Life Resurrected. Check out this amazing book for only $.99


I want to let you know about an awesome book promo starting tomorrow.

For two days, 4/11 and 4/12, Life Resurrected: Extraordinary Miracles Through Ordinary People will be on sale for only $.99. This was written by my friend and fellow blogger/author, Jesse Birkey.

What can I say other than this book is amazing! Full of testimonies that will encourage you to step out in faith and trust God will use you for His glory. We aren’t on this earth to say a quick prayer and wait for a bus ride into Heaven. We are here to manifest the image of God. We are here to love people.

I finished this book in just three sittings. Jesse has a very clear writing style that instantly grabs you by the shirt and pulls you into the book. He talks about his journey and transformation as God delivered him from a life of bondage and slavery. He is very transparent as he openly discusses things from his life that could easily be left private.

It’s all to show the amazing love and power God has poured over him throughout the years. I won’t go into any of the testimonies. I’ll leave those for you to discover. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Click HERE to purchase the book.

Click HERE to visit Jesse’s website.

About Jess and his wife, Kara:

Jesse and Kara Birkey live with their two children, Rylie and Kailyn in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Jesse grew up in a Christian home. His father was a Mennonite Pastor and Mother a nurse. He grew up with the knowledge of God but denied the power of God to change his life. This led to a desperate search for worth, which brought hardship as he embraced the comforts of the world. He completed college at Hesston Mennonite with an associate’s degree in business. At 21 Jesse had been hired as a firefighter/paramedic, married Kara and bought their first house together. A year later their son was born followed by their daughter two years after that. Jesse was 26 when the power of God’s love finally broke through his hard heart. Everything in his life began to change as he pursued God with passion and zeal. God began to direct Jesse through seasons of spiritual change, bringing encouragement and correction as He sought to mature him in the things of His heart. Jesse began to recognize that God wanted to be a part of his work life and began to see miracles as he ministered the love of God in the back of his ambulance ranging from the dead raised to self hate being destroyed as the perfect love of God washed through. God began to show him that God wants to use ordinary people in extraordinary ways. It was Jesse’s passion for others to know this, and the testimonies God had built in and through him, that led him to write Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People. Jesse’s passion is to be like Jesus and continues to minister as led daily.

Kara also grew up in a Christian home. Like Jesse, she had knowledge of God but failed to let His love transform her heart. She sought that love from the world, which led to heartache and struggles. Her primary passion in life was to get married and raise a family. She married Jesse when she was 19 and three years later had two young children. She saw a lack of Jesus in their home but didn’t know how to fix it. She prayed that Jesse would rise up and be the spiritual leader of the house. She got far more than she was expecting as Jesse suddenly began pursuing God into areas (spiritual gifts) that made her uncomfortable. As Jesse pursued God, she stayed where she was comfortable but still disconnected from God’s heart. Her continual search for value and worth culminated in tragedy when she had an affair. Her life was falling apart. 6 months later she confessed and watched as the rest of her life teetered on the edge of a cliff. She would later say that she didn’t understand the depth of God’s love and grace until she heard Jesse say through tears and intense traumatic pain, “I forgive you”. The love of God broke into her heart that night and over the months that followed He showed her how to let Him love her, how to forgive herself and how to love Jesse. As God healed and transformed their hearts their marriage was miraculously made completely new. The testimony of their trauma and healing is in a book they wrote together called Marriage, What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess. Today her passion is to be like Jesus and continues to minister as led daily.

A message to the pro-life community. There is a good side to abortion


Stop. Hold on a minute.

Put down your torches and pitchforks. Call an end to the lynch mob looking to string me up in the public square.

I’m on your side. I detest abortion.

I believe, without any doubts or hesitation, that it’s murder. Life begins at conception.

Actually, if we want to get extremely technical, I’ll go so far as to say life begins long before conception. God already hand-picked every person before the foundations of the earth were formed.

So yeah, no matter how you slice it, abortion is not cool.

I do have to tell you this, though. And here is where you might decide to re-light those torches.

You won’t find me outside of an abortion clinic participating in a protest.

It utterly breaks my heart to see you standing there with sings that read “Mommy, why do you want to kill me?” or “Babies are murdered here.” There are young, broken, terrified, and unsure teenagers walking past those accusations.

