Entering the New Year – Jericho Looms?

I’ve been studying Joshua the last few weeks as a model for setting Objectives in the church (a component in the book sequel to Seeing from the Summit). He was a man in the difficult position of following Moses as the leader of the Israelites. But instead of hiding, he boldly accepted the mantle of leadership put before him.

The words “be strong and courageous” appear many times. As I looked at the Hebrew, I found the word “strong” to have some interesting connotations. Rather than alluding to a physical strength, it has the sense of “being fastened.”

Why would this be important to Joshua?

  • The first step in Joshua’s journey was to cross the Jordan River at flood stage. They boldly did that in faith and crossed on dry ground.
  • The next step was to have the men circumcised as a sign of the covenant with God. They boldly did that in faith. [An aside: From a military perspective, why was this especially strange? From a strategic point of view, they should have done this before they crossed the River. Why? Because all the men were then recovering from the process. (See Genesis 34 – esp. v 25-29) They were incredibly vulnerable to attack.]

Joshua and the Israelites were now acting in faith and trust rather than fear. Joshua and the Israelites were “fastened” to God. It wasn’t that they now had some incredible physical strength. It was that they were now going forward in God’s strength. Their courage was in what God was going to do through them. This is quite a shift from the way the Israelites acted in Numbers 13 and 14!

Whether you are looking at the New Year and some resolution or simply starting a new day, consider where you are connected. Is your strength found in being fastened to God or in what you can do?

The walls of Jericho were great – but our God is greater. Go forward in Him and rejoice in what He does through you!

Yours in Christ,


My daughter texted me to come home…

It’s snowing outside as I sit in my cave (aka “LRM office”). I’m working on some writing projects and it’s probably good that I don’t have a window. There are those times when sitting and watching the snow fall is so peaceful and relaxing that…

Sorry – I drifted off…

It is Christmas Eve. I’m hoping the snow doesn’t get too deep so we can have worship tonight. There is something wonderful about a candlelight service. The quiet, peaceful time of joy and celebration as we await the morning is a blessing. It’s a great way (I think) to help each person think about the Gift we received rather than the gifts we are receiving.

So, back to my daughter…

She texted me to come home. She has her mom’s affinity for bad weather. I have my Finnish bloodline’s response. Snow isn’t trouble until it’s above the knees. (Of course, I also have my Midwestern brain. I know other people sometimes don’t know how to drive slow and pay attention…)

I will exit the cave in a bit and check snow levels. The last thing I want to do is be stuck rather than at home with my family! But for now –

To all my LRM friends and family, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and God’s blessings upon your New Year. May your life and heart be His more in 2011 than ever before.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! To Him be glory both now and forever! (2 Peter 3:18)

Yours in Christ,


The clock is ticking to the New Year…

I should not be surprised, but I still am. Christmas is Saturday!

I did finish shopping with the kiddos. Presents are basically wrapped and ready.

The dad in me is looking forward to seeing the kids reactions. The husband in me is looking forward to my bride’s. And of course, the kid in me is looking forward to seeing what’s under the tree for me. (Come on new frying pan!!!)

The pastor in me is looking forward to the Christmas Eve service. I love the quiet, beautiful moment when we light candles. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s service (and a special music treat too!).

The LRM Executive Director in me? Well, let’s be honest, I usually get nervous this time of year. As my non-profit friends know, we rely on end-of-the year gifts to help carry us through the year. With economy in turmoil, how will things turn out? (And, ironically, Sunday’s message is on “Peace.”)

 Note to self: God gives peace!

Let’s get excited about the New Year. We are looking forward to exciting things. Events are coming up on the calendar. Celebrations, leadership retreats, conferences, workshops. And…


No sneak peaks! You’ll have to wait patiently.

One note to supporters. This just came through courtesy of a friend. If you aren’t aware, check with your advisor for more info on the following press release:

Congress has extended legislation that allows donors ages 70½ and older to gift up to $100,000 from their IRAs to charity. It’s easy to make a gift by directing your custodian to transfer a portion of your required minimum distribution directly to charity. The gift is not counted as part of your taxable income, so it is tax-free!

The new law extends legislation for 2010 and 2011. Also, because of how late the bill was passed, IRA gifts made through Jan. 31, 2011 can be treated like they were made in 2010—applied to the 2010 required minimum distribution, the 2010 tax year, and the $100,000 limit for 2010.

Wanting the new web site…

I suppose it is a bit like waiting for Christmas.

  • You see the tree – decorated with ornaments and lights.
  • You see the presents wrapped and sitting underneath.
  • You have ideas of what might be in each box.
  • And yet…


I believe we used to call this “delayed gratification…”

Almost time to mark another day off on the calendar though!

Yours in Christ,


If you aren’t familiar with our designers, check out their work at www.kingdomprojectcreative.com!

Want to read the “updated” NIV text?

Will there be an Evangelical firestorm in 2011?

Will the world collapse prior to the Mayan prophecy of 2012?

Will Reformed believers brains explode in the coming months?

Good questions all!

