It’s been a while since my last post. This is due to my laziness and lack of discipline. I love to write, I’m just not good at making myself do it. Writing I’m fine with…it’s the starting that gets me all of the time. However, today I am motivated to write. Here’s why…

Today started out like any normal Friday. I am usually off of work on Friday’s, although some would say that since I am in the ministry I really only work 2 days a week. I opened up Facebook on my phone and realized that today is my brother Alan’s birthday. The significance of that is that Alan passed away a little over 7 years ago. If I’ve done my math right he would have been 60 today. (My sister will correct me if I am wrong!)

Being a pastor isn’t always very glamorous. And that’s ok. I don’t particularly enjoy the spot light. But, being a pastor has allowed me the privilege of preaching 2 of my brother’s funerals. (My brother Jimy died in 2006). I know that “privilege” may be a strange word to use when discussing the topic of funerals. However, it is the best word I know of. It was not a fun experience, but I was honored to do it. It’s what I do.

The following are some thoughts from the message I shared at Alan’s funeral. Just thoughts from a little brother remembering his big brother on his birthday and trying to shed some light on who he really was.

When I think of Alan, many things come to mind. He was my big brother. I was blessed to be youngest of 5 children.  We had another brother, Steven, that died as an infant before most of us were born. As most big brothers are, Alan was proud of us. He bragged about us to others. He would take care of me. He was a protector, the way a big brother is supposed to be. I don’t remember this too well but I’ve been told that when I was a baby, Alan didn’t like to push me around in my stroller. But what he loved to do was ride me around on his bike. He attached a baby seat on his bike and would ride me all around. Even as a young boy, Alan showed the ability to build and fix things with his hands.

He loved family. He wouldn’t come to family functions all the time. If he did come he was usually the last one to arrive and the first one to leave. He was just introverted that way. My brothers and sister and I knew, if we ever needed him, he would be there. Nothing was more important to Alan than family.

Alan was a hard and creative worker. He worked ALL the time. He loved details and tedious tasks. Things that would drive me crazy Alan thrived on. He was a perfectionist and would never finish a job until it was completed. And by completed, I mean done perfect. He could draw anything, build anything, and fix anything. I remember one time when I was in 4th grade. I had a school project to do with popsicle sticks. Of course, I procrastinated and waited until the last night to even begin. Alan helped me, which means of course that he built the structure by himself…in 1 night! I got an A!

As I mentioned earlier, Alan was introverted and private. He loved family but was mostly uncomfortable around people. Honestly, he felt most comfortable at home with his beloved dog Coop. He never went anywhere without that dog. Alan may have felt a little left out at times. He didn’t sing or play sports like me or my other brothers. But what is amazing to me is that while he may have felt a little less talented, it was easy for me to see that he was the most talented of any of us. No one in our family could do the things that Alan could do.

I can’t believe it’s been over 7 years, but I am thankful for the 40 years that I had with him!


Never Settle for Normal

Do you ever feel like there is more out there for your life? Not that you’re living outside of God’s will. Just that somehow, somewhere, there is more out there waiting for you. You may not be able to explain it but you know it’s out there. I know this is how I feel. I do feel like I am doing what God has called me to do. I also feel like there is more out there that God has in store for me. I don’t understand it all right now, but I know that God will continue to reveal it to me as I seek Him.

In his book Never Settle for Normal, Jonathan Parnell discusses this topic at length. On the back cover he writes, “Every human wants to matter and be happy, which is as it should be. God made us to resemble and reflect His worth as we enjoy our true identity in Him.” However, often times the thing that keeps us from discovering all that God has saved us to be is our own sins. We want “more” of God and get frustrated when we don’t seem to be hearing from God. When the very reason we are not hearing from God is due to the sin in our lives. Sin clutters our vision of God and therefore keeps us from experiencing the “more” that God has in store for us.

Jonathan writes on page 50, “In the blindness of sin, beneath the curse of the Fall, we humans trade in the greater glory of the immortal God for the lesser glory of mortal things. Instead of worshipping the God in whose image we’re made, we worship ourselves and the stuff we make.” In other words, sometimes it’s not even sinful things that steal our focus and worship. Often, it’s common, everyday things. Even people or other treasures that we have that in and of themselves are not bad. However, when we put those things in the place of God, those things become idols and steal the worship that rightfully belongs to God.