It reminds me of another story that talks about a mob dragging a broken woman before Jesus to be stoned. But, let’s not get into that right now.

I guarantee you each and every young girl heading into that building is struggling with shame, guilt, and condemnation. Whether they even realize it or not, something deep inside their being is crying out for hope.

Their shattered hearts are aching for love. To be accepted no matter what mistakes they make in life. Their souls are grieving.

And we have the answer.

We possess the hope they seek.

Unfortunately, they won’t notice it hidden behind the huge signs of judgement and hate. They won’t see Christ in you, the hope of glory. They will only remember the pointing fingers, shaking heads, and disdainful glances.

Through their tears, they will only see a group of people who despise their very existence. They will only see a bunch of white-bearded, robe-covered old men with huge rocks in their hands.

But, here’s the thing. Here is the good side of abortion that I wanted to delve into. Actually, there are a couple of things that can work for good.

First, you have the amazing opportunity to transform someone’s life. And it only takes one little element to begin the process. Love.

That’s right, put down the signs and approach another human being in need of help. Better yet, burn your signs and stop carrying them around altogether. Stop pointing fingers and start pointing them to the One who can heal all pain.

It’s impossible for someone to walk away from an encounter with unconditional love unchanged in some way. I believe with all my heart we will see Malchus in Heaven.

The very man he went to arrest in the Garden healed his ear, no questions asked. No stones thrown. No conditions. Malchus must have had blood all over him. When people asked what happened, he would think back to that moment.

A life-changing moment.

So, if you go to an abortion clinic, go with an entirely different motive and attitude. Give them a hug. Weep with them. Comfort them. Show them the Jesus we talk about but rarely demonstrate.

Secondly, think about this with me for a moment. All good things work together for good. Not just some things. ALL. It’s in the Bible. Go find it.

The enemy would like nothing more than to kill babies before they are ever birthed into this world. Sometimes, he succeeds. Sometimes, he doesn’t.

When he does, they unborn child is immediately rushed straight to the feet of Jesus. And He is there waiting with open arms. So, even in death, they find life.

Come on, that’s awesome.

I understand how hard it is to see someone carry through with the decision to abort, but there is always a hope we can cling too in every situation.

It takes faith. The good in every situation isn’t always obvious. Sometimes it’s masked by human pain and emotions. But, it’s there. I promise you.

So, don’t hate me. Don’t label me insensitive to the reality of abortion and the long-term effects it creates for everyone involved.

I”m on your side. Let’s walk like Jesus together.

Despite what Indiana thinks, unconditional love doesn’t require a but


There is a huge problem with Christianity today. It feels to me as if we have built walls around our beliefs when we should be completely open and accessible.

We immediately get mad, irritated, or defensive if a person shares something that contradicts what we believe.

We start shouting Bible scriptures and flog them with our judgmental whips. The sad part is, we do all of this while keeping the skeletons in our own closet locked away under a veil of darkness, where no one can ever see them.

What bothers me the most is the “but” mentality.

We have become a generation of Christians who can’t love others unless there are conditions. 

Love the sinner, BUT hate the sin. Of course we hate sin, but why do we feel the need to state that every time we see someone doing wrong?

Why can’t we simply say love the sinner?

See? No condition there.

When we add a “but” condition to our love, I believe it weakens the act. It takes our focus off of the hurt and broken individual, and places it all on what they are doing.

Are they gay? Who cares. Do they worship the devil? Doesn’t matter. Did that girl have an abortion? She needs our love, not self-righteous judgement.

One of my favorite lines from a song comes from Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns. “What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and love like You did”. That’s powerful.

Don’t miss an opportunity to love someone because you’re too hung up on what they are doing. 

I can help you, BUT what’s in it for me? Seriously? So many today have the mentality that in order to help someone, we need something in return.

Why is that?

What happened to helping someone who can never pay us back? If we always expect a payoff on our love investment, we will never be able to help the poor, homeless, hungry, or naked.

We might as well rip out all the pages in the Bible that talk about Jesus, and burn them. He was the ultimate example of helping those who could never return the favor.

And He was completely satisfied with that. He didn’t need them to do anything but accept His love, help, and healing.

I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time, BUT I’ll be praying for you. You might as well slap someone in the face.

While prayer is very powerful, and an essential weapon in our arsenal, it’s not always the solution.

