Romans 1: Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.

A bondservant was once a slave. This person may have had a family and children while being under the bondage of slavery. The release from their bonds means they are free but not their family. They then have a choice to make. The person can walk away from family but they have another choice. When they are released from their time of servitude they may of their own free will decide to stay as a slave to their master. I know in our cultural understanding of slavery in America this may be hard for some to grasp.

All I know is scripturally this was something that was common. What would happen then would be the master would take an awl and pierce the person desiring to be a bondservant’s ear. This marked them as a slave for life devoted to their master of their own free will.

So when we read this passage and other similar passages written by James (James 1:1), Peter (2 Peter 1:1) and in Jude (Jude 1:1). Notice that this is how each of these men began their letters. They wore this identity proudly. It made a statement not just about their faith they ascribed to but the devotion to that faith.

I remember piercing my ear @ 18 years old to join the ranks of these men of God. I have three holes one for salvation, baptism, and sanctification. Each is a reminder daily that I am of my own free will surrendering my rights and following the will and desire of God.

As you go through your contemplation today.

Have you surrendered your will completely to God?

Do you willfully without regret trust your whole life and put it in His hands?

You have been freed from the slavery of sin and death. Is there no better act of thankfulness than to attach your whole self to the one who ransomed you?

You have been set a part for the gospel (Good News) of God.

Do you realize now that your life is filled with ultimate purpose. God desires to have a relationship with us. A bond that ties us together for a common purpose. He created all of mankind to be a world of priest who carry His presence in and through the whole world. The presence of God brings healing, unity, and wholeness to everything, everyone, and every area of our lives. We as His priest called for a High purpose carry the Good News which is the hell on earth people experience, the loneliness, the chaos, the aimless wandering has a solution.

The only problem is people do not want to hear the solution, which is a restored relationship with the One and True God. Regardless of the response we are to live out this relationship in such a way that our words are backed up by our actions.

Live a life that others desire, a life filled with grace from the author of all love, peace and grace, Jesus Christ. 


Lent -God-o-centric


God-O- Centric

The mission statement for Renewed Life Church is:

Transformed by God to Transform the World!

The beginning is the most important part. Fasting helps me break out of my selfish desires and focus onto a deeper plan of reality. The reality that God made everything and everyone. Because He is the source of all life and existence as we know it then we find ourselves in a very unique quandary.

With our free will we find ourselves back in the garden. Our choice is no different than theirs. The choice isn’t about fruit but about who will be God. The serpents whole line of reasoning hinges on that God doesn’t have our best in mind. That God actually is trying to not protect us but to keep us down from being everything we could be. Just reach out and show Him who you are. That You also have power in our freedom and use it for all it’s worth. O and in case you missed it what God says about dying is a lie.

The question given in Genesis 3 then is saying we can be our own judge of right or wrong and what God has said cannot be trusted. Does this sound familiar to how we view Christianity today? Those people can’t control me, who do they think they are? They obviously don’t have any understanding of who I am and all they want to do is keep me down. They are full of lies and can’t be trusted. Where did they get all their knowledge anyway? From some Deity I can’t even see or want to believe in!

Lent brings me to the place of daily, moment by moment surrendering my limited understanding for the unlimited knowledge that God possesses. Realizing even if I don’t understand everything that this Holy, Just God DOES HAVE MY BEST IN MIND. That He does love me in ways that I cannot understand in my finite mind and heart.

God today please Renew my mind so that I see that your ways are not my ways. That my ways are twisted by sin and selfishness. Help me to have wisdom to understand and the knowledge to trust Your Word.

If there is any rebellion in me please reveal it and help me lay it down at the foot of Your cross.

Let my life be a living sacrifice of moment by moment living a life that say’s that I love You!! 

Lent-Not the brightest or the best


1 Corinthians 1:

26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

As I read this passage over the years it has brought me great comfort. The comfort of knowing that God can use even me. I know all my flaws, failures and reasons why of all people I should not be a pastor much less someone God would accept.

