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In the wake of the horrendous and heartbreaking shooting in Orlando, Florida this past weekend i am compelled to simply say….THEY don’t speak for ME.

Who are “they” you are asking?

“THEY” are those who would consider themselves to be Christians, and even pastors, who say that God sent the shooter to that Orlando nightclub.

“THEY” are those who consider themselves Christians who have rejoiced over the death of 50 people, the injuries of more than another 50 and the death of the shooter.

“THEY” are those, who would call themselves Christians, and believe this was God’s judgment against the LGBT movement.  It wasn’t.

“THEY” are those from the ACLU who seem to think they can brand me as a hate-filled, venom spewing bigot simply because I believe in the traditional view of marriage and do believe homosexuality to be against God’s design.  You cannot put words in MY mouth because of the words of those would be Christians who do indeed hate and believe such nonsense as God did this.

No, God did not judge the sin of homosexuality by sending an evil shooter to a gay nightclub in Orlando.  How do I know this?   He already judged that sin, and mine, at Calvary when He did put someone to death to judge sin – His Son, Jesus.   For those who profess Christianity to suggest otherwise is to undermine the very judgement Jesus provided on Calvary’s cross.  It’s as if we are saying, “That judgement wasn’t good enough therefore God has to send an evil shooter to add to it.”  No, He didn’t do that.

No, I do not hate those of the LGBT community anymore than I hate the gossiper in the church.  I’ve not been called to hate people.  The life and death of Christ do not afford me that liberty.    And no, the ACLU, LGBT, or any other organization cannot speak for me either.  They cannot tell others that I hate them.  They cannot tell them that I wish for their demise.  They cannot blame me for what happened in Orlando.   They don’t speak for me.

But, there is One who has already spoken for God and His name is Jesus.   If you want to see and know what God thinks on such things there is no place better to go than the life of Jesus in the Gospels. The scandalous love of God was on display through the life of Jesus.  The scandalous love of God was on display at Calvary.  The wrath of God against sin was poured out on His son at Calvary.   He doesn’t need to use a mass shooting to add to it.

The Bible is clear that God’s judgement for sin was poured out on the cross.  It is also clear that there is a day coming when all men will be judged but it will be through the spectrum of the blood of Jesus and my acceptance of that sacrifice.

It is time, Christ Follower, to not allow them to speak for you.   Do not allow a hate filled wounded individual who calls themselves a Christian to speak for you.  Allow the love of God to speak for you.  Do not allow political parties to speak for you; allow the Kingdom of God within you to speak for you.  Do not allow those on the opposite side of the agenda to speak for and define you.  As a matter of fact, in those moments allow the scandalous love of Jesus to define you.  Returning love for hate is the method of Jesus.  Do not by your actions and words become the proof that supports their claims that we are their enemy and hate them.

When you, Christ Follower, stand before God at the judgment there will be One speaking for you because of what He did.  Now is the time you speak for Him as you model the very thing He modeled as He walked this earth.

If you think God did this and rejoiced at it, you don’t know God and you don’t speak for Him.  And…you don’t speak for me.


Where Are the Statesmen?

I will readily admit that I am not one who has a tremendous amount of interest in the political events of our country.  Heck, there are times when I have trouble remembering which party is the donkey and which is the elephant.  I simply do not profess to be a political expert by any measure.  That being said, I love watching and listening to the candidates from both parties.   Leadership has always intrigued me and the opportunity to watch those vying for the top leadership position in our country has been quite interesting.

As I have watched these past few weeks one question kept coming to my mind that I am now posing here:  “Where are the statesmen?”   

I see and hear politicians, but I am not sure I’ve heard many statesmen.  This is not an indictment or endorsement of any particular candidate. It seems to me that professional politicians are looking for votes to become elected.  They tailor their message to win the votes of a particular group of people.  Platforms are carefully and skillfully crafted to play upon the interests, ideals and fears of a group.   Politicians have talking points that become rehearsed and scripted monologues.

Statesmen, on the other hand, stand upon non-negotiable principles that are immovable regardless of the vote.  They don’t stick their finger in the wind to see which way the wind is blowing.  Statesmen don’t have talking points – they have life points they anchor their lives to. They cannot be bought, swayed, moved or manipulated while remaining dignified and humble in the process.

No doubt our country has had statesmen throughout history who have stood for principles but they seem to be far and few between as the political machine has produced professional politicians.

I see candidates engage in anything but dignified debating over issues they differ on.  They insult, mock, ridicule and and vilify any who oppose them.  Millions upon millions of dollars are spent to secure positions of power.   Lies are spread.   Inaccuracies are trumpeted over and over.  Fears of the people are played upon.  The process is ugly and it is venomous.

