Thursday, December 09, 2010


Working on missions at a church. Honestly, I had always viewed this as an old person's passion. For whatever reason every missions board I have ever seen is chock full of elderly people splitting dimes between 25 missionaries... It left me asking myself, is it more costly to write the check than the value on it??

So, now I am working to transform our missions into Biblical relevance. Here is where our ministry is headed (love to know your thoughts).

As a ministry, we are seeking to make wise choices with our time and resources. For many years, the leadership of our church and our members have been discussing our thoughts on how to better approach missions. Understanding the development in communication through technology, the fact that it is nearly impossible for missionaries to report to several churches during a time of furlough, and the realities we face annually with our budget, we have come to a few key understandings:

  1. We continue to believe strongly in missions and the global call of the Gospel.

  2. We believe missionaries should be supported by few churches to great degrees, thereby providing accountability to both the church and its missionaries.

  3. We continue to believe that money is not the primary function of church missions programs, but rather prayer and communication .

  4. We must partner with missionaries and mission agencies that are in lock step with our understanding of the Gospel, the Scriptures, theology, and social justice.

What are we missing?

P.S. here is my latest attempt at "art."

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

.It's been forever.

I know, it has been forever since I last posted. To say the least I have been busy. Redoing missions, bringing a dog into the home, and trying my hand at being "artsy." I have yet to feel successful in anything.

The good news is that God is working in my heart and that well much of it I am not ready to share, I think it will be time really soon. to pacify you in the mean time, I will let you see my not-so-good Africa...

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

.New Vinedresser.

In Luke 20, there is a parable about a vineyard owned by a man in a far off land. This man entrusted wicked vine dressers to care for his vine. When the fruit ripened, the man sent servants to bring him his bounty. The wicked vine dressers beat the servants and sent them home empty handed.

The owner then said, "I will send my beloved son."

The wicked vine dressers conspired to kill the son in an effort to control the vine. Listen to the response of the owner:

“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Jesus made it clear that He is the vine and we are the branches. We also know that God is the Owner from afar, so...

Moral of the Story: When you embark on teaching God's Word, you embark on keeping the vine. It is a holy endeavour... best not to treat it lightly.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

.The Princess and the Toad.

This marks my official first "mommy blog" moment.

I honestly have no intention of this place becoming an avenue for my gushing about my wonderful kids. Not because I don't want to gush about them, but because this place is about something else.

Today, those two worlds collide. Recently, I have been having some struggles being a good Daddy. I have been frustrated, torn, and bothered. I cannot express to you how badly I want my son home. And, somehow in the midst of my journey to bring my son into his forever family, I allowed the frustration of paperwork, the tare of a missing family member, and the bothersome nature of waiting to seep into the time I have been given with my two beautiful children that are already living in their forever families.

I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman, and was struck by these lyrics and what they mean in regards to my two kids:

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song'
Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone...

It won't be long, and this season will be gone...

To my princess:
You are beautiful... The special little one that taught me what it first meant to want to hurt for someone else. You are the one that showed me how sacrifice can be something to treasure!

To my toad (b/c he looks so much like Toadstool from Mario):
Your compassion for others will never leave my mind... May I never forget that no matter how valued the prize, you would not take without making sure there was enough for Sissy!

God, give me the eyes to see the life you have granted me to live now.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

.Love God. Love People. Serve All.

It's actually the purpose statement of my church. I would argue that whatever you put in writing, it should be the purpose statement of yours too.

Yesterday our church got a call from a man in seminary looking for our mission statement... which, being the mature people we are, we immediately began throwing out our "purpose statements."

Here were a few:

Hate God, Hate People, Serve Self.

Acknowledge God, Ignore People, Serve Self.

Acknowledge God, Ignore Truth, Serve Self.

Funny right?

Here's the deal: The only thing that makes this remotely amusing is the fact that it mirrors our churches.

Gulp. God, may it not mirror me or the ministry you entrusted to me.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

.The Isaiah 58 in Me.

Isaiah 58 details an account of God's people crying out to Him... basically telling the God of all creation how He should respond to their "sacrifice."

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’
(Verse 3)
God then responds to their cry by informing them that their "sacrifice" is not sufficient. Their expectations of what God requires is so menial, while their expectations of His provisions is so incredibly lofty.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
(Verse 5)

This is where I have found myself for about a month now: Crying to my Father, "do you not recognize what I have given up for Your sake? When are you going to come through for me?

