On Tour With The HOLY SPIRIT

First let me say that I believe God still moves today. I KNOW for a fact Jesus still heals the sick! I believe the Holy Spirit comforts, counsels and convicts. (John 14:16; 16:7-11; 13)

What saddens me is when religion sucks the life out of something and the Holy Spirit is put into a box.

I first noticed this when I was living in TN. A friend invited me to his churches annual revival. Now I have no problem with an evangelistic event but lets just call it that. What I started noticing was that the revivals were all billed the same way.

Our (insert number here) annual Holy Spirit revival. It was something you could mark on the calender. I was once told I needed to come before the Revival ended. I also noticed no church held their revival at the same time. Each one was for a week and it then seemed to move to the next church.

I started feeling like the Holy Spirit was being put on tour and was curious how one goes about booking the Holy Spirit for an annual revival.

Now God's Word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11) He uses these times and many have come to Christ. I praise Him for that. What makes me sad though is how many times it just felt like a, get your repenting done for the year, crusade. "Did you mess up brother, hang on revival is coming....in 2 months, don't miss it!"

Maybe it's just me but I think a real revival starts in our heart and it can't be booked in advance. It is something that breaks forth. It's not planned but comes after a season of repentance and prayer. It lasts as long as God wants it to.

So what's the point? The point is that God still moves. We should dig into the Word and seek Him with our whole hearts...and then revival will come.


Jesus - the definition of life

I looked up life in the dictionary recently and came across a definition that got me very excited. Life was described as: the experience of being alive.

The experience, I like to call it an adventure. Life IS an adventure. It's exciting. It has it's ups and downs to be sure but come on...LIFE rocks.

Look how we try to increase our life span on a daily basis. People take vitamins to stay healthy, they exercise, use plastic surgery to look younger, go to doctors to take care of problems. There are a host of life stretching, life giving, life fulfilling activities that people involve themselves in on a daily basis.

Yet many people still seem depressed.

They can't figure out why life is so hard and why they feel so down and unfulfilled.

I have the answer...

They need Christ. Jesus IS the answer. Now I will not lie and say life gets easier if you are a Christian, that's just not true. However, when I rest in my identity, knowing who I am in Christ (Gal. 2:20), then I can handle whatever comes.

There can be joy in the journey. We can maintain a positive faith only when we are resting in Him.

So kick up your heals, dig into the Word and have a ball. Celebrate. We have a reason to. Jesus is alive!


Sleepless Nights

Ah, newborns.

Last night, I felt like we were living out the line of an old Ernest Tubb Song:

I'm walking the floor over you
I can't sleep a wink that is true.

Of course our friends find it amusing. One card we received says, "Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3)...remember that at 3 am!

Now I will be the first to admit, I love my sleep. I have never been a deep sleeper. I usually go down at 11 and get up at 6 and am ready to go. Getting up throughout the night, I forgot how FUN that was. No I value my sleep. It's precious. I will dare say I covet a good nights sleep.

Yeah, that's out the window.

So now I have a choice. I can be miserable and whiny about losing sleep...or I can see it for the opportunity it is.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I have the chance to use my lack of sleep for something good. Like prayer and worship. There were times last night when I found myself singing praises to Him as I rocked my son back to sleep. I also found prayer coming to my lips. More than just, "Oh God let me get some sleep!"

I want to use these times, the many that lie ahead, to glorify God. To sing praises, to pray over my family, or the missionary across the globe.

Just remind me of that if you see me looking tired from a sleepless night!


5 Questions with Isaac Bruce

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is Isaac Bruce. Isaac
is a NFL wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. He was originally drafted by the Rams. An All-Pro and a 4x Pro Bowl selection, Bruce has amassed 15,208 receiving yards in his career (second all-time). He is also 9th all time in receiving TD's and 5th all time in total receptions. He played the first 14 years with the Rams and won a Super Bowl ring with the team in Super Bowl XXXIV. For a more comprehensive bio click here.

And now without further delay, on to the questions:

Hi Isaac,

Question 1: What one word would describe your current relationship with God?

One word to describe my relationship with Father God would be Covenant!!

Question 2: What is the main goal of the Isaac Bruce Foundation?

My goal for the Isaac Bruce Foundation is increase knowledge and (the) importance of a healthy lifestyle and education.

Question 3: Family and Football: How are you balancing your time so that your faith will continue to grow?

In reading in the book of Genesis, I read where God created family first. Furthermore my family and the well being of it is very important.

Question 4: Any other thoughts on the Scripture?

The Word also states that if God be for you who can be against you?

Question 5: How hard is it to be a Christian witness in competitive sports?

Faith food like this (the Scripture mentioned above) renews my mind in the workplace. It makes it very easy to walk after Christ and to be a witness.

Thank you so much Isaac.

Rick thanks for the questions.

There you have it. I would encourage you to check out Isaac's website where you can find out more info about his foundation.

To see past 5 Question guests, check out the rotating interview links on the sidebar.


5 Questions with Gary Thomas

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is Gary Thomas.
Gary Thomas is a writer and founder of the Center for Evangelical Spirituality. He is the author of several books including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Holy Available, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith. Gary speaks at approximately 50 churches, denominational meetings and ministry gatherings every year, teaching at seminars designed to equip Christians to grow in their faith. These seminars vary from one-evening sessions to a week long or weekend format and address the essential elements of Christian spirituality from an evangelical perspective.

And now without further delay, on to the questions:

Hi Gary,

Question 1: What one word would describe your current relationship with God?


Question 2: What was the catalyst for you to begin teaching about marriage?