Where are the statesmen?

I was tempted to go to the dictionary to provide a definition of a statesman but I believe I  have a better definition to define what a statesman looks like – God’s Son, Jesus.  He was the statesman of Heaven upon earth from a kingdom not of this world.

As the Statesman of Heaven Jesus walked this earth with one agenda – His Father’s agenda.  It wasn’t a personal agenda, it was a heavenly agenda.  It wasn’t a selfish agenda, it was a selfless agenda.  The agenda of His life was to bring about God’s corporate agenda for the world.  “For God so loved the world He gave His Son”  Statesmen run with an agenda for the benefit of the whole not the part.

When running with the agenda of heaven Jesus readily sacrificed to see it become a reality.  Let me pose this question:  “If the candidates vying for office received no money, power, position, fame, or personal benefit how many would still be running for office?”    I would suggest the number of candidates would diminish greatly.  True statesmen are willing to sacrifice for their convictions, positions and principles.

Why did Jesus willing follow His father’s agenda, be willing to sacrifice and humble Himself to the point of death?  it’s simple.  Love.  He loved what His father loved – the world.  Again I point to – “For God so loved the world He gave…”  The son loved what the father loved therefore gave Himself for it.

Many say they love America.  But do they love America for it’s benefit or for the benefits that it brings to them?  What if there was nothing to gain?  No money.  No power.  No position.  No fame.   Would they love America enough to still seek this office to labor on its behalf?  Only they can answer.   The point is statesmen, true statesmen, love that which they stand for whether there is personal gain or not.

Where are the statesmen?

As Jesus walked this earth as God’s statesman He raised up 12 men who would become statesmen themselves.   Look at their lives and how they impacted their world.  They stood upon the principles of God’s kingdom to the point of giving their lives for it.  These men, as well as the men and women to follow them, impacted the known world and never won a political office.  They were never the most famous.  They weren’t governors, senators, mayors or kings.   As a matter of fact they were mostly opposed by them.  They were never the wealthiest people in the land.  The bible tells me they were unschooled, ordinary men.  They wouldn’t have won elections.  These statesmen died for a principles that were more than mere talking points.  They died for what was the platform of their lives – God’s kingdom.

This blog is for Christ followers.  It is not for those who do not profess to be followers of Christ for I do not expect those who do not know Him to act like Him.

Where are the statesmen?   If you are a follower of Christ – look in the mirror.  You are the statesmen of a kingdom not of this world and certainly higher than this world.   You are a citizen of heaven.  You have a King.   As a matter of fact, you are His ambassador in this world.   The apostle Paul pronounced..”we are ambassadors for Christ…”

Oh, Christ follower be His Statesman!   Now is not the time to forfeit the principles of His Kingdom for the sake of political supremacy.  Now is not the time to be more republican than Christlike.  Now is not the time to be more democratic than a diplomat of Heaven.   Now is not the time to allow the rhetoric of politics to contaminate your the spirit.  Now is not the time for His church, who has an eternal King on a throne, to be divided over temporary leaders of flesh and blood.  After all, when His church becomes divided by party lines or political personalities it is the mission of the church that suffers the most.  The true mission of His church has never been, and should never be political, for it is to be prophetic.   When His church embraces a political spirit it loses it’s ability to be the unfiltered and unbiased prophetic voice of God.

Where are the statesmen?  I don’t know where they are in regards to America’s leadership but I know where they are in light of God’s Kingdom. It’s you Christ follower, and the time is NOW.

Now is the time for His statesmen to stand upon the unwavering principles of the kingdom of Heaven of which we are citizens.  Now is the time to be more worried about revealing Christ than winning an election.  Now is the time to speak with the language of heaven even to those who differ with our political views.  Now is the time to embrace people with the love of heaven even if they oppose you.  Now is the time for His statesmen to walk in humility towards others rather than smug political arrogance. NOW is the time for the statesmen of heaven to reveal the culture of a kingdom not of this world.  NOW is the time for His kingdom to be revealed to a people who think our future rises and falls upon political parties or personalities.  Now is the time for His statesmen to reveal a kingdom that is separate and distinct from the kingdoms of the world.  Now is the time to love your neighbor as yourself.  Now is the time to love your enemies and pray for them even if they are on the opposite of the aisle.

I don’t know who will win the nominations and certainly do not know who will ultimately win the Presidential election but there is one thing I am certain about.  There is One who reigns over all and it is upon Him that we set our hope.

The question is:  Where are the statesmen?   The answer is:  You.   And, the time is NOW.

