Friday, October 21, 2016

Focus '16 - Life on Mission - Entry # 9

Psalm 33:12  New International Version (NIV)

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...

Hi Friends!

The word blessed literally translated means to be very happy or realistically translated means to be very fortunate - our church is blessed or literally very happy and realistically most fortunate - because our Lord and God is Christ Jesus.

The mission of Christ Jesus - is for our lives, homes, communities, nation and world to literally and to realistically be blessed through His church - this is at the heart of our current lesson series as we look to Christ Jesus to reconcile relationships to God and among all people through His church.

A couple of prayers I am asking you to pray were offered by Daniel (Chapter 9) and David (Psalm 51) - each prayer reminds us to 1) Confirm God's Mercy 2) Confess Our Sins and 3) Compel God's Forgiveness - I also ask you to reflect on the passage below believing the continued blessings of our spiritual heritage require us to continue to put our hope in the unfailing love of our Lord.

Psalm 33:16-22  New International Version (NIV)

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
    no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.

Friends, my deep desire is for you to continue to be blessed and to continue to be a blessing by continuing to put your hope in the unfailing love of our Lord - never forget that the mission of the church is reconciling all people to God and each other in Christ Jesus - and because of that we are very happy and most fortunate!

God's Peace,


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Focus '16 - Life on Mission - Entry # 8

Hi Friends!

The Bible says "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18). So rather than make excuses and reflect upon historical references as to why peace is not always possible, I want to encourage each of you to focus on you.

As much as it depends upon you I want to encourage each of  you to do whatever you possibly can to let all people know that all people matter to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. My conviction is there will never be a better time than now to restore unity in our nation.

Let your light shine -
Let your love flow-
Let your life bless-

Be the church, be the peace of Jesus that passes all human understanding, the peace that can guard all hearts and all minds, the peace that can unite one nation under the one true God into one people that matter not only to God, but that all matter to one another.

Pray for revival -
Pray for revival again -
Pray for revival again and again and again and always -

Spiritual Revival in our nation is the one thing that can displace the division that comes with talk of black and blue with the reality that all people of all colors matter to God - you matter, your neighbors matter, and every neighborhood in every nation matters to God.

As much as it depends upon you - be the peace of Jesus to all people because all people matter to the one true God - may there be Spiritual Revival in our nation that facilitates peace and unity for all people and it may it begin with you, the church of Jesus Christ.

This is my prayer for you, for the church, to be peace in the world in Jesus name. Amen


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Focus '16 - Life on Mission - Entry # 7

Hi Friends!

Jesus teaches that all human relations can be reconciled by loving God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (said another way: with your entire being) and by loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

Look around and ask yourself if the world could use those expressions of love from all people right now? My answer to that question is yes and my prayer for Connections Christian Church is that we will express that love and show all people that God is love and loves all people.

Our current lesson series is about living in "New Times" by learning and following the "Old Testimonies" of God's Word - we believe people who embrace Biblical truth and values from centuries past - will be blessings to one another and to our communities, nation and world today.

We believe what the world needs now is love for God and all people!

How 'bout you?

God's Peace,


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Focus ' 16 - LIFE ON MISSION - Entry # 5

Hi Friends!

Our Summer Sermon Series is "1 Big Happy Family" - the goal is not to guilt people out for their shortcomings - but to pump people up for possibilities for improving relationships in Christ!

Said another way - the idea is to identify practical Biblical ways to celebrate family life that will weather whatever challenges come - we won't turn a blind-eye but will look to focus on family fun!

Jesus prayed the above prayer for you - this is what Jesus desires for your family - He desires for all people to enjoy unity in faith, hope, and love!

That's the fun that's before us - I pray you will enjoy the journey this Summer as we celebrate family unity in Christ - and the greatest of these is love!

God's Peace,

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Hi Friends!

Each Lord's Day we gather to commune and remember the sacrifice of our Savior and Lord Jesus - Memorial Day is a National Holiday to remember the sacrifice of those who have protected that freedom - and many other freedoms that we continue to enjoy.