The amazing beauty of Christianity is that if you can relate to me then we are the exact people God came to Transform. I know it sounds crazy but we are the Holy Priesthood the Chosen, the Called.

I am proudly a Gen x’er. We are categorized as slackers, rebels. No one expected much from us and we were sure going to deliver!!! We gave you punk rock, and all the rest of the discontent that went along with it. If there was a rule we were going to break it ; No smash it! I dared anyone to question me and had a self-righteous chip on my shoulder.

When I became a Christian much of who I was just was sanctified. God had placed me in a generation that watched our parent’s go through protest of war, experiment with free love and abandon materialism, well until they grew up and then they went nuts with being materialistic and shallow. So we saw both sides of the coin and just wanted to scream and scream we did.

As a Christian and now a pastor going through the fast of Lent I have to laugh at my younger self. Yet much of that rebel still exist and honestly I relate a whole lot to Jesus.

He saw the establishment and went at it head on. He had no qualms about pointing out the hypocrisy and yet He had a very tender side for the marginalized in society. I feel this embodies Gen X’ers to a “T”.

I still can’t stand the Big Show in church. Christians who are more interested in looking good than doing or being good have little time on my calendar. I am not about the shallow feel good of the social gospel but the lets get down and dirty into the mess till you can only see our eyes and teeth while we are pulling people out of the mess that swallowed them called sin.

This Lent get a little rowdy with your own image. We are not afraid of intr0spection! Let the Holy Spirit do a little punk rock dance around your soul and knock the dust off your pretty walls and furniture. You might just find there is some “Poser” hiding in the room that needs to be thrown out into the street and out of your soul.

Lent 2- Worship


Psalms 86: 12 I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your name forever.
13 For Your faithful love for me is great, and You deliver my life from the depths of Sheol.

Worship. We say the word a lot in post-modern Christianity. We dim lights, play cool music, and do everything possible to create an environment of worship. But do we worship?

Do you ever get lost in the words? Do you just feel God in such an overwhelming way that you begin to cry. I know being a tough man I am suppose to be always in control but I have to admit that many times I just begin to weep. This comes about even when I am one of the people in charge of leading worship. As the current drummer in our praise and worship band I sometimes just want to let everything go. Let the music take over… but is that worship or just a strong emotional experience?

I have to be careful that the experience never overtakes the worship.

Worship defined : the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.

We have times of loud praise and then quiet meditative worship. However I believe like King David sometimes we just have to cut loose and dance. If you feel you need to do it then I say do it. If your doing it to be seen or just mimicking someone that looks pious then don’t do it. You know the difference and honestly others can sense the difference.

But honestly worship leads me to a place of repentance. When I realize I am in God’s presence I can’t help but all of a sudden stop and panic. I mean the God of the Universe the most Holy Being that exist is now focused on me. All my arrogance, righteousness, and actions seem ridiculous.

I noticed throughout scripture that people in God’s presence dropped and fell face down. Then and only when The Holy Spirit enabled them did they rise before God.

What a difference our services would have if we all just focused on our Creator God and dropped. What a difference would happen if we humbly approached each service with awe. Can you imagine once the Holy Spirit allowed us to stand again the freedom we would feel.

Honestly how I know I am worshiping is when everyone around me doesn’t matter. When my focus is on praying praises to God and just telling Him how incredible He is. Everything changes.

True worship changes us, because we cannot be in the presence of God without being radically changed.

Have you been changed lately?

Spend time on Saturday praying for Sunday. Pray for those who need to be there to have their hearts prepared. Pray for yourself to not be a hindrance but that your heart is right. That you are not bringing in any wrong attitudes or spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit to overtake everyone on the worship team and in leadership. Cry out to God for all our hearts to be cleansed and pure before Him.

I have been doing this for months and recently revival has broken out. Nothing we planned or scheduled. We have no idea how long this will last or what comes next. We are not controlling the services but trying just to be open and a tuned to the Spirit of God’s leading.

Fast self this week at church. Worship is all about God and not us.

The audience is listening, the audience is God!!  

