Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Hamburger

Happy New Year's Eve to those who read this blog. I do have some exciting news to share. We have some alien-like pictures of our new one. Pretty cool...
The first one is looking straight on at the baby. The baby was very active with feet kicking & dancing, little hiccups and arms moving.

The second one is the indicator. For those who do not read sonograms. Apparently, the 3 marks are what is known in the technical world as "the hamburger: 2 buns with a burger in the middle". This is from my wife who is an expert in all things. The summary is, we're having a girl.
We're still deciding on names. Right now we're just thankful for God's blessing to our family.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bibles & Kids

I got 2 Bibles for Christmas. One is for reading to my daughter and the other for my own study. The one for my daughter is called "The Big Picture Story Bible". It's exciting because it present the unified "big picture" of the entire Bible concerning God's promise of Jesus. It's wonderfully illustrated on every page for kids to enjoy. Also has short and concise sentences on the pages so you are not endlessly reading with the short attention span of your child. This is the perfect (if there is one) introductory children's Bible.

The other Bible is the English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. It has tons of study helps and notes to help you better understand the meaning of the Scriptures. Of course, the notes are not God-inspired but they are written by many of the most respected and leading scholars today.
Here is a video introduction to this Bible if you are interested

Saturday, December 20, 2008

God Gives Help - Hebrews 1:3

This passage emphasizes some of the most significant actions of God. As we have seen, God has spoken all throughout history, calling people to repentance and faith in His Son. God revealed Himself through His exact representation, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the heir of all things, creator and sustainer of the universe. Even more, God gave the world His Son for the purpose of providing help from sin. Jesus purifies people from sin through His death on the cross. All these things identify God actively involved in His creation.

Jesus was not afraid to get His hands dirty. He personally involved himself in mankind’s greatest problem – sin. When Jesus went to the cross, he became sin – the sin that you and I commit. He bore our sin, paying the punishment for the wrongs we committed against God. We deserved to die yet God loved us enough to provide a way out. Jesus is our substitution. This has been labeled the “great exchange” in that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Other religions show ways mankind tries to purify their own sin and reach God. Christianity shows God intervening himself into the world of mankind in order to reach them. This is the message of Christmas and Easter wrapped into one gift, giving to us directly from God.

Through repentance and faith in Jesus’ substitutionary work on the cross you become Jesus’ righteousness; purified and forever cleansed. In other words, as you look at the history of your experiences with sin and failures, God forgives you. Your record is wiped clean.

After Jesus provided purification for sin, he sat down at the right hand of God. A priest in the OT temple never sat down. In fact, there were no chairs for him to sit. The reason was because a priests work was never finished, continually performing sacrifices for ongoing sins of the people. The writer of Hebrews says, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (10:11-14).

- What kind of help do teens need today? What are teens greatest needs?
- What is the difference between religion and Christianity?
- How do people try to purify themselves from sin apart from Christ?
- What does it mean to live a life of purity? Is this attainable? How does a Christian live with purity?
- Can you think of another example where a single act has great impact on everything else? How does this relate to Jesus dying on the cross?
- Set aside some time where you can reflect on the words of Jesus saying “It [payment for your sin] is finished.”
- Read the following passages to appreciate and understand Jesus’ death on the cross. Write out any questions or comments you have. Share your questions/thoughts with a friend.
Isaiah 53
Romans 3:21-23; 5:8, 12-19;
2 Corinthians 5:21
Galatians 3:13
Colossians 2:13-15
1 Peter 1:18-19; 3:18
1 John 2:2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God Gives Help, pt 2 & 3

Parts 2 & 3

God Gives Help, pt 1

Our Youth Ministry did this skit before this message. It is in three parts:
Pt 1 - video of skit
Pt 2 & 3 - video of message

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas from the SCBC staff

Click Here:

Who do you think is the better dancer?
I know who my vote is... Hit the comments button below and cast your vote :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do you have an interruption or crisis? Read Acts 27