Fill the Void

The news article posted on Facebook caused a buzz.  In a span of 24 hours:



145 comments (not counting the replies to comments)

A mother had done the unthinkable – caused the death of her child through poor choices of her own.  She broke the sacred trust that all mothers have – protect your child at all costs.  Her own actions that breached of this sacred trust now puts her at the mercy of those who call for justice for the child.   The sadness of the moment gives way to anger and rage that is certainly characterizing this era of outrage we are living in.

The anger demands a sacrifice to be laid upon it’s altar.  What will that sacrifice be?  Who will satisfy this need for justice and quench the fiery rage?  The mother of course.  She’s at fault therefore she must be the sacrifice to appease our anger.  However, in order to sacrifice her on that altar we must begin with assigning a value to her because it’s much easier to destroy someone, or something, that is deemed to have no worth. For if she had any value then how could we destroy her?    From the sadness turned to anger that demands a sacrifice, the onslaught of devaluing the person begins.  In the eyes of those calling for blood her actions have made her  “a piece of trash, garbage, worthless piece of garbage (some garbage is better than others I guess) a scumbag” and a host of other equally worthless descriptions.

Once her worth is assigned as having no value we can move to finding a just punishment for this person of no worth.   Let’s see what would be just in the eyes of the mob?  How much blood will be enough satisfy our hearts?    The options are many from sticking her in a hole, locking her up and throwing away the key, sterilizing her, hang her, give her the death penalty or just simply letting her rot somewhere.  Would these really satisfy?  Some have suggest that no punishment would be enough.  If that’s the case then our sense of anger and rage will never be satisfied.  Even so, she must be destroyed.  After all, she has no worth.

Now let me be clear on something.   What the mother did was wrong.  It caused the death of a beautiful little child.  I do not defend her actions and I believe those actions warrant consequences to be imposed by legal authorities not an angry crowd crying for retribution.  However, the moment I would have the audacity to stand between this mother and the mob I am also branded by the crowd.  Yes, I now am what they would call a “white knighter, clown, bleeding heart and a host of other things.  Because I would defend her (not her actions) as a person, I will be vilified with her.  Due to the fact that I would have the nerve to care about this broken and hurting mother I will be branded as not caring about the life of that little child.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Let me pose a question:  “Do you really think that child would want it’s mother destroyed?”  If you do, you don’t know the heart of a child.   You want to do something for that child?  Help the mother and dare I say love her.

Our society seems to be developing a void.   Many don’t recognize it and some don’t even care but nonetheless it’s a void that is very dangerous to a society.    It’s the void of compassion or empathy.   In this age of rage compassion and empathy  seem to be declining.   Or, maybe it’s just that today’s social media platforms have given a stage and a podium to our anger to the point that these other virtues are just clouded.

The intent of this writing isn’t necessarily to change the thinking of those who would call for the demise of this mother. It is a cry for Christ-followers to reveal the true  nature of Christ in this age of rage.  Notice I didn’t use the term “Christian”.  Why?  Because many who would call themselves Christians seem to advocate for such a bloodthirsty demise for this “mother of no worth”. Somehow they attend a “christian” church and cry for blood.  Ironically they, who professed to be “redeemed” see no possible way this mother can be redeemed.   Some, who would label themselves as Christian would even go so far as suggesting that Jesus is anticipating the moment when He can banish this woman to hell for her actions.   The truth is He is looking for her NOW.  And, it’s to offer her love, compassion, forgiveness and healing for her.  I wonder if He can be found through us?

I choose to use Christ-follower for that demands we follow a person not a tenant of faith.  What would the person we follow do?    Christ – followers will mourn the loss of a child.  They will mourn the state of the mother that caused such a horrendous thing.   Christ-followers will know that consequences for poor choices are a necessity, but will offer love and compassion in the midst of it.   True Christ-followers will defend the worth of a person while not defending the actions of the person.   Christ followers will have the audacity to stand between the crowd and her while even taking a few stones that were aimed at her.

Many would determine the worthlessness of this woman because of the actions that took this little life.   They view her worth as a person through the lens of this tragedy and her actions.  I cannot do that.  Scripture doesn’t afford that to me.  For you see, her worth as well as mine was predetermined before she was even born.  It was determined on a hill called Calvary where Jesus gave His life for her, and for me.   His life for mine.  His life for hers.  When Jesus, the innocent, paid the price for the guilty the worth of the guilty was forever sealed.   He did not die more for me than he did her.  My worth to Him is not greater because I am a pastor.   My worth is not determined by my actions it was determined by His action.

