Still There Is Room

Luke 14
Luke 14

Ah, the Parable of the Dinner: both tragic and majestic! You have the invite in your hand. Will you be by the fire in the warm banquet hall or will you be outside in the rain looking through the window as your stomach growls?

A man is having a big dinner and invites many. The time comes for the dinner and he tells his staff to send the word. However, the worker returns reporting that all the people made excuses on why there were not coming; one bought a new piece of land, one bought some oxen, and one even used his wife as an excuse. This angers the man and he tells his staff to go tell all the people in the street, all the crippled, poor, blind, and lame. The worker does and they come. But the worker reports to the man that there is still room! So he’s ordered to go out to the highways and along the hedges – so that his master’s house may be filled! Lastly, the man of the house declares that none of the original guests will ever eat of the dinner. (paraphrasing of Luke 14:16-24)

First of all, I love how when the first order is carried out – there is still room! Jesus calls all who will receive Him to join in His Father’s wondrous splendor… and there is still room! He will not stop until God’s house is filled! How amazing and wonderful!

There is also a sense that the dinner will have a specific date. It’s not a dinner that will never come to pass. You have been invited and when the banquet finally arrives – you had better be ready. To some, this is extremely exciting and to others it is extremely agonizing. After the dinner hall doors are closed, they are closed for good. Those arriving late, will have no way in. Sadly, they will hear all the laughter and joy coming from within. They will surely be escorted out of the hall and into the cold black night.

C.S. Lewis said that Hell will be like an extension of you’re life. If, all throughout your life, you pushed God away and said, “Leave me alone!” Hell is God finally saying, “As you wish.” God will leave you alone. All alone for eternity. But for the ones who said, “God, come closer!” Heaven will be God finally saying, “As you wish.” And we will abide with the Father and be in the Father’s love forever.

The more I write it out, the more I can’t believe that there are people out there that don’t believe! It takes more faith to not believe in God to me, than it does to actually believe. I hope the invitation lasts one day longer for those who disbelieve. I hope they realize their folly before it’s too late! Come now, while there is still room!

May God’s Love be with you

The Gospel in a Nutshell

1 Cor. 15:4
1 Cor. 15:4

If you had to sum up the Good News of the Gospel, how would you do it? What would you say?

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” I Cor. 15:4.

There you go, the Gospel in a nutshell.

May God’s Love be with you

Jethro’s Council

Exodus 18
Exodus 18

Ever feel burned out? Ever feel like you are trying to do everything and it’s finally catching up to you? Imagine being Moses!

In Exodus 18, Moses went to visit with his wife’s father, Jethro. Moses told Jethro all about what God was doing for the Israelites. They both glorified God. They visited and they enjoyed each other’s company. The next day, Moses sat to judge the people. As was his custom, he sat from morning to evening.

All day long.

Jethro said, “Whoa, wait a minute! Why are you doing it like this? You are going to go NUTS!” That is paraphrasing of course. What he actually said was, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” (17-18)

Jethro then gave Moses some advice. He recommended that Moses delegate his authority instead of taking it all on himself.

This chapter has lots of lessons to teach.

For one, it is good for the spiritual leaders of the church to have someone they can go to and just be friends. Pastors need friendship that is void of judgement just like anyone else. Leaders need that kind of camaraderie.

Second, listen to your elders. They have experience. They may have a different prospective. Two heads are always better than one!

Also, it is good to get along with the in-laws. I have been blessed with Godly in-laws who I respect and love very much. I realize this is not the case for many people. However, even if there is friction, there should always be mutual respect.

Another lesson here is the difficult one on how to take criticism. Some leaders get all in a bunch if anyone mentions ways to improve their ministry. Hey, maybe they are right! If you get defensive (or worse, angry!) anytime anyone offers a criticism on your ministry, it may mean you need to search your heart. When pride shows up, the whole church suffers.

Lastly, don’t try to do it all yourself. Even Moses would’ve burned out if he had to sit there day in and day out for years and years! Let others help you! Delegate your authority. It will bless everyone involved! It helps you, the helpers, and the helped.