How arrogant! I have essentially scoffed at all the amazing things God has done in my life, because He chose not to meet my expectations for a court date!

Me: God, I need $30 k for an adoption...
God: Done. (still waiting with confidence for about $4k)

Me: God, I need my social worker to act swiftly on my behalf.
God: Done. (completed 1 day after our final meeting... unprecedented)

Me: God, I need... (a million little details)
God: Done. Done. Done. Done. (you get the point)

Me: God, I need a court date by the end of October.
God: That's not My timing.
Me: How dare You.

How dare me. God, forgive me for questioning Your timing. You are perfect, I am flawed, and I submit myself, once again, to Your plan... It is right!

Now, on to fulfilling the rest of the Text:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains
of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed
free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the
hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when
you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from
your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like
the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your
righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will
be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing
finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf
of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your
light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the
noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your
needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose
waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and
will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer
of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. “If you keep
your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you
please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the
LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going
your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle
words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause
you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on
the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Give me the strength Father!

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.So, I'm Back.

So, here's the deal: I made a mistake.

When I began this blog, it was with the intention of giving people an inside peek into my life and relationship with my Creator. Basically, somewhere in the midst of it all, I began thinking about people who may be reading it. (Not that that's bad, just not my goal...) So, from now on out, I am going to continue with my original intention. Obviously, I welcome people to comment and give me feedback etc. But, its not about that.

So, I'm back.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

.My Son, My Journey {Part 3}.

"Do you believe I can be your everything?"

I can still remember the clear sound of His whisper in my ear.

"Am I really sufficient?"

Somehow, unwittingly, I uncovered the reality that my journey is mostly a reflection on how people have impacted me. So, I am going to continue in that way... until things change or until I run out of people.

With that said, meet Jo. A sweet, gentle woman that God placed in our path. She and her husband are seeking adoption via ET as well. In fact, it was her blog that led to our watching Lucy. The part of her journey that found its way into my story came after we chose to adopt.

Honestly, I thought it would be the most fantastical news anyone would want to hear. I thought that when I told people our plans, they would run up and down the streets. They would say things like "I am so proud of you." or "God is so awesome to have put this on your heart." Instead, our story was kind of... "so, we have been accepted to adopt via Ethiopia!" {cue the crickets.}

That's when Jo spoke the words into my life that I needed to hear. I wish I could say them all to you, but honestly, they are hers not mine. When it all is said and done, of all the things she said... the words I will never forget were: "I am doing this because I love God and I believe HE is in this. I want to be in His will and I want to be like Jesus for this little life." {me too, Jo}

{Part 3, Truth 3} Jim, it is about God, a little life in ET, and your obedience... not anything or anyone else.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

.My Son, My Journey {Part 2}.

"Do you believe I can be your everything?"

I can still remember the clear sound of His whisper in my ear.

"Am I really sufficient?"

Public perception {my perception} about adoption is {was} full of lies. If you can't birth your own... If you are wealthy... If your life has a void nothing else can fill... Don't get me started on the lies... Honestly, I wish I could stand at the top of the Holy pile and cast judgment down on all "those guys" that pereptuate these lies, but the truth is, I was one of them... {wince} [Just once I would like to have figured this stuff out before I write about it, but alas, that is not my story]

Jim, meet Lucy. There are a few people who everyone in the adoption world know all about, every once in a while, one of those people make their mark on their "gotcha day." For Lucy, God showered a divine charisma that He is using to fuel revival {at least in me}. Lucy, it is my desire to one day hug you and express to you everything you began in me... with tears in my eyes I write:

{Part 2, Truth 2} It starts with one...

{And for me, it started with a beautiful little girl in ET who forever owns a piece of my heart.}

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

.My Son, My Journey {Part 1}.

"Do you believe I can be your everything?"

I can still remember the clear sound of His whisper in my ear.

"Am I really sufficient?"

God has been tearing me down for quite some time now. I am only now at the place where I can look backward and begin to see just how pathetic I truly am in light of Him. Honestly, I am a very selfish person. I am extremely prideful, and I have a huge propensity for seeing the grass as greener on the "other side." Most of my life I have spent dreaming about how good it would/could be if only... Never once considering how good it is. I remember in my past ministry, relating to people how content I was, how I was "living my dream", all the while knowing that it was words I should say, not words I wanted to say. Not because I wasn't living my dream, but because I couldn't ever find true contentment.

Now, before I digress too far, let's just leave it at a reality that I have long since worked to attain full control of my world and a death grip on my circumstance.

