4.1.15–>”Small Wins”


small wins

Luke 10:41

You are worried, fretting, and fussing about so many things. (NRV)*

More and more lately I am seeing that the great enemy we are facing is being overwhelmed.

We try to keep up with and focus on so many things.

But usually there’s just one thing we need to institute–a “keystone habit.” Sometimes these are referred to as “small wins.”

Small wins are those little things we can definitely do, everyday, that will facilitate more small wins and give us an advantage that is disproportionate to the seemingly tiny keystone habit.

When I was a personal trainer, I encountered a lot of people who did not eat breakfast. So I would explain to them the vital importance it is on their metabolism to eat within an hour of waking. And as far as nutrition went, I would only have them focus on forming that habit of eating breakfast. “I don’t care if you eat fast food three times a day. Don’t worry about changing anything else, just eat breakfast,” I would tell them. Why? You don’t wanna overwhelm them. Changing everything today is way too much to even consider as a possibility. But hey, I can focus on one thing. I’ll work at eating something for breakfast to start my body burning calories everyday. And then, inevitably, what happens? You feel better from this new and good established habit, and you’re ready for more. You reap some benefits by better regulating your insulin levels, dropping some fat, feeling better, and it spurs you on to more.

One thing at a time. Establish it. Then move onward and upward. You can do this.

*New Roop Version–“Oh the NeRVe of this translation!”

Always, only, for my King

3.31.15–>”Shame in a Petri Dish”

petri dish


James 5:16

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.

Brene Brown said this most interesting thing:

“If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.”

She also said that gratitude is the antidote to shame. Nothing will end self-loathing better than intentional gratitude–the ole writing-three-things-down-everyday-you’re-thankful-for trick.

What a great picture to illustrate this truth. As we see, God’s truths, as handed down to us through Scripture just keep coming alive and shown true thousands of years later.

By confession to one another, we expose our shame and sin to the light in which it can no longer live. We receive empathy from those who care about us deeply. We realize we are not alone. The enemy loves making us think we’re the only ones going through what we’re going through, or better yet, the first ones in history to face what we are facing.

I believe it was Michael Jackson who first uttered the words, “You Are Not Alone.”

OK, millions of people before him said it, but that’s the song going through my head right now.

You are not alone. You are not a freak. You are human going through the ups and downs of humanity. Do not keep silent! Do not live in secrecy! And stay away as much as possible from those who judge and do not accept your imperfections through genuine empathy.

Let’s expose this crap to the light, baby!!!

More than conquerors, am I right!

In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria




Psalm 139:13-16

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

Thinking last nite and this morning of how God has equipped us simultaneously to do what every single person on earth can do, and also what no other person on earth can do except for you.

We are all made to love God. Every single one of us can turn our heart toward God and love Him with all of it. As has been said, “You can change your mind at any time.” We can all turn from sin and to God. That is not beyond any of us. If so, we’re screwed. Badly.

And yet, only you can love God with the heart He gave you. No one else can love God with your heart. No one else can love God as you were created to be.

This is rich to me. It’s the simplest thing we can do, yet the profoundest. 

God equips us to do what we are meant to do. We put so much pressure on ourselves as if we are all suppose to be divinely appointed rocket surgeons.

Well, I guess if that’s what we were all meant to be, our good and loving Creator would equip us accordingly. And we would have a plethora of healthy rockets lying around.

All you have to do is what every single person is capable of and yet what only you can and were meant to do: 

Love who you came from with the heart you were given.

Out of true love flows devotion and service with no feelings of obligation.

Be Yourself-Wilde

Always, only, for my King


Scripture is given for our  instruction and edification. In its totality Scripture presents the God revealed in Jesus and whom we seek to follow. The story of his pursuit of humankind despite our unfaithfulness is a story of grace. Biblical revelation aids our attunement to God by helping us encounter the Lord God of heaven and earth, not simply the god of our imagination, childhood experience, or previous religious instruction.

David G. Benner

3.29.15–>”Rest & Play”

Psalm 127:2

It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?

So Ana and I just got home from a weekend retreat down at Saint Meinrad, and we listened to some CDs in the car from a conference on vulnerability. Very enlightening.

The speakers said that in studying joyful people, people who considered themselves joyful and having joyful lives, that one common thread was that:

they all regularly practiced rest and play.

Now for those who don’t do this or understand these two vital-to-life actions, it drives them crazy. They think the joyful person lazy and inefficient.

How is your rest? Do you sabbath weekly?

How is your play? Do you play regularly?


3.27.15–>”No One Is Good But God Alone”

Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”

I wonder sometimes if we still look to each other for too much.Yes, I know God made us relational creatures and we need each other to a degree, but do we still look for a messiah?

We are fascinated and taken with “great” people, even as Christians. We look for inspiration, which is not all bad, but I think what we really need to look for are catalysts to the One who is good.