Lent 1

Psalms 37: 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.


Much of the beginning of any fast is consumed with peripheral things that have taken center stage of our focus. We become like horses with distorted blinders. These blinders cut off our forward vision and have us only able to see what is beside us. This is a dangerous way to live. I believe half the problems in the church are because of such self imposed blinders. We are so busy looking at others and the world that we forget to focus on Christ.

Commit your way to the Lord.

What an amazing statement. Could it be that I view my decisions with His understanding far more than my own? Do I seek to please God more than myself? Do I even take time to consult the Lord as to what and if I should do even small activities?

This kind of commitment is a radical thing. I know on a recent spiritual retreat we were asked to just allow the Holy Spirit to lead us even to where we would spend time with Him. This was some real work to quiet my mind and attune my ears to God. Through this active listening some amazing things were revealed and some deep healing took place.

This radical listening realigns even our conversations. So many times we are more concerned about what we are going to say than to actively listen to the person we are with. And even deeper still to listen to God’s guidance through the conversation. Does He want us to sit silent even if we think we have a good point. Maybe He is guiding us to say something simple yet this is profound to the one listening. Do we concern ourselves with hearing the persons heart and behind the words more than what is being presented. This can only take place when we discipline ourselves and ask God to guide us into what is truly being said, and then guide us into where he wants the conversation to go.

Much of this Psalm is consumed with others. The writer seems to be very concerned that God is blessing the wrong people and he is being overlooked. I wonder how different our faith would be if we just stopped worrying about such things?

What if we just concerned ourselves on being the men and women God called us to be?

What if we just concerned ourselves as being agents of grace and healing in a dying and hurting world?

What if we just listened to God and focused on what we can do for those around us instead of bemoaning that we can’t go and do what seems to be big and great. Trust me if you help someone in your sphere of influence who is struggling then you have done something big and great for God to help them.

God today help me to Trust You.

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2 : 12-17

“Yet even now,” says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.

17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples,
    Where is their God?’”


The first question is why would a Nazarene pastor participate in an ancient Catholic tradition such as Ash Wednesday? The reason is to connect with the ancient act of repentance. As a believer that all truth is God’s truth and that is people wear many different labels. I try and participate in whatever I see that will bring me closer to God. I appreciate the ancient tradition and respect the what has been a valued act of contrition since the earliest recording of this service around 1,000 AD.

Return to me with all your heart with fasting, weeping, and mourning. As Christians we do to little of this. We say a quick prayer of forgiveness and then we arrogantly march into our lives. I can’t help but think this is why the current world is disgusted by our faith. It isn’t God who has failed them but His slick shiny way to cool followers. We need more humility not just before them but before Him.

Our prayers have become demands, our worship has morphed into entertainment and our lives reflect a hypocritical self righteousness that Jesus came to destroy.  The “Where is their God” is an accurate portrayal of how the current culture views and questions us.

Where is their God? When they see no compassion. When even our compassion is motivated by the wrong reason. Our look at me selfie culture has taken over so why wouldn’t they question our motives and faith? Even I posted a selfie with ashes on my head. I felt a quick twinge of conviction and took it down. This is a fast time not a time for me to display my acts of faith. The Lenten season is for our personal mortification. The admitting of my personal failures known theologically as sin.

This is a time of readjusting my spiritual compass back to listening to the voice of God the Holy Spirit. His voice has become harder to distinguish amongst the other voices I have allowed into the room. No wonder mine and other church leaders moral compass struggle to find due north in our world. We have allowed personal opinion, cultural relevance and a desire to be liked to overtake our desire to please God and speak His truth. We as His men and women are to speak His truth. We are to speak it with Great Love and Greater Humility!

Greater Love and Greater Humility. This is what fasting brings. Our sinful attitudes rise to the surface and are exposed. We then ask the Holy Spirit to remove these as we continue to go deeper.

Lord Rend our hearts today as embark on this 40 day journey.

