February 28 – Devotional: Taking A Journey

Just as every journey begins with a first step, every journey ends with a last step. And after about 18 months of dreaming, planning, writing and a year of filming, we have come to the last of our 365 daily devos. We did this for two people: you and God. We hope you have been encouraged and challenged by our meager efforts. Most of all, we hope that God has been pleased and somehow honored by our efforts.

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I do want to thank Terry Brown, a good friend and staff member, for his ideas and hard work; Ben Brubaker, our cameraman and video editor; and my assistant, Amy Boff, who volunteered to translate my writing into English so you could read it.

As we film the last of the original 365 daily devos, I want to remind you of something far more important. The writer of Hebrews tells us of our final steps in this life when he says in Hebrews 9:27, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

I love the next verse, So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

That is where I hope you are, eagerly waiting for his return; I hope these daily devos have helped you along the way. I know they have me, and I have learned more about Him and me through this journey.

So until we meet again, let us all eagerly wait His return.

Hebrews 9:27

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014
 

February 27 – Devotional: Walk By Faith

I had just stepped into the elevator at the hospital and turned around, only to see a German shepherd following me into the elevator.  It was one of those moments where your mind is trying to process what is going on.  I was not expecting to see a dog in the hospital, but there it was.

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But he or she, I did not take the time to look was not alone.  Attached to him as a petite woman with dark glasses.  About that time it dawned on me that she was blind and this was seeing eye dog.

The person beside me in the elevator was asking can I help you or what floor would you like, and she said no I am trying to get outside, oh he said, well you need to turn right.  Apparently she had just gotten off the elevator directly across from my elevator and the dog liked elevator rides.  So she said thanks and went off to the right.

It struck me how brave this woman was.  Only the dog to guide her, she was out in the world relying on helpful strangers, her other senses and Fido.  I am not sure I could do that.  Believe without seeing.  But in a way we too are called to go blindly in the world with a confidence beyond our ability to see.

The author of Hebrews likens faith to an assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  I know we know that verse, and I know that we believe that, but I kind of got the impression that this women, without visual eyesight was living that kind of faith out before my very eyes.

Are you living out your faith?  Are you trusting in the provision of God that you cant yet see?  That woman was, and maybe you should be to.

Hebrews 11:1

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014

 

February 26 – Devotional: Room At The Cross

I wanted to go to this new movie on its opening night.  Now I don’t do that very often.  We as a family will do our best to make the opening day for a Pixar film and back when the new Star Wars came out.  And I did go to the midnight showing with some of the youth I was ministering to but usually I wait until it comes out in a Redbox to see it.

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So this was a movie I had been looking forward to, so on the day of I thought I might go and get a ticket for an IMAX 3D showing about an hour away.  Before I left I went online to buy the tickets and avoid the lines and guess what I discovered?  Yep, it was sold out!

For me that was no big deal, I will just go at another time!  What if that were the only showing ever?  That would be disappointing.  It kind of reminded me of the old Ira Stanphill Hymn. He wrote this particular hymn because as a traveling musical evangelist, he wrote down the title of the sermon and latter wrote it out into an entire hymn.

Those chorus of which went like this.  There’s room at the cross for you; There room at the cross for you.
Though millions have come, there’s still room for one-
Yes, there’s room at the cross for you.

 That is still true today, Jesus said Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  While movies may sell out, Heaven never will.  Thanks be to the God who invites us to be spend an eternity with him.

Matthew 11:28

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014

 

February 25 – Devotional: Freedom In Christ

I love being surrounded by people smarter than me.  It is so much fun to learn from the people around me.  The other day one of our team members was sharing an illustration with me.  He heard it years ago from Tony Evans pastor in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.

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He shared that Dr. Evans described a day of an intense physical work out.  You know one of those where every pore of your body has exploded with a wonderful combination of sweat, dirt and bacteria?  I wish we had scratch and sniff technology where you could just touch your screen and enjoy the aroma of a junior high boys locker room at the end of the day.

Anyway, he described the feeling of a long warm shower where he got zestfully clean.  Oh, that feeling of clean! And then he imagined putting back on the workout clothes he had just been wearing.  What kind of sense would that make?  Well, obviously it would make no sense at all, yet so many of us who are following Christ do the exact same thing.

