor choice?  Shame about the marriage that didn’t work or the temptation you didn’t resist? Guilt lies hidden beneath the surface, festering, and irritating.  Sometimes it’s so deeply embedded you don’t know the cause of your pain. And you can be touchy, you know. Understandable, since you have a shank of shame lodged in your soul. Would you like an extraction? Here’s what you do. Confess!  Ask God to help you. Psalm 139:23-24 is a model prayer:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there … Listen Now
Jul 26, 2019
Confession is a Radical Reliance Upon Grace
One day it dawned on me.  I had become the very thing I hate–  a hypocrite.  A pretender.  Two-faced. I’d written sermons about people like me. Christians who care more about their appearance than integrity. I knew what I needed to do.  I’d written sermons about that too!  1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins because we can trust God to do what is right.”  I needed to confess. What is confession?  Well confession is not complaining.  If … Listen Now
Jul 25, 2019
Grace Goes Beyond Mercy
We are poor, spiritually for sure; monetarily, perhaps. We’ve buried our dreams, desires, and aspirations. Like the mother with Lupus or the businessman in the unemployment line, we’re out of options. Yet Christ approached us “while we were yet sinners!” “Will you cover us?” we asked him, and Grace smiled. He gave us grace. Not just mercy, mind you, but grace. Grace goes beyond mercy. Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance but Grace threw him a party. Mercy prompted the Samaritan to bandage the wounds of the victim. But grace prompted him to leave his credit card as payment for the victim’s care. Mercy forgave the thief on … Listen Now
Jul 24, 2019
Soaked in Grace
Most people keep a pot of anger on low boil! But you aren’t most people. Look at your feet. They’re wet, grace-soaked. Jesus has washed your feet. He has washed the grimiest parts of your life. To accept grace is the vow to give it. You don’t endorse the deeds of your offender when you forgive them. Jesus didn’t endorse your sins by forgiving you.  The grace-defined person, still sends thieves to jail and expects the ex to pay child support. Grace sees the hurt full well. But it refuses to let hurts poison the heart. Where grace is lacking, bitterness abounds. Where grace abounds, forgiveness grows. So let the … Listen Now
Jul 23, 2019
Grace Chooses Forgiveness
Victoria Ruvolo doesn’t remember the 18-year-old boy leaning out the window, of all things, holding a frozen turkey.  He threw it at her windshield.  It shattered Victoria’s face like a dinner plate on concrete. John 13:14 -15 says,  “Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. Do as I have done to you.” And that’s what Victoria Ruvolo did. Months later, she stood face to face with her offender in court. He was given six months behind bars and five years’ probation. Everyone in the courtroom objected to the light sentence. He sobbed while she spoke. … Listen Now
Jul 22, 2019
You and Your Opposite You
You drive a hybrid; he chugs around in a gas guzzling, air-polluting truck. You vote red and she likes donkeys. You love your husband and she lives with her wife. You and your “opposite you.” “Opposite yous” can drain your joy tank. There is a tension, an awkwardness. Anger, low-grade or high flame, can flare. Inability to manage the relationship can lead to isolation, prejudice, and bigotry. What if your “opposite you” is your boss? Your next-door neighbor? Your coworker? What if your “opposite you” is your parent or child? How do we respond? Ignore them? Share a meal with … Read More
Jul 20, 2019
Grace Can Heal Hurts
If hurts were hairs—we’d all look like grizzlies!  So many hurts.  When teachers ignore your work, their neglect hurts.  When your girlfriend drops you, when your husband abandons you, when the company fires you… it hurts.  Rejection always hurts.  People bring pain.  Sometimes deliberately.  Sometimes randomly.  So where do you turn?  Hitman.com?  Jim Beam and friends?  Pity Party Catering Service? Retaliation has its appeal. But Jesus has a better idea! Grace is not blind. It sees the hurt full well. But Grace chooses to see God’s forgiveness even more. Hebrews 12:15 urges us to, “See to it that no one misses the grace … Listen Now
Jul 19, 2019
Let’s Stop This Frenzy
Attempts at “self-salvation” guarantee nothing but exhaustion.  We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.  The result?  We are the weariest people on earth. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders. Stop it!  Once and for all, enough of this frenzy!  Hebrews 13:9 tells us, “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules.”  In Matthew 11:28  Jesus promises, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” … Listen Now
Jul 18, 2019
Let Grace Happen
I became a Christian about the same time I became a Boy Scout, and I made the assumption that God grades like the Boy Scouts do– on a merit system.  Good scouts move up.  Good people go to heaven. So I worked toward the day when God, amid falling confetti and dancing cherubim, would drape my badge-laden sash across my chest and welcome me into his eternal kingdom where I would humbly display my badges for eternity.  But some thorny questions surfaced.  How many badges does He require?  How good is good? Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been … Listen Now
Jul 17, 2019
Christ’s Sacrifice is Personal
Christ took away your sins.  He endured not just the nails of the Romans, the mockery of the crowd, and the spear of the soldier, but he endured the anger of God!  God didn’t just overlook your sins, lest he endorse them.  He didn’t punish you, lest he destroy you.  Instead, He found a way to punish the sin and preserve the sinner.  Jesus took your punishment, and God gave you credit for Jesus’ perfection. As long as the cross is God’s gift to the world, it will touch you but it will not change you.  Precious as it is … Listen Now
Jul 16, 2019
Set Free From Guilt
We are incarcerated by our past.  We have been found guilty!  Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls.  We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting our final moment.  We don’t look up as he opens the door.  We know what he’s going to say. “Time to pay for your sins.”  But we hear something else! “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you!” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out.” And we find ourselves shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering what just happened?  Grace just happened!  Christ took away your sins. Romans 3:24 says, “God in his gracious … Listen Now
Jul 15, 2019
You Have an Advocate
Not all guilt is bad.  God uses appropriate doses of guilt to awaken us to sin!  God’s guilt brings enough regret to change us!  Satan’s guilt on the other hand, brings enough regret to enslave us. Don’t let Satan lock his shackles on you. Colossians 3:3 reminds us, “your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  When God looks at you, he sees Jesus first.  In the Chinese language the word for “righteousness” is a combination of two characters, the figure of a lamb and a person.  The lamb is on top, covering the person.  Whenever God looks down on you, … Listen Now
Jul 12, 2019
Satan’s Destructive Lies

