Archives For Journey with Jesus

I was honored to be able to give this sermon on the Prodigal Son at my home church, Rocky Mountain Community Church in Littleton, Colorado.  I thought I knew a lot about this passage in Luke 15:11-32 but when I started looking into it I realized there was a lot I didn’t know.  Thanks to the help of Dr. Ken Bailey’s research, my Pastor Anthony Pranno and of course the over site of the Holy Spirit I was given this message.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Prodigal Son

 

The Desire of Your Heart

April 16, 2013

Growing up as a kid I learned to love baseball.  I played it everyday, all day long.

I can still smell the leather of desire of heartmy glove and feel the stitches of the ball on my fingers.  I can smell the freshly mowed grass of the outfield and I can still remember the wonderful crack of my wooden bat when I got a hold of a fastball on the barrel and watched it travel over the fence.  Man those were great days.  In the movie “Moneyball” Brad Pit, who plays the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, says “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” I could not agree more.

It was my life’s dream to play in the major leagues.  I wanted to wear the uniform of two teams, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals.  I just was not good enough to play major league baseball.  And because of a bad arm at the age of 17 I put down my bat and glove for good.  I would go on to play softball but it wasn’t the same as facing a Nolan Ryan fastball.  I wonder if I would have felt my knees shake in fear had I gotten that opportunity.  But that is not what God had in store for me.

After I became a Christian and I started to understand what God meant by giving us the desire of our heart, it became more and more apparent it was about my desire melding with His desire.  My second love was fishing and I found out God wanted me to become a fisherman.  Not of bass or trout or even sailfish but of souls.  He wanted me to be a fisher of men just like Peter.

I still love to fish for fish and I still hold a love for baseball but my true love is to see people’s lives changed and transformed for eternity for Christ.  What is the desire of your heart?

 

The Marks of Faith

April 11, 2013

tumblr_m9bvba6Otn1rpac06o1_500I want to tell the story of two men of faith.  Both named Mark.  The Marks of Faith.  Both are incredibly strong believers and both are in a literal fight for their lives.  Please keep both of these men in your prayers and pass their stories to your prayer warrior friends.  The more people praying for them the better.

Mark #1 - I have known Mark for a very long time, probably over 20 years.  He has two sons and one daughter and an incredible wife.  A couple of months ago Mark was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.  Some people when they are told they have cancer they naturally get upset and wonder how they were chosen to be the recipient of this terrible disease.  I know if told I had cancer that is how I would react.  But not Mark.  Mark’s reaction was “Well God has allowed me to have this disease and I trust him with the outcome.”

Mark has not had one “oh whoa is me” moment.  Instead he has kept a very positive attitude and has trusted God.  He has endured 8 weeks of radiation and 8 hours of surgery so far.  The great news is today after the surgery and after the pathological report came back, the doctor declared Mark cancer free. He still has a long road ahead.  Mark faces recovery from his current surgery, one more surgery in 12 weeks and then 6 months of chemo.

Mark is the king of puns and calls himself “Chemo-sabe”.  My favorite memories of Mark are the pop bottle rocket fights we had with his kids in a field outside of Denver.  Yes it was not very smart but I assure you it was fun.  I still have a shirt with burn holes in it!  He is a good man and Jesus loves him and I do too.

Mark #2 – I have just started getting to know Mark and Sara Bender over the last couple of weeks.  Mark has an incredible story.  About 6 weeks ago Mark and Sara were in Hawaii celebrating their anniversary when tragedy hit literally out of nowhere.  Mark was body surfing when a rogue wave came up and flipped him over the front of his board and snapped his neck leaving Mark paralyzed.

Mark and Sara are from the Seattle area but now find themselves in Hawaii and instead of going home, are now having to spend several months at Craig Hospital in Denver.  The company Mark works for, HTC, generously allowed his family to fly from Hawaii to Denver in their corporate jet and have told him to not worry about his job.  Mark will have one waiting for him when he gets better.

I met Mark with a friend of mine at church on Palm Sunday at the hospital.  I will be honest I wasn’t sure what Mark would be like when I went into the hospital.  The person I met was smiling and welcomed Brad and I like he had known us a long time even though this was the first time we met him.  We spent some time talking about his injury and then with his family, Brad and I prayed and prayed with tears running down our cheeks asking God to heal Mark and give strength and courage to his family.

The doctors say that the prognosis for Mark to walk again is slim but Mark has faith in a very, very big and powerful God.  At that first meeting he was not really able to use his hands and now he has excellent motion with his arms and the doctors are amazed at the improvement  his hands and fingers have shown.