In walks Gerlie... my family's Compassion child. Thank you Gerlie for opening my eyes to the Truth that I have it sooo good!

It was in reading the realities of Gerlie's circumstance that God began to rub a salve on the eyes of one selfish, prideful, pathetic soul and begin the process of removing the blinders of my life.

{Part 1, Truth 1}
Jim, you lack nothing.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

.Sheep or Goat?.

Matthew 25 has this incredible account of Jesus describing His own judgment on the nations... Now, for those of us who get caught up in some of the details... the question arises, "When does this happen, and who is Jesus judging?" While I recognize there could be a variety of answers to that question, one thing is clear:

The standard is NOT exclusive to this one judgement!

A person only needs to look up the themes of poverty and justice in the Bible to find that we are called over and over to care for the poor and the needy... the orphan and widow. But back to Matthew, Jesus describes this scene where He is separating the sheep (true followers) from the goats (those who claim Christ, but do nothing for the "least of these"). Jesus gives us the gold standard when He says,

"I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

It makes e think of the book of James... " doers of the Word and not hearers only..." or "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble..." or "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" or "...even the demons believe-and tremble..."

It looks to me like James got it... What good is head knowledge if our hearts aren't broken? What good is a broken heart if it doesn't move our hands?

According to Matthew 25, "...inasmuch as you did {or not} it to one of the least of these, you did {or not} it to me..."

Jesus, give me your eyes...

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

.C'mon Jesus... just this one thing.

I used to joke that Jesus' favorite football team was the New York Giants.


Because I gave in "to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist Him into a version of Jesus [I was] more comfortable with." [Platt]

I wanted "A Jesus Who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on [my] comforts." [Platt]

I wanted to "gather in [my] church building and sing and lift up [my] hands in worship..." [Platt] to me.

This may not make a lot of sense to anyone who reads this, but if you knew my heart... it did not ache for Africa, it ached for the Meadowlands... it was not desperate for the Scriptures, it was desperate for it did not yearn to find followers of Christ, it yearned to make converts to my beloved royal blue NY. In fact, my daughter recognized a Giants logo long before she recognized the cross.
Friends, I have been crying out to God, what can I sacrifice that I have not already given... so today, I will go home and gather my Eli Manning football, my Lawrence Taylor Jersey, my Tiki Barber prints, my Harry Carson hat, and my Jeremy Shockey helmet... the symbols of my former allegiance... and I... [without exaggeration I paused here to think... I wish it were not true] give it all away. Our school is putting on an auction to support Christian education... may God bless the sale of my idolatry.

Forgive me for my sin, I am so foolish to see it as anything valuable in light of You.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have begun reading The Hole in Our Gospel. Let's just say, I didn't make it through the introduction without crying and running to the office next to mine reading quotes. How have been a Believer this long and just now realize I have been missing the point?

Honestly, I am pretty ashamed of myself. Who grows up in a Christan home, receives a Christian eduction, grows up in a church that cares only about Truth, attends a great Bible college, serves in ministry for years and somehow misses the point? Who? Me.

One of the huge recurring themes in my life is my pride... I grew up in a world where meeting external standards were most of what matters. People say don't drink, don't chew, don't go with girls that do... it was more like "don't show evidence of sin (even if you need help), dress right and sing hymns, judge all by what you can see."

Yesterday, in the midst of a conversation with a woman who is watching her grandchildren grow up, desperately desiring their salvation, while dealing with the reality that the Truth is not coming from her children, tell me, "My children rejected church because I gave them legalism." I didn't know what to say, ummm, gulp. Yeah you're right... or it'll all be okay? Nope. The answer? Be changed, and tell them all about what God is doing in you. Then, trust Him. Ouch. I know, not the promise it'll all be okay. Tough words to hear... but the Truth is, God is the only One sufficient to make all the wrongs right again. His transformation is all that matters.

So back to my shame... Today, I cling to the reality that I am so foolish, so limited, and I need to be transparent and transformed by Him. Because, while I am ashamed of me... "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." ~Romans 1:16

God, change me... You, not rules is what this world needs.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

.Count the Cost.

My family is in the process of adopting, and one of the funny nuances of adoption is money. It is so akward for me to look at a dollar figure and say: "Can I afford to adopt?"

I have always felt that you do not chose to expand your family based on your budget... but is that biblical?

