Video I shot for Emerging Leaders College

This is a 5 minute promo video I shot for the Emerging Leaders College a few weeks ago. I just finished up the editing last week and wanted to share this. It’s so cool to hear the amazing stories of the Teen Challenge graduates and to see where God is taking them. Take a minute today to check this out!

Here is their website: http://elc.teenchallenge.cc

“Let me hold you…”

When my son was really small he constantly wanted to be held by me. As he has gotten older each year he has become more and more self-reliant and now at almost 7 it is nearly impossible to get him to sit still on my lap for more than a few seconds! I remember how much I loved being able to hold him and just be near him when he was a little baby. Now that he is bigger I don’t necessarily want to hold him quite as long (mainly because he ways over 50 pounds now) but I do still want to hold him every now and then. Lately if I get to hold him it is usually when I carry him inside after he has fallen asleep in the car. After I carry him inside I will usually just sit and cherish the few moments that I have to hold him. 

This past week I was reminded by the Lord that a lot of times I get really busy and hyperactive with everything going on in my life. He showed me how in so many ways I act just like my son and can’t seem to sit still when I am in His presence. I feel the constant urgency to get up, do something, write a reminder, check my Facebook or email. I have to constantly be doing something or else I feel almost anxious. He has been reminding me of how much He longs for the moments each day when I can just simply stop and be near him.

The love I have for my son is but a weak reflection of God’s unlimited love and passion for all His kids. He doesn’t want to hold us out of need to feel loved but rather because He is so FULL of love he can’t wait to express it to us…Image

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

The word “Behold” in the greek is one that means to look at something, to know something or to experience something. We don’t just get to read about, hear about and talk a lot about the amazing love that the Father has for each of us but we can actually encounter this love. We have the ability to literally experience His love when we are willing to simply just take the time to “behold” this amazing love He has for us. One way that we can encounter His love is by taking time to get away from everything and everyone to just let him pour out His love on us. We behold the love of our Perfect Father when we give him the time to hold us. 

A loving father who cannot wait to express his love would not limit himself to a letter, a messenger or a reminder of what he has done in the past. He would long to express his love in a real and tangible way in that very moment. He would desire to say it himself and to use his hugs and kisses to remind his children how dear they are to him. Our Father longs for us to know His love each and every day in a very personal way. He longs to pour out His love but so many times we are too distracted, busy or pacified by false intimacy. 

Just as a good dad wants to affirm his kids by physical touch, gifts and personal time of fun, so does our Heavenly Father long to remind us of His love. Our Father longs to do even greater things than even the best dad on earth desires to do for his own children. We have an amazing Father in Heaven who is in a great mood. Because of the blood of Jesus we are no longer enemies but can truly be called Children of God. 

How can you stop and let the Father hold you today?

father, dad

Our Perfect Father

Everywhere I go and minister I have noticed that there is usually one thing that is common about many people in the places I have gone all over the country. I have noticed that many people have a lot of bitterness and un-forgiveness towards their father. A lot of people either had a non-existent dad, one that blatantly hurt them or one that simply let them down. Not one of us had a perfect dad while growing up but all of us have a deep longing for the love of a Perfect Father. We have a natural desire for something that no earthly dad can provide, no matter how great they were! (I have been blessed to have an AMAZING earthly dad by the way…)

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I believe that the reason that we have this desire for a Perfect Father is because God himself put that desire inside each of us. He placed that desire in our hearts so that we would search for Him and find Him. The good news about this desire is that it can be satisfied because of what Jesus did on cross. When he died he paid the price for ALL of our sins and enabled us to come into relationship with His dad, which is the Perfect Father. When we confess our sins, turn away from them and confess Jesus as our Leader then we can enter into the relationship with our Perfect Father. Here are some exciting things to notice about our Perfect Father:

1. He is “Our Father” Matt 6:9 – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

When Jesus taught us how to pray He showed us the amazing truth that His Dad is our Dad! This is good news because Jesus was the Son of God. This means that God is our Father and has brought us into the same relationship that he had with Jesus. This means that when we have needs that he sees them and enjoys meeting them just like any good earthly father would. This also means that we have a loving Father who loves to give us good gifts, lavishes His abundant love upon us and disciplines us so we don’t do things that will hurt us. This is great news because in Christ, we have a Perfect Father!

2. He is the Father of Glory – Eph 1:17 – “that the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation…”

The greek word for Glory here literally means, “something has inherent, intrinsic worth”. This means that our Father is one that has unlimited glory, splendor and worth. We have the most wealthy and blessed Father ever! Our Perfect Father is one that deserves great honor, renown and respect. We don’t have to be ashamed of our Perfect Father because He is the Father of Glory and deserves all of the respect and honor. We can be proud of the family that we are in because we have the Perfect Father!