If you are brave enough to tread the potentially life-threatening path AND you’d like a sneak preview of the updated NIV (New International Version) Bible text, now is the time to visit Biblica.com!  Follow the links to read about the Committee on Bible Translation, the new NIV text or Translator’s notes.

Just please, please, please don’t do it while drinking coffee or another caffeinated beverage. Your heart might not be able to take it! (Or you may spit some of it on your computer. Not pretty.)

Yours in Christ,


(I do hope you took the above with a grain of salt. Laugh a little!)

Can Tourette’s Syndrome make you murder?

To begin, this post would seem to be completely unnecessary. Nevertheless, thanks to Jennifer Mee (the “Hiccup Girl”), I’ll go ahead.  

First, the press release from the Tourette’s Association:

The Medical Advisory Board of the Tourette Syndrome Association is deeply concerned about media reports that attribute violent criminal behavior by individuals to the fact that they have Tourette Syndrome.

In truth, the diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome in a legal offender is no more the reason for, or an excuse for such offense than other medical diagnoses — such as asthma or rheumatism. Scientifically, there is no evidence of a causal relationship between having Tourette Syndrome and criminal behavior.

The Tourette Syndrome Association and its medical advisers oppose such misrepresentations which serve to stigmatize hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and adults with this neurological condition.   

Are you ready for my non-professional response? Claiming TS made her do it is a bunch of hooey. It’s absurd. Jennifer, her parents, her attorney and/or anyone else should be ashamed. It’s bad enough to have TS thought of as the “cursing” syndrome (obscene language) when less than 15% struggle with coprolalia. Do you really want to add another stigma?

God grants us strength to walk through a myriad of difficulties in life. There are ramifications of sin that we all must deal with while living in a fallen world. But this added stigma should not be one of them…

Yours in Christ,


Assured of a Prize but not a Victory?

There is a very interesting twist in the career of Major League Baseball player, Bengie Molina. Earlier this season, he played 61 games for the San Francisco Giants. After a trade on July 1st, he went to the Texas Rangers and has played 57 games. Now, the Giants and Rangers are playing one another in the World Series. Because Molina has played enough games for both teams, Bengie gets a prized World Series Championship ring. regardless of which team wins. 

(Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve one. Bengie had a lot to do with both teams being where they are today. And, for those who follow MLB, the Molina brothers are well known.Yadier Molina plays for the St. Louis Cardinals and Jose Molina plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.   If I’m not mistaken, they all have World Series Championship rings. )

But, I have to toss out the question. Is the ring diminished slightly if you aren’t on the winning team? Lots of other trades happened this season. Players come and go – something I greatly dislike!

This isn’t a fair comparison, but, since it sparked a bit of my devotional contemplation this morning , let’s redirect here to spiritual issues…

If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and given your life over to His Lordship, then the battle is won. the victory is yours. BUT if you then you sit and don’t exercise your faith, what does your faith mean?

Is the hair standing up on the back of your next yet? Are you getting angry – perhaps theorizing I’m purporting some sort of “faith plus works?” Don’t worry – I’m not.

I can’t do anything to earn my salvation. Neither can you. It is through Christ alone.

I’m simply asking if you ponder James 2:20: “faith without works is dead.” I want to live out the faith to which I have been called. I want to know Christ more. I want to share Him with others more. I want to let others see Christ through me.

I am thrilled that the victory is already won and I am guaranteed the “prize.” I suppose what I am trying to say is that I want to fight the good fight throughout the entire race (see 2 Tim. 4). I want to go out swinging so those around me can enjoy it as well.

Ah – Monday morning contemplations… I hope this makes sense!

Yours in Christ,

What is the Exodus movement?

Let’s begin by going straight to the answer. Exodus, to paraphrase Mr. Webster, is a “going out.” The Israelites had an “exodus” out of Egypt. In many churches today, we see an exodus. I think they are two types – negative and positive.

The negative aspect has to do with leaving. People don’t like the music. Someone sits in “their” spot. The list could go on and on. The individual (or family) then conducts their own “exodus” from the church. It’s sad.

Growing up, I had never even heard of such a concept. You may not have liked something, but you still were a part of the church. While you may have worked for change, you still pressed on  because your church was your church.

Enough of that. Let’s change to the positive. The positive “exodus” I am seeing has to do with more churches getting back to the Word of God. There is a growing awareness that people are not just going to walk through our doors. We need to be a Christian part of the community in which we live.

Why did I emphasize Christian? It’s one thing to be engaged in the community. It’s another to be engaged as a Christian. What’s the difference?

Being engaged as a Christian means always being prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. If someone says, “Why are you…” then you answer giving testimony to God. Please understand, I’m NOT saying you have to “preach” to them. I’m simply saying you let them know this is part of your faith life.

Some churches are calling this being “missional” in focus. I like that. It’s based on the Great Commission. The concept is to be missionaries by stepping beyond the walls of the church. As Gary McIntosh said in his great book, Exodus Principle (1995 B&H), “All experience shows that a superbly organized and planned ministry will eventually fail without the active care, love and service of people toward others.”

Churches need to go beyond the walls of the building. In the simplest of terms – BE THE CHURCH. When’s the last time you stepped out to reflect Christ?

Yours in Christ,