The very first Bible verse that I remember memorizing is John 10:10. I was probably 10 or 11 years old and I learned the NIV version. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Some translations us the word abundantly in the place of full. As a kid, I thought this to mean that Jesus came to give us eternal life. Which He definitely did do that. By placing our faith in Him as our Savior, we can have eternal life with Him in heaven. However, that is not what this particular verse means. This verse means exactly what it says. Jesus didn’t only come so that we could have eternal life. He also came so that in Him we can have abundant life on this earth. The Christian life is a life that is to be lived to the full. And just as salvation is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the abundant life is only possible through Jesus as well.

My favorite line from Never Settle for Normal, is found on page 88. Jonathan writes, “Your capacity to accept the truth of Jesus’s resurrection has no effect on its validity, but your grasp of its importance will at least help you understand its unparalleled part in the Christian story.” Our ability to understand or even believe that Jesus rose from the grave doesn’t change the fact that it happened. However, to fully experience the abundant life that Jesus has called us to, believing in Him is essential.

To My Sons

The following is a list that I read from another blogger named Aaron Conrad. You can find the original post from him here.

Being the father of 2 boys myself, this article obviously resonated with me. My boys are now young men…21 & 18. Both are in college. My oldest is a Senior and my youngest just began his freshman year. Both are away at school. This makes the list even more special. I am not with them everyday therefore they are making almost every decision on their own. My prayer is that they both enter “manhood” striving to be the best men they can be.

This list is not an exhaustive list. There are certainly more items that can be added to it. I can also honestly admit that I don’t do any of them perfectly. But it is my prayer that as my boys continue grow, they would strive to live this way and be better men than I have ever been.

So here is my list To My Sons. I hope it speaks to you like it has spoken to me.

  1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
  2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
  3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
  4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
  5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
  6. Request the late check-out.
  7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
  8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
  9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
  10. Don’t fill up on bread.
  11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
  12. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
  13. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
  14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
  15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.
  16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
  17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
  18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
  19. Never turn down a breath mint.
  20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.
  21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
  22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
  23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.
  24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
  25. Eat lunch with the new kid.
  26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
  27. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
  28. See it on the big screen.
  29. Give credit. Take the blame.
  30. Write down your dreams.
  31. Always open the door for others…especially a lady.
  32. Make your bed every morning…not because you want to…just because it’s the right thing to do.
  33. Seek God first no matter what others say…even if it doesn’t make sense.
  34. Comfort is not something to live for, facing your fears is.

What Do You Want To Know About God?

I have to admit, there are a lot of questions I have regarding God and my faith. I have been a Christian most of my life. Thirty-Seven years to be exact. But I still have questions. Not doubts…just questions.

I sometimes wonder why God allows things to happen to certain people. Why do seemingly good people go through tremendous suffering while people I would consider not so good live lives of abundance. I know that not everything is as it appears to be. I also know that there is no one really “good.” We all have flaws and therefore have fallen short in many areas. But still…some things just don’t make sense.

So, I picked up a copy of Everything You Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask) by Eric Metaxas. I wanted to read this book for two reasons. One, because I have read two other books by this author that I have truly loved. The other reason, is because as I stated above, I still have some questions about God. The book is written in a Q & A format and covers everything from “How can I prove that God even exists” to “Does God hate gays and oppose women.”

He does discuss the topic of suffering. He attempts to answer the question, “Why would a loving God allow suffering” in chapter 2. This is a legitimate question that has been asked for centuries. Here is a portion of how the author answers the question of suffering…

Evil is not caused by God, and it doesn’t come from God. But God allows evil                                    to exist because He gave us all free will, and He wants us to exercise that will. It would be      meaningless to have the ability to make choices if there were only one option available—if, for example, there were only good in the universe. By giving us free will, God gave us           the ability to reject Him and all that is good, and thereby bring evil into the world. And all of us suffer in this life because of the evil that exists. (p24)

I’m not willing to say that this answers the question entirely for me. But it does bring comfort to know that all people, to some degree or another, will have moments of suffering and also moments of joy. Not that I am comforted to know that others will suffer, but I am comforted to know that I am not the only one that will suffer.

In conclusion, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask), may not have answered all of the questions that I have. But I do have a better understanding of how I can answer questions about God that others may ask me. The book also affirms what has always been true. As the author writes on page 145, “ We can’t get fixated on unknowable details.”

Let Us Pray

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle with feeling I don’t pray enough. Or long enough. Or even good enough. “Why don’t my prayers sound like his prayers?” “He must REALLY love God to pray like that.” I often feel like my prayer life is short, rushed, and shallow at best. Which makes me feel ashamed and even a little embarrassed. I’m a pastor, I should know how to pray like a professional! At least that’s what the little voice inside me tells me.