Isn’t it awesome when you can learn new things! Who would have thought you would learn something today about how to manage your time and resources from Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro? Just imagine what you will learn tomorrow!

May God’s Love be with you

Heart of Stone, Heart of Flesh

Ezek. 36:26
Ezek. 36:26

What was it about David? Why was he so “highly favored?” How did he become “a man after My own Heart?” (Acts 13:22)

It was not because David was the perfect servant. Actually, David was far from perfect. David committed two crimes against the Old Covenant that warranted the death penalty: adultery & murder. So, by the Mosaic Law, David was guilty.

“Howbeit the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father HE LIKED ME to make me king over all Israel.” – 1 Chron. 28:4 (KJV) [emph. added].

God loved David. God loves all his children! However, God not only loved David, He also liked David. Do you know what I mean? You may have many children. You love them all! But there is going to be one that you get along with more. There is going to be one that you gravitate to more. There is going to be one that you like more.


Could it be because He knew David’s heart? Read Psalms 51. When David sinned, he repented. No, he pleaded with tears for mercy! “Wash me, cleanse me – blot out my transgressions”, David lamented. The opposite reaction would be that of King Saul. When approached about his sins, Saul hardened his heart. God places a NEW fleshly heart inside man to replace his OLD stony heart (Ezek 36:26) [emph. added].

This is the heart God desires. He desires a heart that repents. He desires one that is malleable, pliable, and workable! A stony heart is a death sentence. It sinks. It drowns. If you have sinned, repent. If someone comes to you with a grievance, answer with a contrite heart. If you feel your heart hardening, know this: that is the heart of man. A stony heart is of the world. God alone can set us free from our cold hearts and give us one that is truly alive!

May God’s Love be with you

Ref: Joseph Prince, The Secret of David

Faith that Jesus Commended

Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 11:1

Jesus personally commended two people for their great faith. During his whole ministry, only two people showed faith worthy of commending. Who were they?

Well, one was the Roman centurian (Matthew 8:10). The other was the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:28).

What is significant about this? To appease my wife I will speak in Math-ese: What is the common denominator?

Could it be just a coincidence? Doubtful. Nothing in the Scripture is coincidence. Amen?

Could it be… that they were both Gentiles?

If they were both Gentiles, then they were never under the Law. If they were never under the Law, then they were free to accept Christ for all his Love, Mercy, and Grace. They were not encumbered by trying so desperately to keep every line of the Law. They were not relying on their own efforts to secure a covenant with The Lord. They were falling before Christ and asking for Mercy… quite loudly in the case of the Canaanite woman.

Did Jesus say any of the religious figures of the time had great faith? Did Jesus say any of his followers had great faith? On the contrary, it was the opposite. They too, were all still in the shadow of the Law. But these two foreigners He said had great faith.

What can we glean from this? If we want great faith, we need to be hidden in the precious blood of Christ, not weighed down by trying so hard to make it on our own. Newsflash: you’re not going to make it that way. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). These two took Jesus at face value. They surrendered to Him. They were empty vessels looking to be filled.

Great faith is something I believe we are all striving for. Learn from the soldier and the mother. Jesus thought they were on to something.

May God’s Love be with you

Our High Priest

Hebrews 4:15
Hebrews 4:15

Who was the first priest?

Moses, right?

Nope. It was Moses’s brother, Aaron. Why wasn’t Moses the first priest? It would make sense for him to be, wouldn’t it? He lead the people out of bondage from Egypt. He lead the people through the wilderness. He gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. He should be the ideal candidate for priest. But He wasn’t. Aaron was. And here’s why.

Aaron was there when the people went through the captivity by the Egyptians. Where was Moses? Well, first he was all comfy cozy in the palace. Later he was hiding out in another land altogether. Aaron could relate to the people in a way Moses never could. Aaron could empathize with the people in a way Moses never could. That’s who you want as your priest: someone who can relate to you, someone that’s been there too.

That’s why Jesus is the ideal candidate to be our high priest.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

All of Hebrews is why Jesus is worthy of worship. It speaks about why Jesus is higher than the angels. It also teaches us that Jesus is the best high priest we could ever hope for.

