Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I am excited because this time tomorrow night I'll be on the border in Mexico. I am looking forward to visiting friends in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila Friday and making plans for our March youth mission trip. I am also excited because the road trip includes traveling with 7 other youth pastor friends. Oh yeah, we might have a blizzard tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kansas at it's Best (or something like that)

Right now it is 21 degrees and snowing with a very strong north wind. Yesterday, even up until midnight last night, it was 70 degrees with a strong warm humid south tropical wind. What a change!

Getting sick is so humbling. I so rarely get sick (can't remember the last time!). I think I haven't been sick for at least three years. I came down with bronchitis and it kept me home three days in bed, sleeping the majority of the whole day. Being sick makes you feel so insignificant but it's probably a good reminder that you are not what you do, but who you are. You and I are children of God. Sick or healthy, productive or "temporarily incapacitated", we are who we are and that is oh so good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

God's Choice: Through the Red Sea

I was reading in Exodus about the Israelites being led out of slavery in Egypt. Can you believe that there was a shorter, simpler, dry route? But God sent them through the Red Sea so that they, and the Egyptians, and the whole world would know that God is God! Amazing! Ridiculous but amazing! It proves that our God is a missionary God who is jealous for all the glory that is due Him. It also proves yet again His soveriegnty and wisdom and genius that the Red Sea route is better for His people in the end. He knows best! Amen!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Praise God for Arms Raised Up High!

Exodus 17
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. 16 He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."

The LORD is my Banner!

Summer and Spring

I was thinking yesterday and I've decided that as far as I am concerned there are really only two seasons in Kansas. Summer lasts from April until December. That might sound crazy but it is really warm from April until October and then November and December are kind of just the awkward end of the summer. The second season is Spring. To me, Spring starts the day after the shortest day of the year. The day after the shortest day of the year is not the shortest day of the year and that means that they days are getting longer. Already I am noticing that I have a few more minutes of daylight after work to begin my run - still finishing it in the dark. And the drive to work is not so dark as it was even 3 weeks ago. Spring, well, my version of Spring has started and that gives me hope.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dumb (but just dumb/funny enough to post) One-Liners!

Quit griping about your church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.
Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.
People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
Some minds are like concrete thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?
Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scriptures to Meditate On

Isaiah 43
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
7 Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
...10 “But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord. “You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God— there never has been, and there never will be. 11 I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. 12 First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord. 13 “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”
...18 “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. 21 I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.
22 “But, dear family of Jacob, you refuse to ask for my help. You have grown tired of me, O Israel! 23 You have not brought me sheep or goats for burnt offerings. You have not honored me with sacrifices, though I have not burdened and wearied you with requests for grain offerings and frankincense. 24 You have not brought me fragrant calamus or pleased me with the fat from sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your faults.
25 “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again...

Jeremiah 29:11-14
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

Monday, January 14, 2008

Favorite quotes from Gene Edwards'books I read this weekend

"The Prisoner in the Third Cell" by Gene Edwards
-"Your God has not lived up to your expectations." [Mary, Jesus, John and Jesus' disciples after hearing the news of John the Baptist's death]
-"Yes I have been to you, as to all others, a Lord not fully understood, a God who rarely makes clear exactly what He is doing in the life of one of His children."
-"Many were healed. But not all. 'And blessed is he who is not offended with me.' "
-[God 'says' to John the Baptist just before his beheading:] "When I called you, John, and told you that you would announce the coming of the Messiah, you assumed that because you were going to prepare the way for me, you would have the joy of seeing that wonderful day of my coming in glory. But today you have met a God you do not understand. Such is the mystery of my sovereignty. Such are my ways in every generation. No man has ever understood me, not fully. No man ever will. I will always be something other than what men expect me to be. I will work out my will in ways different from what men forsee...'And blessed are you, if you are not offended with me.' "
-"A day like that which awaited John awaits us all. It is unavoidable because every believer imagines his God to be a certain way, and is quite sure his Lord will do certain things under certain conditions. But your Lord is never quite what you imagined Him to be.
You have now come face to face with a God whom you do not fully understand. You have met a God who has not lived up to your expectations. Every believer must come to grips with a God who did not do things quite the way it was expected.
You are going to get to know your Lord by faith or you will not know Him at all. Faith in Him, trust that is in Him...not in His ways."
-"The question is not, 'Why is God doing this? Why is He like this?' The question is not, 'Why does he not answer me?' The question is not, 'I need Him desperately, why does He not come rescue me?' The question is not, 'Why did God allow this tragedy to happen to me, to my children, to my wife, to my husband, to my family?' Nor is it, 'Why does God allow injustices?'
The question before this house is this: 'Will you follow a God you do not understand? Will you follow a God who does not live up to your expectations?'"

"Exquisite Agony..." by Gene Edwards
-"If you accept that nightmarish ordeal as a sovereign work of God, if you acquiesce to His will, then does He begin to have his will. Suddenly it becomes not only a crucifixion but a holy work of God. Things needing destruction begin to be destroyed. Things He desires live on in victory.
...But take heart. Even now it is not too late to allow that event to be taken as wholly from the hand of God. Receive it as being from Him for your good. For you transformation. For destruction of the dark side of your person. For resurrection."
-"Be aware that many Christians choose not to be fully restored. Some believers actually prefer being wounded...permanently. You have but two choices, recovery and healing, or your present state.
Be warned, if you are healed, that means you cannot resent anymore. Some believers cannot handle such a thought; they need to go on resenting, arguing and remembering. Shall this be your lot?
It would not be untypical for you to choose to hate rather than to be healed."
-"You...were...crucified by plan, by permission and by preference. You were crucified by the will of God.
He alone is the one you make peace with.
Forgiving God is not easy. Seeing no evident reason for all this and, yet, accepting it. Seeing the unseen is not easy...only necessary."

Monday, January 7, 2008

More Favorite Songs

"Nothing But the Blood" by Matt Redman
(This song is not exactly seeker-sensitive or anything on a Sunday morning at church but it is very meaningful and so powerful.)

Your blood speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims
I've heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defense
Jesus it's Your blood

What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood
King Jesus

Your cross testifies in grace
Tells of the Father's heart
to make a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not by earthly confidence
It's only Your blood

We thank You for the blood
We thank You for the blood
We praise You for the blood
We praise You for the blood
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood
King Jesus

"Let My Words Be Few" by Matt Redman

You are God in heaven
And here am I on earth
So I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You

And I'll stand in awe of You
Yes I'll stand in awe of You
And I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You

The simplest of all love songs
I want to bring to You
So I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You


Brad and Chelsea and I went out to Hugoton, KS this past weekend to spend time with our very close friends, Aaron and Molly Carlson. Kansas sunets really are awesome! Yes, Kansas really is flat but has it's own value and beauty.

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good,
a strong refuge when trouble comes.
He is close to those who trust in him.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Knowing God's Will

"God's will is that we be holy and submit to what we do know of His ways, and trust that He will either make known or allow free choice in the rest." - Wes Davis

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Frederick Buechner writes that "vocation" is “The place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

"No man is a failure who has friends..."

I saw "It's a Wonderful Life" for the first time on Christmas Eve this year. I enjoyed the movie and really liked the quote at the end of the flic. So true!

More Smiles for the Camera

My little brother Jayden Lee Monaghan (almost 2) smiling for the camera at a Christmas celebration!