Deserters and Grumblers


John 6:61-69 (NIV)
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”  From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus’ words are stuck in my head, “You do not want to leave too, do you?“.  I envision Jesus looking at Simon Peter with drawn face of sadness  and a heavy heart as the dust cloud of the deserters slowly cleared the air.  People Jesus had spent time with, people with whom He had invested Himself in, they were gone and would never return to the fold.  They were AWOL and some where in the minds of the disciples perhaps there was this lingering decision whether or not to follow them.  Many who had heard Jesus teach that day had trouble swallowing the teaching.  They wrestled over His words, which led to the dispersal of some.

Still today, there are those in our churches who come listening for the sweetness of the Word, but run quickly away when its truth finally sinks in.  Pastors are also included in this group.  Every person who encounters the truth of Jesus must face this, and He looks at each of us as the dust is slowly clearing and says, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Some of us hesitate, many wishing to walk away also.  Dare I say that there have been days, in which I’m ashamed to admit that I have wrestled over His truths also.  But read again the words of Simon Peter and imagine yourself saying these words to Jesus as well, “”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   Can such certainty come from your heart today?  Do you have this assurance in your walk with Him?  It doesn’t matter if you are preaching to a congregation of 5 or 500, is His truth still on your lips, in your words and in your heart today?

Some will walk away from your church because they simply cannot fully commit to Him.  It is just as tragic as the day it happened to Jesus so long ago.  Some, who have been in the pews for years, may one day come to this conclusion as well.  Others, perhaps the light will come on and they will experience a deeper sense of Christ as they take such steps to a deeper faith in Him.  But it matters little whether people hate you and the consistency of Christ in you, remember what Jesus Himself said to his disciples; “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)  Be consistent in your faith!  Be persistent in the need for others to receive this faith as well!  Be unrelenting in this love of Christ, even when it comes at the cost of friendships, loved ones, and even fellow pew dwellers.  Don’t be haughty or prideful either with His truths.  Don’t lord it over anyone or feel as if you are better than anyone either.  Remember Christ wants servants to love and to shine, not tyrants and judgmental hypocrites.

Desertions will take place, grumblers will come and go, but remain faithful to Him and declare as Simon Peter once did, “”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

-Just an encouraging thought for you today…keep on fighting the good fight!

Me, the Prodigal (Poem)


There are days, dear Lord, when I fear

and I let go of your mighty hand

when all around me danger looms here

I am weak and deaf to your commands.

Yet your loving hand never strays from me

How could I have ever taken my eyes away

from your strength and presence free

while I begin to sink beneath this deadly fray?

It is at my worst that I turn again to You

how could I have let go of your strength and might?

Your love shines and pierces all the way through

my heart and within this sinking darkest of night.

Though I, the fool, am ashamed of my misgivings

You clothe me in riches beyond my deserving

Such love I cannot express to you in serving

all my days, all my efforts will I devote into your keeping.


Lord I forgot about You! (A Poem and Prayer)


Life is marred by many things

and busy schedules 

with phones that ring 

and Lord I confess I forget You. 


When worries increase

and time flies by

my space all leased

I am left wondering why…

why have I forgotten You?  


These fears flood in 

and hope leaks out

under-sieged by sin 

and I’m without 

why have I forgotten You?  


Until on my knees I must bend

In prayer and solitude again 

to reconnect with the Eternal friend

this is how is begins and ends.  




In need of a Savior


In just a few days another installment of Marvel’s Thor will hit theaters (Thor 2 The Dark World) .  It will undoubtedly be #1 at the box office over the weekend.  This time Thor returns to Earth to help save mankind from an evil force not of this earth.  It will be an action packed movie with lots of special effects, some romance and the underlined theme that the World is in need of a savior.  I find it interesting that Thor is the son of a god (Odin).   Thor comes to Earth to save mankind from evil and death.  To me there is a deep underlining parallel here to Christ.

Last year the Avengers was a world wide success and financial money maker.  The entire Marvel franchise is well over a Billion dollar industry.  Why has their movies received such international success and acclaim?  Naturally people of all ages enjoy a good action film, but beyond that I believe there is this underlining innate longing to be saved and to have find a savior from life’s worries, fears and heartaches.  Every person on earth can most likely relate to such a longing.  There is something remarkably missing in our hearts that cannot be rectified from the inside alone.  We need an external force to save us.

