Wednesday, December 30, 2020

My Drawer Runneth Over

I like t-shirts. I especially like shirts with logos of my favorite sports teams. I also have a problem getting rid of old t-shirts. Earlier this week, I put on a shirt that I calculated to be at least 10 years old. As a result of my inability to let go, my shirt drawer is overflowing with Spartan, Tiger, Red Wing, Lions, Liverpool, Warrior, Trojan, and Bruin shirts.

Let me be clear. My drawer is not overflowing because of any one shirt. It is overflowing because I have SO MANY shirts.

Ephesians 5:20 says, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"

The keywords here are "everything" and "always".

Colossians 2:7 is a parallel passage. Here Paul is encouraging a group of Christians to live consistently with their roots in Jesus' example and teaching. This is accomplished, according to Paul, by "overflowing with thankfulness." Saying, "thank you" every so often is nice, but a quick prayer of thanksgiving once a day is hardly "overflowing."


Causing anything to overflow requires filling it with more than it can handle. If you want to overflow with thanksgiving, you must FILL your life with more gratitude than you can handle. This means being thankful even when you don't feel like it.

  • Begin your day by giving thanks (you can start by thanking God that He woke you up). 
  • At various points throughout the day (meals), give thanks. 
  • At the conclusion of your day, give thanks. 
  • When things go well, give thanks. 
  • When others treat you with kindness, give thanks. 
  • When things go poorly, give thanks that they aren't worse. 
  • When others treat you with malice, give thanks that you are being treated like Jesus was. 

You can always find something for which to be grateful. The more you thank God, the more you'll be rooted in His Son.





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.

Friday, April 24, 2020

5 Verses For Uncertain Times

Whether or not life is uncertain is simply a matter of perspective. While I may feel uncertain about what is coming next, God does not. He is certain and He is not worried.

When you were a child riding in the back seat of the car, there were many times you didn't know where you were going. Your parent(s) did, though. Most of the time, it didn't even cross your mind to be nervous about your uncertainty, because you trusted the driver's knowledge and ability to deliver you to the destination.

God's knowledge and ability are far superior to the driver of that car. He is not uncertain. Not only does He hold tomorrow, He knows what tomorrow holds.  Here are five verses to read aloud when you feel some of life's uncertainty creeping in.


Matthew 6:26
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"


Proverbs 3:5-6"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."


Psalm 56:3"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You."


Joshua 1:9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


Psalm 121:1-4"I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come?My help comes from the Lord,who made heaven and earth.He will not let your foot be moved;he who keeps you will not slumber.Behold, he who keeps Israelwill neither slumber nor sleep."

Thursday, April 16, 2020

7 Verses For The Moments You Feel Alone


You can get through this!
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Use your times of solitude to draw closer to God.
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

God is with you. He is in control.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Jesus knows exactly how you feel.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Even if everyone abandons you, Jesus never will.
Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Don't be afraid to tell God how you feel.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

You can never be so alone that God does not love you.
Romans 8:31,35 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

12 Verses For a Rough Day

I received an email today from a friend requesting a few encouraging verses. I shared a couple with her and then thought perhaps I should just post them here as well. Maybe these will be an encouragement to you as well. We can all use a little more hope, joy, and peace.


Today Has Been a Rough Day - Humor & Memes.comJohn 16:33 -- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Isaiah 26:3 -- You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

1 Peter 5:7 -- Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 4:8 -- In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

1 Peter 1:3 -- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

John 16:22 -- So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Psalm 118:24 -- This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Jeremiah 29:11 -- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 28:7 -- The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Deuteronomy 31:6 -- Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Psalm 30:11 -- You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Psalm 33:21 -- For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.