Satan’s condemnation brings no repentance or resolve…just regret!  Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy.  To steal your peace, to kill your dreams, to destroy your future.  Satan has deputized people to peddle his poison.  Friends dredge up your past.  Preachers proclaim all guilt and no grace.  And parents, “Why can’t you grow up?” they say.  “When are you going to make me proud?” they say.  But your accusers will not have the last word. Jesus has acted on your behalf.  Jesus has risen to your defense.  Hebrews 10:22 says, “…let us come near to God with a sincere … Listen Now

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Jul 11, 2019
Voices in Our Head

Voices in our head whisper, “You aren’t good enough!” “You’ll never improve.” “You failed—again!”  Voices in our world.  Voices in our head. Who is this morality patrolman who issues a citation at every stumble?  Does he ever shut up? No. Because Satan never shuts up!  Revelation 12:9-10 says, “For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth, the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night.”  Satan is relentless, tireless.  The Accuser makes a career out of accusing.  But he will not have the last word. Jesus has acted on our behalf.  He stooped.  Low enough to be spat … Listen Now

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Jul 10, 2019
God Gives a Second Chance

She was only five years old when you took the photo.  Cheeks freckled by the summer sun, hair in pigtails.  That was twenty years ago.  Three marriages ago.  A million flight miles and e-mails ago. Today she walks down the aisle on the arm of another father. You left your family bobbing in the wake of your high-speed career.  And now that you have what you wanted, you don’t want it at all. Oh, to have a second chance.  Did you know God will give you one?  1 John 4:15 says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God, God … Listen Now

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Jul 09, 2019
Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

When grace happens, Christ enters.  Christ in you, the hope of glory!  For many years, I missed this truth.  I believed all the other prepositions: Christ for me, Christ with me, Christ ahead of me. But I never imagined that Christ was in me.  I can’t blame my deficiency on Scripture.  Paul refers to the indwelling of Christ 216 times.  John mentions his presence 26. No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim.  No other movement implies the living presence of its founder in his followers.  Muhammad does not indwell Muslims. Buddha does not inhabit Buddhists.  Influence?  Instruct?  Yes.  But occupy?  No. The mystery of Christianity … Listen Now

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Jul 08, 2019
God as a Heart Surgeon

Grace is God as heart surgeon!  Grace is God cracking open your chest, removing your heart, poisoned as it is with pride and pain, and replacing it with his own.  God’s dream isn’t just to get you into heaven, but to get heaven into you. Grace lives because Jesus does, works because he works, and matters because he matters.  To be saved by grace is to be saved by Jesus—not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives him the nod. Grace won’t be stage-managed.  I … Listen Now

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Jul 05, 2019
Grace is God’s Best Idea

Your dad makes you come to church, but he can’t make you listen.  At least that’s what you’ve always muttered to yourself.  But this morning you listen because the preacher speaks of a God who loves prodigals, and you feel like the worst sort of one.  You can’t keep the pregnancy a secret much longer.  Soon your parents will know.  The preacher will know.  And the preacher says God already knows.  You wonder what God thinks. Could you use some grace?  You know, grace is God’s best idea.  Rather than tell us to change, he creates the change.  Do we … Listen Now

