Showing posts from April, 2011


When Jesus died on the cross late afternoon, Good Friday, he cried out one final phrase, three famous last words: It is finished. There were probably some within hearing distance who thought his words were a cry of despair, as if he were saying, "It's over. The dream has ended." The truth is, however, it was a cry of victory. "It is finished." This phrase can also be translated "Paid in full." So, when Jesus said, "It is finished," he was saying, "My work is complete...I have paid the price for the salvation of humankind." The writer of Hebrews said, "Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people." (Hebrews 9:28) Paul summed it up this way: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7) This is the message of the cross — "It is finished." There is nothing you can do to earn more of God's


“If you never ask, the answer is always no.” The person who made this statement recently was talking to marketers about closing the sale. It got my attention because it also applies to our prayer life. James said, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2) More and more I see asklessness as the root of our problems. James also said that we don’t receive sometimes because we ask with the wrong motives … but I’m convinced that the first part of the equation is a bigger problem for a good many of us. The best way to solve this problem is with a pen, a paper, and some time spent in solitude. Write down the things in your life that you have been dealing with on your own, that you have curiously neglected to pray about, and make a decision to bring these matters before the throne once a day until they’re resolved. You and I both know from history that it works. Why then we go through seasons of asklessness is a mystery for the ages.


During his first visit to the local prison a newly commissioned chaplain was, speaking to an inmate when another inmate interrupted him, asking: "Are you one of those religious types here to preach to us?" The chaplain explained that he was there to talk about spirituality, not religion. The inmate grumbled, "Religion, spirituality — what's the difference?" Before he could answer, the first inmate spoke up. "I'll tell you the difference," he said. "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those of us who've already been there." The inmate was right. It can be said that religion is for those primarily interested in self-preservation, those looking for fire insurance. For those who have already been through the fire, Jesus offers what religion cannot: restoration, peace, and fulfillment. Jesus calls us out of the religious life into the spiritual life... a life with him, not mere rules and regu


I loved going places with my grandfather. One place that was always an exciting time was the annual trip in early summer with some men from his company and my cousin James to fish the Red River. At the time James and I weren’t too much into fishing but we sure looked forward to getting stuck in the river’s quick sand to see how far we could sink. Grandad knew when the river trip was a few days away; he would begin talking with increased anticipation about the event. One year I remember him calling and saying, “I’ll be by to pick you up after lunch, be ready.” As soon as I finished lunch which I think was around 12:05 (after all it doesn’t take long to finish a PB&J), I was on the edge of the drive way sitting on the bumper of my mom’s car looking down the street both ways waiting for his lime green Chevy Corvair to appear. I waited, and I waited and waited some more. I was so hyped and all that anticipation he built up during the week only frustrated me. I wanted to go NOW! But he