“Listen to the person who listens to God,” Tozer advises. I agree. As Christ followers, shouldn’t we all be pointing each other to Him and not to ourselves? To become, as we coined a year ago or so, “EPPTTP”s–Empowered Powerless Pointers To The Power.

It goes along with the Tozer quote from yesterday–“A hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically in tune with each other.” Now here I go quoting Tozer again. Am I worshipping him? Why I love Tozer’s writings is because they always point me to Jesus and away from Aiden Wilson himself. Same with Andrew Murray.

But they are human like you and me and therefore not to be followed or held in any sort of awe. That’s not fair to the person we put on the pedestal and it will always disappoint us once we “see behind the curtain.”

This was revealed to me another layer deeper last week when I read some stuff I never knew about Martin Luther. Now he obviously did some incredible stuff for the Christian faith for which I’m sure we are all thankful.

But he was human. Flawed.

With blind spots.

Did you know he was quite anti-semitic? Toward the end of his life, he wrote some pretty intense stuff. These are his words from a work entitled On the Jews and Their Lies:

“God has struck [the Jews] with ‘madness and blindness and confusion of mind.’ So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them. Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite all their murdering, cursing, blaspheming, lying, and defaming…”*

Luther continues by suggesting that Christians set fire to synagogues or schools (and bury whatever will not burn), raze their houses, take their prayer books and Talmudic writings, threaten the lives of their rabbis who continue to teach, ban them from the highways, and confiscate their money.*

Wow. “We are at fault in not slaying them.”

Nobody’s perfect, huh.

As you can probably figure, the Nazis republished these writings to support their cause. This is not a Martin Luther bashing. It should simply remind us of the imperfection of even our greatest theological heroes.

The book of Hebrews is all about the superiority of Jesus Christ. It is to Him we look. It is to Him we point each other. Who on earth is like Him? Who can heal and bring peace to our hearts?

No one but God alone.

Hopefully this takes pressure off everybody to be saviour. As we say in Ripple Effect, “I can’t heal you, but I can point you to the One who can.”

No one is good but God alone.

Though we do love each other with the love of Christ, I hope. God does love us through one another. Yet as Ana just said, it’s easy to confuse the vessel with the Source. Are you worshipping the vessel or the Source?

The purpose of these daily emails is to point you to the One who is perfect and good. To be an EPPTTP. If you have pursued God even a small fraction more than before, then glory to God for being a catalyst for Him alone.

Soli Deo Gloria–Glory to God alone.

*Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, in Luther’s Works, vol.47, ed. Franklin Sherman (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971), 267-270

Always, only, for my King

3.26.15–>”To Be One With You”

To Be One With You


John 17:20-21

“I’m not praying simply for them. I’m praying, too, for the people who will come to believe in me because of their word. I am praying that they may all be one–just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they too may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”           -Jesus of Nazareth

To be one with You.There is nothing else.

If there is one focus for the Christian life, it is this. To be one with the Father through Jesus Christ. This would be our “keystone habit” affecting all other habits in our life. To be one with Jesus is to be one with all who truly believe in Him and put Him first in their lives.

“A hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically in tune with each other.”

I become more and more convinced that there is nothing else to focus on than this–oneness with Christ. For on this hangs everything. If we are so tuned in to His voice, it will drown out all others, and we will be at peace.

But for most it is probably the opposite. The competing voices are winning the day. Drowning out the peaceful voice of Jesus.

What would it take for you to turn the volume of Jesus up high enough to drown out the other voices?

It may have to be drastic.

Oh well.

I know my peace is directly proportional to who I am listening to most.

My Peaceometer needle goes to the percentage I am listening to YHWH. If I’ve given the world, worries, fears, and problems my ear 78% of the time today, then my Peaceometer will read a pathetic 22 when Jesus Himself prayed it would be 100! (I’m a geeky numbers guy, but you get the picture)

The voice of Christ turns our issues into non-issues. I’ve experienced this. He does not give us a technique or ways to manage or new coping strategies. He takes it all away, miraculously swallowing it up in His peace that only He can give.

If we let Him.

Whoever you listen to most is who you give authority over your life to.


The Piano quote is Tozer’s

In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria

3.25.15–>”Some Simple Reminders on Prayer”

A Short Reminder


Luke 11:1

One time Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his followers.”

✙ Remember that prayer is two way communication
  •  Imagine a friendship with someone who doesn’t return your calls, but calls you every couple of weeks or so only to ask you for something, be it advice, to borrow something, babysit their children…
  • God desires a ceaseless conversational relationship with you. It’s as if He is saying, “I am with you, will you be with me?”

✙ It is good for prayer to be specific and persistent, carried out until it is answered

See Luke 11:5-13

If we pray in this manner, I believe one of two things will happen: God will either grant your request, or show you something better than what you requested. Oh, and your heart will probably change!