If a family has no food in their apartment, you don’t just pray that God will provide. You drive to the store and buy some food. If you don’t have the funds to buy food, ask your friends to help. Take food out of your own cupboard and give it.

There is always a way. When we need something, sure we pray, but I believe we also have to be active, and not just sit back, waiting for God to do His thing.

These are just a few examples of the “but” mentality. Our love should be unconditional. No strings. No expectations. No requirements. No repayment plan.

Jesus enjoyed the benefits of spending His time with God the Father in Heaven, but He lowered Himself to our standards and became human. He lived life on Earth. He allowed Himself to be hung on a tree. He took on all of our pain, fear, sin, brokenness, despair, and shame.

And He did it all with no expectations for us to reciprocate.

I want to be more like Jesus. I want to love others unconditionally. For me, the but stops here.

Jesus is so much more than a holiday


I get it.

Most people grew up in church. It became a weekly ritual. For the very religious ones, attendance required three visits per week. Minimum.

Then annual observances became the norm. Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ. Easter, His resurrection. There’s a myriad of documents, theories, and arguments about the actual time frame of His birth. We won’t get into that.

I see a trend in Christian circles, and quite frankly, it grieves me deeply.

I’m not here to beat you over the head with the true meaning of these holidays. Jesus instead of presents and commercialization. Jesus instead of Easter egg hunts and candy. Regardless of origins, no one is going to Hell if they participate in those activities.

It’s ludicrous to even think that way.

Jesus paid too high a price for us to only honor Him twice a year. 

This weekend, thousands, if not millions will don their fancy clothes, paint on an extra layer of make-up, and walk into a building to thank the Nazarene for everything He accomplished over 2,000 years ago.

Some will become angry on the way to church, overcome with an undeniable swell of road rage. Some will purposely walk right past at least three homeless people, holding onto merely a shadow of empty hopes and faded cardboard signs. Some will verbally abuse their spouse as they exit the car in the parking lot. Some will smile at the greeters standing just inside the front doors. Some will avoid eye contact.

People, who haven’t attend church on a  Sunday since the first episode of The Walking Dead premiered, will suddenly appear on Easter Sunday. Why is that?

We’ve been trained that if there is one day not to skip out on church, it’s Easter. We can live like Hell all year, but if we walk through the doors on that Sunday, that special Sunday, it’s all good. God will overlook everything else.

Come on.

It’s time to punch religion square in the face and start acting like the people Jesus died for. 

It’s time to stop playing church on Sunday and start being the Church every day of the week.

God peered down the timeline of history and hand-picked us to breathe life. He was excited at the prospect of living inside of us. Living inside of His very own creation.

Jesus didn’t hang on a tree just so we could recite a quick prayer and have our card punched for the train ride to Heaven. He hung there so we could die to our self and follow Him.

We should be on our knees every single day thanking Him for the ultimate sacrifice. Thanking Him for being the example of love we don’t have time to be.

If we’ve reduced the Gospel to an Easter or Christmas story, shame on us.

We have the incredible opportunity and privilege to be ambassadors for our Creator. We were formed from dust of the Earth, but yet our Maker wants to live through us. He wants us to show the world what love looks like.

Jesus was our example. He modeled Christianity for three years. Out in public. Where everyone could see what it meant to live a selfless life. He left instructions for all generations to follow Him.

Stop thinking you deserve to have a good life here on Earth. Stop thinking you deserve the praise of man. Stop thinking you deserve to be treated better at work.

If we want what we truly deserve, we can saddle up the horse and start heading south. Way south. What we deserve is Hell. Jesus went through Hell so we wouldn’t have too. And we only want to pay Him homage twice a year?

Come on, Church. Come on, Saints. We can do better than that.

Jesus was born, crucified, and emerged from an empty tomb. For us. He gave it all so we could once again be reconciled back to our Father. Our original Father. The One from Whom all of life springs forth.

People need hope. People need love. If you are truly born again, there are no unlovable or unreachable people. I’m tired of hearing those words spoken. Those people don’t exist to anyone who has truly become love. Everyone has potential, destiny, and created value. It’s that simple.

Jesus is so much more than a holiday.

He’s the very reason for our existence.

