Greetings, it has been a long time since I have posted on this blog. Today I wanted to present a poem/message by my lovely wife, Danielle Unger. I hope that it encourages as well as challenges you.

May 30, 2020

Lamenting & Hoping

I feel the weight of the fall much heavier than before.
As Latin America is declared the new hotspot for the Corona virus I feel grief,

Grief from the systemic disparities that led to this unwanted title,
Declared champs in a match they never agreed to fight.
Housing inequalities, underdeveloped public health system, poor infrastructure and economic struggles,

all behind the scenes actors, or perhaps marionettes, being danced about by the “prince of the powers of the air,” whom everything he touches he seeks to devour.

I feel the heaviness of a once proud and ravenous racism who has since quieted himself into a calm and docile housepet,
convincing many that he no longer exists, even as he slithers into every corner and every system of our society, whispering into the ears of all who are willing to hear his voice.

I feel.. I feel… I feel…

I feel sadness for the many whom society has silently taught that “what God has said in Genesis 1:26 doesn’t apply to you. Image bearer? Don’t view yourself as such. And while you’re at it, get rid of Psalm 139: 14; that aint for you either.”

I feel the overwhelm of unrighteous anger, it’s rotten fruit coming into full bloom,
gnashing teeth, cities ablaze, hissing tongues and livelihoods destroyed,
All the while Jesus has said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”

Our wrath will never bring about the righteousness of God.

I feel broken as I consider the injustices that have led to this boiling point of fury: chained and afraid, separated and torn, delivered as chattel, freed but still unwanted,
not trusted,
Burned and noosed, denied and excluded, demeaned and oppressed for far too long.

I feel the fingerprint of the evil one behind every faulty world system, author of lies, who only knows how to steal, kill and destroy.
Like a best kept secret, he would hate for you to comprehend, that it’s never been with flesh and blood whom we fight, but since day one with rulers,
With authorities,
with cosmic powers,
And spiritual forces of evil,
in the heavenly places they are but heavenly they are not.

I feel the legacy of Adam, the sentence of Genesis 3, I groan along with creation waiting for redemption’s at last realization…

I feel… I feel… I feel…

Oh, but then I feel
my hands beginning to raise,
To praise the Man of Sorrows,
Who bore our trespasses and sin,
And who sympathizes with our every weakness.
In His flesh, He allowed Himself to experience the brokenness of the world,
And didn’t insulate Himself from feeling the effects of the Curse.
He was touched by poverty, knew rejection all too well, the sting of betrayal He surely felt.
His eyes were not spared from witnessing sickness ravish the human frame, nor was His understanding kept from comprehending the tragic scene of sin on the human soul.

I feel my heart leap with gratitude to the God who has yet to withdraw
His Holy Spirit from the world.
Yes, turmoil runs rampant, but full and unrestrained evil this land has yet to experience.
His presence is still ever present, and that means there’s still time,
time to surrender to Jesus.
Hear His voice and come to Him today.

I feel like rejoicing as I contemplate the Spirit who blows
invisible like the wind,
Enables each to be transformed,
both oppressor and oppressed, seals us then gives us
the grace to love,
the grace to forgive,
the grace to walk through this life in a way that honors our King.

I feel a sense of awe as I look upon the God of wonders who redeems from the pit,
The God of mercy who has loved on His fallen creation,
Sending us a Savior,
the Better Adam, the one true Answer.
Ransoming for Himself a people of every tribe, every tongue and every nation
New creations reconciled to God then to each other.
What He is forming is a redeemed unity,
a people made equal as they kneel down before the cross,
then bonded by spiritual ties that overwhelm our distinctions.
One faith, one
Lord, one baptism…

I feel… I feel… I feel… Hope. Restored.

That Picture Of the Coronavirus Isn't Quite Accurate | Elemental
Remembering George Floyd: Devoted father, 'gentle giant' | USA ...

Many thoughts are flooding through my mind now as I am anticipating the birth of my first daughter. My world will change forever come this September as I welcome my baby girl into this world. Thoughts of love, tenderness, and a desire to protect her. I am also overcome with fear for what awaits her in this culture and society we live in. Entering into this world of sexual perversion, exploitation, and abuse, who knows what experiences await her.

To be honest, very little surprises me about the incidents which have lead to the “Me Too” movement. The fact that powerful men use that power to manipulate others sexually is a practice that has gone on for millennia. This sin belies the perverse nature of men who are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). Do not get me wrong, although none of what is happening surprises me, it grieves me as it does the heart of God and as it should grieve you as well.