(Not sure where my bullet points went)

✙ 7 Hindrances to Prayer

➀ Asking amiss to fulfill your own pleasures ~James 4:3

“The true purpose in prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.” -R.A. Torrey

➁ Habitual sin ~Isaiah 59:1-2

➂ Idols in the heart – Anything that takes the place of God, that is the supreme object of our affection. ~Ezekiel 14:3

➃ Shutting your ears to the cry of the poor        ~Proverbs 21:13

➄ An unforgiving spirit  ~Mark 11:25

➅ Wrong relation between husband and wife
~I Peter 3:7

➆ Doubt, lack of faith ~James 1:5-7



For Further Reading:

“The Practice of the Presence of God” Brother Lawrence

“Letters From a Modern Mysitc” Frank Laubach

“The School of Prayer” Andrew Murray

“How to Pray” R.A. Torrey

“Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home” Richard Foster

“Sanctuary of the Soul” Richard Foster

“Life With God” Richard Foster

“Answers to Prayer” George Müeller
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria

3.22.15–>”The Bible Is Much More Than Just ‘How To Behave'”

The Bible is Much More Than Simply “How to Behave”

Life With God Bible

Though it is certainly not less than this, the Bible is much deeper than regulations for life. It’s not just “how to live”, as important as that is.

The Bible is God’s story. The Bible is God’s revealing of Himself and His purposes. And an overarching theme, if not the theme, is God’s pursuit of His people. A slightly fancier word would be His “mediation” with humanity.

God has been drawing us to Himself since, what we call, the beginning of time.

You hear many people who read the Bible say they read it to live rightly or to “apply it to their lives.” This is good. This is very good. May we just never forget or overlook or let be swallowed up, the deeper truth that the Bible is God’s revealing of Himself for the purposes of us being able to know Him and be connected intimately to Him. This is first and foremost.

We have the need, desire, and craving for connection and belonging woven into our hearts. It’s undeniable. And you see this through stories. Even the harshest people I know love story. They, at bare minimum, love telling stories about themselves. Why? Connection. Belonging. Listen closely and you will hear it.

For your children, or your parents, what would you choose between the following:

~ That they always behave, never going against any of your rules or God’s, yet you will never be closely connected. Your relationship will never be “deep.” You won’t talk about everything, only stay near the surface–weather, current events, advice-giving, general conversation. No experiencing of life together.


~ They will break some, many, of the rules along the way, going against your wishes a lot of the time. Yet you stay connected via deep communication, growing in intimacy, due to the going through of many and varied life experiences together. Experiential involvement with them–actual engagement.

Sadly, many today I believe would actually choose “A”. Just do everything you’re suppose to do. Which of course translates into “Everything I want.” Well if that’s not a beautiful relationship, I don’t know what is!

Read the Bible carefully. Listen to God in the Bible. That, I think, is what God wants anyway. To read carefully with a listening ear attuned to Him for what He is wanting to say clearly to us. And in so doing, see if you really come to the conclusion that God wants you to go to church because you’re suppose to. Read the Bible because you should. Help others because you have to. That sounds like quite the imprisoning and, frankly, dumb religion. Not one that would emanate from an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving Creator. If that was it, I’d be like, “You create this entire universe of wonder, and that’s all you got as far as relating to us?”

When you go to church, read the Bible, help the poor out of obligation, you are “shoulding” all over yourself. You’re doing things because you should. And we all know what happens to us when we should all over ourselves–we become disgusting. There’s no beauty there. Beauty comes from doing out of love in the heart. If the inside is beautiful, the outside will automatically become beautiful.

“You Pharisees clean the outside of the dish, but your insides are full of greed and filth. How foolish of you! Isn’t God as interested in your insides as your outside?” (Luke 11:39-40)

“If you wash a dish well on the inside, won’t the outside come clean in the process?” (Matthew 23:26)

So back to God’s mediation with humanity in the Bible. Looking at that 30,000 foot view, here are the forms of His mediation as charted in the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible (now called The Life With God Bible).

  1. Face-to-face
  2. Through the family
  3. Through God’s terrifying acts and the law
  4. Through the conquest and learning to act with God
  5. Through the king, prophets, priests, and sacrifices
  6. Through suffering and the disappointments of life
  7. Through song, prayer, worship
  8. Through wisdom
  9. Through the prophets and the repression of the Gentiles
  10. Through punishment, being a blessing to their captors
  11. Through repentance, service, synagogue study
  12. Through the Incarnate Word and the living presence of the kingdom
  13. Through the Holy Spirit, persecution, and martyrdom
  14. In one another, through Scripture, teaching, preaching, prophetic utterance, pastoral care, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments
  15. Throughout the cosmos (Revelation)

Again, here we see more clearly, I hope, God’s purpose and desire to be with us, as revealed in and throughout the whole of Scripture.

May we read it with this in mind always.

In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria