Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Use the 10 Commandments as a Template for Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful tool for fighting anxiety, fear, and selfishness. It also promotes contentment, generosity, peace, and trust. I am always looking for new methods to develop more gratitude in my life. Here is an idea I have to use the 10 commandments as a jumping-off point for gratitude. Consider praying through these commands and using each one to express thanksgiving to God.



1. Have no other gods before Me.

Thank you for being all-powerful, all-present, always in control, and still caring about me.

2. Make no false idols.

Thank you for being everything I need so that I never need to look elsewhere for provision.

3. Do not take the name of the LORD in vain.

Thank you for the privilege of calling on your name through prayer. Thank you for hearing my prayers.

4. Remember the Sabbath.

Thank you for all of creation and for building healthy rhythms into creation as an example for how to live my life.

5. Honor your father and mother.

Thank you for my family and for the people in my life who are like family to me.

6. You shall not kill.

Thank you for life and all you do to sustain me.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

Thank you for relationships and for love and for the gift of marriage. Thank you for your faithfulness to me.

8. You shall not steal.

Thank you for entrusting me with so many gifts. Thank you for giving me far more than I ever needed.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Thank you for truth. Thank you that Jesus is the truth and the life. Thank you for you Word which is truth for life.

10. You shall not covet.

Thank you for providing all my needs. Thank you for your promise to always give me everything I need.




Monday, December 28, 2020

13 Leftovers From A Sermon on Gratitude

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
(LUKE 1:46-49)




13 THOUGHTS ON GRATITUDE

1. Gratitude is the result of who you are, not what happens to you.

2. Gratitude is an internal commitment to not be controlled by external circumstances.

3. What happens TO me can never change what has been done FOR me.

4. Gratitude focuses on God's provision instead of my problems.

5. We all have problems, and it is good to tell God about our problems, but they should never be our primary focus.

6. God's provisions far outnumber your problems.

7. Gratitude grows from past deliverance not present darkness.

8. Mercy is only needed by those who have made mistakes.

9. Mercy is something we don't always see, even though it is there.
We don't always like to give it, even though we should.
We rarely think we need it, even though we all do.

10. God is rich in mercy: He has more to give than you have mistakes to make.

11. Grow your gratitude by praying for a positive perspective.

12. Become more grateful by setting aside time to practice gratitude.

13. Multiply your gratitude by sharing it with others.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

5 steps our church is taking to prepare for our restart

This may or may not be helpful. For those who are interested, here are five things we've done to prepare our church to restart. These aren't inspired and they may or may not work. We'll know soon!


1) We started using the word "restart" very early. The week after Easter, "restart" became an important element of our leaders' shared vocabulary. We wanted to hit the ground running when the time came.

2) We talked about "change" and "growth" as critical pieces of our restart. From the very beginning, we discussed this "stay-at-home" time as a sort of sabbath. We asked people to spend time considering three questions:

- What have you learned about what is really important in life?
- What would you like to change about your life's rhythm when you restart?
- How are you going to do that?

3) Once we set a target date, we repeatedly used four words to communicate the important details of the plan:

- MAY 31
- RESERVATIONS
- MASKS
- FLEXIBILITY

4) We claimed Philippians 2:3 as our key verse during the restart. In particular, we focused on the last four words of the NIV's rendering, "value others above yourselves." This is becoming more and more important as this issue becomes unnecessarily politicized.

5) We have over-communicated. I normally send one email per week to the church. In the weeks leading up to the restart, I am sending at least three per week. Additionally, we have been very intentional with our Facebook strategy during the two weeks prior to our restart.

If these thoughts are beneficial for you than I am happy. Perhaps they will inspire even better ideas for your restart. If I've been of no help, I apologize for wasting your times. Unfortunately, I don't offer refunds.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

10 Inspirational Verses To Launch Your Day

Whatever your day may hold, you can boldly charge forward knowing that you may not be able to control everything, but you know Who can.

Read these verses aloud to yourself. Choose one and carry it with you today. At the very least, let these verses inspire to action.



Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Romans 8:31
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Psalm 37:23-24
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Monday, May 4, 2020

4 Bible Passages That Speak To The Coronavirus Debates

I'm not settled. But here are some of the Bible passages I'm chewing on as I consider my position on the myriad of issues surrounding COVID19 and my response as a Christian and a pastor.

What does the Bible say about COVID-19?

The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.

All the people of earth were unified in their pursuit of a common goal. Driven by scientific and technological advancements, they planned to make a name for themself. At the core of their efforts was their assertion that they could solve anything on their own. They no longer needed God. Is COVID19 reminding us that even if we all unite, we are still not omnipotent and we are still vulnerable?

The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25.

Everything God gives us is to be used for His kingdom and His agenda. Are we, as God's stewards, rising up the challenge of COVID19 and using this opportunity to double our kingdom influence? Or, are we in fear hiding the talent we have been given?

Jesus Calms The Storm in Mark 4.

My favorite piece of this story is that Jesus knowingly brought the disciples into the storm specifically so that they could see Him bring them through the storm. No storm (or virus) is beyond His control. "Peace, be still" is all He needs to say. He has brought us into this storm. He will bring us through it.

Paul Asserting His Rights As A Citizen in Acts 16 & 22.

On two different occasions, Paul used his status as a Roman citizen to more efficiently accomplish his mission. On one occasion, he avoided further imprisonment and on the other occasion, he utilized an appeal process to get to Rome. Certainly these passages are primarily descriptive, however, should we consider whether or not they speak to how we use the privilege of American citizenship? Is it ever okay for an American Christian to assert their constitutional rights (when they are being impinged)?

Friday, May 1, 2020

7 Verses To Help You Taste Your Words Before You Spit Them Out

Words are small but mighty. Your words can be a gift or a grenade. They can encourage or they can explode. With your words you can inspire your neighbor or you can crush your friend. With your words, you can bring calm to a storm or you can escalate a conflict.

If you are working on "holding your tongue" more often, create a hard copy of these verses and keep them with you. Read through this list 3-5 times every day and remind yourself that you want to taste your words before you spit them out!


Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
‭‭James‬ ‭1:19

If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
Proverbs 29:9

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:23‬

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
Proverbs 29:11

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:27

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:28‬

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:20‬

Thursday, April 30, 2020

14 Verses To Help You Focus On Who God Is

A great way to start and end your day is to simply think about who God is. Here are 14 verses to remind you of a few of God's character traits. Read these aloud and remember who He is!


1 Corinthians 10:13 | God is FAITHFUL
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 John 1:5 | God is LIGHT
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

John 3:16 | God is GENEROUS
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:8 | God is LOVE
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Psalm 18:30 | God is a SHIELD
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 116:5 | God is GRACIOUS
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.

Psalm 68:19-20 | God is a SAVIOR
Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Colossians 1:16 | God is CREATOR
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Deuteronomy 4:31 | God is MERCIFUL
For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Psalm 83:18 | God is MOST HIGH
that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalm 34:8 | God is GOOD
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

1 John 1:9 | God is FORGIVING
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 Samuel 7:22 | God is UNIQUE
Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Psalm 23:1 | God is a SHEPHERD
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.