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Jul 04, 2019
A Spiritual Transplant of the Heart

Grace!  The bank gives us a grace period.  The seedy politician falls from grace.  Musicians speak of a grace note.  We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings and pre-meal prayers.  We talk as though we know what grace means. You turn the page of your Bible and look at the words.  You might as well be gazing at a cemetery…lifeless, stony…nothing moves you.  But you don’t dare close the book, no sirree.  You dare not miss a deed for fear that God will erase your name. If that’s your feeling, grace can speak to you.  God’s grace has a … Listen Now

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Jul 03, 2019
God’s Answer for the Mess of Life

You stare into the darkness.  The ceiling fan whirls above you.  Your husband slumbers next to you.  In minutes the alarm will sound, and the demands of the day will shoot you like a clown out of a cannon into a three-ring circus of meetings, bosses, and baseball practices. For the millionth time you’ll make breakfast, schedules, and payroll. . .but for the life of you, you can’t make sense of this thing called life.  Life with its beginnings and endings.  Cradles and cancers and cemeteries and questions.  The meaning of life…the poor choices of life! God answers the mess … Listen Now

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Jul 02, 2019
God’s Grace Comes After You

God’s grace!  It has a wildness about it.  A white-water, rip-tide, turn-you-upside-downess about it. Grace comes after you! Some years ago I underwent a heart procedure.  I asked the surgeon, “You’re burning the interior of my heart, right?” “Correct,” he said. “You intend to kill the misbehaving cells, yes?” I asked. “That’s my plan,” was his response. “As long as you’re in there, could you take your little blowtorch to some of my greed, selfishness, superiority, and guilt?” He smiled, “Sorry, that’s out of my pay grade!” But it’s not out of God’s, my friend!  We’d be wrong to think this change happens … Listen Now

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Jul 01, 2019
The Gifts of God

God gives us wonderful gifts. He gives us his work on the cross and in the resurrection. As a result, your sin brings no guilt, and the grave brings no fear. He give us his energy. You can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength. He gives us his lordship. He is in charge of you and looks out for you. He give us his love. Nothing can separate you from it. But sometimes we place Christ on the mantel of our heart: respect him, revere his name, but never open his gifts. He says in Revelation 3:20, … Listen Now

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Jun 28, 2019
No Fear of Judgment

According to 1 John 4:17 and 18, “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment …perfect love expels all fear.’” Perfect love is a perfect knowledge of the past and a perfect vision of the future. You cannot shock God with your actions. He knows your entire story, and with clear assessment declares, You are mine. The day of judgment is circled on heaven’s calendar. We don’t know the details, but we know the day is coming. God views Christians the way he views Christ — sinless and perfect. Hence, Christians can view judgment the way Christ does, … Listen Now

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Jun 27, 2019
Filled Up With God’s Love

When Christ rose from the dead, he never reminded the disciples of their betrayal and desertion.  They outran the guards, but they couldn’t outrun the love of Christ. Desert God—he’ll still love you.  Deny God—he’ll still love you.  Doubt God—he’ll still love you.  You have never lived a loveless day.  Not one!  You never leave God’s mind, escape his sight, or flee his thoughts.  He knows you better than you know you, and he loves you still. The greatest discovery in the universe is the greatest love in the universe—and that is God’s love.  Remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:38,  … Listen Now

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Jun 26, 2019
Receive His Love

In Romans chapter 8,  Paul asks five life-changing questions: 1. “Won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?”   God won’t leave us to fend for ourselves. 2. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”   God’s presence tilts the scales of security forever in our direction. 3. “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?”   Once God accepts you, what other opinion matters? 4. “Who then will condemn us?  Will Christ Jesus?”   The answer is NO!  Christ sits next to God as our divine defense attorney who … Listen Now

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Jun 25, 2019
Going Deep

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul says, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”  The supreme surprise of God’s love is that it has nothing to do with you.  “God is love” the scripture says.  God loves you because he is he.  You don’t influence God’s love.  Your actions don’t alter his devotion.  Success signals God’s love no more than struggles indicate the lack of it. When you feel unloved, take a trip to the cross and look at Jesus, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned.  Choose God’s love.  For the sake of your heart.  The prayer is powerful … Listen Now

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Jun 24, 2019
God is Your Guardian

According to Psalm 91:14, “The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.’” God is your guardian, separating you from evil.  So, why do bad things happen to us? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad.   God not only read your story…he wrote it.  His perspective is different and his purpose is clear.  He uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.  James urges us to “consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides…Let it do its work so you … Listen Now

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Jun 21, 2019
Angels Watching Over You