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to
them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and
mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own
life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear
his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which
of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and
count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after
he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it
begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not
able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another
king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able
with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with
twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is still a great way
off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So
likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot
be My disciple. ~Luke 14

Now, here Christ says that in order to be a disciple (follower) of Christ [not some extra-special-super-Christian], a person must count the cost of following Him.

So here is my question: Does that mean we should constantly be asking ourselves"Is it worth it?" or does it mean that at a point in time we ask, then live our life with the answer "yes, God"?

Here's the thing: The answer is not simple. We grow, things change. Life happens. Choices get complex.

Here's where I am at: I want my life to count for His glory. So, with eyes wide open to the reality that life is hard and clinging to the Truth that life is short, I want to blindly say, "Yes God."

Why? Because I trust You, God. You will never leave me or forsake me, You will never give me anything I can't handle, and You are sufficient!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

.Evidence of the Gospel.

I have been thinking through the reality that if my life is completely shaken by the Truth... it should look like it. So, this morning I took a peek at the first few chapters of Acts to see what should be true of me...

If the Gospel has changed me, I should...

  1. show evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in me.
  2. be a powerful witness of Christ in my community.
  3. be baptized by water in the name of Christ.
  4. praise God in word and song.
  5. live contently in simplicity.

God help me to remember... God, make me more and more attune to Your Gospel, and give me the strength to be shaken by Your Truth!

How about you? What evidences does the Text say you should show?

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have spent a lot of time here expressing my hurt for the realities of tons of people in desperate need, all over the world... I have reflected some of the world's most compassionate people and asked their burning questions.

Like this one:

"Do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for?
you believe him enough to obey him and to follow him
wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture -maybe
even our churches- turn the other way?"
~David Platt

I have found myself crushed by the reality of my ridiculous perspectives of God. I have starred into the mirror of the Text and found myself struggling with this:

"The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted,
or stagnant Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way,
and it is because we have an inaccurate view of God. We see
Him as a benevolent
Being who is satisfied when people manage
to fit Him into their lives in some small way. We forget that God
never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and
deserves to be the center of our lives."
~Francis Chan

But today, there is hope. I was informed that Into the Streets of Ethiopia, a ministry that God is burning onto my heart finally received a donation of 600 cans of formula.

So What?
So a child that may have died due to malnutrition can grow to be a child who is loved in a forever family that shares the Gospel with him/her, and that child can be held up by His Father who desperately wants to adopt Him into the family of God.

God, there is only One who can be exalted when nothing makes sense... You! May I never forget You... Use me.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

.Last Night, I Visited Hell... Again.

Through the wonder of the World Wide Web, I visited hell once again... and I was not prepared to handle what I saw... Then again, Who is?

I walked into my house and my wife sat me down and said, "You have to read this (click to read)..."

I was confronted with the reality that while I sit in A/C in the summer... heat in the winter... while I have bemoaned the 10 pounds I put on this summer from the "stress"... this woman sat in her own feces in a ramshackle broken-down hut starving for 10 years.


God, open my eyes to the reality that I am blessed. Help me to see how incredibly blessed I am... and shake me for Your glory. I cannot be blind to it anymore... it makes me sick... not her, ME! God, I am sorry I never cared... I'm sorry...

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

.Counter-Culture Club.

I'll tell you what's wrong with our culture...

We need men to rise up and build great homes. Men need to get back to being the protector of the home. If men would just work a little harder... you know get up a little earlier, got to bed a little later... make just a little bit more money.

If women would just cling to their husbands for security... If ladies could just be content with a few children, and nice little home. If they would just find their security in their loving husband...

We would all be OK... {You with me?}

Ahh the voice of the American Christian... {me.} Meet Psalm 127.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.

In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Five quick Truths for this Tuesday:
  1. God is the builder and protector of the home... all other options are vain {wicked}
  2. God provides work and grants rest... to constantly pursue more is wicked.
  3. God's rewards with {money, fame, fancy cars, nice clothes, etc.} Nope. Children.
  4. Parents role is {Builder, provider, protector} Nope. Warrior.
  5. The path to contentment is: {having the best stuff} Nope. Lots of kids!

Father, may I, today, be a warrior, willing to point my kids into dangerous circumstances, for Your glory, understanding that You are the builder of my home, You are the protector of my home, You are the one who rewarded me with my children... and You asked me to be a warrior willing to use my arrows in battle! Your glory, nothing else!!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

.At the Heart of the Gospel.

The heart of the Gospel... the heart of my Savior.

I realized for the first time the other day that there are two things planted deeply within the heart of God... Marriage and Adoption.