Boys who are growing up in this culture are taught a false sense of machismo in that what makes them a “man” is how many girls they can get with sexually. In doing this, boys are taught to treat girls as objects rather than God’s precious creation. As boys progress into ‘manhood’ they fail to put an end to this practice but instead have fully adopted it as part of who they are. Men like this can often present with a dual-nature, by being highly respected and admired in their vocation/career and great humanitarians to the public but in private are misogynists.

Although this is par the course of this world, as believers in Christ this is not something that we should accept. Unfortunately we have not done enough to protect our sisters within the Church. We have failed our sisters grievously when we do not take their accusations of sexual abuse/mistreatment seriously. Our response to sexual abuse/rape within the Church has maybe been a visit to the pastor’s office and possibly a “sabbatical” from ministry. Believers… this is not enough and it is not acceptable. If we recognize that “obeying the laws of the land” (Romans 13) is a commandment from God then we must uphold those laws, which do not violate God’s commandments, within our churches. If someone at our church has raised an allegation of sexual abuse/rape then we must take it seriously and report it as a crime to the authorities.

I realize that I will not be able to shelter my daughter from all evils of this world, including the sexual perversion that runs rampant throughout it. And I know that once she is of age and moves out from my arms and on is on her own then sexual abuse and exploitation is a real danger that awaits her. It sickens me to think of how some men may see my daughter as an object to be used for their sexual pleasure and won’t have a second thought about preying upon her.

Therefore, in light of the “Me Too” movement and having a desire to never hear my daughter utter those words, I desire to address this in her life and equip her as best as I can. My response to the “Me Too” movement in the life of my daughter is 3-fold:

  1. My aim is to teach my daughter what it means to be a woman of God and learn to take her value and worth from God alone and not in a man.
  2. I will model biblical manhood and healthy masculinity to my daughter by how I treat my wife and other women in my life by respecting them as God’s daughters, whether they be family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.
  3. I will teach my son and other males that I have influence over to treat all women with respect and dignity, to not view women as a means for self-pleasure, and that no means no. 


Redeeming Love

11214704_10102473867042581_1897068385646850169_nHello all, I know It’s been a looooong time since I have written anything on here but I wanted to update everyone on the happenings in my life. On July 3, 2015 I married my best friend, partner in Christ, love of my life, and the most beautiful woman in my world all wrapped up in one person. Truly it was God and His love who drew us together and I wanted to share our testimony with you as it may encourage some who are wondering “when is my turn?” and or doubting God’s love for you. Also I believe that this would be a good segway back into my series “A More Excellent Way.”

For those who are curious about our testimony and even attended our wedding without knowing our backstory. Here it goes….

So on June 8, 2009 I received a random Facebook friend request from my future wife (although of course I did not know it at the time). I thought she may be part of the christian fraternity/sorority, Alpha Nu Omega Inc., that I am a part of so I added her back. When I asked her how I knew her, she said that she added me after reading a series of notes that I posted about courtship off a mutual friend’s page (I wrote a series of notes about courtship on Facebook at that, time having recently entered into a courtship myself, which ultimately was not God’s will but for which God still used for His glory… see my blog post “Sweetly Broken by a Broken Courtship). After that initial conversation, we began to periodically converse on Facebook and through our conversations I had discovered that she had not accepted the gospel of Christ. I began sharing with her about Jesus over the course of a 3 year period. Whenever we would talk, I would ask her how she was doing but then immediately jump into sharing the gospel with her. Finally, on July 7, 2012, while she was living in Colombia (South America) after a recent conversation we had about the gospel and God’s grace and after sending her material about the meaning of salvation, she received the gospel and accepted Christ as Savior that evening and told me the good news that next day. I was amazed at God’s goodness and ecstatic to hear about her decision for Christ. Later on she informed me that she planned to move back to the area in August. I invited her out to my church, which she began attending in late August.

We quickly formed a friendship and had several discussions about the gospel, God’s love, Christ’s deity, the bible, etc. We later realized that we had grown too closely because of our deep conversations about Christ. We backed off from each other for a time… and then did so again. I was concerned about not wanting to be a distraction to her and her walk with Christ, however I could not deny my attraction to her. After several months of praying and seeking accountability (thanks Eric, Paul, and John!!), I decided to pursue a courtship (A courtship can be defined as an intentional accountable inclusive relationship with the goal of determining God’s will for marriage in each other’s lives) with her on October 29, 2014. So I asked to speak with her before bible study that evening and, in my nervous fashion, told her about my interest in her and desire to pursue a courtship with her and asked her to pray about her decision. She said that she would pray about it and get back to me. A week later she came back to me with a couple questions before considering entering a courtship with me but still would not give her reply and left me sitting on the edge of my seat. lol. Finally, one more week passes and we are again at bible study and I am getting ready to leave and she gives me a “homework assignment.” She knows that I desire to learn Spanish and she gives me a handwritten note in Spanish to translate. I glance at the note and can immediately tell from the few Spanish words that I do know that it was pertaining to her response to be in a courtship with me, however I did not know immediately what the answer was because it wasn’t a simple “Si o No.” Once I get home, I translated the note and discovered that her answer was yes. We talk the next day and officially begin our courtship.