Two adjectives capture the biblical image of angels: many and mighty.  They are mentioned in over three hundred scriptural references. Revelations 5:11 describes angels around the heavenly throne,  “and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” God’s angels are marked with incredible strength.  It took only one angel to slay the firstborn of Egypt. Only one sound matters to angels and that is God’s voice.  Only one sight enthralls angels and that is God’s face.  And as a result, they worship him.  They also protect us.  “All the angels are spirits who serve God and … Listen Now

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Jun 20, 2019
You Don’t Have to Worry

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6).  God offers you and me the possibility of a worry-free life.  Jesus said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life!  Of course not” (Matthew 6:27).  Worry is irrelevant.  You don’t add one day to your life or one bit of life to your day by worrying. Worry is also irreverent; it’s distrusting God…an “unconscious blasphemy.”  The Apostle Paul urges us to “be anxious for nothing.”  How?  Our part includes prayer and gratitude.  Instead of looking forward in fear, look upward in faith and backward in appreciation … Listen Now

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Jun 19, 2019
In God We (Nearly) Trust

Drink deeply from God’s Lordship.  He authors all itineraries.  He knows what is best.  No struggle will come your way apart from His purpose, presence, and permission.  What encouragement this brings.  You are never the victim of nature or the prey of fate.  Chance is eliminated. You are more than a weathervane whipped about by the winds of fortune.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, he promises.  And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; nor will the flame burn you.  “For I … Listen Now

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Jun 18, 2019
God Knows What is Best

Sovereignty.  This important biblical word defines itself.  Zero in on the middle portion of the term.  See the word within the word?  Sove-reign-ty.  To confess the sovereignty of God is to acknowledge the reign of God, his regal authority and veto power over everything that happens.  To embrace God’s sovereignty is to drink from the well of his lordship. Scripture, from Old Testament to New, from prophets to poets to preachers, renders one unanimous chorus:  God directs the affairs of humanity.  As Paul wrote, “God…is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master over … Listen Now

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Jun 17, 2019
It’s Not All Up to You

God never promises an absence of distress.  But he does promise the assuring presence of his Holy Spirit.  The Spirit seals you.  Ephesians 1:13 says, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”  God paid too high a price to leave you unguarded.  And, according to Romans 5:5, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…”  Romans 8:26 says, “The Holy Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.” Whether we are feeble of soul or in body, it’s good to know it’s not up to us. … Listen Now

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Jun 14, 2019
God’s Glove

God has work to do.  And he uses our hands to do it.  What the hand is to the glove, the Spirit is to the Christian.  God gets his fingers into our lives, inch by inch reclaiming his territory.  As a glove responds to the strength of the hand, so you will respond to the leading of Christ, saying, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). The question is not, how can I have more of the Spirit?  But, rather, can the Spirit have more of me? Accept his power.  Be the glove and let him … Listen Now

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Jun 13, 2019
Waiting for Power

Jesus told the disciples, “Stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luke 24:49).  Jesus’ word to the doubting disciples?  Wait.  So, as many as 120 souls huddle in the same house.  They stay together, and most of all, they pray together.  And God opened the floodgates on the greatest movement in history. Desire power for your life?  Then wait in the right place—in a place of prayer.  Power will come as you pray.  Think of prayer less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God.  Acknowledge his … Listen Now

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Jun 12, 2019
Rely on His Energy

Paul once asked the Galatian church a question.  “You began your life in Christ by the Spirit.  Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power?  That is foolish” (Galatians 3:3). I used to think there were two kinds of people: the saved and unsaved.  Paul describes a third: the saved, but unspiritual.  They blend in with nonbelievers.  They let God save them, but not change them.  Their lives are marked by joyless days, contentious relationships, and thirsty hearts.  No wonder they’re tired. Paul gives the solution in five rich words.  “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians … Listen Now

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Jun 11, 2019
A Heart Headed Home

The apostle Paul wrote, “God sent [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:5). Heaven knows no stepchildren or grandchildren.  God says we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  What Christ inherits, you inherit.  We are adopted but not yet transported.  We have a new family, but not our heavenly house.  He has claimed us, but has yet to come for us.  What do we do in the meantime? Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2 to “let heaven fill … Listen Now

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Jun 10, 2019
The Shadow of Death

Ducking the shadow of death dominates our days.  Sleep more.  Exercise regularly.  Eat less fat, more protein.  But you know, no one ducks death forever.  God’s perspective is different in Ecclesiastes 7:1, “The day you die is better than the day you are born.” And Psalms 116:15 tells us, “When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him.” Is your fear of dying robbing your joy of living?  Why don’t you do this: give God your death.  Envision your final minutes and offer them to him.  “Lord, I receive your work on the cross and … Listen Now