For some reason, it had never occured to me before now how much God cares about those two things...

On the one hand, here I am, the filthy whore, standing before my Knight in shining armor.

I shutter to picture it: How must my pathetic plea sound?
I am sorry I slept with him again... he just treats me so nice... I know there has never been anyone who cares for me like you... but it makes me feel good to be with him... {I just threw up in my mouth a little.}

On the other hand, God reaches down and looks at my poor impoverished condition, and says... I want to make you My son.

And here I am, with nothing to offer on either account... No way to bring glory to me... All I can do is point to my Creator and say "Glory to God... Glory to God, forever..."

It's no wonder marriages are falling apart everywhere, it makes sense that there are 147 million orphans...

Because we're comfortable...

God, send revival... in me.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

.Dear Anonymous.

This afternoon I received a tearful call from my wife (You can read her thoughts here). She said, "we just received an anonymous donation to our adoption for $4,000." I have no idea what to say or do... so whoever you are, this is what I have to say:

I have been working through a theme in my life lately. The theme? Shaken.

Shaken by the holiness of my Creator. Shaken by the reality of my sin. Shaken by the Glory that He deserves. Shaken by the small place I give Him. Honestly, today I am once again shaken.
Shaken by the fact that He used you for His glory by grasping me... a miserable wreck... a realistic failure... a complete mess.

I have no words.

This is all I can say: Thank you for allowing Christ to use you to show me something about Him. May His name and renown grow because of your humble gifts... and may I continue to be shaken.

Thank you God for your greatness.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

.Don't Get Comfortable.

The shock value in me wants to say, "settle onto your coach, grab a nice cup of coffee, get comfortable... and go to hell."

The Problem: I don't actually believe that.

I have been transformed into an American Dream hater... I doubt that is a big secret to anyone who knows me well, but the question becomes, "Is there a balance?" or "Is it possible to be sold out to the American Dream and Christ?"

Yikes, I think I liked the first question better than the last. My answer the former is, "sure." After all, I live in America... There are conveniences here that simply make life easier and save time and energy. It would be foolish to say that I would not partake in the use of a vehicle or purchase groceries at the store, or... fill in the blank. So the balance is that my world just can't be wrapped up in the "dream."

Now, about the latter, "Is it possible to be sold out to the American Dream and Christ?"

Ummm... {Wince} No.

Why? I think there is a wealth of reasons, but the one that I continue to come back to is one of comfort. I beg someone to show me from the Text of Scripture where we are called to a life of ease. I fail to see anywhere in the whole of the Bible where we are asked to get comfortable. Get Silent. {Yes.} Rest in Christ. {Yes.} Don't worry. {Absolutely} Get Comfortable. {No.}

Here is the other problem: Tons of people say "I don't think God (or Jesus) would want..." then something about their discomfort... Great. Except one little detail, if that was true, wouldn't He include that somewhere in the Text?

Can we all just STOP THE SPIT BALLING!! Seriously, if God wants to communicate it, He would through His Word, Right? If that doesn't sit well with you... Read Luke 9 and find the "be comfortable" command.

So What? So live as though I am a part of a different paradigm... What if I lived my life a though this world has nothing to offer in comparison with what my Father has for me? To live otherwise is Ridiculous!

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

.Is It True?.

Truth... ahh Truth. Is it really true? You know the Bible... is it really True?
Among my circle I had always thought that this was a rhetorical question.

You know:

  • Do we believe the Bible is true? {Yes.}

  • Does it really change lives? {Yes.}

  • If it exposes a deficiency will I change? {Yes.}
Whoops... I was W-R-O-N-G.

I recently learned the real answer to these questions.

Are You ready? Really? Because I was NOT.

Do we believe the Bible is true?
The Real Answer: If it affirms what I "know" to be true... If it speaks to a point that I want to make... If it points to ancient Truths that have no bearing on my current life... {Yes.}
If it steps on my toes... If what it says is uncomfortable... If it impedes on my goals... {No.}

Does it really change lives?
The Real Answer: If you mean do I smoke, chew, drink, or swear... If you mean I live differently than vulgar lower class citizens... {Yes.}
If you mean has my life changed because of something the Word exposed this week, month, or year... If your asking if it makes people different daily... {No.}

If it exposes a deficiency will I change?
The Real Answer: No qualifier necessary... Flatly {Yes.}
Oh that Truth, you must not understand the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic. Your version can't be accurate... That wasn't written for me, you are looking at a pre-church passage... That was strictly apostolic... In other words... {No.}

Friends, I don't have a cute pithy statement... it is true, based on the way we live.