He has all the prerequisites. He’s can sympathize. He can relate. He’s an authority because He’s been there… and conquered! He is our Aaron to the Israelites. The Israelites could turn to Aaron because he knew what they had gone through. Get your guidance and advice from one who knows what He’s talking about!

“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

We can do so with confidence! Draw near to Jesus Christ and He’ll give you mercy and grace when you need it. Seems like a no-brainer!

May God’s Love be with you

Ref: Joseph Prince

Jesus Deserves Better

Romans 3:10
Romans 3:10

Andy Stanley made an interesting point on his podcast* this morning. He said, “If you are NOT a religious person, in fact, you might even be anti-Christian and you feel anything but accepted and loved by us, then that is OUR fault. That is not our Savior’s fault.”

Believers and unbelievers alike love the famous quote from Ghandi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Why is that? Is it because they so fully agree with Ghandi? Well, that’s no shocker. We do too! No one is denying that we as Christians are “works in progress.”

You’ve probably heard the joke “Churches are not full of hypocrites! There is always room for one more.” You see, the church is made of people and people are flawed. However, we don’t put our faith in people. We put our faith in Jesus. Jesus is at the center… not the fellow sinner sitting to your left and right.

I understand the logic.

If Italy’s ambassador came to the White House and acted like a fool. We would say, “Man, I guess everyone in Italy acts like a fool. Italy itself, must be a big fool.” Right? Of course not, we would say, “Well, it’s unfortunate that Italy’s ambassador embarrassed himself. The people of Italy are probably not all like that. Italy deserves better.”

To deny Christ because of His followers is absurd. Jesus deserves better than us. That much is certain! We study and pray and we still fail. We get it wrong more than we get it right. We embarrass ourselves with our own hypocrisy time and time again. That’s because it is only through Jesus that we can ever succeed. When we rely on ourselves we are doomed to fail. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psa. 73:26). Jesus is our power source, not man!

Like Mr. Stanley said, if we do not show you love and compassion – that is our fault, not God’s! Please do not risk your soul on the poor behavior of Christians! Do not look at the follower, look to the One we are following. We will let you down. Jesus will never let you down.

May God’s Love be with you.

*Your Move with Andy Stanley, “Follow, Part One – Jesus Says”


Deut. 31:6
Deut. 31:6

It only took God 7 days to create this world. It’s taken Him 38 years to mold my heart into something He can use… and it’s still not finished. It must be awfully hard for God to get any work done with me always getting in His way. Good thing God is patient.

Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit. It never ends. It is constant. There is never a sense of “arriving” as a Christian. I’ve heard it said that you are either just getting out of a valley, in a valley, or heading for a valley. Mountaintops and plains are temporary reprieves for the inevitable challenge to come. And that’s a good thing! It means you are alive. It means God wants you to grow. Many look at the mountain and never climb it at all.

Becoming Christlike is a lifetime quest. We run the race and sometimes we stumble. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) Sometimes it feels like we aren’t even running anymore. Are you walking or running? Are you standing still? Sometimes we lose our bearings and leave the course altogether. We look at the guy behind us and say, “Well, look how much better I’m doing than that guy! I’m way ahead of him!” When the race isn’t against the other runners. If we are to compare ourselves with anyone, it should be with our goal: Jesus. Compare yourself with Him, then see how you measure up.

Becoming Christlike is a lifetime battle. The world would say Christians are self-righteous know-it-alls who think they are perfect. Let me make this plain. Christians are not self-righteous, we are righteous in Christ alone (Romans 3:24). We don’t know it all. There are many things that we do not understand, but we have faith! (John 20:29) We do not think we are perfect. In fact, the closer we get to Jesus, the more apparent it is how completely imperfect we are (Romans 3:10).

Becoming Christlike is a lifetime journey. It is not easy! However, it’s worth all the hardship, sacrifice, and suffering. It’s far exceeds the ridicule, smirks, and jokes. You will still get flat tires. You will still get sick. But you will never be alone. Jesus will never let you go through the hardship, sacrifice, suffering, ridicule, smirks, jokes… or flat tires alone (Deut. 31:6). That’s a promise from God (Isa. 55:11). HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!

