True Love For God

“True love for God must be in the heart–or else there is no grace there whatever. If a man does not love God, then he is not a renewed man. Love for God is a mark which is always set upon Christ’s sheep, and never set upon any others.

I have no right, therefore, to believe that I am a regenerated person–unless my heart truly and sincerely loves God. If I have been regenerated, I will not be perfect, but this one thing I can say: “Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You!” When by believing we receive the privilege to become sons of God–we also receive the nature of sons, and with filial love we cry, “Abba, Father!”

There is no exception to this rule! If a man does not sincerely love God–then he is not born of God. As the sun must give forth its light–so must a soul that has been created anew by divine grace, display its nature by earnest affection toward God. You are not born again, unless you love God. Sincere love to God is indispensable!”

– Charles Spurgeon

“If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed!” – 1 Cor. 16:22

Secret Service Agents for Christ?

I believe faith is a private matter. We shouldn’t talk about it too much. Believe it or not, these are the exact words I heard from a believer.

Let’s apply that logic elsewhere: I am a doctor, but I don’t think I should diagnose patients or prescribe medicine. Who am I to tell a sick person that they are sick? I know the choices they are making are unhealthy and will ultimately kill them, but, you know, it might make them uncomfortable or something. Instead I’ll go to the doctor school where all the other doctors are and talk about doctoring. Maybe I can learn more about the history of medicine. Maybe I can talk about vaccines, but never actually use one.

Oy vey.

I could point you in many directions, least of which is the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20). Keeping with the doctor motif, how about Mark 2:17? How about lighting a candle and placing it under a basket (Matt. 5:15)? Can’t use the light & salt if you keep it in the pantry, can you? No, you gotta get it out!

If no one is asking you about your faith, ASK WHY NO ONE IS ASKING!

Have I become a Secret Service agent for Christ instead of an Ambassador? Am I so deep undercover that I have forgotten why I am there? This is not our home. We are just sojourning here. So for the breath of a time that we are here, let us spend that breath in a worthwhile fashion: proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ! Not keeping it private.

So, I am going to have to disagree with the first statement: faith should be anything but private. In fact, we should talk about it more. Is there anything else to talk about really?

Treadmill Christianity


Get on a treadmill. Push start. Now, I don’t care HOW FAST you run or for HOW LONG  – once you step off that treadmill, you haven’t actually traveled anywhere. Not one inch.

This is what it’s like to TRY and earn your own salvation. It’s Treadmill Christianity.

Here’s why I’m saved. Here’s what makes me right with God. Here’s why I can enter Heaven:

“I’m a good person. I go to church. I was baptized. I read my Bible. I pray, fast, & tithe. I haven’t murdered anyone. I haven’t stolen anything. I try to make the world a better place. I pay my taxes. I follow the traffic laws. I help my elderly neighbor. I don’t smoke, drink, curse, rub, or chew. I give a hoot – I don’t pollute. I always return my shopping cart. I don’t gossip… much. I don’t laugh when someone falls… much. I volunteer at the Misison. I sponsor a child with World Vision. Come to think of it; I’m a very good person.”

I, I, I.

Even a lifetime of practicing these good moral behaviors haven’t gotten you one inch closer to Heaven (Isa. 64:6). Just a gerbil on a wheel; panting & tired. None of those things (in and of themselves) redeem you; only Jesus can do that (Acts 16:31).

If you could get to Heaven because of any deed or religious ritual, then there was NO POINT in having Jesus die on the Cross (Gal. 2:21). If you could get to Heaven because of YOU, then you would be able to boast about it (Eph. 2:9). Seriously, imagine that: Boasting before Yahweh?! “Hey Adonai, look at how good I was! Let me in! I deserve it! I earned my place at the table!”

That feeling rising up in you right now and making you feel defensive? Its called pride and God hates it (Prov. 8:13).

Instead, Jesus says “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matt. 11:28.

Are you wearing yourself out on a spiritual treadmill or resting in Jesus?

Righteousness & Peace Have Kissed


“Mercy (hesed) & truth have met together; Righteousness & peace have kissed.” – Psa. 85:10

Where did they meet? In Christ Jesus.

These four virtues, once lost with Adam, are now found in Jesus. All the attributes of God rest perfectly in Him. They lovingly kiss.

When did they kiss? When He poured out His life on Calvary.

We are all guilty. The Law requires justice (TRUTH/RIGHTEOUSNESS). But the Judge wants us to be free (MERCY/PEACE). So He punishes sin (in the person of His Son) and releases the sinner. It is the only way God can judge us and save us at the same time. It is the only way God can be both Just & the Justifier (Rom. 3:26).

Why? Because He loves you so.

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us & sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

Sound too good to be true, but it gets even better: it’s a free gift. All you have to do is accept it in FAITH Rom. 10:9). You can’t earn it. If you could, it would become “payment for services rendered” (Rom. 4:4).  It is HILARIOUSLY WRONG to think we have anything to do with our own salvation. God could never, ever (ever ever ever) be “in debted” to Man (Rom. 11:35).

Its called Good News for a reason!

Rehearse Your Faith and Reverse Your Fear

Rehearse your fear and reverse your faith.

Rehearse your faith and reverse your fear.


Psa. 34

Romans 3:21-26

Martin Luther called it the heart of the Bible. Spurgeon called it the soul, head, foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. To miss it is to miss the central idea of God’s Word.