3. He is the Father of Lights – Jas 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Our Perfect Father is one that never changes. He doesn’t suddenly have a bad day and yell at us. He doesn’t hold back His love from us simply because we have made a mistake. He doesn’t ever change. Our Perfect Father is one that is consistent and will be consistent throughout all of eternity. We can expect that ALL of His amazing attributes will always be true 100% all of the time. God is love and we can expect that He will always respond to each of us out of His perfect love. We have a Perfect Father who is always perfect!

If today you realize that you have this deep desire for a Perfect Father but have never truly known Him then I want to invite you to confess your sins, turn away from them and enter into a relationship with a Perfect Father through Jesus Christ. If you do know God but you feel like you can’t experience the fullness of His love, it may be because you are still harboring bitterness towards your dad. When we make the decision to forgive others and let them go, it opens up our capacity to receive love. When you forgive it allows your Perfect Father to pour His love out on you.

If you need to forgive your dad then I want to invite you today to simply pray out loud the following: “Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive my dad for _______________. I thank you for my earthly dad and pray that You would bless him. Please forgive me for holding this against him. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness. Please show me what it means to receive the love of a Perfect Father. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

empty tomb jesus

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Yesterday morning while I was reading through the end of the book of Mark I was really struck by 3 words. The three words I read were out of the final chapter in Mark’s gospel account and it is what the angel told Mary at the tomb when she came looking for Jesus’ dead body. He explained to her that Jesus was not there and told her these three profound words, “He is Risen.”

empty tomb jesus

These three words really put people at a crossroads when they look at the Bible or the Christian faith. I mean did Jesus REALLY rise from the dead? A lot of people all over the world can acknowledge Jesus was probably a really good guy but don’t really believe that he rose from the dead. This morning as I read those words I really thought about the implications of those three words…

  1. One major thing that it means if Jesus is risen from the dead and is still alive then He must have been God. It must mean that all his claims and teachings were true and that He really is the only way to the Father and the only way for us to receive salvation. This is amazing news because we can now have a relationship with our creator, realize our purpose for existence and live a life full of hope, joy and free from all of our guilt and shame.
  2. Another thing that comes to mind is that if Jesus is risen then we can still have a relationship with him. Not only is he God and the one who made a way for our salvation but he is also living and we can intimately know him. If he is still alive then he is not someone that is inaccessible to us. We can actually commune with him through the Holy Spirit whom he sent after he returned to being with the Father. All of us have deep longings for intimacy and relationship and the good news is that we can find a greater fulfillment in knowing Christ than we ever could have imagined!
  3. Lastly, if he told his disciples over and over again that he would die and rise again and then it was fulfilled, then we can expect the other predictions he made will come true as well. Jesus told us that he would be coming again. If we believe that he really is risen then we can most definitely be expecting his return. This creates an urgency about all we do and changes the way that we live our lives. If we really believe that Jesus is coming back then we know that we play a major role in this end-time plan that God has. If Jesus really is coming back, then we want to be sure that we know him so we can fully invest ourselves to a life of prayer and intimacy. We can cry out with the Holy Spirit for Jesus to “COME!” We can take part in the great commission of preaching to ALL nations, tribes and tongues which must be completed before Jesus can return. With this paradigm of Christ’s return we see that we’re not just innocent bystanders but can rather play a major role in brining about His return by prayer, fasting and doing the greater works of discipling the nations.

When we believe that Jesus is risen, that he is God, that he longs to know us intimately and that he is coming back then it absolutely changes everything. By looking at what the Bible says about Jesus then we are all faced with a decision to either see Jesus as God or an outright liar and lunatic. There is no ability to sit on a “fence” and stand somewhere in between when we look at the cross of Jesus Christ because either we believe he rose again as God or stayed dead like all the other religious leaders throughout history. Jesus told us in Matthew 10:34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He said this because the “sword” represents his Word and when his Word comes it divides humanity into two separate camps. Jesus came to divide those on the earth who will believe and those who refuse to believe.

What do you believe? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? 

Testimony – Back Healed at TC in GA

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to go and minister at a Teen Challenge here in GA that helps adolescent boys. We had an amazing time together during that chapel service and saw God do many amazing things. After sharing with the guys I felt that the Lord told me that one of them had terrible back pain. I actually began to physically feel the pain in my own back as the Lord told me. I felt that we were to pray for this person. I stopped everything at that moment and asked if any of the boys had back pain in that particular area. Suddenly the boy sitting directly in front of where I was standing looked at me totally shocked. He stood up and said he had terrible pain in his back and was literally praying for God to help him with his back pain right as I began to ask the boy’s if anyone had pain in their backs. I then had some of the other guys come around him and we prayed for him and he was completely healed! It was not only a huge testimony for him but also all the other boys in that chapel meeting.

Here is the testimony in his own words:

“My name is J******… and I wanted to thank you for (the) healing in my back the night you came for our devotion… What made it even more amazing was that I was praying for my back at the same time you called me up for healing. Thank you…”

God is so good!!! He truly gets all the glory and the honor. He is doing amazing things right now in the earth and I love getting the opportunity to see him move in power.