April 24, 2008


We're getting close to finishing up our Wednesday night study on the book of Joshua. Joshua was commissioned to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, to conquer the land, and to inhabit the land. As long as they were obedient to God, things went well, and eventually we are told that they took control of the land.

However, a phrase that occurs more than once left me thinking. The phrase is this: "but they failed to completely drive out the Canaanite from the land." Apparently, small pockets of the enemy were allowed to remain untouched in the land. The Israelite armies destroyed most of the enemy. They never got them all.

This would later come back to haunt them. They would later be influenced by the wickedness of their enemy - the very one they failed to purge from the land.

Our personal spiritual lives are similar. When we have a sin in our life that we mostly deal with, but fail to deal with completely, it will lay dormant in our heart or mind, but will eventually resurface and wreak havoc. Sin left unattended will eventually destroy us.

Have you dealt with the sin in your life? All of it? Don't make the same mistake that the Israelites made. Don't make the same mistake most of us make. Don't leave small pockets of sin in your life. Purge it, deal with it. "And do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4:27)

April 22, 2008

ACS Training

I just spent the last two days with several of our staff learning how to use a new database system for our church. I'm really excited about some of the features that will make this tool very useful for us. One might look at the last two days, all the information that was presented, all the work that was produced, and wish we didn't have to deal with it all. It is a lot of work, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

Think about it this way. This new system (ACS) will enable us to capture information about individual people who matter to God. With the tools available to us in this system, we will be able to track individuals as they journey with us here at Southbrook. We will be able to stay on top of things, and help people progress through classes and small groups. If we use it correctly, we will keep from letting individuals who matter to God slip through the cracks, or out the back door.

People matter to us, and this new software system will help us keep up with all the people God has gifted us with at Southbrook Church.

April 16, 2008


We were discussing Luke 18 in our staff meeting earlier this week. The story of the rich young ruler who approaches Jesus with a very important question.
Luke 18:18-23 ¶ A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-- except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" 21 "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
I started counting the commandments that Jesus was quoting to the young man. Do not commit adultery...one...do not murder...two...do not steal...three...do not five false testimony...four...honor your father and mother...five. Then Jesus stops. What about the rest? There are ten commandments, yet Jesus only mentions 5 of them here. Are these the only important ones?

So I flipped back to Deuteronomy 5 to check out which ones had been left out: You shall have no other God before me, you shall not make idols, you shall not take the LORD's name in vain, observe the Sabbath. These are the first 4 commandments.

I thought about these for a minute - the first 4 commandments deal with our relationship to God. The next 6 deal with our relationship to others. So maybe Jesus only wanted to list the 6 that deal with the young man's relationship to others. There's just one problem. He left one out. In Luke 18, Jesus only listed 5, not 6 commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:21 says "You shall not covet..." Interesting. What did Jesus tell the young ruler was missing? He said
"You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
This young man seemed to have an attachment to stuff. He did know all the commandments. He had kept them all...except one - do not covet. To covet means to desire something or someone that is not your to have.

Jesus told the young man to sell all his stuff and give the money to the poor. Does that mean we all should sell all our stuff and give the money to the poor? Of course not...maybe.

Jesus wants all of you. He doesn't want you to just keep some commandments and do good. He wants your heart. He wants you sold out to Him. If stuff is keeping you from following Him, the you need to get rid of your stuff. If time is keeping you from following Him, then you need to free up your time. Clear out your busy schedule and make time. Unfortunately many of us are not willing to give up the things that are important to us. It's these things that keep us from completely following Jesus.

What do you need to get rid of? Stuff? Busyness? May you take the steps to do whatever it takes to separate yourself from whatever it is that is keeping you from God.

April 10, 2008


I am reading the book A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. It's the story of Saul, David and Absalom. The following quote about authority was interesting to me:

"As far as David's having authority: men who don't have it talk about it all the time. Submit, submit, that's all you hear. David had authority, but I don't think that fact ever occurred to him!"

Are you in leadership? Do you have to demand those under your care to respect your authority? A good leader has authority, but does not demand it. He doesn't need to. If you see a leader who has to demand authority, I would wonder what the real problem is. My guess is that the problem doesn't lie with the followers.