Pre-order my new book, I Believe


I Believe is now available for pre-order. The release date is April 14th, but you can order your copy now. When it goes live for sale, it will automatically download to your reading device.

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Here is a sample from I Believe.

 

Remember Me

It’s nearly time to pay for all of my sins.

I have to be completely honest. I don’t want to die. I’m sure anyone can understand those feelings. Even though you might judge me for all the wrong I’ve done, I hope you can see me as just another man. A son. A brother. A loved one. Someone who has messed up in life, but not a horrible person.

I don’t want to be remembered for my failures, but rather as a man who took responsibility for his crimes. I am a thief. Of that fact, there is no doubt. Everyone knows it. I guess most will remember me for that reason alone. And I can’t say that I would blame them.

If there were a way I could atone for everything I’ve done, I would most certainly make every effort. Unfortunately for me, the list of my wrongdoings is far too long. The judge has decided that I will no longer be held prisoner.

It’s been decided that I will be put to death along with two other men. Other criminals.

There is nothing more I can do but accept my fate. I have been a prisoner for quite some time. At least, in one way, death will be freedom. It’s not exactly how I imagined my release, but it’s a release nonetheless. I’m tired of staring at bars where rays of the sun barely peek through each morning. Where guards toss unrecognizable food carelessly into my cell. I can’t remember the last time I ate something that wasn’t picked up off the floor.

I’ve had plenty of time to sit in silence and contemplate what death might be like. I’m not entirely sure what I believe. From time to time, men would come and speak to us about God. They would tell stories of Heaven and Hell, good and evil. We were shown the error of our ways and the eternal punishment that would follow this life. Just a couple of days ago, they spoke of the Messiah, Who had finally come. The one prophesied about in the ancient scriptures.

That would explain the feeling of chaos that filled our city walls. We heard stories of miracles, healing, and about a rebel who didn’t follow our religious leaders. He spoke of Heavenly things, but not in a similar fashion as everyone was accustomed to hearing. It was reported that He claimed to be the Son of God.

That, in itself, was blasphemy. A crime punishable by death. We had only one king, and everyone knew the consequences of not bowing at his feet. The Romans were known throughout the land as being ruthless when it came to enforcing people’s obedience. There was nothing they deemed off limits in their methods of torture and ways to make people suffer for doing wrong.

They were going to crucify me. Crucifixions were common in our day and age. It was the Romans preferred method of dealing out punishment. I had never witnessed one myself, but the stories I heard were enough for me to get a clear picture of the process. Such a painful way to die. The unsettling fact was that most people didn’t die right away. It could take hours or even days.

I didn’t want to suffer. Since childhood, I had considered various ways I might die, and none of them were favorable. My biggest fear was drowning. I would never have been a good fisherman. I had several friends who had met death at the hands of an angry sea. Some of their bodies had never been found.

Being crucified had never occurred to me. The Romans would either tie or nail me to a cross. The rusty nails would hurt more, but in the end, it wouldn’t matter which method was used. My fate was sealed either way.

I awoke that morning with a heavy heart. It’s a strange thing to realize I wouldn’t live to see tomorrow. It wasn’t long before the guards came and pulled me from the cell. It was time to march up to the mountain where they would carry out our sentence. They pushed me toward the massive crowd that had gathered in the temple courtyard. I had no idea what was happening, but many people were shouting.

The guard pulled me to the front, past the throng of people, and shoved me to my knees. I wasn’t sure if I was just a spectator or would soon be an equal participant in the punishment. A man was chained to the whipping post, and the soldiers argued about who would take the first turn. They had completely stripped away his clothing and dignity. I could see bruising on his face blood dripping from cracked lips.

He didn’t utter a sound. Not even one word in protest.

 

To be continued…

An open letter to Phil Robertson


Let me start by saying I love you.

Not in the oh-my-goodness-your-show-is-amazing-and-your-family-is-awesome-and-I’m-so-glad-you-guys-are-Christians-I’m-a-huge-fan kind of way. I truly love you. Just like everyone else on this planet, you were created in the image of God. Before the foundations of the world, God said, “Yeah, I want that guy.” He knew exactly what you would look like if He moved in and enveloped every empty space of your being. He loves us all that much.