It only took God 7 days to create the universe, but He never stops working in you. It may take a lifetime, but it will be the time of your life.

May God’s Love be with you

Pray Like Jesus

John 17
John 17

There have been many great prayers prayed by many great men. Notable supplications have been made by Solomon (1 King 8), Abraham (Gen. 18), and Moses (Exodus 32).

Naturally, the all-time greatest prayer was made by Jesus Christ, Himself.

You might be thinking of the prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4. You know, the one that starts out with: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name…” That’s the one commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, a more accurate title might be “The Apostle’s Prayer” seeing as it was the prayer Jesus gave the apostles when they asked how they should pray.

I am talking about Jesus’ prayer in John 17. This one is sometimes called, “The High Priestly Prayer.” Take a second to look it up and read it today. I’m not going to quote the whole prayer here, but I will give you a quick outline.

Jesus “lifted up His eyes.” We tend to bow our heads and close our eyes, don’t we? Whether we lift or bow our head doesn’t matter as long as we are praying with humility, praise, and love. Customs are not essential. A right heart is.

First, Jesus prays for Himself. Do you pray for yourself? I know, it may seem selfish. But it’s OK to pray for yourself. Jesus did. But notice that He prayed for Himself so that the Father would be glorified. If we are petitioning God for ourselves with the end result being the glorification of God, then by all means, pray for yourself!

Second, Jesus prays for His disciples. He taught them all that He could and now He commits them to His Father. Often we are hard on the Apostles, but here Jesus gives His assessment. “They have kept Your word, they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You and they believed that You sent Me. I have been glorified in them.” Not too bad. I hope Jesus can say the same about me!

Third, Jesus prays for YOU. Say what now?! Me? How is that? He extends that scope of His prayer to all who would come to faith by the testimony of these disciples. That would include you and me! It’s pretty cool to think that Jesus prayed for us specifically.

There is a common thread throughout this prayer. Did you notice it? Oneness. “That they all me be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Jesus prays that every race of every social class of every language would be united. We are to be equally unified just as the Trinity is equally unified. We do this not just for our benefit, but also so the world may believe in Jesus. If we are always fighting among ourselves, how can we be one? The world is watching.

Finally, Jesus ends His prayer in triumphant love. “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Jesus and His Love lives in every believer. We serve a living God. We serve a loving God.

Simple. Beautiful. Perfect.

May God’s Love be with you


I John 2:2
I John 2:2

Stick with me on this one.

Got a church word for you today: propitiation. From the Greek hilasterion “to appease/that which expiates/the gift that procures divine favor.” It’s used only once in the New Testament:

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” I John 2:2 (KJV)

“Propitiation” is also alluded to with the Ark of the Covenant, particularly the mercyseat or atonement cover in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat was sprinkled with atoning blood on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:14). This all represented that the sentence of the Law had been carried out changing a judgment seat into… what? A mercy seat. Still with me?

Propitiation means that God is satisfied with the sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross. It is not a representation. It is literal. Jesus’s literal blood has been sprinkled for us to atone for the sentence of the Law. Changing what would be judgement into… what? That’s right: MERCY.

Isn’t that incredible?

Let me put it to you this way: Imagine a courtroom where the judge declares the defendant guilty and then has an innocent bystander pay for the crimes of the defendant. Outrageous, is it not? But that’s exactly how it works. “He is righteous, so much so that a sacrifice for sin had to be provided. He is loving, so much so that he provided that sacrifice Himself.” (Millard Erickson “Christian Doctrine”)

Like the song goes, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.”

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished” Romans 3:23-25 (NIV)

  • Jesus is our advocate. (1 John 2:1)
  • Jesus is our mediator. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:24)
  • Jesus is our interceder. (Romans 8:34)
  • Jesus turns our seat from one of judgement to one of mercy.

I heard it put like this: Jesus goes to bat for us.

Jesus is our propitiation. He is our atonement. Without Him advocating and mediating and interceding we could never pay the debt owed. We would be thrown into prison. Our sentence would be for life without parole.

Without the shedding of His precious blood, we would be doomed.

May God’s Love be with you