God, make it not true of me! Change me!!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

. Me and Mephibosheth.

While doing some required reading for our adoption, I stumbled on the story of Mephibosheth. You remember, he is the son of Jonathon. In fact, when Jonathon was killed in battle and Saul took his own life, Mephibosheth's caretakers ran off with him. In the process, they slipped and fell and crippled him...

Now, perhaps the most well-to-do boy in all the kingdom of Israel is a crippled little child hidden from the world and dependant on the mercy of others...

Don't forget, David swore to Jonathon that he would take care of his family... So years later, David remembers his promise to Jonathon and inquired about Jonathon's family. This is where Mephibosheth reenters the picture! Laura Christianson describes the interaction like this:

That's when David learns Jonathon has a son. He can;t wait to see Mephibosheth, and he summons him immediately to Jerusalem. Mephibosheth limps into David's presence, trembling.
Seeing the image of Jonathan in the young man's face, David melts. He leans forwards and whispers, "Don't be afraid." I imagine David adding, :" I loved your father as much as I love myself. And because I loved him, I am going to adopt you!"
Mephibosheth replies, "Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?"
(The Adoption Decision)

Here is what's strange: I am adopting, and can see tons of parallels to just how this should impact that for me... for everyone... etc.

...but I can't get it out of my head: I am a stray dog... desperate for love... missing the reality that I have a seat at the table of the king!

So here it is: Today, may I embrace the Truth that God stooped down to me, not because of me... But he did. So, may I glory in His love and seek to point all the other strays to the table of the King... because from where I am sitting there are seats open and the invitation is out!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

."I Want Meat".

This blog is primarily about me. But today, not as much me but my response. Recently my hand was forced on the issue of milk and meat. Someone who I have interacted with for a number of years listened to my message Sunday and responded with "I want meat."

Here's the problem: Yes, you are educated, yes, you grew up with Christianity, but, no... You are not ready for meat.

Handing you a new piece of Truth when you have yet to interact with the last one is like laying before a baby a nice NY Strip when they are having trouble processing formula.

I Corinthians 3:1-4 "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?"

Paul's measuring stick for whether a person was needing milk or meat is not how many years I have been attending church, or how many years I have spent in Christian education... In the context of this passage Paul uses behavior... "envy, strife, and divisions among you." Paul never refers to my level of education, but how I act. In the broader context of the passage, Paul address more specifics on how my actions will be tried by fire, etc., etc.

Hebrews 5:12-14 "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

Here the issue of maturity comes up again. However, once again, as I look into the context of this passage, it is not education that is the measure of maturity. It is life. The writer of Hebrews says that based on the education level of his audience, they should be teaching this Truth, but here they are having to be taught again... Why? Because those who need "meat" are the ones who "have their senses exercised." In other words, the ones who are practicing things like teaching (v. 12). The writer makes it clear-maturity is defined by actions, not understanding.

Even as the context continues in chapter 6, verses 10-12 say, " For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Again, reiterating the reality that it is not what I know, it is what I do.

So What? Why do I bring this all up?

The church is gaging on simple Truth while begging for the best cut of meat...

God help me to live my life in a way that I can process everything your Word has for my life!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

.Bask in Me.

Ever found yourself reading 4-5 books at a time and in the midst of doing so, one text of Scripture comes up over and over again... That's where I have been for the past 3-4 days. I have been reading Radical, The Barbarian Way, The Christian Atheist... and it seems like one or two more, but those for sure, and they all speak of this account in Matthew. {Screaming at me:} Time to figure it out.

In Matthew 11 John the Baptist has this incredible struggle. John is in prison, he has been in prison... and the likelihood of him getting out is slim... So, he send his followers to Jesus and asks the most bizarre question: "Are you the coming One or do we look for another?"

Crazy right? You mean John the Baptist was unsure of whether the One he had baptized... the One he knew since he was a boy and been exposing as the Messiah really was? Why?

Well, it seems from the context that he was shaken, scarred... afraid to endure what was coming, and in turn wondering: If He is Christ, would He allow this to happen?

Jesus' answer: "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”


Then Jesus cries loud enough for John's followers to hear: "What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet."

The Truth: Jesus knew that John was shaking in his jail cell. There were people who wanted his head on a silver platter (and they eventually got it). And he wanted to know what Jesus was going to do about it.