The courtship process was a beautiful time of learning about each other while still maintaining boundaries and seeking accountability. A couple from our church, Eric and Marjorie, took us under their wings and helped guide us in this process and keep us accountability. One of the things that we liked to do when we spent time together, along with prayer and devotional time, was to ask questions to each other to learn more about one another. She developed a creative way of doing this by having us write down questions on slips of index paper, folding them up and putting them in a cup, and then drawing the questions out and asking them to each other. So around the middle of February, prayerfully decided that I knew enough about her (her strengths and weaknesses, any potential red flags, and how she complemented me) to make the decision to marry her. I talked to both my accountability and my pastor about my decision and they were in agreement, so then I decided to order the ring and make plans for the engagement. I had difficulty determining her ring size, so I basically had to ask her for it and simply phrased it to her as, “I have a random question to ask you…” I wanted to propose on a Saturday so I could have time for a private proposal and then an engagement dinner/party however she had a class on every Saturday except for one each month. So I asked her when her next Saturday off would be almost a month in advance and asked if we could get breakfast that day and she agreed to it. I then contacted a few of her close friends to ask for their help in planning a surprise engagement party. I then decided that a good way to propose would be to write the question down on an index paper and fold it and place it in “the cup.” Since we were down to just a couple questions left in”the cup” then I thought that it would work. However, a week before I planned to propose we went out to eat and she told me that she had a surprise. That surprise ended up being about 10 more questions to add to the cup. So I thought oh boy, this really puts a monkey wrench in my plans. However, not willing to deviate from my course of action, as it was my time to take the cup home, I simply decided to take out her questions and rewrite the same question “will you marry me?” 10 times, half of them in English and half of them in Spanish. When the say finally arrived, I went to the restaurant early and asked the staff their to take pictures of us as I proposed. When she arrived, after waiting to be seated and then praying over the food I asked her to take a question out of the cup. As she did that, I got on bended knee and proposed to her. I had memorized part of my proposal which was in Spanish, but even though I had practiced the proposal several times I got really nervous and was forgetting the words so I had to whip out my cheat sheet and read the lines I had in Spanish. Long story short, and after some tears were shed (mine, not hers), she said yes or rather “Si.” We then went out to the store because she had to pick out an outfit for a get together that she was having a get together with a few sisters at church (which she did not know was actually her surprise engagement party). However the surprise did not last as later on in the evening she became suspicious about the surprise and she actually saw my car near the house where the party was taking place. That is my story and I am sticking to it!

At the point of writing this blog, me and Danielle are now 77 days into our marriage and I am so thankful for the testimony of grace and redemption that God has given us. That God would even use a relationship that was not ultimately His will to write about courtship and connect with my future wife, share His gospel to her and 6 years later draw us together as one.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Greetings once again, it seems like forever since I have been back at this blogging thing. It seems like a lot of things have changed within this time but then again a lot of things haven’t… I am still being challenged in the area of loving authentically. I would say that the number one challenge to loving as Christ does is a certain four letter word which is fouler than any curse word… yet is acceptable to say in church settings… that world I am talking about is SELF. This is especially evidenced in verses 4-7 of 1 Corinthians 13, as displaying these attributes seem to be completely opposed to our selfish nature.

Love suffers long – literally forbearing, to patiently endure. The same word is used in 2 Peter 3:9 used to describe God’s longsuffering towards us not willing the any should perish. Just think of how God patiently endured with you prior to you accepting His love… this same kind of love must be shown by us towards others… even after years upon years of rejecting our love as we rejected God’s love. Kind – this word means to show oneself useful; to act benevolently. This means that all of our actions toward others is to spring for a desire for the benefit of others… giving no thought to how our treatment of them will or will not benefit us. Again true agape love does not boast or put on a show for others… it is to be completely void of self-boasting and should never point to ourselves but always to Christ. Often the greatest acts of love are those done in secret without any possibility of others recognizing.