Jesus came to this earth seeking to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  Why did He come?  Because we could not, in our own power and strength, save ourselves from the trappings of sin and death.  We needed an external force to grasp us by the hand and pull us to safety.  Since the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have lived with sin in our world.  We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and we are in dire need of one who can save us from certain death.  This is why, I believe, we respond so passionately to superhero movies like Thor(2) and others before it. We crave saving.  We long for deliverance.  We look around us in our world and we see evil and hatred, sickness and death, and we pray for those life ending threats to end.   We turn on the news and witness another violent shooting in a mall or another systematic genocide taking place on this planet and we wish such stories would end.  We long for a savior to come and save us!

This life isn’t easy, sin is still very present and real, hatred and sickness at times still prevails; and yet there is hope.  The hope of the world entered earth some two thousand years ago and with Him, brought deliverance, salvation and the promise of new life for all who sought after Him.  God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ still says to us today “I am the way the truth and the LIFE, no one comes to the Father except through me .” (John 14:6)

We are all in need of a Savior.  Though we enjoy a good flick about Superheroes now and then, we can recognize that we have already been saved and that new life can start today with our love and devotion towards God and His image reflected towards those around us.

-Just a thought for today.

How often I lose my way…(Poem)

When I have exhausted all of my words

when each phrase I utter sounds the same

waning on like some sort of warning siren…

when the motions go out without a shout 

of purpose, and all I do with these hands

is caress sweet longings for tomorrow, 

when constant sighs replace the frequent ‘amens’

then I will know I am lost again.

When strength of spirit evaporates 

faster than moisture in the desert, 

when the hallelujah’s pack their bags 

and leave on the eve of morning 

then I will know that I’m lost again.

When my prayers fall short of the ceiling 

when each word on the pages of scripture

fail to capture glimpses between the blurs 

and the worry…then I will know that I am 

lost again.

Seek me and find me Lord…

for how often I lose my way

how often do I take back my burdens

again and again 

when only then do I realize

I’ve picked them up from the place 

I surrendered them to you…

How often do I pick up the hammer 

and nail every time that I fail 

casting my eyes on the storms

rather than the storm tamer? 

How often do I try and try 

in failing strength to do it my way

then each day facing my own 

dejected spirit, broken and hollowed out…

Seek me and find me Lord…

for how often I lose my way

how often I need deliverance anew

refinement and renewal 

restoration and recompense…

it all makes sense now dear Lord

every word that you say to me

encouraging me, delivering me 

Seek me and find me Dear Lord…

for how often I lose my way.



‘The Way’ or the ‘LOST’ way


They gathered there in the stained glass chapel, the final meeting of a group of people from all walks of life.  The stain glass depicted various cultural and religious forms, from Jesus to Buddha, to the prophet Muhammad…they gathered there and reflected, realizing they were dead and they would enter eternity together as the lost members of Oceanic flight 815.  

I absolutely love the show ‘LOST’, I enjoyed the plots, the characters and the notion of being stranded on this amazing deserted island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  It kept me coming back for more until…This series finale of the show ‘LOST’ which left me with a bitter taste and heavy heart.  Still to this day I look back at this finale and shake my head, ask myself “did I understand that right?”…I tell myself they ended the show poorly…an amazing journey only to end in some cosmic universalistic afterlife experience which pleases everyone from every religiosity yet offers no consequence or judgement upon evil and wrongs…I recognize redemption and acknowledge the plight of man, but this finale truly bothered me.  It bothers me still to this very day because there’s a lie involved within the premise of the final show and I don’t buy the lie!

The lie is “All roads lead to heaven”…this lie is so immersed in our culture today that many blindly accept it without looking deeper.  It’s an attempt to be all inclusive and yet muddies the waters of morality, ethics and theology.  I don’t buy the lie because I’ve read the words of Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  Jesus said I am THE WAY, not one of the ways, or just another path to the Father.  


Do I believe that Jesus is THE WAY?  You bet I do!  I believe that there is only one path to God and Hindu, Islam, Buddhism or any other ‘ism’ aren’t paths leading to God.  Our Creator and loving Father wants us to accept Him and that of His one and only Son Jesus who is the only way to the Father.  