Memorial Day is also called Decoration Day - which reminds us to decorate the graves and remember the lives of those who have gone before us - these virtues are also honorable and pure and find their origin in Scripture where we are encouraged to remember not only Jesus but the faithful lives of His followers.

Sunday's 10:30 AM Worship Service at Connections Christian Church will center around these themes - remembering Jesus and honoring the lives of His faithful followers - we will honor many who have gone before us and several living among us and all who protect the freedom we enjoy to worship in the name of Jesus Christ.
I also encourage you to participate in the Memorial Walk in Madeira on Monday - may all be especially blessed and be a special blessing this Memorial Day Weekend - with our deepest gratitude for all those past, present, and future who protect the freedoms we enjoy in America!

God's Peace,


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Focus '16 - LIFE ON MISSION - Entry # 4

Hi Friends,

When I update this blog I am reminded that it is written with bias - I write from a Christian worldview - I believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can have a right relationship with His Father apart from Him - I believe this because Jesus said so in John 14:6.

If I know the only way for a child to cross the street safely - is for the child to walk in the crosswalk when the traffic light  for oncoming traffic is red and the hand on the walk light is white - I'm not intolerant but loving for teaching a child to walk this way.

We make decisions daily that one way is the right way to live safely - I love people enough to tell them that Jesus is the right way to live safely with God - I believe Jesus when He said no one leaves earth to go to heaven and be with God apart from Him.

Look around and we see multiple flashing signs promising peace - truth is Jesus is like no other because He alone provides peace with God that guards our hearts and minds for eternity - to that end I post a prayer for people I minister with and to in my daily path.



Monday, February 22, 2016

Focus '16 - LIFE ON MISSION - Entry # 3

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, 
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

Hi Friends!

With Spring on the horizon and Easter Celebrations fast approaching - our focus at Connections Christian Church is on Jesus who as deity became human like us - with the mission of bringing us back into a right relationship with God.

We will be discussing how Jesus came into our world of sin and death in order to give us a way out of it with a life of peace for eternity - our discussion will be theology to be lived not shelved - with the next chapters being the ones Jesus writes through those who choose to follow Him.

Don't be fooled by competing worldviews - Jesus is like no other - historically there are many great people, prophets, teachers, and leaders but none who transformed a crucifix from an instrument of horrific death to holistic Jesus.

Jesus lives to be your friend like no other - He is always faithful and His love never ever fails  - be careful to connect with Him this Spring and Easter Season by reading His gospels and discussing Him with others.

I am excited to witness the next chapters Jesus writes through your lives - continue to be blessed in Him and be a blessing to those you know, meet, and serve in His name and remember HE LIVES for all people to have a right relationship with God - don't be fooled...Jesus is a friend like no other!

God's Peace,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Focus ' 16 - LIFE ON MISSION - Entry # 2

Hi Friends!

So we are about a month into LIFE ON MISSION at Connections Christian Church and the question basically boils down to this - does the old, old story of God's love for humanity inspire us to love others as He does? Whether you read it in the original Greek or the latest translation - the story of Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for the fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (Jesus as recorded in John 3: 16-21).

LIFE ON MISSION is inspired by the truth - by the old, old story of Jesus who did not come to condemn but to save people from darkness and hatred with His light and love. When anyone puts their faith in Jesus - it will be plainly seen by all that what is being done is being done by God.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Jesus as recorded in Matthew 5:14-16).

The link below reminds me of many people I know - people who are walking in the truth and touching others with the light and love of life. The greater our faith in Jesus - the brighter our light and stronger our love for others. To that end I ask you to join me in offering this continual prayer to God our Heavenly Father - "Increase our faith in your one and only Son Jesus."

God's Peace,

Friday, January 1, 2016

Focus '16 - LIFE ON MISSION - Entry #1

Hi Friends!

The 2016 focus of Connections Christian Church is to live the best life possible - and to help others to live the best life possible - we believe that the best life possible is lived in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

You might be homeless or You might be the most successful business person in your city?

