Saturday, May 21, 2011

check out the Josh Ridings Band

In 2001 and 2002 I had the opportunity to play guitar with Josh Ridings at USC FCA.   In recent years I've had Josh and his band lead worship for a retreat and my youth group.  They are amazing!  Go to iTunes and download their stuff!

Josh Ridings Band formed in 2009 when Josh Ridings, Shag Tucker, and William Tucker began writing songs for Hope Point Church, in Spartanburg, SC, where they lead worship weekly.  Their albums, Sing Out Loud (2009) and Kingdom Come Down (Fall 2010), are filled with honest, energetic songs intended to be catalysts for both individual and corporate worship of Jesus Christ.  Each song has its roots in real prayers and experiences of the band.   Josh Ridings Band believes the Lord has given its members a unique gift of writing deep, biblical truths that are melodic and easy to sing.   Josh Ridings admits, “It is my goal to declare and display Jesus Christ with every song I sing.” 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Do you need surgery?

”The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
    --Hebrews 4:12
The other night I was flipping through the channels on my TV and stopped on of the shows that show an entire surgery.   It was very interesting to watch the precise detail of what goes on in the Operating Room.  It is kind of like how God works on us and our Spiritual lives every day.  

How often do you let God do major surgery on your spirit as his Spirit uses the Word to encourage, judge, motivate, convict, instruct, and inspire?  With such a  great tool so readily at hand for most of us, let's not let a  day go by that we don't let God use his word on hearts.

God has a will for our heart's desire.  We need to realize that we need to be fed more consistently by His Word revealed in Scripture.  Ask God to give you strength and consistency  in your walk with God through His Word.    Through His Spirit,  be inspired to change what needs to be changed and to be blessed  and encouraged in the areas that you need it most.  Turn to God and trust Him in the works He wants for you and your life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

RESPECT...Find out what it means to me...

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.    --Titus 2:2
Worthy of respect?  It seems like in today’s world, we have forgotten the meaning of the word Respect.  If you go to, you can will see that Respect means:  A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem, The state of being regarded with honor or esteem, Willingness to show consideration or appreciation, respects Polite expressions of consideration or deference. 

Taking a look at Titus 2:2, what a goal for our lives whether we are men or women!  Don't you want your life to reflect the character of God because our faith expresses itself in a life of self-control.  This work of the Spirit in our lives happens only as we dedicate ourselves to being what he is at work trying to accomplish in us. 

Take a look at your life and see how you can gain better control of your passions, your  speech, your  example, your daily lifestyle, and your habits.  Ask God to help you give up the things that take away from your spiritual passion and your influence for good to those who do not know Jesus.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have
watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. -Isaiah 55:10-11

Rain... We have been all too familiar with it these days as we awake to a grey sky and humid drizzle.  It is uncomfortable to have to endure the weather - the extra coat or umbrella, perhaps a pair of leaky shoes
whose inefficiency is made worse by patches of soggy ground.  Yet as troublesome and depressing as a
sullen, grey sky and falling water can be, in a sense rain is a wonder, too. Where we have built hard surfaces of asphalt and concrete, building roofs and gutters, the water rolls off and is whisked away.  But where there is a space of ground or a bit of growth, the rain sinks in and returns to the earth the life-giving water necessary for growth.

In Isaiah, the prophet compares God's word to the life-giving water of rain and snow.  It is a life-giving word which goes out from God, a word which showers upon the earth to accomplish God's purpose.  Like the rain, God's word comes upon us seeking us in love so that we might live more and more to God and for God. And though in the end God's word will not be thwarted (even the hardest of mountains are, in time, worn away through the power of water and wind), we certainly have a knack for building hard places in our lives that whisk the word away.  Where is the "rain" of God's word falling in your life this week (Where is God in all of this?)?   What are those "hard places" which make it difficult to for the word to sink in?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do not call list

" God called to him…And he said, ‘Here I am” –Exodus 3:4

When God calls us we treat it like a wrong number or a telemarketing call and give no answer.  Sometimes we even put God on our “Do Not Call List”.  Moses’ response to God’s call revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready.  Readiness is being in a right relationship with God and having the knowledge of where we are.  

But too many times, we are too busy telling God where we want Him to be or where we want to instead of being ready for what God has in store and where He is.  We  sometimes wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something will be coming our way and when it does, we are quick to say “Here I am”.  

Instead we need to come to God humbly and lay it all down and say “Here I am”.  God has so many great things in store for us if we would only allow ourselves to be ready and willing to be in His purpose.  Stop putting God on hold, not answering, or putting him on a “Do Not Call List” and put Christ in the center of your life by answering God’s calling in your life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inked by Forgiveness

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  “Matthew 6:14-15”

"Inked by forgiveness.   Too often in our lives we are stuck at holding on and not forgiving.  This verse is such a staggering statement, when any of us fail to forgive another person; our lack of forgiveness is a barrier to God forgiving us.  Not forgiving ourselves and others places us outside the gracious forgiving love of God.

BUT THERE IS GREAT HOPE…God wants you to have freedom:
When we realize how much we have been forgiven, it enables us to make the choice to forgive others; it allows the Holy Spirit to do a deeper work in us.

CHALLENGE:  Who in your life do you need to forgive?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last Stretch

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never
ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." Lamentations 3:21-24

It seems like we always have so many plans and so many hopes and aspirations for how things should be or how I want them to be. And yet, as we head into this last stretch before another School year is in the books, we find ourselves already tired.  Not just sleepy, but tired.  At times it is as if we are trying to run the 100 meter dash wearing a pair of concrete shoes.  And yet we are reminded of the fact that perhaps our fatigue lies not so much in our busy-ness, but maybe in our poor focus.  

It is not that our daily activities, sports, hobbies, projects, and hanging out with friends, are trivial or are not worth careful attention.  They are indeed important, I believe, a part of what God has called us to do and be at this point in time.  No, the problem is often that we find ourselves trying to do too much, too perfectly, under our own power instead of trusting in the renewing love of the One who is Perfection and Power.