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Jun 07, 2019
Defined by God’s Grace

In Galatians 2:16 the Apostle Paul says, “No one will ever be saved by obeying the law.”  We become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by trusting in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:4-9 explains how we are defined by God’s grace.  “He gave us life” so we are spiritually alive.  We are “seated with him in the heavenly realms”—heavenly positioned.  We are “one with Christ,” connected to God.  We are billboards of mercy because we are “examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us.”  And we are honored children saved “by his … Listen Now

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Jun 06, 2019
God’s Salvation Song

The ultimate disaster is carrying your sins to your casket.  Christ responds to universal sin with a universal sacrifice, taking on the sins of the entire world.  But God’s salvation song has two verses.  One, He took your place on the cross, which is the first stanza:  God’s work for you.  But he also takes his place in your heart, which is the second stanza:  God’s work in you. Paul explains, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  This has powerful implications.  Sin may touch you, but it cannot claim you.  It cannot condemn … Listen Now

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Jun 05, 2019
The Infection of Sin is Universal

No culture, no nation, no person sidesteps the infection of sin.  You can blame the plague of sin on a godless decision.  Adam and Eve ignored God’s will…and sin, with death on its coattails, entered the world.  The sinful mind dismisses God and becomes self-centered.  Sin, for a season, quenches thirst. But, given time, the thirst returns, more demanding than ever. God refuses to compromise the spiritual purity of heaven.  Here’s the awful truth.  Lead a godless life, and expect a godless eternity.  Spend life telling God to leave you alone, and he will.  So what can we do?  Acts … Listen Now

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Jun 04, 2019
The Dehydrated Heart

Your body is 80 percent fluid.  Stop drinking and see what happens.  Coherent thoughts vanish, skin grows clammy, and vital organs wrinkle. Deprive your heart of spiritual water, and your dehydrated heart will send desperate messages—hopelessness, loneliness, resentment.  Where do you find water for your soul?  Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Let Christ be the water of your soul.  Church activities might hide a thirst, but only Christ quenches it. Drink him. … Listen Now

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Jun 03, 2019
To Hear the Applause of Heaven

The Beatitudes end with this compelling promise— “Great is your reward in heaven!” (Matthew 5:12). The Book of Revelation could be called the Book of Homecoming.  In Revelation 21 verse 2, John describes heaven as a “bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Verse 4 says “there will be no more death.” The most hopeful words are in verse 5 , “I am making everything new.”  The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore the vigor, the energy, the hope, and the soul. Each step you take brings you closer to home.  Before you know it, you’ll enter … Listen Now

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May 31, 2019
A Kingdom Message

Some months ago, I was late to catch a plane out of the San Antonio airport.  I wasn’t terribly late but I was late enough to be bumped and have my seat given to a standby passenger.  When the ticket agent told me I would have to miss the flight, I put to work my best persuasive powers.  “But the flight hasn’t left yet!”  “Yes, but you are here too late” she responded.  “But m’am” I pleaded, “I’ve got to be in Houston by this evening.”  She was patient but firm. “I’m sorry sir.”  “I know what the rules say,” … Listen Now

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May 30, 2019
The New Kingdom

Jesus sent a message to an imprisoned John the Baptist.  “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, and the deaf hear” (Matthew 11:5).  Jesus sent John a message about a unique, invisible kingdom, where the rejected are received: the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the deaf.  They had no place, no name, no value. In Revelation 21:2-5 John describes Heaven as a “bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  There will be no more death. God is making everything new!  The master builder will pull out the original plan and restore the vigor, the energy, … Listen Now

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May 29, 2019
The Dungeon of Doubt

“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3).  John the Baptist asked this question of Christ.  John was in deep trouble; he was in jail and Jesus was silent. Anytime the faithful suffer the consequences of the faithless….anytime a person does a good deed but suffers evil results…they spend time in the dungeon of doubt. Clouds of doubt are created when the warm, moist air of our expectations meet the cold air of God’s silence.  You may learn what John the Baptist did:  that the problem is not so much in God’s silence … Listen Now

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May 28, 2019
The Greasy Pole of Power

There are certain things you can do that no one else can, and you are alive to do them. But there’s a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself.  The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity.  The quest for power is childish. The first power play happened in a garden.  A promise of prestige was whispered with a hiss by a fallen angel.  Eve swallowed the hook.  The temptation to be like God eclipsed her view of  God. Absolute power is unreachable.  The pole of power is greasy. Jesus … Listen Now

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May 27, 2019
The Power of a Seed

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” (Matthew 5:9).  Jesus said.  The principle for peace is the same as the principle for crops–  Never underestimate the power of a seed.  Somebody in your world desperately needs a word of peace.  Want to see a miracle?  Plant a word of love heart-deep in that person’s life.  Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens. When God’s people had forgotten his name, he planted the seed of his own self in the womb of a Jewish girl.  The seed shoved away the stones of legalism, oppression and prejudice.  Then the stone … Listen Now