You might be single or You might be married or You might be divorced?

You might be a teen or You might be a senior?

You might be this race or that race or You might be a kaleidoscope of races?

Whatever your nationality and whatever your circumstances - however good or however challenging your life has been or is in the moment - our conviction is that the best available life today and in the future is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for light and life to trump darkness and death - I encourage you to connect with others and check-out LIFE ON MISSION - the life God has for you in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is better than you can even imagine!!

May God's Peace be Yours in 2016 and Always,


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Hi Friends!

Each year I look to give some Christmas gifts that I hope people will remember for years to come - sometimes I will receive a couple of gifts like this as well - gifts that for lack of a better term I started calling several years back...Classic Christmas Gifts!

But here's the thing - I believe THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS GIFT was born of a virgin centuries ago and is named Immanuel - the name alone means more than any other gift I could possibly give or receive - this gift literally defines classic for all humanity.

The reality of "God with us" in the person of His Son Jesus is a life-changer - receiving this gift reroutes our destiny from hell to heaven - it is a gift we will not just remember for a couple of years but for eternity.

My thought this Christmas is that I need to come up with a new word for all other gifts but Jesus - if Jesus by definition is THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS GIFT - then my best efforts of home-made and store-bought gifts might be better called wanna-be's.

But the more I thought about it I came up with this - hopefully whatever wanna-be's that I give or receive this Christmas will allow others to see "God with us"- in that spirit all gifts this Christmas can be classics after-all.

A meal made and delivered to a widow...

A toy train bought and shipped to an orphanage...

A pair of wool socks in a stocking for my spouse...

A movie with our children in the warmth of our home...

A list too long to print with the increasing spirit of Immanuel...

Jesus says "it is more blessed to give than to receive" - so as good as it is to have "God with us" it is even better to re-gift Him - to that end if you have received Him and then give Him away your Christmas will be least by my definition.

Matthew 1: 22-23 says - All this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet: ''the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Immanuel" - which means - "God with us" - JESUS IS THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS GIFT!

Receive Him and Re-gift Him and have a Merry Christmas!

God's Peace,

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry # 13

Hi Friends,

I Thessalonians 5:18 was written to the church and says, "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Notice two things if you would: 1) Christians are told to give thanks in all circumstances not for all circumstances and 2) Christians are told to give thanks in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 5:17 was written to the church and says, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to the Father through (in) him."

Several times each day I greet others and others greet me - often times I ask them or they ask me an introductory question - many times the question is "how are you doing"?

When you hear that question this holiday season - look to answer it by saying "I am thankful" - or "I am thankful in all things in Christ Jesus."

That is my prayer for the church - for us to show and tell one another and for us to show and tell the world - that we are thankful in all things in Christ Jesus.

God's Peace,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry #12

Hi Friends,

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons - a primary one being the brilliant contrast in nature that is best explained by the nature of our Creator - God is so many things with a primary one being He is so very colorful - this season causes me to appreciate that more fully not only in plants and trees but in His most treasured creation - His creation of all people of all races and all nations.

I have many missionary friends who serve Jesus around the world - two of these friends recently sent me prayers that are recorded in the Scriptures asking me to join them in praying these prayers for their ministries - specifically asking me to pray that they would be fully used of God to reach and teach the lost about our great Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

I have posted the prayers below - if you would please join me in praying these prayers for all people - pray specifically for missionaries in different parts of the world who are sharing the gospel with others - pray that the people they serve would see the colorful nature of God and be drawn into relationship with Him.

I believe Jesus is coming again soon and I want everyone to be ready for His return - pray for all Christians to not only be ready - but to be used of God to help other people to be ready for the return of His Son Jesus.

May this Fall be a season that reminds us that our great Creator is among many things most colorful - the very best picture of that will be the one where people of all races are praising Jesus when He returns for His church - my prayer is that we will do all we can possibly do in the name and power of Jesus to add to the beauty of what will be the best of all pictures!

