Thursday, July 17, 2014



Last March my family and I decided to spend our spring break, in my old stomping grounds of Nashville, TN. Nashville is one of my favorite places on earth, so we decided to make the four hour trek from the bustling metropolis of Bedford, IN to the beautiful and creativity-filled city of Nashville. It had been a long time since I had lived there or visited there, so I was amazed to see just how much everything had changed. Areas that were once just normal everyday streets have grown up and been transformed by the continued economic growth. Because of all the changes and the amount of time it has been since I last sojourned through the streets of Nashville, we relied very heavily on our GPS to get us around the city. Each day was a journey of experiencing all that Nashville had to offer and the GPS was our ultimate guide to finding whatever we needed and showing us the best possible route to get there. It was a great time spent with some of the most precious people in my life. But something struck me powerfully on the last day of our time together. We had just driven around the entire city of Nashville, going from one coffee shop to the next, when I looked at the Google Maps app on my iPhone and amazed at how much it had helped me the last few days. I even said to myself, "What would I have done without such an important app in my life?" Then it hit me. This app had done an amazing job of guiding us, directing us, letting us know where to go and how to get there, but how much more important is God than this app in my phone. God is the ultimate GPS in our lives. Imagine this, that the creator of the world is so alive that He can guide us, direct us, let us know where we need to go and the best way to get there! Hallelujah! But yet, we are way less dependent on Him to get us where we need to go in life than a GPS that we downloaded for free on a smart device. OUR GUIDE FOR REAL LIVING John, one of Jesus' 12 disciples and in fact a part of Jesus' inner three, wrote in his gospel of the guidance that is made available to us through the provision of the Holy Spirit. He says in John 16:3, "But when he, the Spirit of truth,comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. " A lot of times we have no idea where we are going because we cannot clearly see. We are confused by what is around us, what we need to do, how we need to live, what is right and wrong, or the reality that we are walking in. But here is the truth we need to know. Jesus died on the cross, rose again victorious, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that the Holy Spirit could come and GUIDE US into all truth and beyond that, tell us what is yet to come. This is what makes a GPS so convenient, it not only gives us the best route to take but it also takes into account the construction that is ahead of us that we can't see and if the traffic is light or heavy. It guides us through the best way to avoid the troublesome things that lie ahead so that we can get to where we need to go. How much more important is the Holy Spirit then? What is available to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit is not just guidance through the perils of a journey on the road, but the troublesome things that life has to bring before us that a lot of times pop up out of nowhere and take us by surprise. So the question is before us all. Are we willing to fully rely on the true GPS that is available to us through the Holy Spirit or would we rather place our lives in the hands of the temporal things of the world to get us through the myriad of obstacles in our lives? I choose God. How about you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In the Midst

Perusing through the headlines released by news outlets all over the world at and one can come across many news headlines that can be quite overwhelming:

  • "Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office...."
  • "Russian Fighter Jet Buzzes Navy Warship..."
  • "At least 15 dead, 500 injured in Chile port city fires"
  • "Police Release Chilling Details on High School Stabbing"
  • "Hunger in the Land of Plenty"
  • "Gunman kills 3 at Jewish centers outside Kansas City"
And this is just a small sample. Hundreds of thousands of news stories are released everyday to millions of news feeds updating continually on millions of smart phones every where. And it's not just news stories that seem to overwhelm. People all over the earth are experiencing social, emotional, relational, economical, and spiritual hardship. With all these things going on in the world, it wouldn't be surprising to become overwhelmed with the feeling that everything is slowly but surely crumbling down.  This leads to the ultimate question. In the midst of it all, what do we have to help us hold on?

The Apostle Peter gives us the answer in 1 Peter.  He writes in 1 Peter 1 verse 3b, "According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." In this letter Peter is writing to a host of believers dispersed throughout the region of modern-day Turkey, to encourage them through their circumstances. These weren't just overwhelming feelings derived from the morning newspaper after is was thrown upon their front door step. These believers were located in regions where they were experiencing real persecution, tribulation and trials. Peter, being led by the Holy Spirit, took the opportunity to encourage them in the midst of their trials. Peter encourages them by revealing to them an important truth that produces an important result. Through God's great mercy, and the work of Jesus Christ, there is a hope that they can intimately know, that is alive and not dead. In the midst of what they are experiencing, there is a hope that they can hold onto.

Here are some of the reasons given by Peter in his letter:

  • In the midst of it all, know what God keeps for you. No matter what circumstances you face, know that what Christ did for you, God keeps for you, and nothing can take it from you (1 Peter 1:3,4).  You can be encouraged in the midst, because the gift given to you, through God's abounding love and through the resurrection of his Son, is kept for you. God, the omnipotent one, is continually holding onto the eternal life paid for us by His son. There is not one trial that can take that away.
  • In the midst of it all, know that you can rejoice. God, in his infinite wisdom, has a purpose for the struggle. We can rejoice because the trials we face have a positive impact on our faith. It tests our faith, it purifies our faith and it results in praise. Our perspective can change when we are in the midst of all that surrounds us.
  • In the midst of it all, know that what the angels long to look into, we get to experience. 1 Peter 1:12 says "even angels long to look into these things." The Greek word translated "to look into," reflects the deep desire of the angels to see for themselves what we get to experience.  And what we get to experience is salvation for our souls and eternity in the presence of the Author of Life.

So no matter how heavy the weight of the world and the circumstances of our lives is, be encouraged because there is hope through what Christ did for us in the midst of our greatest trials. All glory goes to God!