Jesus essentially told John, "you know who I am. You are scared, and I get it... but I will not "offend" you by taking away your greatest moment to shine for My glory."

Me: Jesus would you really sit back and let John die and bask in the glory of it all?


Let's be Honest, that's none of my business.
God, whatever it takes for you to be glorified through me... Give me the strength to endure... TO THE END!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

.Have I offended you yet?.

Being a Pastor is a lot like being a politician... even though it shouldn't be!

Today I found myself teetering the line between how much I could say and how much I shouldn't... Why? Because I didn't want to offend... Whoops...

That's not what it's about...

If it's all about Truth, why should I worry about a person's response? Hold on. It's got to be gracious. My pride has to be taken out of the equation. I have to love you. God's glory manifest in you must be my end... but if I'm worried after that: I'm wrong.

Father, help me to love them just like you... help me not to hedge Your Truth against what I think their response will be. Change me... Make me more like You!

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.My Best Friend.

Meet my best friend... As a part of a series at my church I was able to film my best friend and give a peek into his story.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

. We Need Help.

These are not words that we have ever had a desire to write. Honestly, we don't want help. We want to do it all on our own. But we desperately need help. We have said for a long time that the Christian journey is not one that should be traveled alone. However, when it comes to money... don't ask. When it comes to hardship... don't ask. The journey we were referring to was "the good stuff." In other words, when God does something in your life that is exciting and dynamic, make sure you tell everyone you know.

Here's the problem: What do we do when we need help?

One of the stated goals of my wife and my journey through adoption is to expose to Believers, those who call on the God of all creation, to the reality that He will move heaven and earth for His orphans. That you don't have to take out a massive loan, or be incredibly wealthy to make this thing happen. That God will move you-to sacrifice everything. That He will move others-to sacrifice some. And in the midst of it all, no challenge: mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually will stand in the way of Him accomplishing what He wants.

The Roadblock: Our Pride.

Over and over we have told ourselves, “if He wants to, He will move people.” “If He sees fit, He will motivate others to help.” Here's the reality: That's true. However, our motivation for coming to this conclusion was not deep faith, but crippling pride. So we have committed to swallow our pride and boldly ask people to help. This is not easy for us, but neither was selling our "prized" possessions. The reality is there is a child in Ethiopia waiting for us to be the leaders we need to be, and lead the charge to bring him home. The Bible clearly states we are to bear each others burdens, but in order to give people opportunity to do so; we have to humble ourselves and share our burdens. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

So Here's the Deal:

We are going to boldly ask God to burden 300 people to give $100. Then, we are going to ask person after person if God has laid it on their heart to give. We are going to humble ourselves time after time until we hold in our arms that little life that our God and we value so highly. We are also going to try to be that $100 donor several times over for our adoption and eventually for someone else’s (perhaps yours!).

So, we humbly ask: Are you one that God has burdened? Are you one of the 300 privileged individuals God is using to bring our child home? If so, please give... not for us, not even for that precious child on the other side of the globe, but because you are called to Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. and because Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something. Maybe this is your something.

Maybe God isn’t calling your family to be a part of our journey financially, and that is okay. Would you still surround us in your prayers? If you feel led would you pass our need along to others – on your blog, face book, or any place else you desire to?

We are getting close to being able to send our dossier over to Ethiopia and that takes a lot of money – a lot, a lot. We also will have a program fee due at this time, as well as future financial needs of airplane tickets (we have to travel twice), hotel stays, embassy fees, visas etc. We know that this amount of money cannot be raised in our own strength or through selling our own stuff. We’ve tried. To think about the amount of money that is still needed is overwhelming to us, but it’s not to the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills! We long through this fund raising process for God to receive the glory and for this journey to scream His name.

So, we are going to do it.

We are going to ask for help.

We think this pleases God.

Will you please help with the remainder of our financial needs?

Are you one of the 300 people who God will use to give $100?

Maybe you are not, but maybe you have a little that you want to give. God blesses every gift no matter the amount. We have seen that.

Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are part of our journey to bring our baby home for the glory of God. 100% of all donations will be used to fund our adoption. You can use our chip-in on the right hand side of my blog, or you can email at amomentcherished(at)gmail(dot)com for our address if you prefer to go that route.

Maybe God allows adoption to cost so much so that we would truly rely on Him and His moving the body of Christ to be partners in our journey.

With grateful and humble hearts,
Jim & Tiffany

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

.A peek Through The Looking Glass.

James 5 says that "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Pretty simple huh?