I don’t even know this mother.  Of course neither do many of those calling for her demise.    Some will cry:  “how can you defend her? (not her actions) It’s simple.  Jesus died for her, He loves her and His heart breaks for Her.  As a Christ follower I must do what He does.  I must be like Him and fill the void of compassion that is creeping into this world.  Will you fill the void?

The Shadow of the Mountain

I woke up this morning with an urge to do something that I have never done before – ascend a local mountain by walking a path along the power line.   Why?  Two reasons. First, it is part of a renewed intention to become healthier through eating better and exercising more. Secondly, it’s there.  The mountain exists and I wanted to know what was up there.  The parallels for us meeting with God sprang to life.

My trek up the mountain began with a spirit of intentionality. I was driven by the purpose to ascend the mountain. No waffling.  No excuses.  One purpose – get to the top.  Shouldn’t our walk with God be one of intentionally planning to ascend to His presence?  After all, this IS what He desires.  Chance meetings with those we are familiar with  are fun, but relationships that have the richest relationships are those that have intentional moments of interaction.   Intentionally meeting God never disappoints.

As I began up the mountain I walked in the darkness of the shadow of the mountain. No sun – just a shadow. It reminded me of those times in life when it seems as if we are walking in the shifting shadows of uncertainty.  We can see, but our sight is blurred by a veil of the shadows. You know what dawned on me though? Shadows are caused by the presence of light.  As a matter of fact, shadows actually prove there is light present.   The radiant beams of the sun were cascading upon the mountain causing it to cast it’s shadow long and dark.  I might have been walking in the shadow but the passion of my pursuit now became light on top of the mountain.  I wasn’t waiting for it to come to me.  I was going to it.  And, it would be found at the top.

For the first 3/4 of my journey I felt very little breeze and had began to work myself into a nice healthy sweat. Then, out of nowhere, I felt it. A small breeze that brought refreshing to my body. It gave me a small preview of a pleasant wind of renewal that awaited me at the summit. At the top I would bask in the rays of the sun, while enjoying the rejuvenating freshness of the wind.  Tired? Weary? There’s a wind of refreshing on top of the mountain.  Keep going.

At last I found my goal – the pinnacle. I was on top.  On one side the shadows still lurked and the fog enveloped the valley. The sun on the other side had chased the fog and shadows into a surrendering retreat.  It wouldn’t be long till they were chased from the other side of the mountain as well. From my vantage point on the mountain I could see both sides.   In our lives there are seasons when we feel as if the darkness will not end, and the shadows are overcoming us.  On the mountain with God we find a  renewed faith reminding us the shadows are only for a moment and they are proof of the sun on the other side.

I spent an hour on the mountain looking at scripture and listening to some songs. Just prior to descending back to the valley below I said this to God: “just speak to me.” God has spoken to my spirit in the past and He always speaks to me through His word, but this day I wanted something different. All of us have heard of those who give testimony to visions from God, the audible voice of God or some other supernatural phenomenon.  And, to be honest I was in some ways looking for one of those moments.  Did I get it?  No.   The earth didn’t shake, lightning didn’t flash, thunder didn’t roar, and the heaven’s didn’t open up. There wasn’t a burning bush, a ram stuck in a bush, and nobody appeared in a transfigured form.  There was simply, nothing.  Or, so I thought.

As I turned to begin my descent back down the mountain I saw it.  I didn’t see it there 2 minutes prior when I walked past it.   Before my eyes was the shape of a heart made from a number of stones.  Then I saw something else above the heart.  I saw the letter “I” formed by yet another set of rocks.  I knew what I would find below the heart.  I looked and sure enough another series of rocks formed the word “you”.  Prior to my asking God to speak to me I had not seen it and it was right where I walked.  Now, I saw it.  There it was in letters of stone – I love you.  In the words of my little granddaughter, Carsyn:  “Whoa, Baby!”

I realize that someone probably formed that message of love for a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. I am not suggesting God had unseen angels behind me forming a rock based message for me. (although He could if He wanted) I am suggesting however that He, at the very least, opened my eyes to see what I had missed in order to speak to me as I had asked Him to do.  And, the message was simple and clear – I love you. You know what?  I will take that!   Everything else is secondary to that one powerful message.  After all, everything God does is from the basis of love so why wouldn’t the message on the mountain be:  “I love you.”

In our lives there are moments when the shadows creep in.  It’s okay.  Scale the mountain and you will see the light that shines upon it.   Scale the mountain and you will see the very source that causes darkness to flee.  In that atmosphere your faith will be restored and the winds of refreshing will renew your strength.  And, I am fairly certain you will walk away knowing that He indeed loves you.