Thanks and God's Peace,

“And now, GOD, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.”
Psalm 126:4-6 (MSG)

 “Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
I Chronicles 4:10 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry # 11

Hi Friends!

As most of you who read this blog know - our Fall Sermon Series from the book of Revelation is in full swing at Connections Christian Church - I continue to pray this study will be used by God to increase our faithfulness to Him and ministry to others in His name.

Jesus said, "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown" (Revelation 3:11) - in other words no matter the intensity or the type of storms that come to us while living on earth - the crown of eternal life is assured to all who hold on to Him until He returns.

May your heart overflow with humility, gratitude, and joy for Jesus - hold on to Him and never doubt for a second that He loves you and He cares for you - remember the eternal crown of life He has for you in heaven is the one He died on the cross of Calvary to give you while on earth.

You are valuable, forgivable, special, and significant to Jesus -  you are a unique and precious member of His family and you have a unique and personal crown in His eternal kingdom - hold on He is coming soon!

God's Peace,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry #10

Hi Friends!

Many of the messages I hear each day wreak of loss - the world we live in is headlined with despair and discouragement and death - turn on the local news for thirty minutes any day of the week and routinely the first report is of someone hurting another in a way that maims emotions and destroys joyful living.

Aren't you tired of the chaos?

Wouldn't you like the headlines to change?

The message of the church is radically different than the mire in this world - it is a message about the MAN who WINS in the END by bringing people from every race and nation into a spirit of eternal unity where there is no pain, heartache, sorrow, tears, or death - the MAN is Jesus Christ and His message to the world is "Behold I am coming soon!" (Revelation 22:7).

If you are looking to live above the dissension in our culture and bless people of all races and nations with peace and goodwill  - I invite you to tap into a study from Revelation that we will be sharing at Connections Christian Church this Fall - if you cannot attend and would like a down-loadable recording of this lesson series please email me at

One day soon the headline of world wide news will be Jesus is back - that is why our goal for all people is to connect to our loving God and each other through a relationship with Him - tap into that relationship and be a difference maker in our culture by bringing the light and love of Jesus to your part of the world.

My prayers for you to that end.

My prayers for the church to change the headlines to the good news of Jesus.

God's Peace,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry # 9

Hi Friends!

I have been reminded anew in recent days that the way we do life has much to do with the way we choose to see the world - I think the picture above that my daughter took last summer while on a mission trip to Mexico illustrates this well - notice there are multiple ways to see the same scene depending upon the segment of a lens you choose to use or not use.

As Christians we are blessed in Christ with a unique way to do life should we choose to do so - the Bible teaches that when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord (see Acts 2:38) that we are given the unique lens of His Spirit - notice in the Scripture passage below what every scene in life can look like when we choose to live in the Spirit of Christ.

"With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2 MSG).
The fateful dilemma of seeing the world with shades of darkness - has been eradicated through the death of Christ on the Cross for our sins and His victorious Resurrection from the grave - because Christ has been-there-for-us and is here-for-us we have a unique way to do life that changes the way we see the world should we choose it.
I confess I need to choose that way more consistently.
What of you?
My desire is to consistently choose and to encourage other Christians to consistently choose to operate in the new power that is available to us in Christ - like a strong wind that magnificently clears the air - the Spirit of Christ cuts through the tyranny of any darkness we see in the world should we choose to operate in the power of Him being-here-for-us.
Operating like this is not for the timid - it is not that it requires an abundance of rule keeping but it does require that we consistently choose to love God above anyone or anything and that we also consistently choose to love our neighbor as ourselves - in doing so the promise of Christ is not that everything will always turn out nice but that everything will always turn out to be true.
The sun on the other side of the shades pictured above is always the sun no matter how you choose to see it - the same is true of the Son of God who came to this world to give us a very unique way to do life - it is not by our own might and power but by His power living in us and through us should we consistently choose it.
A new power is operating in Christians.
Will you consistently choose to use it?
Should you answer yes to that question the way you see the world and do life will be one where there are no idols between you and God - a life where your love for God and others is consistent with the love Christ demonstrated for you and for all people of all races in all parts of the world - a life that should take you to a neighbors drive-way and might take you to the streets of Mexico and beyond.