Love does not behave rudely- literally it does nothing to cause shame. Often in our “humanness” we tend to make people earn our love and then hoard it over them as a guilt trip when they fail to reciprocate that love or act how we would want them to. This is completely opposed to the nature of Jesus who loved us while we were sinners and His enemies (Romans 5:8). Again, we are to display a love that seeks nothing in return but one that only seeks to give of itself not for itself. Agape love is one that is not easily angered no matter how many times someone intentionally or unintentionally offends us… again this cannot be of ourselves but drawn from God alone who in His mercy turns His wrath away from us continually (Psalm 78:38). The thought of retribution and evil coming upon others should never cross our minds, nor should we automatically assume the worst of others as too often is the case with us.

True agape love should not be happy about nor apathetic towards the sin of others but we should always seek to speak the truth even when it hurts. Too often we either wait for others to sin so that we can point the finger at them and say “I knew it” and puff ourselves up as superior. Other times we are afraid to come to others about their sin because we are fearful of how they will react towards us. But agape love seeks to speak the truth and expose sin… not to lord it over others but always for their benefit and reconciliation to God and to others (Galatians 6:1-2).

Finally, love bears all things – that literally means to cover with silence. In other words just as God’s love towards us pardons our iniquities so our love towards others covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)… so that by doing so it would point others to Christ. To believe all things means that we would seek someone’s spiritual well-being above all, that they would receive the fullness of Christ’s love… there is no higher belief that we can have for others than this. To hope all things is not to “wish for” as we commonly use the word today but rather to have a confident expectation based on our love in Christ. Lastly this kind of love allows us to endure all manners of trials and persecution for the sake of our beloved, namely Christ.

In all of these attributes of love we see one common theme… it DOES! Love is not an ethereal concept or a feeling which passes away but this love is always demonstrated in our action towards God and others. Our love for God and others is manifest in our obedience to God and His commandments (John 14:22-24), namely to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40). This kind of love is simply impossible in and of ourselves… the more we try to love this way out of self and our own strength then the more we will fail and disappoint and frustrate ourselves. Ultimately all of the love that we display must be derived from the love that God has for us because without first receiving His love we are unable to love back (1 John 4:19). But that goes far beyond our initial acceptance of Christ and salvation… but everyday we have to remind ourselves of the great love that Christ has bestowed upon us. As we grow in maturity, so should we grow in our understanding of our sin, how much it grieves God, and with it the exorbitant price that He paid for us out of love… which even if we had a billion trillion years we could not begin to fathom the depths of His love for us (Ephesians 3:17-19). It is this deepening of our understanding of Christ’s love for us that should motivate us into action to love Him back and others as He loved us. I write this the day before my church has communion Sunday, which is always a good opportunity to reflect on the ultimate DO of love (Luke 22:19-20)… namely His sacrifice on the cross all for love’s sake. I pray that in all your christian service and growth that you never move past the cross but always reflect on that ultimate act of love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Fam, its been an extraordinary long time since I have blogged. Honestly, I just haven’t been as motivated lately and have still been dealing with the grief of losing my close friend/roommate to his bout with Leukemia. One thing that I am thankful to have witnessed through this final year of his life and even afterwards was a life that truly exemplified God’s agape love. With Nick, I witnessed someone whose actions were not motivated by anything that he could get from others but one whose actions/treatment of others was motivated by God’s love.
Agape is defined as benevolence; charity; dear love. It is the quality of a self-less love which considers others before oneself. Agape distinguishes itself from all other forms of love mentioned in Greek (Storgi, Eros, and Phileo) in terms of its unconditional nature. So unique was this love to the 1st century world that the Greeks had to newly add it to their vocabulary based on the witness of the New Testament apostles.
As we examine the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, we see just how great a moving force love is compared to everything else. First off Paul mentions the speaking of tongues of men and of angels in comparison to love. Tongues is a great sign gift of the Holy Spirit used to help testify to others, across different languages and cultures, of the gospel of God (Acts 2:3-12) for which even Paul mentioned later on that he wished all spoke with tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5). But ultimately without love as the driving force… far from communicating of God’s goodness it becomes an annoyance to all who hear it. Next we see prophecy mentioned, which Paul commended as a greater gift than tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1), as well as the gifts of wisdom and knowledge… now it is through these gifts that God has communicated His will to mankind and that ultimately His Word was made plain to mankind… but as great and as necessary as these gifts are they completely fail without love being at the forefront. We then see faith mentioned in this list… now faith is necessary to bring us to a saving relationship with God… with just a mustard seed size we can remove mountains (Matthew 17:20)… and without it we cannot hope to please God (Hebrews 11:6)… but even still without love behind it this faith ultimately amounts to nothing. Finally we see what we would describe as charitable deeds of giving our possessions to the poor, of which even Jesus urged the rich young ruler to do (Mark 10:17-22) and then even the offering of one’s own body as a sacrifice to God… but without love it is nothing but wasted time and effort.
So why is it that without love none of these great gifts and qualities mean anything? Well since one of God’s core attributes, which He even describes Himself as being, is love (1 John 4:8) then it is clear that His love must permeate all that we do for Him and for others. Ultimately it was love that drove Jesus to the cross to die for us and redeem us back to Him (John 3:16)… it is love that motivates us to respond in turn to God (John 4:19)… and it is love that is the quality that distinguishes us as followers of Christ (John 13:35).
How is it even possible then that people could do these “charitable” acts, perform these signs and wonders, and have these great gifts without love being at the center? When we look at the world, false religions, and even some churches today we see many of these same acts being performed… but without the love of Christ as the motivating force. Many of these acts are done for attention/praise and others are done as a form of works to appease God or appease their guilty conscience or to give them a sense of worth. All of these gifts/signs/acts can and have been motivated through selfish reasons and thus all of these works will come to nothing and come to nothing and actually end up a loss for those who are not motivated by the pure love of God. Matthew 7:21-23 warns us ominously of those who perform great works in God’s name but don’t know Him (and if you do not know love then you ultimately do not know God) and who were thus judged.
So I have to ask myself… and I encourage you to examine yourself as well… when we do things/works/use gifts for others or for God… is it for completely selfless reasons? Would I/you not be offended if others do not notice or if we are not rewarded for what we do? Is God’s love for us motivation enough for us or are we searching for something more?
(Part 3 will be coming soon… stay tuned)