I’m not writing this letter to debate your relationship with God. That is entirely between the two of you. We are all the stewards of our own hearts. You’re a public figure, maybe even a celebrity to some extent, so it’s impossible for me or anyone else to know what your walk of salvation is all about. People like to judge you for the things you say and point out that we will know you by your fruit. While that is true, the whole point of the verses in Matthew 7 isn’t about the fruit, but making the tree good.

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

People spend so much time trying to make the fruit good, when the problem is the tree. If the tree is good, the fruit has no other option than to be good as well. It’s just an automatic by-product.

Everyone is loved by God. That list includes terrorists, homosexuals, murderers, drug dealers, and atheists. If there was one person throughout all of time who had the right to hate anyone, it was Jesus. He lived a perfect life on Earth and did nothing but help people. He healed them, saved them, fed them, and always showed compassion. Yet, while the blood poured out of His body and He hung there slowly dying, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Walking in unconditional love means exactly that. It doesn’t mean abusing the word love with an excuse that it’s our job to point point out someone’s mistakes and faults. Your recent statements speak volumes to your feelings towards atheists. It truly breaks my heart. God doesn’t see them as atheists. He sees them for their created value, potential, and destiny. He knows what they look like with Him living inside, and He loves that view.

We should also love that view.

When we become born again, we give up all rights to live for ourselves. We have no right to judge anyone. The more we hold onto our “rights”, the less we die to self and follow Jesus. People say we deserve this, or we deserve that. If we truly want what we deserve, we can go to Hell. That’s what we all deserve, but God longed to have His children back, so He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our reconciliation. We now have the ministry of reconciliation, not judgement.

Mercy triumphs over judgement.

I hope this letter doesn’t come across as me trying to correct you. That’s not the intent. I want to encourage you to press more into Jesus every day. We don’t need to make controversial statements to get attention. When we enter into relationship with our Father, nothing else matters. We are complete in Him. He loves us with a perfect, selfless, undeniable love.

Let’s love others in that very same fashion.

I’m Sorry


I normally only publish on Mondays, but this is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I took a month off of Facebook and other social media apps. It was pretty awesome. Nothing legalistic or depriving myself of things as a religious fast. I just wanted a break. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with ads, opinions, and millions of people trying to prove their point/beliefs/convictions to the world. I see hurt, anger, and frustration on a daily basis. This is my apology to those who have been hurt, abused, or cast aside in the name of Christianity.

If our job was to beat people down in judgement, Jesus would have applauded the plank in our hands instead of pointing out the one in our eye.

Dear You,

I wanted to take a minute to just simply say, I’m sorry. 

I’ve been there. I’ve been the one to rant and complain about your actions without explaining the truth about your created value, purpose, or destiny. I’ve used the defense that, as a Christian, it’s my job to tell you the truth. I’ve heaped guilt and condemnation upon your head by abusing the word love. I’ve preached at you with the selfish motive of trying to change you. To point out how wrong your lifestyle is. 

I’ve completely discounted your views and beliefs because they are opposite of mine. I’ve called you names, argued your every point, and even decided to wash my hands of you, because you aren’t worth saving. I’ve said things like “Remove all negative people from your life” or “Life is short, don’t waste it with negative people” or even “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” Thankfully, Jesus never thought that way.

I’ve stood outside abortion clinics with huge signs that read, “Mommy, why do they want to kill me?” and “Babies are murdered here.” I saw you walking towards the entrance, and I tried to stop you. Not to say “I love you”, and show you how merciful our God is, but to shout in your face and call you a baby killer. Instead of seeing tears running down the face of an unsure, terrified, shamed, teenage girl, all I see is my agenda. All I care about is making sure you know how wrong your choices are. 

On social media, I’ve posted every scripture verse I can find that speaks against same-sex marriages. I’ve boycotted your stores, products, and creations because you’re gay. I’ve turned my nose up at the very mention of the word homosexual. I’ve seen you walking in the mall hand in hand with your partner, and made a point of glaring at you in disdain. I’ve closed the door to my church and drafted new guidelines that prohibit your presence. I’ve repeatedly enforced my belief that you will most certainly burn in Hell if you don’t repent and change your ways. I’ve scoffed, mocked, and ridiculed you as much as I can through statuses, comments, and blog posts. 