Friends when we consistently choose to do life in the Spirit of Christ others in the world will be lifted from the tyranny of darkness into the magnificent light of the Son of God who is always true - my prayer for you and for all who choose Christ as Savior and Lord is that the world will see that we are Christians by His love - His love being-here-for-us and operating-in-us in all that we say and do.
God's Peace,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Focus 15 - Be Ready - Entry #8 - Pray for God's Sufficiency

Dear Friends,

As our nation celebrates a birthday and we give thanks for the freedom we enjoy - I ask you to join me in a prayer covenant with churches across America - believing God desires to heal our land.

Sadly - the recent egregious murders in a South Carolina Church and that of Cincinnati Policeman Sonny Kim who was killed in very close proximity to our church building - remind us that relational crisis has become more of a rule than an exception in our country.

Psalm 34:18 NKJV says  - The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit - would that America again have such a heart and spirit that only comes through repentance from sin and unity in faith and prayer.

The Bible says we reap what we sow - and culturally we have sown moral relativism into the hearts of our finest treasures - by teaching America's children that it is acceptable to abort life and redefine marriage without regard for the moral authority of Scripture.

As America listens to voices in the public square - may the voice of the church be the clarion bell that restores responsibility for unity of the spirit in the bond of peace that is available only through the Son of God - Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

In Christ the Bible says there is neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female - there is oneness in relationship with Jesus Christ - oneness that cannot be obtained through laws of the land that define the lowest acceptable standard.

In Christ there is the law of unconditional love for God and one another that defines the highest acceptable standard - the standard by which God created all men to live - the standard by which He sacrificed His own Son to bring us back to that life in Him.

My prayer is that all Americans and especially those Americans elected to lead our nation as one nation under one God - would fall to their knees and repent of sin - and then rise up with a renewed commitment to sow the seed of Christ in our nation afresh.

When the seed of Christ is sown - the Bible promises a peace that passes all human understanding will guard our hearts and minds - would that all communities in our nation be integrated again by His seed of unconditional love for life and authority.

I leave you with a quote about God's Sufficiency - the quote was rendered in days past by Dr. Billy Graham - "Happy are they who mourn the inadequacy of self, for they shall be comforted with the sufficiency of God."

Please join me and others in churches throughout America as we celebrate our nation's birthday - may we continue to give thanks for the freedom we enjoy - may we also mourn the inadequacy of self and seek the sufficiency of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

God's Peace,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Focus 15 - Be Ready - Entry # 7

Hi Friends!

Many years ago I joined with some of my teenage friends and shared in a ministry called Vital Connections - we sang gospel music anywhere the opportunity presented itself - on one occasion we sang at The Ohio State Fair which is a testimony that nothing is impossible with God!

Connections have always been vital to my life and that is especially true in the church I minister with that bears that name - the Bible teaches that only by being connected with Christ through faith can anyone have eternal life with our Father in heaven - and only through a consistent connection with Christ can anyone have authentic power for living.

Summer 2015 we will be studying the New Testament book of Colossians at Connections Christian Church - the Apostle Paul wrote this book to combat errors that had come into the church through the influence of a pagan culture - and also to show the church they have everything they need in Christ to have a right relationship with God and one another.

Collosians 2: 8-10 says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."

Cultural Relativism or Christian Truth?

False Idols or the Supremacy of Christ?

Many or One Vital Connection to God?

Join us this summer as we study a book written to the church by an Apostle years ago where we will answer those questions and many more with respect to today - properly understand all the questions raised in this book answer the errors from the hollow and deceptive philosophies of the world in which we presently live - they answer the question "Jesus is Lord because?"

I pray you will enjoy this lesson series and your summer!

God's Peace,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Focus 15 - Be Ready - Entry # 6

Hi Friends!