Galatians 5:5

For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 

Greetings all, I am taking a short interlude here before I get back to the series of upcoming blogs “A More Excellent Way”. Before I get back to that series, God is dealing with me personally concerning the issue resting in God’s grace.

About two months ago I was on a “spiritual high”. You know those times where it seems you are just flowing with God and believing Him for the impossible in your life and the lives of those around you. At the start of that time, I had begun a fast that I truly believe was led by the Lord and helped me to consecrate myself more fully to Him. But then sure enough… whatever goes up must come down. It seems that I had been hit with a variety of situations all at once which came to really test my faith… and my response has seemed to been more of self-striving at times than staying in step with the Spirit.

I recently did a little retreat to get away from distractions and focus on Jesus… however that retreat seemed ineffective because the one thing I cannot seem to retreat from is myself. The heart is very tricky (Jeremiah 17:9) and often our attempts to deal with our pride are themselves ridden with pride. I felt that I needed to get away in order to really get with God… but the truth is that God is calling me/us to live in step with the Spirit so we shouldn’t necessarily need a retreat to jump start us spiritually… but rather all we need is a submitted heart.

Now we understand that we are saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not by works but many of us fail to carry that to our daily walks in terms of sanctification and not merely justification. Although I understand that it is God’s Spirit of grace which is what builds me up in the faith and keeps me (Zechariah 12:10; Acts 20:32; 2 Timothy 2:1), my natural tendency is to want to work it out in my own strength. This is exactly what Paul rebukes the Galatians about concerning attempting to complete God’s work in the flesh (Galatians 3:3).

I believe Galatians 5:1-6 perfectly captures vanity of living by law/striving in the flesh as well as the freeing power of living by grace.

1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

The whole purpose of Christ setting us free by His grace is not for us to simply run back to living under the law and striving to “help God out” but to live free in Him day by day. Paul specifically deals with the issue of the Judaizers attempting to force circumcision on gentile believers here, but we can take it today as an attitude of trying to “do” the law… trying to be better at keeping God’s commandments. Living by God’s grace is actually a higher standard than living by the law… therefore when we try to do the works of the law in our strength it is sub-par works and a “fallen” walk that we actually present. The key then is not trying to dot every “i” and cross every “t”, as a “good christian”, leading to condemnation when we inevitably fall short but to simply abide in the Spirit and let Him work through our faith. The word for wait in v.5 also means to look for or to expect fully… so our sanctification occurs then by simply having faith and look forward to/expecting the promise that Christ will fully make us righteous through daily sanctification and ultimately glorification. In other words… rest in Jesus, seek Him, and enjoy Him and His Spirit will work through us to be more like Him and remove any burden from the commandments (1 John 5:3). Our faith which leads to daily sanctification is ultimately activated by love (v.6) that is abiding daily in God’s love for us enables us to in turn respond in love back, perfecting our walk in Him (1 John 4:19).