Insert the book Talking with God by Adam Weber. I was initially intrigued by the title but it was the subtitle that sold me on the book. “What to say when you don’t know how to pray.”

That is me! That’s exactly how I feel…at least most of the time. I know I should pray. And I even want to pray. But sadly often I don’t know WHAT to pray. I’ve tried different formula’s. Like the A.C.T.S. prayer model. A.C.T.S. is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. That works, at least for a while. But over time it becomes mundane. Almost a little too familiar and I tend to pray for the same things over and over every day.

I admit I tend to be a creature of habit. I find something that works and I just stick with it. Which admittedly isn’t very exciting. So I try to break out of that and try something new. However, I am also a little ADD and am easily distracted. For example, I am writing this blog while sitting at a coffee shop and am currently struggling to stay focused on the topic of prayer and the conversation of the young people at the bar which is going back and forth from a game show from the 70’s (which they cannot remember the name of and only remember because of YouTube clips) and the interesting names of dogs on Pinterest.

Anyways, back to the book, I knew I had to pick up a copy and read it to finally find the secret to a successful prayer life. I just knew that Adam Weber had the answers that I had been looking for. After all, he hadn’t written a book about prayer, he must be an expert right? Sadly, I was mistaken. He is not an expert. And I have to admit that at first I was a little disappointed. However, the more I read, I began to realize that I’m not alone in my feeling of having an inadequate prayer life. And surprisingly it’s not as difficult as I was making it.

Adam writes on page 48, “Don’t try to sound all prim and proper. Don’t use strange religious words. Just talk with God.” That’s it. It really is that simple. So if it’s that simple, then why do we struggle so much with talking to God? Maybe, just maybe it’s because we don’t see prayer as a priority in our lives. Adam writes on page 61, “Instead of making excuses, we have to get to the place where we so clearly realize our desperate need for talking with God that it becomes a priority.”

I want to get to the point in my life where prayer is so vitally important to me that it physically hurts when I don’t spend time with God in prayer. As David writes in Psalm 42, “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (42:1-2 ESV) That’s what I long for anyways. How about you? Do you long to spend time with God I prayer? To get closer to The Creator then you ever have before? Then let me suggest you try something. Just do it! Don’t feel like you have to have a perfect prayer life or that you have to have it all figured out. Let me break it to you, that will never happen. Just begin now. Start spending time with your Father now. Talk to Him like your talking to a friend. You’ll be amazed how spending time regularly with God will cause you to want to spend more time with God. As Mother Teresa famously said, “The more you pray, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes, the more you’ll pray.”

Chasing Dreams

When I was a little boy I dreamed of playing baseball in the big leagues. Since I grew up in Cincinnati, my dream was naturally to play for the Cincinnati Reds. Those dreams didn’t come to fruition, but I did get to play in college. And I continued to have dreams. As we get older, our dreams for the future may change, but we still have dreams.

I picked up a copy of Unlock Your Dreams by Philip Wagner because I’m a sucker for books that are written with the purpose of helping the reader discover their desired purpose in life. I’m not talking about self-help books. I don’t buy into self-help. I am referring to books that help the reader discover the person that God created them to be. You see, I think that each of us has a purpose. A God created and God ordained purpose. I believe that part of that purpose is to achieve the dreams that we have.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, he plants within each of us a dream. Again, I’m not referring to a dream to be rich and famous. But a dream to use the gifts He has given us to make Him famous. As I stated above, our dreams and goals may change over time, but God still has placed them there and has a plan for us and our dreams.

On page 4, Philip writes, “Sometimes we go down one path, pursuing a vision of what we believe we are supposed to do, and then we discover we are meant to do something else. It may seem like a waste of time, but we likely would not have found the new path without taking the risk of pursuing that initial dream.” Remember, I dreamed of playing baseball. Not because I was good. But because I loved it. If I would have not chased that dream to college because I didn’t think I was good enough, I would not have met my wife (who I’ve been married to now for 24 years), which means I wouldn’t have had my sons. I may have missed out on God’s call on my life to be in ministry.

I know God is sovereign and He can accomplish anything in-spite of my choices. But I do believe we can miss out on opportunities that God has planned for us if we are not patient or if we are not in the place He can use us. Philip writes on page 16, “Sometimes God wants us to wait because of timing, and sometimes God wants us to wait because He needs to develop us into people able to accomplish His purpose.”