Even though the Bible says to pray for our leaders, I’ve constantly attacked, belittled, complained about, and called you a devil worshiper, Mr. President. Instead of praying that God would quietly speak to your heart and show you His grace and mercy, I’ve made sure to convince all my friends that you are truly an evil man. I’ve verbally attacked the people who voted for you and believe you are a great leader of this country. I make it known that I only vote Republican and look down on anyone who disagrees. 

Again, I am very sorry for the severe injustice I’ve served you by not manifesting the glorious love of Jesus. Even while I was lost in darkness and living a life of death and destruction,  Jesus died on that Cross for me. He died for you as well. Don’t let my actions push you away from a loving God who wants a relationship. Forgive me, and give me the opportunity to love you, unconditionally.

Sincerely,

The judgmental Christian

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After a full day of attacking baby killers, thieves, drug dealers, drunk drivers, atheists, devil worshipers, prostitutes, terrorists, and homosexuals, most “Christians” will lay down at night and thank God that He saved them and they aren’t like any of those people. They will sleep peacefully, knowing their names are written in the Book of Life. Then, they will wake up tomorrow and make sure the entire world knows they are a Christian.

We aren’t here waiting for a bus ride into Heaven.

We’re here to love.

Back to the basics: Identity


In order for us to truly know who we are, we have to go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:26-27 says:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Wow. We were created in the image of God. The Creator of all things. The One from Whom all of life springs forth. We aren’t just worms born from the dust. We were carefully fashioned in the very same likeness as our Father. God could have made the animals in His image, but He didn’t. He chose us.

So, right away, we see how much value we have from the very beginning. Unfortunately, something happened, and man was separated from God. He ate from the forbidden tree, and sin entered the perfect world.

Genesis 2:16-17 says:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now we know that when Adam ate from the tree, he didn’t fall over dead. So what exactly did God mean when He said Adam would die? He meant that his identity would die. His created value would be lost. Instead of walking around expressing the image of God, man would become just like the enemy. Self-serving. Self-pleasing. Self-aware.

In that instant, the enemy knew he had won a major victory. With man so focused on self, any relationship with the Creator would be severed. It was a glorious day for satan and his hordes of demons. It was not possible for him to defeat God, but he had successfully managed to dethrone God from the heart of man.

The Old Testament is all bout the law of sin and death. The consequences from that day in the Garden are documented throughout all 39 books. We see the wages of sin and the destruction of mankind.

The New Testament tells a different story. A man named Jesus enters the world and there is once again hope of reconciliation. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, that He gave His only son. After the events in the Garden, God could have given up on us, but He didn’t. He never lost sight of what we would look like with Him living inside of us.

Jesus did what no other man before could ever do. He walked a perfect life on this earth and fulfilled the law. Then, He died. But here is the key. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross because we were sinners. He had to take on sin so He could obliterate its power forever, but He didn’t die to show us how bad we are.

Luke 19:10 says (emphasis mine):

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

That which was lost. Not those whom were lost. What was lost? When Adam ate from the tree, he lost his identity and created value. Jesus died so we could once again claim our identity and birthright. He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled with God. C’mon. That is awesome! Jesus was separated from God so we could forever be joined with God. Jesus died so we could live. When sin got finished with Adam in the Garden, he was unrecognizable. Jesus was marred more than any other man so we could once again have our true identity back.

Jesus didn’t die on the Cross to expose our sin. He died to reveal our identity and created value.

The value of something is determined by the price paid. Heaven went bankrupt to reconcile us back to the Father. Jesus didn’t die for a bunch of low life, dirt groveling sinners. He died because we are sons and daughters of the King. That right there determines our value and worth.

For too long, we’ve allowed life and other people to be the barometer we use to gauge how much God loves us. We allow our circumstance to shape and mold us. We allow life to speak louder than truth. When we live by feelings instead of faith, we will go from bummer to bummer instead of glory to glory.

When we truly understand who we are in Christ, everything changes. We see everything through the lens of love. The past no longer has the power to potter our lives. People no longer have the power to potter our lives. Circumstances no longer have the power to potter our lives.

It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. All God is asking us to give up is something we were never created for in the first place.

Jesus didn’t say to deny satan and incorporate God into our lives to have a better day. He said to deny self and follow Him.

We have to quit striving towards the Cross and start living from its finished work.

The legacy I want to leave


Up until a year ago, life was all about me.