It was my own experience. I couldn't find any other books that looked at the spiritual challenge of marriage, but I found myself being tested and tried as a married man in ways I'd never been tried as a single man - and I saw the benefits of having my sin exposed, learning to serve and other aspects of marital life. After living it for 15 years, as a writer it was natural for me to want to explore it on paper - and so I did.

Question 3: How do you balance teaching, writing and family?

When I had a "job," I wrote in the mornings, before anyone else was up, and on weekends, when the kids napped. By the time they were older, writing and teaching became my occupation, so it fit into the work week. As far as traveling goes, when the kids were younger, I let my wife have veto power over every speaking invitation. We talked about the balance between needing the income, the ministry opportunity, and the time away from home. It wasn't, and isn't, easy - in fact, trying to balance them has likely been one of the greatest stresses in my life.

Question 4: Sacred Marriage, Sacred parenting; it seems that much of your teaching is about letting God change you, rather than those around you. How big of a problem is self-centeredness in our relationships with God and others?

I think self-centeredness is the BIGGEST problem. When you read Scripture and the Christian classics, it's clear that humility is the chief virtue, and pride the chief sin. Thankfully, marriage and parenting both represent some of the most effective arenas in all of human experience to grow in selflessness, which the ancients would have called humility.

Question 5: If you could only have 5 minutes to impact a couple with truth about Christian marriage, what would you tell them?

Feelings fade; it's a scientific certainty. Marriage will pinch your feet, point out your weaknesses, raise little irritations - embrace these soul-scouring aspects of marriage instead of fighting them, and learn to appreciate your spouse as a sibling in Christ instead of resenting them for being used by God to point them out. And finally, never, ever forget you're married to God's son or God's daughter. When you truly believe that God is your father-in-law as well as your father, your marriage will never be the same; that's where worship (honoring God) and marriage (loving your spouse) come together.

Thanks you so much Gary.

There you have it. I would encourage you to check out Gary's website. There you will find an extensive bio, free resources and videos to view.

Also a special thank you to my colleague, Stanley Groothof, who introduced me to Gary Thomas and who really set this interview up for me.

To see past 5 Question guests, check out the rotating interview links on the sidebar.


Sacred Marriage - The Event

When I 1st saw the signs around town, back in October, I looked with interest at the premise: A weekend marriage event with Gary Thomas, author of Scared Marriage.

A local congregation, Telkwa CRC, was bringing Gary up for a Sacred Marriage event and my wife and I were stoked. It sounded awesome and we wanted all of our friends and acquaintances to check it out.

We went with some friends and Sarah and I were greatly impacted by this event. Gary uses humour and hard hitting truth to break through the veneer of self righteousness that so many of us hate to admit we struggle with. I know in my own life, I found it easier to blame my spouse for things when in reality, the finger should have been pointed at me.

To me the true test of a conference or event is how it impacts you 2-3 months after the event. Well my wife and I are still going back to the things Gary shared. having seen God restore our own marriage, we were excited to share what we learned with others. Gary's book has become THE marriage book we recommend.

However, I think if you can get to a marriage event with Gary Thomas you should go. He brings the book to life and you will find your marriage and your relationship with the Lord strengthened. Check out Gary's schedule and to find an event near you. Or better yet, have your church invite Gary to speak.


Sacred Marriage - The Book

Once in a while a book comes along that not only speaks to you, but it says exactly what you would say if you could articulate it as well as the author did.

Sacred Marriage is that kind of book. The book starts with the question:

What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?

Yes it's that kind of book. My wife and I found that this book took everything you've ever read in a marriage book and flipped it on it's ear. It is challenging. You can't come away from this book without feeling the need to get your perspective straight.

If you want to strengthen your marriage and more importantly, your relationship with the Lord, then this is the book for you. Gary Thomas, the author of this marriage classic, takes you on a journey in Sacred Marriage. He peels away the desire to change your spouse and get's to the core of the issue....self-centeredness. Dig in and discover how God wants to make you holy!

Read how to turn marital struggles into spiritual and personal appreciation. Learn to love your spouse with a stronger sense of purpose. Transform a “tired” marriage into a relationship filled with awe and respect. Your life will never be the same.

If you have never read this book then I want to encourage you to pick up a copy today at your local Christian bookstore. Sacred Marriage is published by Zondervan.


Just A Thought #41 - Are You Content?

This past week, as I laid in bed listening to my wife's breath rise and fall rhythmically in sleep, as I listened to Caleb's soft gentle cooing as he rolled to his side and as I thought of Hanna sleeping gently in the next room, a verse came to my mind:

"I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I've learned the secret of how to live when I'm full or when I'm hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)

One definition of content as found in Webster's Dictionary is, "not disturbed; having a mind at peace". I think that is an awesome definition. This week I am content.

Sure, life is hectic. There are stresses at work, normal stresses with a new baby and all kinds of financial hurdles ahead, both seen and unseen. However, I am content. There are uncertainties about tomorrow, things can change in an instant, but I am content.

As the Scripture above said, "Ive learned the secret." The secret is in Romans 8:1 and Galatians 2:20. In Romans 8:1 it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Did you see it? It's the word IN! Being in Christ Jesus is the secret. Galatians 2:20 says it even more fully, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

My identity is in Jesus Christ. It is for that reason and that reason only, that I can be content in both good times and bad. When I walk in my identity, as a new creation in Christ Jesus, I am living in victory even in the bad times...because I have the peace that passes all understanding.

I know what it's like to have a mind that is not at rest, to have the inner turmoil and doubt, fear and insecurity that comes when I am not at peace. I don't want to go back there. I want to live out of my new identity.

Are you content?