So, what is the dream God has placed within your heart? Are you chasing that dream or are you listening to the enemy when he tells you it’s a waste of time? God created you with a plan and a purpose in mind. He created you to live a full life. A life of adventure chasing after Him. Not because He’s running from you. But because He is leading you to be all that He created and saved you to be.

I’m not sure I agree with every theological statement that Philip Wagner makes, but I do believe that God gives each of us dreams that He wants us to pursue and achieve. I also believe that if you want help in discovering what that dream is and how you can unlock that dream, this book will not be a waste of time.

A Rich Life

Seventy-seven years ago, December 15, 1939 to be exact, a woman was born in a little obscure town in southern Kentucky. She was never wealthy, at least not by most standards of wealth. But she was rich and she would go on to influence an untold number of people and generations to come.

She was rich in that she had loads of talent. She had a soft, smooth alto singing voice almost like that of Doris Day. (Who by the way was her favorite actor and singer.) Although music wasn’t really her passion, at least in the time that I knew her, it was her escape. When she was troubled or worried, she sang or listened to music. Music would take her away to a much calmer and pleasant place. She taught me, maybe unintentionally although I’m not certain anything she did was unintentional, to use music as an escape too.

She was also rich in friendships. She had friends that she had known since childhood and still kept in touch with. This was long before the days of social media or even cell phones. She never allowed distance or even disagreements to have a negative effect on her loyalty to her friends. She seemed to only see the good in others even when they were clearly in the wrong. I’m not sure if this was intentional either or if it was just the way she was wired. (She still believed OJ was innocent!) I think she tried to teach me this as well, although this trait hasn’t seemed to have caught on like she would have wanted.

She was rich in love. Just as she was always able to see the good in others, she seemed to love unconditionally. I say “seemed” to because I’m still not convinced that unconditional love is humanly possible. But it sure did appear that way to her. It’s not that she never got angry or upset with others. Trust me, she did. And in most cases she had every right to. But her love for that person or person’s was still there. She genuinely loved others. Especially her family. In fact, family, or to be more specific her children, became her passion. Right, wrong or indifferent, her children (all 6 of them) was the reason she lived. At least that’s how she saw it. Outside of her love and devotion to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, nothing, and I mean nothing, was more important to her then her children. Loving Jesus and her children was definitely something she intentionally tried to pass on to me. However, once again, I didn’t catch it as passionately as she would have hoped.

You’ve probably guessed by now that the woman born in that city in Kentucky that nobody has ever heard of is my mom. Mom passed away in 1998. It’s unbelievable to me that she’s been gone 18 years now. I hate that my children never got to know her. I hate cancer and what it does to the body. I hate not being able to have conversations with her like I use to. I especially hate not having conversations that I needed to have with her but never did. But, I love that my life was so influenced by her. I’m not sure what I did to deserve to be her child, but I’m thankful that God allowed me that privilege. I talk to people often that have been, or at least feel like they have been abandoned by their parents. I have no experience in this area. That thought is so foreign to me.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom was not perfect. And yes I am biased. I’m sure most of us believe our mom is the best. I pray that you do think that about your mom. This would mean that you, like me, have experienced a rich life.


For several years now, I have felt God calling me to more. I didn’t, and really still don’t, completely understand what my “more” means. I just know that God has more in store for me. Even though I am not certain exactly what that means, I do know what it doesn’t mean. I don’t necessarily believe that my more is a bigger stage or bigger audience. It has nothing to do with more recognition or even more financial blessings. Although in could include any or all of these things, I don’t believe any are the basis for the “more” God has in store.

So when I saw the title of Greg Hawkins book More, I knew I had to pick it up. I had to see if this book could help me discover or at least understand what the “more” is that God is calling me to. Greg explains that the desire for more is natural and a part of how God created us. We are created for relationships and Christ followers are especially wired for a deeper relationship with God. Greg writes on page 10, “He (God) did not invite us into a relationship so that we could just make do but so that we could experience more.”

So the “more” here has nothing to do with doing more, it has everything to do with being more. God has called us to be more like Christ. And when we are more like Christ, we begin to do the things that are pleasing to Him. Andy Stanley is famous for saying, “Doing always flows from being.” In other words, when we are more intimate with God, we are closer to Him. And the closer we get to God, the more we act like Him.

In scripture, Jesus reminds us that He not only came to give us eternal life but He came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10) That’s life to the fullest here and now. We were created with the desire to want more. Again, not more stuff but more life.

So, what is the “more” that God is calling you to? I know for certain that it begins with growing closer to Him and knowing Him “more.” If you’d like to discover the “more” that God is calling you to, pick up your own copy of More by Greg Hawkins. You’ll be glad you did.