Sure, I was a Christian who loved God and people, but something was missing. My wife and I even spent four years in a ministry, but something was still sorely lacking in our lives. There had to be more to this Christian walk than just living like everyone else. Where was the joy? Where was the peace?

How was I any different than unbelievers? I would get mad when something didn’t go my way. I was easily frustrated. I let the opinions of other people shape my identity. I blamed God for the bad things that were happening in my life. I prayed and read my Bible, but they became acts of routine and not fellowship.

Then we started watching messages from Todd White and Dan Mohler. If you have never heard of these guys, I encourage you to look them up on YouTube. Wow. Up until that point, I had never heard truth preached as clear and sound. The scriptures came alive, and I felt a quickening in my Spirit that had long been reduced to nothing more than a pile of darkened embers.

I finally started to realize who I was in Christ, and everything changed.

Jesus makes it very clear what it takes to follow Him. We have to die to self. We have to give up something that we were never created for in the first place. We were never created for us. We were created for God.

I am going to be perfectly honest with you. I’m still growing into that revelation of truly dying to self. I have made huge progress though. Fortunately, it’s not something we have to try and accomplish on our own, because that would be impossible. We can’t wake up in the morning and “try” to be a good Christian. It begins with a more intimate relationship with our Father. It’s a daily process.

When we die to self, there is nothing else to do but become more like God. Ephesians says we are to be imitators of God. What is God? He is love. Our objective on this earth is to become love. Well, what does love look like? It looks like Jesus. Jesus was the visible image of an invisible God. He was love personified. He modeled the Christian life that we need to live out.

Last week, I gave you an example of Jesus acting like us instead of love. You can check it out HERE. Oh, how life would be so different now.

I want to walk this earth just as Jesus did. Loving everyone. Healing the sick. Praying for the blind. Raising the dead. He is living inside of me, so there is no reason not to do those things. It’s all about faith. Just because I might not see things happen when I pray, that doesn’t change the truth of His words. We’re not here to live by feelings. We’re here to live by faith. The Bible says living by feelings is demonic, so why would we want any part of that?

I want to love my wife with God’s love. Not saying “I love you” in order to hear it back. Not praying that God will change things in her for my benefit. If we ever pray that God will change someone just because we have an issue with them or because it would make our lives better, it becomes all about self, and that’s a dangerous place to be in. (I’m not saying I have an issue with my wife. I just want to keep growing in God’s perfect love.)

I want to model Christianity for my kids. If we go to church on Sunday morning, but get angry, frustrated, and pottered by life every other day of the week, then we’re just teaching our kids that being a Christian means going to church. I want them to see the love of God in how I discipline them, father them, and love them. I don’t want to punish out of frustration, because then it’s all about me. If I punish them, it needs to be done in a way that continues to show them their true identity in Christ. I want them to fully understand their created value from God.

I want to stop passing silently by people on the streets and in stores who may never have heard about God and how much He loves them. Who knows that the next person I walk by, without saying a word to, might be contemplating suicide? They may need the hope that I carry inside of me. They may just need someone to love them without expecting anything in return.

I’m done with living for myself and following the way of man’s wisdom. The way that seems right to a man leads to destruction. God’s wisdom leads to life.

What is the legacy I want to leave behind?

It’s simple. Jesus.

The event that changed history forever


The night was silent. A shroud draped the garden like the weight of a heavy blanket. Slivers of moonlight peered through the trees and washed over the man kneeling. The heart inside His chest thumped like a drum, overcome with wrenching emotion. Drops of blood slowly trickled down His face as He looked up to pray.

“Father, there must be another way. I just can’t believe after everything I’ve done, this is how it’s all going to end. I haven’t done anything wrong. Please. Provide a different way.”

He stood to His feet and returned to the men He considered His closest friends and brothers. They had promised to stay awake and pray with their Teacher. They were all sleeping.

Jesus shook His head. “I should have known. Why are you guys sleeping? The time has come. Let’s go.”

They started to leave when suddenly the darkened night was flooded with the glow of flickering torches. A group of men approached Jesus and His disciples. He noticed Judas walking towards Him. There is the one who will betray me. I don’t know why I gave him the chance.

Judas walked up to Jesus and kissed Him on the cheek. “Greetings, Rabbi.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this, Judas. After everything I’ve done for you, how could you betray me? And with a holy kiss? Unbelievable.”