April 09, 2008

Word Play

We have a pond in our neighborhood. It's just a little pond, but there are two ducks who live there. One of Kelsey's highlights in life is to go feed the ducks. Last night she was getting a little cranky, so I took her to feed the ducks, which of course cheered her up immediately!

After we ran out of stale bread, we began walking around the edge of the pond. There was a bunch of green gooey stuff floating along the banks. Kelsey said "Look at all that poop!" I said, "That's not poop, that's algae."

Without even hesitating, she looked at me and said (remember, she's 3) "I have allergies too, and my medicine is at home."


I went to visit my son Garren at school for lunch today. He's in the 5th grade. I thought it might be fun to drop in and hang out for a few minutes. While I was there he decided to tell me a story. He said "Do you see that lady over there?" "Yes." "The other day we were sitting at the table next to the microwave for lunch. That lady came over and put her lunch in the microwave to warm up her lunch. The kids at my table dared me to stop the microwave. So I turned around and stopped it right after she walked away. When she came back everyone at the table started laughing. So she said 'What's everyone laughing about?' She checked her food, it wasn't warm enough, so she started the microwave again."

Garren was having so much fun with this, he actually stopped it again! The poor lady came back and found that her food once again was not warm!

Very funny stuff. After being pressed, Garren confessed to stopping the microwave, and was sentenced to 'silent lunch' the following day. His teacher even told him later that it was pretty funny.

What makes this even more hilarious to me is that it sounds exactly like the kind of things I did when I was his age. Maybe I'll share some of those soon...or maybe not!

April 04, 2008

If I Were A Dog...

If I were a dog, I would be a Bulldog. At least that is what the quiz at dogster.com revealed. What kind of dog are you? Take the quiz and let me know!

What dog breed are you? I'm a Bulldog! Find out at Dogster.com

It's Just a Test

In my Bible reading today I was struck by a comment inserted in the story of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6). It says:

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

Then Philip went on to try and solve the puzzle. What I find interesting is that Jesus already knew the answer. He knew exactly what his plan was. He knew exactly how he was going to feed the large crowd. But he threw the problem at Philip, just to see what he would say. And after Philip gives his attempt at a solution, Jesus goes ahead with his plan and feeds over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.

God continues to work in this same way in our lives today. He already knows what He is going to do. But He wants to involve us in the process. He wants us to build our faith, and trust Him for what seems impossible to us. Of course, nothing is impossible with God. But we tend to forget this. When faced with a problem, do you try to figure it out on your own? Or do you turn to the one who already has the answer, trusting Him for the solution?

I pray that we can remember this simple fact as we face circumstances in our lives. Jesus is testing us, for He already knows what He would do.

April 01, 2008

Mid-Life, One Month to Live, or High Gas Prices?

Why is it that we always feel like we need to justify everything we do? Do you know what I mean? Why can't we ever just do something, just because?

I have been wanting to buy a motorcycle for about 10 years. It looks like fun, they sound cool, I just thought it would be fun to drive. So for about 6 or 7 years I worked on convincing Nancy that I should have one. And it took that long.

Then about a month ago, after taking out a second mortgage to fill up the gas tank in my pick-up truck, I did some simple math. If I had a motorcycle that got 50 mpg, and drove the truck 80% less, I would save over $150 a month! Within a year the motorcycle would pay for itself! So I 'justified' my decision by saying that I was going to save money on gas.

We just started a brand new series at church (www.southbrookchurch.com) called "One Month to Live." What would you do if you knew you only had one month to live? Would you change anything? Would you go out and do something you've always wanted to, but never did? Maybe having a motorcycle is partly that for me. What if I decided to just play it safe, and never try the motorcycle thing?

So I did it! I found a great deal on a used bike on Craigslist. I bought it, I got my permit, and now I can cruise the streets on my new wheels. It's great - I love it!

Just don't ask me why. I'm not sure if it's my age, or if it's part of the answer to One Month to Live, or if it's really just as simple and practical as saving money on gas. I just did it because I wanted to!