One day we will see Him and all will know the truth of Christ’s words.  Don’t buy the lie and get ‘Lost’.  Just a thought for today. 


Lost Sheep & The Search Party of One


Jesus told a parable.  For those disciples who had been following Him, they had grown accustomed to his teaching style.  Yet they were always challenged with the content of what He had to say, often times asking Him to clarify or for the meaning.   It would be fair to say that His parables brought consternation to some while confusion to others.  His teachings were also difficult to accept at times, because it meant turning from some traditional customs that the Jewish culture had adopted along the way. 

 On this particular day, Jesus began to tell another series of parables.  His audience, the disciples of course, but there were also tax collectors and others that some identified as ‘sinners’.  Jesus began his parable with a relatable statement; “suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them…”  Immediately Jesus begins by drawing these tax collectors and ‘sinners’ into His tale.  Immediately He is helping them identify with the content of His story.  Immediately the implications are that this parable is for them.  Not a ‘for them’ which implies a tale of condemnation, but rather a ‘for them’ which implies compassion and love and a deep longing to restore a right relationship with them to the Father.   

In a moment, as Jesus begins to speak, they are held spell-bound, eyes locked on the Teacher…ready to hear His tale.  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”  Imagine if you will, Jesus speaks this phrase and He gazes intently into each face of those who had gathered around Him.  They were the lost sheep that Jesus was talking about.  They were pariahs of society, and by choice and some by vocation had lost their way.   

Jesus wanted them to know the extent in which the Father would go to find His lost ones in this world!  Every soul, every lost child was that important to God the Father.  Jesus was sent on this mission.  He even said it in His own words; “For the Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)  The lost were right in front of the One doing the saving…they didn’t realize how lost they were but Jesus did.  This wasn’t some guilt trip or a brow beating by Jesus, but a message of love and compassion and care.  Jesus looked into the very eyes of the lost sheep and hoped that they would let Him rescue them. 


He finishes His parable with these words; “And when he finds it (the lost sheep) he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do no need to repent.” (Luke 15:1-7)

Think of it, He places the lost sheep on His shoulders and carries them home.   Isn’t that what He has done for us too?  Those who had gathered there to listen were lost.  They needed someone to pick them up and carry them home.  Who would go to them, the outcasts…the sinners?  Jesus sought them out when all other religious leaders of the day sought out nothing but selfishness, power and condemnation.   Jesus brought salvation to them, and all they had to do was repent. 

Are you lost?  Can you recall when Jesus came to you?   All of heaven rejoices in the salvation of the lost.  And when they are found again, there is peace and there is hope in the arms of the One who seek us.   Our response to being found is repentance and allowing the Good Shepherd to carry us home. 


Lost and Found



2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NIV)
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

A sister never gave up hope in finding her long lost brother.  She spent two decades searching for him.  They had been separated and adopted out and records were sketchy at best in terms of locating his adoptive parents.  She had almost given up until her searching paid off…Her brother was found!  After twenty years of searching, she found him and a tale of reconciliation could finally be told.  It would be hard to describe the emotions in that room when she finally glanced at him as he entered…how the tears must have flowed freely as images of her brother as a child swam in her head.  The tearful reunion after such a vacuum of time, lost time had separated them. 

Stories like these happen all of the time.  What a day of celebration when families get reconnected after so many years!  It is certainly a joyful time I would imagine.  I’ve never actually been to one of those reunions; I’ve never been separated from my family for more than a few weeks at best.  But you almost don’t have to, in order to imagine the overwhelming joy and happiness that is poured about that lost, now found soul. 

So it is within the Kingdom of Heaven.  Christ has searched for us, has extended Himself to the very cross to that we might be reconciled with our rightful family!  All of heaven rejoices when we are at last reconciled to the Father through Jesus His son and the shedding of His blood for us.  What a wonderful tale of reunion is told every time a soul who was lost is now found again!  Like the sister in the story, Christ never stops searching for us and He wants us to be found! 

Are you in need of being found today?  Do you know someone who is still lost in this world?  Christ is searching, and wants so desperately to reconcile the lost back again to the Father! 

-Just a thought!   

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