As the soldiers reached out to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and attacked. He swung blindly and struck one of the servants, cutting off his ear. The man cried out in agony and dropped to the ground. Jesus walked over and picked up the severed ear. “Your name is Malchus, right?”

The man nodded, his face clouded in pain.

“Why are you doing this? You know I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m an innocent man, and here you are to arrest me and shackle me in chains. Don’t you see how unfair this is? I could easily heal your ear, but you know what? I believe you need to think about what you’ve done. Let me know when you decide to change your ways, and we’ll talk about the ear.”

Jesus dropped the ear to the ground and raised His hands in surrender. The men began to punch Him in the face and stomach. They spit on Him as they placed Him in heavy chains. They brought Him before the Sanhedrin where He would be questioned.

One of the men looked at Jesus and sneered. “Tell us if you are indeed the Christ, the Son of God.”

Jesus nodded. “Of course I am. You know all the things I’ve done. How else could I have performed miracles, healed people, and raised anyone from the dead?”

The man slowly retreated and began to tear his robes. “Blasphemy. We don’t need any other witnesses. He has spoken blasphemy with his own mouth. What do the rest of you think?”

“He deserves death,” they shouted.

“Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute,” Jesus said. “Are you kidding me? Death? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”

Without another word, they took Jesus to stand before Pilate for sentencing. He was beaten, bloody, and hardly recognizable.

Pilate stared at Him. “Are you King of the Jews?”

“Yes,” Jesus answered. “This isn’t exactly how royalty should be treated, is it?”

“Do you hear all the things they are saying about you? Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?”

“I have done nothing wrong. I’m innocent and this is completely unfair. No one will listen, though. I’ve tried to tell them.”

Pilate stood before the crowd. “What shall I do with Jesus, Who is called the Christ?”

In unison, the crowd erupted into shouts of “Crucify him! Crucify him! Give us Barabbas!”

Jesus shook His head and cried out to the crowd. “Are you serious? You want Barabbas? He’s a murderer. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate allowed the soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip constructed of bone fragments, glass, and pieces of rock. They tore away His flesh  with every strike. There wasn’t much left of a man once they had finished. They dragged Him from the courtyard and threw Him to the ground. Two soldiers walked over with a cross and forced Jesus to stand to His feet and begin to carry it.

With every labored step, Jesus was hit with sticks, punched in the face, and cursed. They started up Via Dolorosa, and Jesus reached His breaking point.

“That’s it. I’m done,” He said as the cross fell to the dusty ground. He looked up towards Heaven. “Father, I know this is what You want me to do, but I just can’t. These people don’t deserve anything but death. I am completely innocent, yet they are treating me like a common criminal. I mean, come on. They wanted to free Barabbas. Barabbas, the murderer. It’s ridiculous and not fair at all. All I ever did was help them. Don’t they realize who I am? I chose to lower myself to their human level, become a man, and walk in love. Look what it got me. They don’t appreciate anything I’ve done.”

The soldiers stared in disbelief. They looked at each other, unsure how to proceed.

Jesus walked down the path away from everyone else and raised His hands. “Okay, Father. Take me back up. I’m done. These people have hurt and abused me more than anyone should ever have to endure. I know what they are going to do. They are going to laugh in my face as they hammer rusty nails through my hands and feet. Do you really think there is any hope at all for these people? They don’t care about You, me, or righteousness. Let them figure it out on their own. I want nothing more to do with it. I don’t care if my blood, my sacrifice, would reconcile them back to You. They don’t deserve it. Let them see what Hell is all about.”

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My eyes filled with tears as I finished writing this alternate version of what could have happened. Just think about where we would be right now had Jesus acted like us instead of love during those dark hours. He had every right to behave exactly how you just read. He was completely innocent, yet He knew what it meant to die on that tree. He could have easily ended up on some talk show as a victim. We are reconciled back to the Father because of love.

Jesus said to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him. If we couldn’t walk through that same situation just as He did, what are we doing? Are we living for Him or only for ourselves?

We get so wrecked when people treat us wrong, lie to us, betray us, and try to hurt us. It’s time to give up all the rights we think we have and become love.

If we don’t see words or actions in the life of Jesus, they shouldn’t be in ours either.