I don't know anyone who wakes up in the morning and begins their day looking to lose - I believe we are hard-wired by God our Creator with an intrinsic desire to win - to live a victorious life that honors God and blesses others!

  • What keeps us from that?

  • Why are neighbors lacking relationship?

  • Why are nations lacking righteousness?

The word is sin - the Bible (Romans 3:23) says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God - at the heart of our neighborhoods and our nations are people who have adopted a belief system that says winning is about self at all costs.

God in contrast says winning is about others at the cost of self - God demonstrated this on the Cross of Calvary when He allowed His Son to die and pay the penalty for the sins of humanity - even though His Son was sinless and owed no one anything.

In Christ that same selfless attitude is available to all who trust Him - the discipline of denying self daily and following Christ consistently is not for losers - it is for winners who understand victorious living is about honoring God and blessing others at the cost of self.

  • How do we gain that understanding?

  • Is there a shortcut to victorious living?

  • Is there hope for our neighborhoods and nations?

Spend a few moments just now considering the legacy of Jesus Christ - I am confident you'll be overwhelmed with a renewed realization that victorious living is not about a single individual - it is about the relationships that a single individual has with others.

  • Do you want winning neighborhoods?

  • Do you desire winning nations?

  • Will you choose to live for that?

To live victoriously is to live like Jesus - no individual in history gives us a better example of winning relationships in neighborhoods and nations - changing those begins when an individual chooses to lose self as Jesus did to live harmoniously with God and others.

  • In Christ we choose to love all and hate none!

  • In Christ we choose to include every one and exclude no one!

  • In Christ we choose righteousness in individual and all relationships!

In Christ winning relationships come at the cost of self-interest - everyone wins when we choose to love and include everyone in the family of God our Creator and His Son Jesus Christ - do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

God's Peace,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Focus #15 - Be Ready - Entry #4

Hi Friends,
The Bible tells us (read James 2: 14-25) that faith in Jesus Christ without works is dead being alone - that faith alone is not sufficient for our relationship to be alive with God in Christ Jesus - the Bible says the devil has faith in God but is not working for God - the devil believes in God but his work is opposed to relationship with God.

Why do we work for God? - it is not to earn salvation through our works but to demonstrate our gratitude with grace for being saved from sin and death by the work of Christ alone - to follow Christ is to not only believe this truth but to do what He says to do with grace and gratitude for what He has done for us.

Most everyone who reads this blog has professed faith in the work of Jesus Christ - but are you doing what He asks you to do? - are you motivated to do what He asks you to do by grace and gratitude for what He has done and is doing for you?

A resurrected church is alive - it is a church that is deeply committed (read Matthew 28:16-20) to carry out the great commission of Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost - the motive of a living church to seek and save the lost is grace and gratitude for what Jesus has done and is doing in our lives.

The devil believes in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus but the devil's work is opposed to the work of Jesus - the devil is a great example of how faith in Jesus without works for Jesus results in a dead relationship with God - a relationship where one is eternally separated from God.

If the church is to have abundant life in relationship with God - we must increase our faith and our works in the person and power of Jesus Christ - (read Matthew 7:21-27) Jesus said wise people not only listen to what He has to say - wise people do what He says to do and live to tell the story of what He has done and is doing.

Easter is an awesome time to renew our faith in Jesus Christ - it is also an awesome time to renew our works in the person and power of Jesus Christ - faith without works is death sealed in a tomb and separated from God for eternity - faith with works of grace and gratitude is an open and empty tomb.

Faith with works of grace and gratitude in the person and power of Jesus Christ is a church that is alive and growing - it is a church that will never be separated from God because it is alive and growing in eternal relationship with Him - it is a church that lives to celebrate the open and empty tomb of its Savior and Lord.

Happy Easter and God's Peace,


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry # 3

Hi Friends!

During the days leading up to Easter we are going to be looking at what the Bible says about love - more specifically what the Bible says about sexual intimacy - my hope is that we debunk myths, denounce sins, and dial-in the healthiest perspective possible of one of God's greatest gifts to humanity.