Fam, I have been so distraught as of lately due to recent circumstances and how I have hurt others, although unintentionally, and it has made me want to self-impose restrictions on myself in order to not cause further damage and help to correct the situations but I realize all of that is vanity. I/we will fall short and sin/hurt others at times but our response should not be one of self-sanctification/correction which takes away from God’s grace but simply humbling ourselves before God and allowing His Spirit of grace to cover us.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Greetings again everyone!! Yes, I am back on that seemingly inescapable subject of love and how it is supposed to impact the life of the christian. Now, never should we focus on one attribute of God, especially love, to the detriment of God’s other attributes, i.e. justice, truth, etc. but realize that all of God’s attributes work in tandem, as they should as well in the life of the believer. Having said all of that, there is something about love which even unbelievers recognize as being fundamental to the concept of God and the life of the christian, however misconstrued their definition of love is. Love is the core fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer from which all other fruit should flow in a believer’s heart (Galatians 5:22-23) and it is also at the center of Christ’s purpose to redeem mankind (John 3:16). So if any other subject must be revisited time and time and time and time… again in our lives then it is certainly love.

Moment of transparency: Some of you may know that I have been on a fast of sorts (which is now coming to a close) and some of you may also know that I have recently gotten out of a courtship. Although, I will not reveal the specific details of such, I would like to mention that during this time God has been specifically dealing with me concerning walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and specifically loving in the Spirit (that is loving as Christ loves). God has convicted me of how far short I fall of truly loving as He does. He has shown me how much I have relied on my own strength and will to love others rather than truly loving supernaturally as Christ. When we love others out of ourselves then our love can only go but so far before we feel drained and have nothing left to give when we don’t feel the same reciprocal love. But to truly love in the Spirit means loving outside of yourself, it means drawing upon God’s love to empower you to love others even when you do not feel the same in return (1 John 4:19, John 15:9-10, John 13:34). Christ speaks about how easy it is to love those who love us in return (Matthew 5:46) but to truly love as Christ means to love those who put themselves against us or hurt us in some way… which at times can even be (or at least seem) like those who are closest to us. This is not an easy thing to do… in fact I would say that it is truly an “unnatural” thing for us to do considering our self-centered nature but rather we can only truly accomplish this authentic love through reliance on the Holy Spirit.

The power of Christ’s love on display is truly amazing and has the power to melt hearts. Some of you may know about the condition of my roommate and his health struggles to the point of near death (if you don’t already know then I am not at liberty to share the specifics. While visiting him this past week in the hospital, although I was grieving his condition, I was however encouraged by what God was doing in the midst of the situation. I saw the lives of those who were hardened to the gospel of Christ being softened as they witnessed the love of Christ that the brethren had for my roommate as well as his love for the brethren. This type of love is not seen in the world therefore it confounds and confuses others… but it also intrigues them. Deep down this is the type of love I believe everyone desires to experience regardless of their condition before God.

This type of love must start with us as believers first. Although we are called to love all people there is however supposed to be something special about the love that we as brethren in Christ have for one another that should make the world envious. This is why stuck in the midst of chapters 12 and 14 of 1 Corinthians is chapter 13… the famous “love chapter”. In the midst of Paul speaking about unity in the Body and the witness and edification of the Body through spiritual gifts is the concept of love… for without love all of our spiritual gifting is rendered useless and the Body becomes disjointed. As Paul admonishes believers to desire spiritual gifts, he says that he will show them a “more excellent way”. “More excellent” carries the connotation of having more value and “way” here speaks of a mode or means to something. Basically love is the means to add more value to everything that we do as believers. Everything that we do for God and others should be funneled through this love. We are to tap into this ultimate display of love that Christ has for us in our daily walks. So how exactly does this look and how do we accomplish that? Stay tuned for my following posts on this subject as we explore 1 Corinthians 13 and look at how Christ perfectly fulfilled this love and how He has empowered us to do the same.