Romans 3:21-26

Up to now (Romans 1-3:20), Paul has shown the overwhelming evidence in God’s court that Man is hopelessly guilty.

This is the verdict of Man.

“Is the wound forever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is way laid open for us!” – Matthew Henry


This is the scene in the movie; the sudden turn/twist: the last minute intervention; riding into the wedding or execution.

Something unexpected happens that changes everything.

The Righteousness of God comes…

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His G.R.A.C.E. through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Verdict is overruled = NOT GUILTY

1. Apart from the Law = you can’t be good enough/keep laws/rituals (emphatic position)

2. Justified by His Grace = “made right/innocent” before God by His grace. Scandalous!

3. Through faith in Jesus for all who believe = Too good to be true? Trust in Jesus. It really happened, he died for me! It is finished/done!

This is the BOMB dropped; the ripple effect – the event that changed everything

This is where “Mercy & truth have met together; Righteousness & peace have kissed.” (Psa. 85:10) It’s all because of Jesus on the Cross!

This is our God!



Are we becoming Gollum? But instead of a Ring, we are obsessed over a Phone? People everywhere are forever hunched over their phones. Caressing it. I can almost here them, “My precious…”

The average American spends 4 hours a day on the phone. We touch our phone 80+ times a day. Let’s call it what it is: ADDICTION. We are device junkies. I say, we, because I put myself squarely in the middle of this mess. I am equally enslaved. A modern take on Luke 16:13 might be: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve God and your iPhone.”

I am not a luddite. I’m not saying we throw our devices into the fires of Mordor. I’m just asking you to ask yourself: Does my device control me or do I control my device?

Quick test: put your phone in a drawer and leave it there for one day. Try to leave your house without it! Can you do it? I know exactly what you’re thinking: “What if there’s an accident or emergency?” You’ll be ok. If there’s an accident, someone will have a phone. It may even be the reason there was an accident in the first place.

It’s not the device. The device is neutral. “For the love of devices is the root of all evil” (sorta 1 Tim. 6:10). Its what we do with our gadgets that matters. I am using mine right now and hopefully for good. However, if its taking the place of God in our lives, then we need to step back and reframe. Do we use it or love it? Are we using it to be a positive force or a negative one? “Let your texts be always full of grace” (quasi-Col. 4:6) or “Let no unwholesome tweet come out of your devices, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who follow you.” (Eph. 4:29-ish)

The devil is tickled pink about all this. Every second we spend on the phone is less time engaging others with the Gospel. He loves to distract us with shiny things. We are such easy targets. Its hard to be agents of reconciliation with our heads buried deep in self-made comfort bubbles. Its impossible to be effective Ambassadors if we can’t look up from our gadgets!

Gut check: place a pad of paper next to your phone. Every time you touch it, make a checkmark. Note the times you are on it. Then make a column and do the same thing with your Bible or prayer. Don’t get all legalistic about this and try to earn God’s love. We are motivated by Grace not guilt.

The first step is admitting there is a problem. We got a BIG problem here. And worse: What kind of future are we creating?

We’re not full-on Gollum yet. But its coming. There’s still some Sméagol in all of us. I hope.


I can’t believe in a God that would condone genocide


I can’t believe in a God that would allow all the atrocities going on in the world! This is a common objection to the faith that I hear a lot. Ironically this objection goes hand in hand with another common objection: I can’t believe in a God that would condone genocide by wiping out entire civilizations in the Old Testament!

This is having their cake and eating it too.

On that second one: I wonder if modern objectors know WHO it is they are defending? They are pleading the case of the Canaanites; murderous savages who sacrificed their own children to the brass god Moloch (Jer. 32:35, Deut. 12:31). Ancient historian Plutarch (and Rashi also) gives us the horrific detail that the high priest had a drum he would play during sacrifices so parents wouldn’t have to hear the screams of their own children being melted. Make no mistake: these were vile, evil people.

The genocide condoned in the Old Testament was not God being a hot-tempered capricious maniac. It wasn’t like on one random Tuesday God picked out a calm innocent farming village and slaughtered them for no reason whatsoever. It was His judgment for their wickedness.

So, here we have God stepping in and stopping an atrocity in the world – which satisfies objector #1, but triggers objector #2. However, if God doesn’t step in to stop a wicked civilization and thereby allows it to continue – appeases objector #2, but triggers objector #1.

This circular puzzle is really not the problem.

These objectors are basically saying that THEY are more just & compassionate than God. If they had the reigns, things would be so much better. That’s quite a bit of confidence. Also, it places them above God. I seem to remember an angel that wanted to do the same thing.

God is God and we are not. Whatever God does or doesn’t do is perfectly and absolutely just. We put our complete trust in Him. The closer one gets to Him, the smaller these objections become.

One Cold Snack a Week


“Some people wonder why they can’t have faith for healing. They feed their body three hot meals a day, and their spirit one cold snack a week.” – F. F. Bosworth

Feed your spiritual man/woman EVEN MORE than your physical man/woman… What?! Well, if you want spiritual growth, you gotta eat spiritual food!


“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.” – Jer. 15:16


“I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” – Job 23:12


“But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” – John 4:32

Hmmm, I’m noting a pattern…

Michael Todd’s Promise To His Daughter

michael todd

Michael Todd, “I made a promise to my daughter.”

Ref: Full Sermon