The season of Lent is often used as a time to give something up in order to draw closer to the suffering that Christ endured for us - my hope is that this lesson series will cause you to give up anything that is grey in the area of sexual sin - and embrace sexual intimacy in LIGHT of God's Word.

Ephesians 5: 9-10 (NIV) says, “Live as children of LIGHT (for the fruit  of the LIGHT consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the LORD.” 

You may already know what pleases the Lord in the area of sexual intimacy - if so this should be a great and fun review - if not this lesson series should serve to help you unpack some baggage in your life that is more than likely hindering and hurting the best life God has available for you.

I ask for your prayers for my preparation and presentation in this series - the church tends to leave this topic in our schools and theaters - my desire is to be very sensitive and respectfully tactful as we learn more about the gift of sexual intimacy from God's Word as children of LIGHT without shades.

God's Peace,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry #2

Hi Friends!

Our focus in 2015 is to "be ready" (found faithful) when our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ returns for His Church - our vision is to "connect people to our loving God and each other through a personal relationship with Jesus" - we seek to do that by fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus (see Matthew 28: 18-20).

I deeply desire for us to continue to do that as Connections Christian Church and in praying about that "today" I was drawn to Psalm 96 - some scholars believe this could be a Psalm of David - because it closely resembles David's hymn of praise in 1 Chronicles 16:23-36.

Psalm 96 tells us how to praise God "today" and everyday - we can sing about Him, tell others about Him, worship Him, give Him glory, bring offerings to Him, and live holy lives unto Him - as Christians we seek to do all these things through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

I encourage you to continue to live and love all people intentionally - reaching out to others with the truth and grace of Jesus who saves all who put their faith in Him from eternal death (eternal separation) from God - continue to be faithful to fulfill the great commission of Christ Jesus.

God's Peace,

Psalm 96 (NIV)

Psalm 96

1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Focus '15 - Be Ready - Entry #1

Hi Friends!

I don't know about you - but oftentimes I am so surrounded by the "here and now" that I fail to reflect on the "then and there" as I should - by the "then and there" I mean that day when we will be in our heavenly home with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the biggest reasons we have to celebrate redemption from sin in Jesus - is that He promises to return for His church and take us to our heavenly home that He has prepared for us - but sometimes I think we see that as far off and fail to live each day as we should.

In Matthew 24: 43-44 (NIV) Jesus says "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

My conviction is that the church (you, me, all followers of Jesus) must live with an expectancy of His return - as such this is one of my primary goals entering into the New Year - I want the church to "be ready" for the return of Jesus Christ.

I want us to live each day as if we expect the Lord to return that day!

I want us to breathe each breath as if we expect the Lord to return in that breath!

Matthew 24: 45-46 (NIV) Jesus says “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns."

Why would that be good?

Glad you asked!

Verse 48a (NIV) Jesus says "Truly I tell you, he will put him (the faithful and wise servant) in charge of all his possessions."

That is the opportunity that awaits for the church that is "ready" for Jesus' return!

But what of those who are "not ready" for Jesus' return?

Verse 48 b -51(NIV) Jesus says "But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This doesn't take much explanation - Jesus clearly speaks to the reality of heaven and hell and says we are either going to "be ready" for one or the other - as such the hinge pin of our eternal destiny is ultimately found in living with an expectancy of our Lord's return.

Every day is to be the Lord's day!

Every breath is to be unto the Lord!

Jesus teaches that the "here and now" should not be centered in personal pleasure and self-promotion and putting others down - the church should live with an expectancy of the "then and there" - where each breath of every day is used to lift-up Jesus and fellowman in anticipation of His return.

Live with expectancy anticipating His return - be ready!

God's Peace,

Monday, December 1, 2014

Focus '14 Modeling Jesus - Entry #36 - Merry Christmas

Hi Friends!

The Bible tell us in Luke 2:11 that "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Jesus is the greatest gift - the perfect Christmas gift - and so the question is what will we do with the gift of Jesus this Christmas?