We just finished studying the book of Acts. Personally it was a refreshing study and I think it was for our youth ministry as well. The last two chapters were good and honestly I didn't expect to learn as much as I did in the earlier chapters. Nonetheless, here are a few nuggets from Acts 27 One note of disclaimer: The point of these last two chapters is NOT about life storms. It is ultimately about God's sovereignty in ALL of life circumstances in order to continue the spread of the gospel "boldly and without hindrance". In other words, when reading this text there is not an exact one-to-one correlation and application for every detail. However, a broad reading of these chapters within the context of the book you can better understand and apply the below principles.

When faced with life interruptions or crisis…

1) Evaluate your foundation and find anchors (v.27-29).
Paul’s journey undertook quite a storm and ultimately a shipwreck. His travel mates endured about 2 weeks at sea in the winter months. It was like a scene on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch”. They feared for their lives and did the only thing they knew for protection – they dropped 4 anchors and prayed.
Likewise, when you are faced with an unwanted interruption in your life the best thing you can do is evaluate the situation around you, drop anchor and pray for God to work things out. Every person needs to anchor their soul to Jesus Christ whether in a life storm or not. Other anchors are staying connected to God’s community of faith to comfort you in times of crisis. God places people in our life to encourage and hold us up during such times. Even more, God orchestrates every person’s life circumstances and uniquely intersects lives so that we can learn, share and grow in character becoming the reflections of grace He wants us to become.
Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 1:3-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:19-20

2) Determine to face conflict together with others (v.31-32).
The storm was so bad some of the men tried to escape on their own using lifeboats. Paul’s prophetic vision knew all the shipmates would only be saved if they stayed together. So, the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboats.
Sometimes we look to avoid interruptions and want to run away from solving problems. Seeing Paul’s example should remind us that escape never fully solves the situation. They had to commit to staying together to see their end destination.

3) Care for your physical well being as much as spiritual (v.33-38).
For 2 weeks the 276 shipmates stayed together but they were doing little to care for their physical health. Paul encouraged them all to eat. They did so until they were full. This is a great reminder that in the middle of interruptions sometimes we can get caught up in solving problems over long periods of time without taking the time to care for our own well being. This is true spiritually as well as physically. They both are necessary if we are to survive crisis and work out effective results.

4) Above all, trust God to bring all things together for his purposes (v.44 – 28:1-31).
Paul’s journey to Rome endured a terrible storm, shipwreck and a long detour to the island of Malta. Several months later they were able to get back on the journey to Rome and reach their destination. Even then, God was not finished leading Paul to other places to bring about his plan and purpose for Paul’s life. God is faithful and we must trust his weaving together of circumstances; even in difficult times.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Gives Himself - What the incarnation means to you


GOD GIVES HIMSELF Hebrews 1:2-3a

This past week I got a new cell phone. I upgraded to the Palm Centro. It was a free upgrade so I couldn’t refuse. Through reading some things this week I found there are over 3 billion cell phones in use today and three-fourths of the U.S. population owns a cell phone.[1] One of the most striking factors of cell use is that people often talk on them while driving. And even more, texting while driving!
“According to Britain’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, texting can lead to pain and swelling of the tendons in the thumb and wrist. Call it carpal textal syndrome. The society found that as many as one in six 16- to 24-year olds have suffered ‘discomfort’ while texting (perhaps not too surprising, considering one in three send more than 20 messages a day), and a handful said the discomfort actually radiated farther than the hands, into the shoulders and neck.”
Phsychotherapist Bronwyn Clifford admits, “Texting is a great way to communicate, but mobile phones are not ergonomically designed for excessive texting, and they require repetitive movements to operate them.”
Studies show that people who drive while using a cell phone reduce brain function by 30%. In fact, you are four times more likely to have a car accident while talking on a phone and driving.[3]
Are you able to do two things at one time? Doing two things at once is not easy. But what about BEING two things at once? Jesus did it. He was two things at the same time: both God and man. That’s the point of this Christmas season; God incarnating himself through Jesus. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us!