So what does it mean? Simply. If you are righteous your prayer life will be powerful and effective. And by inference, if you are not righteous, your prayer life will be impotent and useless.

To be honest, this Truth is scary... even terrifying. What if I pray and nothing happens? What if I seek the face of my Creator and He doesn't respond.

Maybe He is right there screaming the answers as I drown Him out with the noise of my favorite TV show... or maybe I am just so wrapped up in my press for comfort that I just simply cannot hear His cry. Maybe, just maybe, I never put myself in a position of need.

How do I know?
That's the best part... James already told me what a righteous man looks like!

A Righteous man:

  1. Is Patient (Js 1:3; 19; 5:7-12)
  2. Is singularly focused on God (Js 1:6-8)
  3. Endures temptation (Js 1:12)
  4. Reads and obeys the Word (Js 1:21-25; 4:17)
  5. Controls their tongue (Js 1:26; 3:1-12)
  6. Cares for orphans and widows (Js 1:27)
  7. Rejects the filth of the world (Js 1:21; 27; 4:4)
  8. Loves their neighbor (Js 2:1-13)
  9. Illustrates faith by their works (Js 2:18; 3:13-18)
  10. Has a humble spirit (Js 4:1-6; 10)
  11. Is not judgemental (Js 4:11-12)
  12. Does not amass wealth (5:1-6)

A peek through the looking glass helps me see... The Gold Standard.
If my prayers are impotent and useless, I am not righteous... If I am righteous as defined by the book of James... my prayers will be powerful have a real effect!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

.You win, I lose.

Ever find yourself in the midst of one of those freshman-year-of-college debates... You know, the kind that both parties dramatically oppose one another. Both walk into the conversation "right," only to storm off angry two hours later all the more sure that they were right! (Of course, chased down with two days of awkward silence.)

If you can't tell: I am a recovering addict of verbal battles.
Today, I am ready to admit it, you win, I lose.

One of those perpetual battles I have engaged in for years finds its grounding in being "different from the world." So, you ask, which side were you on? It's complicated. Yes, we are to be different, but difference with the parties I was debating has always been defined as retroactive by ten years... We can do it as long as we are 10-20 years behind what the world sees as "en vogue." (by my count, that makes hair metal a viable option for praise and worship)

So Here's where I went wrong... In pursuing the truth that this argument is foolish, I missed the Truth. I should be different.

When I think about the fact that Christ calls us to a life that leads to persecution, it doesn't exactly inspire within me a "I can't wait" attitude. In fact, my lack of desire for trial and difficulty has left me willing to be satisfied by a life of doing... Nothing.

Platt puts it this way:

Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American dream we will have few problems in the world.

Whoa... Wait a minute... The world doesn't take issue with me because I am not different.
Maybe the reason I don't see loads of converts to Christ by the way I live in front of them because we have the same religion... Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Jim Elliot said of America that, "their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers."

I am not a political person... this is not an anti-American rant... This is about one thing:
As I stand before the God of all creation, I want Him to see something different... for HIS glory!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

.My Thoughts... From Hell.

I have related to several people recently the way that I grew up... Understanding two core realities that are still true today...
  1. This Child is probably already dead.
  2. The organization that distributed this photo is probably taking more than 90 cents of every $1 given.

Do you know what that meant for me? Do Nothing.

I thought, "I can't do everything, so I won't do anything." and David Platt rightly says: that thinking is from hell. I have since said, and still believe--"better those children get pennies on the dollar, than the nothing I gave them."

Don't miss this-I am not saying give to corrupt organizations... I am saying give.

David Platt points out in his book that it is very possible that we can miss our blind spots. Even with accountability, even with daily Bible study, even with prayer... sometimes we miss it. (I missed it). David points out that as:

We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, "How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?" I wonder followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, "How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn't have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn't even exist?"
(David Platt, Radical)

The Truth: My whole life I have struggled with the desire for more and seeing the grass as always greener on the other side.

Now I know that grass is nothing more than the a distorted reflection of earth scorched by hell and meticulously painted green by the American dream.

Want to make a real difference for starving children in Africa? Want something you do to count for God's kingdom not yours? Let me introduce you to Into the Streets of Ethiopia. Currently they are working to mobilize formula to children in Ethiopia who are needlessly dying of starvation by the thousands daily. $12 is all it takes to get formula to Ethiopia...

Can I be honest? If you can't spare $12, your dinner better not look like this:

Because one of God's image looks like this:

God help me NOT TO FORGET...