Keeping the Freedom


Galatians Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

My journey to Freedom has been exciting. I soon realized that coming home immediately the old things of life try to invade us. The old standards and allowing unhealthy relationships and expectations also are the first areas freedom is attacked.

Every relationship Must have boundaries. I believe the majority of those who we perceive as taking our freedom did not mean to do this. Honestly the only reason this ever happened was because we allowed it to happen. So why did we allow this to happen. How did we loose ourselves?

I believe this happens for several reasons.

1: Fear of being unloved. We all desire to be loved. But in our quest for love do we truly open ourselves to people who have our best interest in mind? Many times we will open ourselves to very unhealthy people and knowingly seek their love instead of seeking out those who may tell us the truth or have healthy boundaries. This falls into the area of how we see ourselves and what we think we deserve.

2: Fear of hurting others. We don’t want to disappoint others so we sacrifice ourselves and our personal freedom. When we do this we allow someone to hold us hostage emotionally and worst of all spiritually. Speaking the truth and keeping our freedom is a point of personal integrity. Is truth more important than the pain. usually we put off pain. This almost always leads to deeper and greater pain down the road.

3: Feelings of powerlessness. This is the greatest lie. Our powerlessness happens when we believe the lie that we have no control. If we are Christians than God is the ultimate power in our life. Someone can take my life but they cannot take my Spirit. Matthew 10 28 “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

4: sacrificing our own health to help others.

5: Guilt and shame

6: lack of self confidence and identity.

These are all areas where freedom is surrendered. We can’t even say it was taken because we freely give it away!

As I sit on a balcony in Galveston, Texas I feel free. I have talked with different pastors about this subject and how guarding this freedom is crucial to their spiritual health.

So boundaries may be a way of keeping people out but is there a way of keeping people in?

I believe something that was said about hiring would revolutionize the way many people Christian or not should function in their relationships.

Hire slow fire fast!

Hire slow: Do not rush into putting people in important places. It is better to take your time on the front end. Usually we hire someone because we have a hole and a crisis is developing. These are all the wrong reasons to let people into your most trusted places. We should instead look around and see who already shares our vision and is moving in that direction on their own. We shouldn’t have to motivate people to do something. You don’t have to motivate people to do the things they are passionate about. So if someone isn’t already pushing ahead then they shouldn’t even make the list as a leader.

With this said just because they are a mover and a shaker does not mean you share the same vision. Take time to not just hear their words about vision but see their actions. What is the fruit produced? They may not have the success others desire but the fruit should at least look the same. The whole iron sharpens iron will produce better fruit down the road but you have to make sure your both on the same page. Fighting this battle will just result in hurt feelings and splits and division between you and people you care about. Avoid this on the front end. They may be an incredible person but if your going in different directions keep looking.

Fire fast: The longer you wait the more painful this is for the whole organization. Confusion will be built and deeper hurts will manifest. Honestly the avoidance is cowardly. I say this from experience. I can hide behind my desire to see people healed and whole to keep someone. However if I have a leader who is not willing to be on the same journey of healing and I avoid the hard job of confronting and redirecting then I am being unloving to the rest of the church. The church will not understand what has happened and deep hurt will be the byproduct.

Again you won’t have to fire fast if you take the time on the front end to hire slow.

In our personal relationships I see singles in desperation. They are so hungry for a relationship they compromise everything for one. Then they are usually with someone who causes them to compromise their faith and moral standards. You can loose yourself. When we are sexually active early, when we live together, when we hide who we are to make them like us, when we do things against our beliefs this always leads to a weak foundation that has tragedy and pain written all over it.

Hire slow: Take time to see who the person really is. Do they want you to compromise your beliefs? Do they uphold your passions? Do they like the things you like? Everything will be revealed. And if they are not the right one you haven’t created an emotional tie by sleeping with them. You just maintain a friendship.

If you break up and can’t be friends then you have done it all wrong!

This goes into friendships. The way to keep your freedom is to guard from letting people in too fast and compromising your beliefs to quickly.

I am today regaining my freedom as an individual, a husband, brother, son, friend and pastor!