The greatest gift a person can give to another is themselves. The write of Hebrews says that God spoke through the prophets but the greatest way was through his own Son. In fact, the entire book of Hebrews shows how Jesus is greater than every Jewish system of thought. The target audience would have understood the point that God’s message all throughout history has been to point people to Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the final and full revelation of all God’s message. To emphasize this even greater, the writer describes Jesus’ divine nature stating he assisted in creating the universe. Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being. Therefore, Jesus is God.

You may ask why is this important? What does the fact that Jesus is God have to do with my life? This fact relates to you because not only was he 100% God but he was also 100% man. The writer of Hebrews says, Jesus is like us “in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb 4:15) therefore making him able to relate to every situation we have and will ever face. The point is that Jesus identifies with all our issues.

Last week’s message was that God gave us history. He spoke through prophets and the message they gave to the people was to return home. Ultimately, the people never fully returned. Their humanity was tainted with sin and the cycle of disobedience kept them from God’s presence. God knowing the problem, solved it not by calling people to return to him but instead by going to them. God gave us Jesus, becoming one of us through the incarnation. He overcame the limitations of all humanity (death) and offers it freely, by grace through faith. His death and resurrection provided payment for sin and power to live eternally. God wants to give you himself. At last we are never alone, Immanuel! Will you receive him?

·Why is Jesus the greatest gift God has given us?
·What questions do you have about Jesus’ duel nature – divine & human?
·Why is it more difficult to BE more than 2 things than DO more than 2 things?
·What difference does it make to know that God promises to be with you, never alone?

[2] From Youthworker Journal, Nov/Dec 2008, page 11. Found at
[3] Illustration continues from “They Call Him Jesus” p.27 purchased at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MOPS Adventures

I had the opportunity to speak at our MOPS ministry. Here is what I shared:

This year’s MOPS theme is “Adventures in Mothering”. No doubt, there are many adventures that a mother could speak about her children. However, if you had to choose just one which one motherhood adventure would you choose to be the greatest?

I’m not a mother, but as a father who observes motherhood I would have to say the greatest motherhood adventure would have to be the delivery; the miracle of childbirth. Indeed, the whole process of conception to delivery is amazing and one of the greatest joys any person can ever experience.

Likewise, several years ago there was a childbirth miracle that has given many of us the adventure of a lifetime. It is the birth of Jesus Christ. If we could speak to his mother, without a doubt she would surely say this was her greatest adventure in motherhood. I mean, who else conceived a child without the help of a man or modern science (I say modern science because of the infamous pregnant man). Mary was not completely without fear but she did enter her motherhood adventure with confidence because of 2 simple principles.

Let’s read Luke 1:26-38 to better understand these principles that I hope will be an encouragement and help to you as a MOP.

God wants to give himself to you in the adventure of motherhood.
The first principle is taken from the text when the angel first greeted Mary with a promise from God. The promise is, “The Lord is with you” (1:28). These simple, short few words probably meant the most to a young teenage girl about to be a mother. At that time in history God’s presence was rarely sustained in a person’s life. God only dwelt among humanity for specific and temporary purposes. This promise made Mary tremble for she knew something big was about to occur, and it was happening in her life!
Today’s moms need a fresh reminder of this promise. Most mother’s tend to feel isolated as if no one understands their situation and they are left alone, or with little help, to accomplish all that a mom has to do. To put it plainly, in my ministry, counseling observations and personal relationships I have found women need reassuring. This does not mean women are inferior, weak, a failure or any less than the person beside them. It simply means that is how they are wired and ultimately there is only One Person who can fill this reassurance role.
As moms seek self-assurance they tend to look in themselves, in their spouses, their children, books and magazines, in their neighborhoods, in their abilities and accomplishments. However, all these things are fleeting. They will only produce a temporary assuring. Only God, a relationship with Jesus Christ can generate full and lasting assurance. God promises to be faithful in all things and he can be eternally trusted. By admitting our weakness, sin and insufficiency and trusting in His provision for forgiving and covering our sin, God enters our life.