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May 24, 2019
How Happiness Happens

Happiness happens when we give it away. Be the family member who offers to wash the dishes after dinner. Be the colleague who serves the staff by arriving on time for each meeting and listening attentively. Be the church member who supports the pastor with prayer and notes of encouragement. Be the neighbor who mows the grass of the elderly couple.  Can you imagine the joy-giving benefits of these decisions? Contrast the situation of Moe and Joe. Moe expects everyone to serve him. The moment he awakens he thinks, Is someone going to bring me coffee? He leaves the house … Read More

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May 24, 2019
Temple Builders and Savior Seekers

The next time you enter an assembly of worship, watch the people. You can tell the ones who remember the slain one.  They’re wide-eyed and expectant.  They don’t yawn while receiving a gift from the king himself! You can also tell the ones who see only the temple.  Their eyes wander.  Their mouths open—not to sing, but to yawn.  The temple gazers don’t mean to be bored.  But the one they once planned to honor hasn’t been seen in a while.  But those who have seen him can’t forget him.  They find him, often in spite of the temple rather than … Listen Now

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May 23, 2019
The Pure in Heart Will See God

Scripture says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  Note the order of this beatitude.  First, purify the heart, then you will see God.  You change your life by changing your heart. How do you do that? Jesus gave the plan in the beatitudes.  You admit sin—you get saved.   You confess weakness—you receive strength.  You say you are sorry—you find forgiveness.  Now you have something positive, and you want more.  Then comes mercy; and the more you receive, the more you give.  And you can bet that He who made you knows how to purify you—from … Listen Now

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May 22, 2019
The Dynamic of Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”  Jesus says the merciful are shown mercy.  Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us.  The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace.  For it is when we forgive others, that we begin to feel what God feels. Those who taste God’s grace but refuse to share it are tortured by anger; choked by bitterness; and consumed by revenge.  But for the one who tastes God’s grace and gives it to others, the reward is a blessed liberation. The prison door is thrown open.  And … Listen Now

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May 21, 2019
Resentment Can Be Deadly

Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions, causing our blood to pump.  And our energy level to rise. There is a dangerous point at which our anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force.  That’s why bitter people complain to anyone who will listen. And, like cocaine, resentment can kill.  Physically– with high blood pressure and other conditions. Emotionally– with anxiety and depression.  Spiritually– as it shrivels the soul. Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner.  Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.  And … Listen Now

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May 20, 2019
Hungering and Thirsting

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). For what are you hungering and thirsting?   The way we clutch our possessions and our pennies, you’d think we couldn’t live without them.  The problem is, the treasures of earth don’t satisfy.  The promise is, the treasures of heaven do.  Blessed are those, then, who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Blessed are those who are totally dependent upon Jesus for their joy. Let today be marked by a deep hunger, a craving for God.  May you live this day thirsty… thirsty for … Listen Now

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May 17, 2019
A Satisfied Thirst

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus explained, holding up the wine.  These words recorded in Luke 22:20 must have puzzled the disciples. For generations, the Jews had observed the Passover by sacrificing lambs. It was enough to fulfill the law. But it was not enough to take away sins. Only God could offer an eternal solution. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”  So the thirsty come.  A ragged lot we are, bound together by broken dreams and collapsed promises.  We thirst for righteousness…a clean conscience, a fresh start, and a clean slate.  … Listen Now

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May 16, 2019
The Bandit of Joy

The bandit of joy is Fear.  Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow.  His arsenal is vast.  His goal?  To create cowardly, joyless souls. We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, or popularity.  Only inward character creates courage.  And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes.  The result of this process is courage—“they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth. If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that … Listen Now

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May 15, 2019
The Meek Will See Christ

There is one word that describes the night Jesus came—ordinary.  The sky, the sheep, the shepherds—all ordinary. A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus.  You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church.  You can also enter the cave where a star embedded in the floor recognizes the birth of the King.  But you have to stoop.  The door is so low you can’t go in standing up. The same is true of the Christ. You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees. So…while the … Listen Now

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May 14, 2019
The Glory in the Ordinary

God’s most powerful tools are the simplest.  Consider the rod of Moses.  God made a stick become a snake, then become a stick again.  Perhaps he can do something with stubborn hearts and stiff-necked people. Consider five smooth stones and an ordinary leather sling.  The soldiers gasped.  Goliath jeered.  David swung.  And God made his point.  Anyone who underestimates what God can do with the ordinary has rocks in his head. Consider the saliva and mud that became a balm for the blind. Once again, the mundane became majestic. We can learn a lesson from the rod, the rock, and the … Listen Now