My wife and I went to see Mark and Sara last night and asked him how his faith had changed after the accident.  Mark said he has never been closer to Jesus.  He admits that he had taken a lot of things for granted before.  Don’t we all?  But now he is taking everything to the Lord and seeing and feeling him work.  Mark said he has never been closer to Jesus.

Mark and Sara are very active people who love the outdoors and taking in all of God’s creation.  Mark was training competitively for track cycling hoping to compete in the national championships.  That is still a goal he keeps in front of him as he endures hours of grueling rehab.  The Bender family has a faith not found in many people.  God has big plans for them during and after this journey.  I am so glad I got to meet them and become friends.  They are an inspiration to me.

Here is a link to the Bender support Facebook page.  They welcome any prayer support we can give.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-for-the-Benders/319325408170717

Both of these “Marks of Faith” live out Hebrews 11:1 in their lives everyday.  Their strong faith make me think about how I live my life.  How many things do I take for granted?  How many things do I complain about?  I am not sure I would handle the challenges they face with the same grace, humility and faith the “Marks of Faith” have shown.

 

Fasting for Healing

December 16, 2012

In light of the tragedy in Oregon and Sandy Hook this past week and also for all of the hurt and division in our country right now, I am challenging my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to fast with me for 30 days.  Fasting can be going without food or it can be giving up something else.  It is to take a moment of time where we do something in our routine and then taking that time to focus on God’s word and listen to His voice as we repent and cry to God for healing.  My hope is that we all ask for God to send out His Holy Spirit to begin a renewed move of people towards Him in the Unites States and around the world.  God has done this numerous times in history and it has always begun with a small group of people who faithfully prayed and cried out to Him.  God listens to His people.  His will is for everyone to come to ask for forgiveness and turn towards Him.

Would you be willing to join me for the month of January to either give up one meal per day or give up something for Him?  Examples of this to give would be listening to the radio on the way to and from work.  Instead listen to His voice and ask Him for guidance on how you can act to bring a revival to our land. Give up watching an hour or two of TV every night, really giving up anything where you can be in silence and prayer listening and crying out to God.  It will be interesting to see what happens after 30 days.  God is amazing and desires to hear from His people.  Only a change of heart in this country toward God instead of moving Him further and further out of our lives will change the direction of this country and this world.

An Encouraging Word

December 12, 2012

Scott, I’m praying for you today that you are able to live today in the truth found in Philippians: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

These were the encouraging words a good friend of mine from church wrote to me today in a Facebook message.  He had no idea what was going on in my day and had no idea how much these words of encouragement meant to me.  I have been evaluating where I am with the Lord as a true disciple and whether or not I want to REALLY live as a true follower of Jesus.  I have been evaluating scripture and praying and reading books about others who have similar experiences in their lives.

I have been a follower of Jesus long enough to know that when you make that kind of commitment it can mean I will go through some difficult trials.  If I become effective for the Lord I can bring interest from our enemy, Satan.  If I just remain a wishy washy, ho hum Christian who has just checked off saying the sinner’s prayer and thus signed my ticket to heaven, Satan will have no use for me.  I will already be doing what he wants, nothing. But God is faithful and just and as long as I stay by Him and trust Him with every phase of my life, I will be far better off with Him than if my life went along perfectly fine alone and without Jesus.

I want to make a difference in this world for Christ’s sake and His glory.  I want to help others see Jesus as their true hope and that living a life for Him and through Him is the only way to true happiness and peace.  Putting my hope in Jesus has taken the pressure off of me.  I am no longer in control so I can go about His work and not have to worry.  It’s not up to me anymore!  Who doesn’t want that!

Look at the verse in the picture. God does not lie.  People do but God does not.  Who do I want to put my trust in, people or God?  And God acts on His promises.  He doesn’t say, “I’ll call you sometime” and then not call.  God does what He says He will do.  I can count on that.

Today was one of those days when nothing really bad happened but a lot of annoying things happened to make it a challenging day.  I had just wrote my wife a text telling her I was having a crummy day when the message my friend wrote popped up on my screen at work.  I know, why was I on Facebook at work?  Great question.  Earlier my daughter announced that she had been in an accident on her way to work on Facebook so I was looking to see if she had posted an update since she did not call or text to let her mom and I know if everything was okay and she wasn’t hurt.  That was biggest thing that was challenging today.  Fortunately she is fine and nobody was hurt.  Just a minor tap from behind at a stoplight.

So my friend’s words came as a welcome reminder that God is indeed fully engaged in my life and is working through me and through others to see that His purpose in me is being accomplished.  God is love.  He loved us before we loved Him.  We can count on that and the many other promises He gives us in His word.