Imagine what it would be like to throw caution to the wind~

To move about freely, no longer in the bondage of sin…

Loose every shackle and weight that so easily ensnares~

Stripped of every chain that the curse of sin bears…

Imagine if Christ’s purpose for giving Himself was not only for our justification~

So we are not just in waiting for His 2nd coming to defeat lust and satan…

Imagine if He sent His Spirit upon us to make us more than conquerors~

And the strength to fight temptation is not something we conjure up…

Imagine if believers drew upon God’s grace for daily sanctification~

No longer caving into sin but making war while patiently waiting…

Imagine if we broke the sin cycle and lived in victory~

And fulfill the chief end of man, bringing Him glory…

Imagine if the Bride would trade in her filthy rags of self-righteousness~

For a blood-washed white gown and fell before Christ and lived…

Imagine if the body of Christ would rise up and make disciples~

Put away motivational speaking and simply state the bible…

Imagine if revival broke out and we began pursuit of holiness~

Cast down our idols and no longer cursed You with phoniness…

Imagine if we began to take on the mind of Christ and walk in love authentic ~

Treating others as Jesus, our hearts set above in awed thinking…

Imagine if American Christianity resembled the Church in the book of Acts~

Spirit driven in all its decisions, would we be shook and gasp?…

Imagine a world turning to Christ instead of rushing to death~

All made possible if we walk in the Spirit to avoid the lust of the flesh…


John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

Greetings all!! It has surely been a long time since I have updated this blog. Hope you haven’t forgotten about your boi.. know you… yes YOU (whoever is reading this) is in my prayers.

Honestly, I have been in a difficult spot as of late… a difficult but necessary place. God is giving me a glimpse of just how much of “His” work and my attempts to obey “His” will are being done in “my” own strength… it is quite saddening really.

Have you ever been in that place where you are serving the Lord… I mean sincerely desiring to please Him… but you are drained by trying to accomplish this on your own? Where your attempts to love others, to witness the gospel, and even to seek God through fasting and prayer seem wholly inadequate?

Maybe I am speaking only to myself… but this dry season can seem unbearable at times. I am sick of the roller coaster of spiritual highs and lows… and I know this is not what God intended for His children.

So why is it that our intimacy with God seems to ebb and flow? Sin, doubt, fear, pride/self-reliance, etc.? All of these things definitely lead to our disrupted intimacy with God… but I think behind it all we do not truly understand/comprehend and are not completely awed at the fact that God dwells in us.

In John 16:7, Jesus speaking to His disciples, tells them of His going away… that is His soon coming death and resurrection… and He gives them the astonishing revelation that it is to their benefit/advantage that He goes away because as He departs He will send the Holy Spirit/Helper to them.

Let us put ourselves in the disciples shoes for a moment… just imagine having Jesus with you… witnessing His miraculous works first-hand, having his direct guidance and instruction. The Son of God walking with us, face to face, and teaching us in His ways… what could be better than that?!

The answer as Jesus presented it is the Holy Spirit dwelling not just with us… but since Pentecost we know have the Him dwelling in us. Reflect on that for a moment… the God of the universe… the very God who created the sun, moon, and stars, and made you from the dust… is actually dwelling inside of you!! He is not some mystical force but the Helper (parakletos – literally one who comes along side of) is the very sovereign God Himself.

I feel that although we know this theologically… we fail to live out this truth practically. I wonder what would happen if at every waking moment you and I reflected on the reality of God dwelling in us. Wouldn’t that reality totally shake our lives and the lives of those around us? It should!! If we truly walked out this reality than our lives would totally confound other people because they would have no rationally explanation for how we live our lives… apart from the fact that it “has to be God!”

I love this quote from Francis Chan (Forgotten God)

“I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if  He doesn’t come through, I am screwed.”

Am I or you… are we willing to put it all on the line for God?! To literally risk everything and be made uncomfortable so that the Comforter can truly show Himself strong in our lives? Without this willingness to risk it all then our lives will show an absence of the Spirit’s power and our lives will be explainable to men.

In this season I believe God is taking me to a new place of hope… that is literally an expectancy. I am being challenged to believe Him to change the lives of those around me and do this miraculous through me to draw men to Jesus that they may glorify the Father. My prayer is for that same hope to be in you. May God ignite the fire in us!

Holy Spirit, magnify Yourself in our hearts. May the reality of Your presence totally overwhelm and saturate our thoughts. Bring us to a greater dependency upon You. Take us to places and situations where we have no choice but to cry out to You for help and may You be our Helper in those times. Strip us of anything that takes our attention and focus off of You, break our self-reliance, destroy our doubt, and obliterate any fear of man in our hearts that seeks to exalt itself over the fear of God. Holy Spirit may we reverence You completely in our daily lives. Magnify Yourself through us so that men would see that we have been with Jesus and glorify our Father. I ask all of this in Jesus name, Amen.