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May 13, 2019
Touches of Tenderness
May 10, 2019
Prisoners of Pride
May 09, 2019
Empty Vessels
May 08, 2019
Everything is Possible With God

A rich young ruler once asked Jesus, “What must I do to get eternal life?”  He thought he could find eternal life by his own strength.  But Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).  It wasn’t money that hindered the rich young man; it was self-sufficiency.  You don’t need a system; you need a Savior.  You don’t need a resumé; you need a Redeemer.  You cannot save yourself. It’s not just the rich who have difficulty with this teaching.  So do the educated, the strong, the good-looking, the popular, the religious. Those who desire God’s presence … Listen Now

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May 07, 2019
The Sacred Summit

Matthew 5:1 says, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside and sat down.” America is in a hurry!  Time has skyrocketed in value because of its scarcity.  He invites you and me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…” (Matthew 11:28).  He invites us to leave behind the budgets, the bills, the deadlines; and walk the narrow trail with him to the sacred summit. You can tell the ones who have been there.  Their challenges are just as severe, but there is stubborn peace that enshrines them…a contagious delight sparkles in their eyes. … Listen Now

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May 06, 2019
One Decision Away From Joy

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus promises joy nine times!  But this joy is not cheap.  Observe the sequence.  First, we recognize we are in need…we are poor in spirit.  Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency…we mourn.  We quit calling the shots and surrender control to God…we are meek.  Grateful for his presence, we yearn for more of him…we hunger and thirst.  As we grow closer to him, we become more like him.  We forgive others…we are merciful.  We change our outlook…we are pure in heart.  We love others…we are peacemakers.  We endure injustice…we are persecuted. (Matthew 5:3-12). The … Listen Now

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May 03, 2019
God’s Sacred Delight

One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.  He was ridiculed and accused of a crime he never committed.  They killed him.  He was buried in a borrowed grave. He should have been bitter or angry.  But he wasn’t.  He was joyful.  He was even joyful as he hung on a tool of torture, his hands pierced with six-inch spikes.  Jesus embodied a stubborn joy.  A joy that held its ground against pain.  A joy whose roots extended into the bedrock of eternity. What type of joy is this?  What is the source of this peace that … Listen Now

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May 02, 2019
God’s Love for His Children

Certain things about God are easy to imagine.  I can imagine him creating the world and suspending the stars.  I can envision him as almighty, all-powerful, and in control. I can fathom a God who knows me, who made me, and I can even fathom a God who hears me. But a God who is in love with me?  A God who is crazy for me?  A God who cheers for me?  But that is the message of the Bible.  Our Father is relentlessly in pursuit of his children.  He has called us home with his word, paved the path with … Listen Now

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May 01, 2019
Engraved on God’s Hand

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).  Those are God’s words.  Your name is not buried in some heavenly file.  God needs no name tag to jog His memory about you.  Your name is tattooed, engraved on His hand.  You are everything to God. I once read a story about a priest from Detroit who traveled to Ireland to visit relatives.  One day he was walking the shores of Lake Killarney with his uncle.  They watched the sun rise and for a full twenty minutes, the two men scarcely spoke.  As they resumed their … Listen Now

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Apr 30, 2019
The Celebration

God loves surprises.  He appears in the strangest of places and does the strangest of things.  He arches rainbows in the midst of thunderclouds.  And he calls people by name in a cemetery.  Mary Magdalene was surprised to hear her name spoken by a man she had buried.  And she responded correctly— she worshiped him. The scene has all the elements of a surprise party.  But the celebration planned for the future will be a lot bigger!  More graves will open.  Many more names will be called.  Many more knees will bow.  And many more seekers will celebrate. I plan to … Listen Now

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Apr 29, 2019
God Loves to Surprise Us

The last few days had brought nothing but tragedy.  Mary Magdalene was there to hold her arm around the shoulder of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was there to close his eyes.  And now she takes her spices to his grave.  As she rounds the final bend, she gasps.  The rock in front of the grave is pushed back.  Someone has taken his body! Then a man in radiant white asks, “Why are you crying?” An uncommon question in a cemetery.  She answers and is asked again,“Why are you crying?”  Mary thinks the man is the gardener.  He isn’t. … Listen Now

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Apr 26, 2019
The Other Side of Death’s River

A missionary in Brazil discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote area.  A contagious disease was ravaging the population.  To get medical attention they would need to cross a river—a river, they believed, was inhabited by evil spirits.  The missionary told them how he had crossed the river unharmed.  No luck.  Finally, he swam beneath the surface and emerged on the other side.  Then the Indians followed him. Jesus saw people enslaved by their fear of death.  He explained that death was nothing to fear.  He called Lazarus out of the grave yet they were still cynical.  He had … Listen Now