In Galatians 5, Paul writes, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  What slavery, well the slavery of sin?  And for those of us who have been purchased by the blood of Christ so that we have freedom from sin, for us to return to sin is just like taking a shower and putting on our dirty clothes again.  It just doesn’t make any sense.

After a good work out, go take a shower, and If Jesus is truly your Lord and Savior don’t return to your sin, stand firm and do not become enslaved again.

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014

 

February 24 – Devotional: Your Eternity

I have been in the ministry full time since 1997.  During that brief time I have watched a very interesting trend.  When I first began doing funerals, cremation was not an option that many people ever chose.  Today, nationally 42% of people choose this method.

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Now a new trend is developing and that is the “green” funeral.  It is estimated that more than 60,000 tons of steel and 4.8 million gallons of embalming fluid are buried each year. That is enough steel to build eight Eiffel Towers and fill eight Olympic size swimming pools, according to Mary Woodsen, a science researcher and writer for Cornell University and research director for the GBC.

“People who choose green burials don’t use concrete vaults, traditional coffins with metalwork or any embalming chemicals. Instead, the body is wrapped in biodegradable shrouds or placed in a pine coffin and laid to rest where it can decompose and become part of the earth.” according to an article from Rueters.

Now I am not sure if this new green trend will catch on or not.  There are only about 30 cemeteries that allow such funerals so far. Does God care where or how the body you occupy is disposed of?  I don’t really think so, he told Adam that all of us are dust and will return to dust, at least physically.

God is more concerned about who we are spiritually.  It is our inner person that bears the image of God, of life forever.  Do you know where that person will spend eternity?  The Bible says that Jesus came to give us eternal life; I sure hope you have received that gift.

Whether you choose green, or a cremation or a traditional is not nearly as important choosing Jesus.

Genesis 3:19

19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014

 

February 23 – Devotional: Reboot Your Life

From your computer to Star Trek to Looney Tunes, it seems like everything is being rebooted these days.  The term came from the idea that a computer had to be booted up.  That came from the idea of a bootstrap.  According to Wikipedia, The computer term bootstrap began as a metaphor in the 1950s. The computer reboot is a process involving a chain of stages, in which, at each stage, a smaller simpler program loads and then executes the larger more complicated program of the next stage.

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So the computer “pulls itself up by its bootstraps”, i.e. it improves itself by its own efforts. In the very early days there was a physical bootstrap button that started the whole process.  Today we just call it the ‘on’ button.

To reboot, then would mean to start over.  Another example of this is the old television series Star Trek when all of the actors got too old.  Or how about when somebody thought it would be cute to see what a baby bugs bunny might do? These familiar characters were “rebooted.” The new rebooted version was new and fresh and maybe up to date.

Of course the idea of rebooting is not new.  God had it mind from the beginning.  After the fall of Adam, God decided to reboot it all with Jesus. This second Adam would not fall to sin, and would offer us all a full reboot of our lives, so that we would not have to live according the flesh we are all trapped in, but can now made alive in the spirit.

And one day, God is going to reboot the entire universe as well, and a new heaven and new earth will be created.  In the meantime enjoy those reboots, and be thankful that you too can be rebooted, in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014

 

February 22 – Devotional: Citizenship In Heaven

Have you ever left the United States?  If you have, then you know you must have a passport.  A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel. You cannot legally enter or leave the country without one.  The application process currently takes about four to six weeks.

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Here’s the problem. We are planning a rookie mission trip for those within our congregation who have never been on an international trip. But we kind of waited a little too late.  In order to get the best airfare rates, we need to book the flights in the next two weeks.  If you have never been outside of the United States then you probably have never applied for a passport. If you wait too late, like we did, you will probably not get it in time.  So it does not make much sense to have a trip for those who cant go.

That is kind of the story of my life and that is having a great idea, only after it is too late.  So let me urge all of you who are watching if you don’t have a passport, get one!  It is not that expensive and it is pretty easy to do. The passport is good for ten years and that way when you get a chance to go on a mission trip, you will actually be able to go.

Do you have a passport for heaven?  Will you be accepted by God?  No, it wont take a passport to die, but it will take one to get into heaven.  Not a physical one granted by these great United States, but rather a passport given by Jesus himself.  He claimed to have all authority in heaven and on earth and said that He is the way to enter heaven.  If you don’t know him you can.  If you already do know Him then remember, your passport thus your citizenship is from heaven above.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2014