Will we stress out looking to buy that which cannot be bought by man but which has already been given by God? Or will we share the gift of Jesus which we have received knowing He is the priceless gift provided by God for everyone in the world?

My focus in life is to share as much love with as many people as I can - this Christmas that will involve purchasing and passing along some cards and gifts and sharing some meals and enjoying some fellowship and serving some others for sure - but to truly love others is to share the perfect gift of Jesus with them.

The perfect gift of Jesus was birthed in a Bethlehem stable - and ultimately wrapped on the cross of Mount Calvary on the original Black Friday - our sin debt was purchased and canceled by the atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins - and His victorious Sunday morning resurrection gives us eternal life.

You can't put that on your MasterCard or Visa or American Express - you can't even pay for that in cash at  your local Christian bookstore or community Church - the perfect gift of God can only be received by faith to be shared with others in need of the same gift.

My prayer is that the biggest rush for the church this Christmas will be to share the saving gift of Jesus with others - I already have less stress just reminding myself that the perfect gift has already been provided and given by God for everyone on my Christmas list and in the world - what of you?

I encourage you to stress less - remember if the only gift you share with another this Christmas is Jesus that you will have shared the perfect and the greatest gift available to all - "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas,

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Focus '14 - Modeling Jesus - Entry # 35

Isaiah 26:4 (New International Version)

Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Nothing in this world is as Solid as the LORD - I encourage you to pray to Trust the LORD with your entire being - there is nothing too small or too great for the LORD.

The LORD is the Rock eternal - not a Rock - not one of many Rocks - but the Rock eternal - the Rock that cannot and will not be moved.

The LORD is always with you - the LORD will never fail you - the LORD will never forsake you - the LORD has you covered coming and going.

Trust in the LORD with every step - do the things the LORD asks of you the way the LORD asks you to do them - forever Trust the LORD - and give thanks that our God the eternal Rock is the LORD.

God's Peace,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Focus '14 - Modeling Jesus - Entry # 34

2 Chronicles 5:12-14 New International Version (NIV)

12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets.

13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

Hi Friends,

The scene above happened thousands of years ago - but is one that we can recreate and make anew in our hearts and with our mouths and in our lives - each and every day.

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's continue to sing that song in unison - especially during the season of Thanksgiving - knowing the church is the temple of God and His Spirit lives in us (I Corinthians 3:16).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's invite people in the world to sing that song with us - especially during the season of Thanksgiving - knowing we have been commissioned to grow the church in Jesus name (Matthew 28:19-20).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's continue to serve others with a symphonic voice and a servant's heart - especially during the season of Thanksgiving - knowing humility best models our Savior and Lord (Philippians 2:1-11).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's praise God as the trumpeter, harpist, percussionist, tenor, alto, soprano, bass - let's praise God with our gifts for His glory alone - especially during this season of Thanksgiving (Romans 12: 1-21).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's say it and sing it throughout each day - especially during this season of Thanksgiving - knowing the church (God's temple; His people) will soon celebrate Christmas in a world that needs to see Jesus living in us (Luke 2: 1-20).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Let's praising God with that song with every breath- especially during this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas - knowing God is so good and loves people so much that He gave us His only Son Jesus to save us from sin and death (John 3:16).

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

God's Peace,


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Focus '14 - Modeling Jesus - Entry # 33

Hi Friends!

As awesome and pleasing as this picture is to my eyes - the Scripture below reminds us to focus on an image that never changes - one that is eternally beautiful to people of the Christian faith.

As many of you know we have been focusing on this passage in our Daily Word Devotional Emails at Connections - I post it here in hopes that all who read it will be encouraged to think more frequently on things above - and to ultimately live in a manner that reflects the virtues of Christ Jesus.

May this beautiful and ever-changing season continue to be one of reflection for all - may your Spirit be replenished by the reality of Christ Jesus - and by the ability to face all earthly challenges (namely sin and death) with heavenly assurance in relationship with Him.

God's Peace,

Colossians 3 New International Version (NIV)

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.