Displaying His Plan

The Biggest Loser is a pretty fascinating show.  I don’t watch it much but I have watched it enough to get the premise.  The Biggest Loser started in 2004.  The object of the show is pretty simple.  They take overweight people, in some cases extremely overweight, and through exercise and healthy eating, help them lose as much weight as possible in about 8-10 weeks.  People are losing massive amounts of weight.  The record for most weight lost in a season is 264 lbs.  Michael Ventrella started the show weighing in at 526 lbs.  When the season ended he weighed 262 lbs.  He lost half is body weight.  The results were pretty easy to see.

Google Michael Ventrella and you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s the point.  Just as the results of massive weight loss are easy to see, so should be the results of having a relationship with Christ.  If you are a Christ follower, it should be evident to others.  A relationship with Christ has to make a difference in our lives.  That’s right, I said has to.  In fact the Bible says, actually Jesus says, that if you truly have a relationship with Him you cannot hide it.  It will be seen.

Matthew 5:13-16,13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This is the beginning of what is called the Sermon on the Mount.  The Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message that we have from Jesus Christ.  It takes up chapters 5, 6 & 7 of Matthew.  To paraphrase this passage, Jesus is simply saying that if you know Christ as your Savior, you have the Light in you.  If you have the Light in you, it cannot be hidden.  Just like a light from a city on the hill cannot be hidden, so to the Light within a Christ follower cannot be hidden.

I grew up in Cincinnati, OH. I don’t get to go home to Cincinnati very often, but when I do I love going into the city at night.  If you haven’t seen it at night let me explain.  When you are about to reach the city, you have to come over a mountain in Kentucky.  This location is referred to as “The Cut in the Hill.”  Before you cross the bridge leading into downtown Cincinnati, you are at the top of the hill.  From here you can see all of downtown easily.  At night it’s pretty awesome.  Cincinnati is not necessarily a large city but it sure does look like it is at night.

This is how we should appear as a Christ follower.  People should notice right away that there is something different about us.  Not because we are better.  But because we know Christ.  And because we know Him, we should want others to know Him too.  It’s not about us being noticed.  It’s about other people noticing Him through our actions.

Look at Matthew 5:16 again.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” People should see us, but notice Christ through us.

That’s why 1 Peter 1:15-16 are so important.

1 Peter 1:15-16, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Our conduct, or our behavior, should point others to Christ.  That’s why God gives us gifts and talents.  He gives those talents to us so that we can use them to glorify Him.  Max Lucado writes in The Cure for the Common Life, “God endows us with gifts so we can make Him know.  Period.” (pg5)

What gifts do you have?  Are you using them to glorify God?

Spend a few minutes reflecting on your gifts and ways you can glorify God through those gifts.

So, our conduct is pretty important.  It’s vital to our witness.  What other people see us do is crucial.  Take a look at what Peter says in 1 Peter 2.

1 Peter 2:15, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.”

So with our actions or behavior, we can silence people who try to harm us with foolish words.  Our actions are that powerful.  How have your actions and behavior been lately?  Have they brought glory to God?  Or have they hurt your witness?

Let’s recap.  We never again have to wonder if we have a purpose.  We know that God has a plan for us.  We are not an accident.  God created each of us with a specific plan in mind.  You may not know right now specifically what that plan or purpose is.  But in time, as you continue to follow Christ, He will REVEAL it to you.  First and foremost, we know that ultimately His plan for us is to know Him.  He desires to have a relationship with everyone.  Once we accept Him, He changes us.  We may not look different but we are to act different.  We now belong to Him.  We must live like it.

Then, as followers of Christ, we continue to pursue Him.  Knowing that He will REVEAL to us through our passions what He would have us to do.  Once we discern our passion, we use it to make Him known to those around us.  It’s not just something we ought to do.  It’s something we must do.  If Christ is truly in us, we have no choice but to make Him known to others.  So, whatever it is you do, make sure you do it to glorify God.

Look at how John Piper writes it in Don’t Waste Your Life,

We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life, God created us for this  to live our lives in a way that makes Him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that He really is. (pg 32)

Don’t waste your life, God created you for more than that.  He created you to discover your purpose by following your passions and putting it on display to make much of Him.

So there you have it.  That is God’s plan for you and for me.  His will is that we would know Him and that we would make Him known to others.  That you and I would “be holy because He is holy.”