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Apr 25, 2019
A Silenced Boast

A Hanoverian countess was known for her disbelief in God and her conviction that no one could call life from a tomb.  Before her death, she ensured that her tomb would be a mockery to belief in the resurrection.  It was sealed with a slab of granite.  Blocks of stone were placed around her tomb.  Heavy iron clamps fastened the blocks together and to the granite slab.  The inscription read: This burial place, purchased to all eternity, must never be opened. However, a small birch tree had other plans.  Over the years it forced its way until the iron clamps … Listen Now

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Apr 24, 2019
Move the Stone

Standing in a cemetery,  Jesus issued a command, “Move the stone.” There was no singing at the funeral Jesus attended.  Mourning.  Weeping.  Wailing.  People shuffled about aimlessly, their eyes full of fear.  The foreboding news reminded them of their own fate.  Another prisoner had been marched from death row to the gallows.  Lazarus was dead. And Jesus wept—not for the dead but for the living.  He wept not for the one in the cave of death but for those in the cave of fear.  He wept for those who, though alive, were dead.  He wept for those who, though free, were … Listen Now

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Apr 23, 2019
The Sparkle of Eternity

The fifth chapter of Mark tells the story of a synagogue leader who reached the point where desperation exceeded dignity.  He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter.  And Jesus did, with a look on his face that said, Come here. I’ve got a secret. I’ve seen that sparkle of eternity in the eyes of a cancer patient who said, “I’m ready to go.”  I saw it at a funeral.  The widower didn’t weep like the others.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know where she is.”  Peace where there should be pain.  Hope defying despair.  That’s what that … Listen Now

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Apr 22, 2019
Don’t Cry

Jesus and his disciples stop as the funeral procession passes by.  The widow at the back of the procession is burying her only son.  Tonight she will make dinner for one and conversation with none. When Jesus sees the mother, his heart begins to break, and he tells her, “Don’t cry.”  The pallbearers stop marching, and Jesus turns his attention to the dead boy and calmly says, “Young man, come back to life again.”  Gray-pale cheeks blush.  The dead man sits up. Luke’s description of what happens next is captivating.  “Jesus gave him back to his mother.”  Jesus must have … Listen Now

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Apr 19, 2019
God vs. Death

Death is the bully on the block of life.  “Your time is coming,” he taunts.  Oh, we try to prove him wrong.  We jog.  We diet.  But we know that we will only, at best, postpone it.  That is why you should never face him alone.  That is why you need a big brother. Take heart from these words,  “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by … Listen Now

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Apr 18, 2019
An Eleventh Hour Gift

“We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”  These words were spoken on Skull’s hill by a thief.  After a life of crime, he’s reached the bottom—a crossbeam and three spikes.  He begins to wonder who Jesus might be, and he hears the whisper, “Father, forgive them.” When the other criminal hurls an accusation at Jesus, this thief defends him.  His statement includes facts that anyone needs to recognize to come to Jesus.  We are guilty and he is innocent.  He is not on that cross for his sins.  He is there … Listen Now

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Apr 17, 2019
You Can Come Home

What do you do when your failures suck the sandy foundation of your future out from under you?  Well, you can blame the world.  Failure invites finger pointing and buck passing.  You are the victim, and the world is your enemy.  A second option is to continue playing the games.  We are masters of the masquerade.  And, well with time, the real self is forgotten. Or you can do what the prodigal son did.  You can come home.  When Jesus told this parable of the loving father, I wonder, did he use his hands?  Later he stretched his hands as … Listen Now

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Apr 16, 2019
Behold the Redeemer From Heaven

For some, Jesus is the Rabbit’s Foot Redeemer—a good luck charm used to get you out of a jam.  For many he’s an Aladdin’s Lamp Redeemer— Your wish is his command.  For others, Jesus is a Game Show Redeemer— Let’s make a deal! Few demands; no challenges; and no need for sacrifice or commitment. That’s not the Redeemer described in the New Testament.  And that’s not the Redeemer seen by the frightened woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  The leaders were going to stone her, but Jesus intervened.  If we could somehow transport her to Calvary she would recognize … Listen Now

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Apr 15, 2019
Failures Are Not Fatal

Nothing drags more stubbornly than a sack of failures.  Could you do it all over again, you’d do it differently.  But you can’t.  And as many times as you tell yourself, What’s done is done, what you did can’t be undone.  That’s part of what Paul meant when he said, “The wages of sin is death.” Can anything be done?  What do you do with the stones from life’s stumbles? Don’t we all long for a father who cares for us in spite of our failures?  We do have that type of father.  A father who is at his best when we are … Listen Now

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Apr 12, 2019