Having a relationship with God does not mean all doubt or fear will be removed from your life. It does mean that you can have confidence to know God will be with you, guiding you in every step. For Mary, that meant the provision of the miraculous virgin-birth. It meant the instruction of naming the child Jesus and the promise of the child’s future provision – in a sense, the parents did not have to worry about the child’s education and career choice. The point is, God wants to be in your life to help you and your family.

Will you invite Jesus into your life?

God wants to give community to you in the adventure of motherhood.
The second principle can be found towards the end of this passage when the angel told Mary that someone else would similarly share in this experience. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, would also have a child approximately six months before her. This would bring great encouragement to the young Mary as her older cousin shared the joy and difficulty of such a pregnancy. You can read and see the excitement they enjoyed in verses 39-56. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months.

God knew Mary’s personality, emotions and what she needed to get through this pregnancy. So, he allowed her cousin to share in the experience. They would be forever linked. Likewise, God knows you cannot do it alone. Certainly, God is sufficient. But one of the ways he reveals himself and his provision is through the community of believers. He provides friends and ultimately, the church as a source of strength, support and partnership in being a spouse, a mom and raising a family.

The MOPS group that you participate in is only a start of God’s provision for community. God constructed his church, the people of God to walk alongside of you for you to both give and receive help. You were created to be a part of this forever link.

Will you join our community?

Larry King, the popular CNN interviewer, when asked if he could interview anyone from all history, said, “Jesus Christ.” “And what would you like to ask Him?” King replied, “I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”

What is your faith response to Jesus Christ? Will you receive God’s help of Himself and His community into your life?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008



The history God gives is the revelation of himself. Throughout the ages God has faithfully revealed himself to each generation. God is revealed through creation; this is called general revelation (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20). God is also revealed through unique divine encounters; this is called special revelation (Psalm 19:7-8).

Specifically, the writer of Hebrews notes God speaking through prophets about Jesus. The prophets were God-appointed people who would speak God’s message to the people. God’s message may have included prophecy, warning or judgment. In all, the fact that God spoke at all was a sign of grace and mercy for God to initiate communication with his creation. If God kept silent there would be none or limited knowledge of him much less an understanding of his intentions or will. The point is, all of history really is His Story; the story of God working together his purposes to redeem a people for himself. God’s revelation is not simply for information but for the purpose of personally knowing a living God. Jesus is the complete revelation of God to communicate divine truth and offer personal contact with God (John 1:14).

Have you heard from God? God is calling and speaking out directly to you. He wants you to trust him in every area of your life. Are you listening?

· How do you know if God has spoken to you?
· What are some different ways that God speaks (be specific using examples from both general & special revelation)?
· If God kept silent never giving any Scripture or speaking through prophets, how would life be different?
· What do you think God wants to speak to you? If you do not know, how will you find out?

Monday, December 1, 2008


Has someone said this to you recently? If not then you are probably living in a cocoon somewhere. As a youth pastor I hear this response from teens frequently. Even more, I believe this single catchy phrase captures our culture's worldview. In fact, some sociologists have labeled this generation of young people the "whatever generation". When approached with moral, spiritual, or relational issues, the attitude of many is – Ah, whatever. Do whatever feels right. Say whatever you want to say. Have whatever you want to have. Believe whatever you want to think.

I say we should recapture "whatever" from the world. "Whatever" is OUR word. It is OUR way of life. It is OUR way of thinking about things. Why is it OURS? Because of this: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8).

So, live the whatever way. Meditate on whatever. Give God whatever. Be willing to be whatever God wants you to be. Have you said "Whatever" to God? Whatever!!!

post adapted from friend Jacques Rancourt e-devotional, 11/30/2008