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Be Ready, In Season and Out

  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 This morning I read that and thought, I’m not ready to preach. It’s been over two years since I last preached and I feel I’m “out of season.” I don’t preach on a regular basis (like I did before at the prison and the Barn) so I don’t take the time to prepare to speak. But after reading that verse I was convicted, not condemned…I just had that feeling like, hey you should spend some time getting ready to preach. Spend 1 hour for every 10 minutes When I would preach I would spend 1 hour preparing for every 10 minutes I would be speaking. So if I were scheduled for 30 minutes then I knew to invest 3 hours into preparing to speak. This not only prepared me to preach but it was also a great way for me to really learn about whatever it was I felt the Lord wanted me to speak on. It reminds me of working out. If I know I have a hockey game, a race or a mountain to climb then I have something to train for. I have a clearly defined goal (win, race time, or summit) and I know exactly what I need to do to train. But if I just say, “I want to get in shape” then I most likely will not be too serious about my training. Clearly defined or ambiguous? It’s the same when it comes to spiritual disciplines. I’m not saying this...

An Unconventional Way to Fight Evil

  Is fighting evil really the best way to defeat it? In my town of Battle Ground, WA we have a heroin problem. Heroin addiction is evil. It’s a tool the enemy uses to steal, kill and destroy lives. I just heard yet another story about a local kid who overdosed on heroin and died. I hate hearing stories like that. I get angry and I want to fight this evil. The Bible instructs us to abhor evil and to cling to what is good. So as a child of God it’s natural to hate evil. But we don’t just want to have our feelings validated by scripture, do we? We want to take it a step further and see evil defeated. We know that Satan was defeated at the Cross. No question there. Jesus won – Satan lost. But how do we see evil works, like heroin addiction, destroyed? For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b). While I believe strongly in spiritual warfare and casting out demons I want to talk about another tactic available to us. Giving the Kingdom away It’s a Kingdom strategy that has more to do with giving than fighting. I’m not talking about giving money or time. I’m talking about giving the Kingdom of God away to those who need it. Let me tell you a short story that might help better explain what I mean. Last Sunday at church, Pastor Dan had all of the men go for a walk. We were asked to walk with the Father...

Empathy: Weep with those who weep

It was a tough day. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning (after going to sleep at 1 A.M.) and packed my bags before I left for the office. I was running late so didn’t have time to stop for my usual cup of coffee (which would have probably helped with my nodding off in traffic). After spending an hour in traffic I arrived at the office to find six voicemails, twenty unread emails, and a stack of unopened mail. I stumbled down to the break room and made the strongest cup of coffee I knew how. Four cups of coffee and nine hours later I was ready to leave the office and get some rest. I would have preferred to curl up in my backseat and sleep but the seven hour drive to the conference meant that I had to suck it up and drive. I fantasized about pulling over and sleeping but couldn’t bring myself to do it so I just glance down at the speedometer and yawned. OK, stop reading for a second. In the past minute did you just yawn? If my account of tiredness made you yawn then you probably have a natural inclination for something called empathy. NOTE: I got this idea from Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind. He also tells a similar story about being tired to see if the reader yawns. So did you yawn? I didn’t. But I will also admit that empathy is not my strong suit. My wife on the other hand is very empathetic. Without telling her this was a test I...

Pondering Perfectionism

  Josh, when you play so competitively in basketball the addictive behavior I see in you is perfection. I heard this during a Feedback Meeting when I was in drug rehab. We would take turns going around the room and pointing out addictive behaviors in our peers. I believe perfection was my most popular addictive behavior (I think second was masking with humor). I prefer the word competitive over perfectionist. It has a more athletic and honorable feel to it. Perfection sounds too rigid and exact. But whatever the case may be it was a label given to me by my peers in recovery so I had to process it. And even today, almost eight years after it was first brought to my attention that perfectionism could be a bad thing I still ponder its place in my life. I value the drive I have in me to win but I hate the paralyzing effect perfection can have. It really is a love-hate-relationship with this so called “character defect”. You know, growing up I never thought being competitive was a bad thing. I’m the oldest of five kids and from a young age I can remember a strong desire to always win. There were four of us boys and one girl. We were all into sports, so competitiveness was glorified. Yes, we played hockey to “have fun”. But we all knew the real reason was to win. When I lost I was mad and depressed. When we won I was content and the world was a better place. I’m 27 years old now and I still get mad when...

How to Guard Your Heart

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” -Proverbs 4:23 NKJV The New Living Translation reads, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts above all else. I would say this is one of those really important life lessons. Last night I dug out one of my journals from 2005 and found a note in the front pocket sleeve that read: “guard your heart – from it come the issues of life. (Life issues forth from the heart – from “the abundance of the heart…”). Let God be the One who guides it. He is jealous for you and your heart. Don’t give it away to others.”   This was written by my friend’s mom, Linda VahnDijk, during one of our discipleship meetings. What I learned about guarding my heart has helped me immensely over the last six years. I want to share with you what I’ve learned and how it has helped me.   How Do You Guard Your Heart? I learned that I could guard my heart by deciding where I placed my affections. Our hearts have little strings attached to them which get tugged on by by different things in life. If you don’t know you have the power to guard your heart then those strings can too easily become attached to the wrong things. One practical way to have these strings connected to God is to worship Him. When we sing songs, adore Him and enjoy His presence our hearts start to become tied...