Luke 7:47

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Greetings, it has been a long time since my last blog post and for a good reason because I have had some growing and breaking to do personally and did not want to post something half-hearted but genuine and truly want to connect with God’s heart and help those who read this to do the same.

Today,  I would like to explore the concept of God’s forgiveness and just how unimaginably vast it is and what our response should be in light of that. I know this topic, at least on the surface, seems overdone… I mean we all know about God’s forgiveness, right? We all (believers and unbelievers) can quote John 3:16, we all know that God gave His only begotten Son to save and forgive us of our sins but do we truly understand the depths of what that means or is our understanding cursory and shallow and unable to invoke real change? Please humor me while we explore this concept deeper.

I believe Luke 7:36-50 portrays a beautiful illustration of God’s forgiveness and our proper response to it.

Luke 7:36-50

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,

38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.

46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 Then He said to her, “ Your sins have been forgiven.”

49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “ Who is this man who even forgives sins?”

50 And He said to the woman, “ Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Most of us are familiar with the story of the woman with the alabaster box. We focus on her act of worship towards Jesus as well as the Pharisee’s scorn of her “indecent” act. But what really brought her to that place of worship and faith before Jesus and why didn’t the Pharisee do the same? The reason is illustrated by Jesus in the parable that he presents regarding the moneylender and two debtors. Although both debtors were forgiven their debts their response towards the moneylender varied according to the amount they were forgiven. The one who was indebted and forgiven more would love more.

So what exactly does this mean to us and how can we apply it?

Our love for Christ is directly in proportion to how much we have been forgiven of or rather how much we perceive that we have been forgiven of. Now among those of us who are Christians, many of us recognize at least on a surface level that Christ has forgiven us of much sin but often our head knowledge does not translate to our heart. Many of us, even Christians, just do not realize the magnitude of our sins or how deeply our sin offends God therefore we do not realize the true depths of His forgiveness towards us nor do we love Him as we should.

One major objection people have about coming to Christ is the pervading view that mankind is basically good. Of course this belief is contrary to the clear view of scripture that none of us are righteous or inherently good (Romans 3:10-18). We often look at the next person and compare ourselves amongst ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12) and believe ourselves as spiritually superior and good people because we don’t sin the same as others. We also do this as Christians and fail to take an ongoing self-inventory of our indebtedness to God. This causes our love for Christ to grow cold and for us to take judgmental attitudes towards others. If you are struggling to love God and others then perhaps you have lost appreciation of all that Christ has forgiven you of, perhaps in your heart you conceptualize that your debt is much smaller than it really is. So how do we deal with this?

The more that I grow in Christ then the more I begin to realize that true depths of my sin before God. Sin’s roots are much more deep then I had imagined when I first submitted my life to Jesus. Rather than leave me discouraged this should bring my focus back to the cross and give me a realization of the insurmountable debt that I owed and a  greater appreciation of Christ’s forgiveness of me. This in turn should translate into me loving Christ more in return so that my love is deeper than before towards Him and others.

Picture it this way… imagine that you caused a car accident and left the car that you hit badly damaged… now imagine you don’t have a dime to your name and have no idea how to pay for the damage… then imagine the owner of that car tells you that he forgives you of the damage and is letting you go without paying for it… wow makes you really appreciate that person, right? Now further imagine that the owner of that car tells you that his son was in the car and died as a result of that accident but that he forgives you of even that… MIND BLOWN… now your love and indebtedness to this man has increased a million-fold. That is how our understanding of God’s forgiveness of us should naturally progress in our walk with God as He shows us more and more of our offenses against Him.

First we must recognize our deep transgression and indebtedness before God on a continual basis. Jesus did not deny the woman’s sins but rather stated they were “many”. Next our response should mirror our knowledge of God’s forgiveness of us and not be concerned about the opinion of others. For the woman who was a known sinner (two strikes against her in that culture) to come before Jesus and wash His feet with her tears, wipe His feet with her hair, and pour out the alabaster box on His feet to cleanse them was viewed as an extreme act of worship in light of the sin that God had forgiven her of. As our understanding of Christ’s forgiveness grows then so should our response. Our love for Christ should be viewed as extreme to this culture and even to other Christians. Some will look upon you with disdain as the Pharisee did to the woman and say that “you are doing too much” and “it doesn’t take all that to be a Christian”. Continue to press on in your love for Your Savior and don’t let others quench the fire. Finally our treatment of others should be out of humility for the forgiveness we ourselves have received and reflect that same love that has been bestowed upon us.

1 John 4;19

We love Him because He first loved us