Discerning Your Passion

What are you passionate about?  Maybe it’s a sport or club.  Maybe it’s reading or writing. Maybe you’re passionate about music.

We all have passions.  We are not all passionate about the same things but we all do have things we are passionate about.  As you get older your passions may change.  Not because your passion is bad or wrong.  Just because you get older and they change.  For example, when I was younger I was very passionate about baseball.  In fact, that’s why I went to college.  It wasn’t because I was good at baseball, it was because I was passionate about it.  That was close to 25 years ago!  I still like baseball.  I love to go to baseball games.  But to say I am passionate about it would be wrong.  I’m passionate about other things now.  I’m passionate about my family, I’m passionate about preaching, and I’m passionate about seeing people know God and grow in their faith.  I’m still passionate, just about different things.

Do you think that your passion and your purpose are connected?  I think they can be.  Pastor Erwin McManus writes in his book Soul Cravings, “There is a reason why you have a sense of destiny.  It was placed there by God, and it woos you to pursue it.” (Entry 6)  There’s a reason why you are the way you are.  There’s a reason that you have the passions you have.  For some reason, God has placed them there.  Your job now is to find out what they are and then discover what you are to do with them.

Look at 1 Peter 1:13-14.  What do those 2 verses say to you?

Here’s what they say to me.  Before I became a Christ follower, I had passions.  They were passions of the world.  Now that I am a Christ follower, I must no longer have those passions.  I have new passions.  And my hope is that Christ will REVEAL His plans and His purposes for me regarding the passions that I have.  Hope here does not mean what we sometimes think it means.  In our world, hope means wishing for something to happen.  Not expecting it, but wishing for it.  But the word for hope used here is not wishing at all.  Hope here means waiting with confidence.  We know Christ will come again.  We know He will REVEAL our purpose to us.  We are just waiting for it to happen.  We’re waiting for Him to come.

Even waiting is defined wrong.  Waiting here does not mean that we sit back and do nothing.  I don’t think that God intends for us to do that.  To wait on the Lord means you are listening for God’s voice to stir within you.  Trying to discern what He is telling you to do.  Waiting means prayerfully seeking God and His direction for your life.

The word passion simply means any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling.  So let me ask you, what’s compelling you?  What do you feel compelled to do?  Answering this question will help you discern your passion.  To discern means to distinguish or to recognize or understand.  The goal is to recognize the passion God has placed within you and then be about carrying it out.

In Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado writes, “You cannot be anything you want to be.  But you can be everything God wants you to be.” (pg18)  So, knowing that God has a plan for you and unlimited power to carry it out, what is it He is calling you to do?  Well, I can’t completely answer that for you.  You have to discern that on your own.  But here’s what I do know.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Did you catch that?  According to Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, it really doesn’t matter “what” you do.  “What” is not important here.  What’s important is “who.”  It’s not what we become, it’s who we become.  Let me try to explain…

When I felt like God was calling me into ministry full-time, I was scared to death.  I was 19 years old.  I felt there was no way that I could be a preacher.  All I knew that preachers did was preach and wear a suit and tie.  I didn’t even like to talk in front of others back then and suits just weren’t me, there was no way I could be a preacher.  As time went on I began to realize that is wasn’t about what I could or couldn’t do.  It had very little to do with me and my abilities.  God could use me to do anything He was calling me to do.  And He can do the same with you.

What is it that you feel compelled to do but also feel less than qualified to do it?  That could be your passion.  Or at least it could lead you to your passion.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t feel like you are able to do it.  In fact, I think that is by design too.  God calls us not because we are qualified and equippedHe calls us and then prepares us for that calling.

Remember Gideon?  The story about him is found in Judges 6-8.  Gideon was a regular guy.  An average Joe.  He was not a soldier or even a fighter.  But God called him and used him to lead an army of men to victory against a much bigger and stronger opponent.  Not because of Gideon’s great skill.  But because of God’s great power.

Don’t worry about feeling inadequate.  God’s got a plan.  And remember, His plan does not include wrath for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed.  God is there and will carry you if you need Him to.

Read this passage, Philippians 4:4-8, “4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Still not sure about discerning your passion?  Listen to what Pastor John Piper says in his book Don’t Waste Your Life,

            But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturate passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it.  And you will make a difference that lasts.  You will not waste your life. (pg 47)

I don’t know what God’s specific plan for you is.  I know that He desires to know you intimately.  Beyond that, you have to discover on your own.  All I know is, whatever He is calling you to do He will see it through.  You just have to be obedient and follow the passion He has laid on your heart.

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