Pentecost – A Sincere Fire…

I love researching the origins of things.
One of my favorite docu-shows is ‘Mysteries At The Museum’ where they tell stories and uncover some mysterious tale from long ago that I never knew existed. I think my love for television shows like this has to do with knowledge and better understanding the world around me. There is this hunger for understanding who I am as a human being and that of this creation around me. I would imagine in some way you are the same as me in this search for truth and understanding.

No photo description available.

I recently came across the etymology of the word “Sincerely”. What’s funny is I know the origin story, but I liked the erroneous version of its origin better. I think I like it because I think it speaks to me on a spiritual level, and carries with it a deep connection of awe and wonder for me.

The story goes like this:
In the Middle Ages, painters would use wax to conceal blemishes in their artwork. It was a technique to cover up these mistakes so that the painter would not have to start over and could sell these paintings to potential buyers. No one would know what was under the surface of the wax, nor would they notice unless they were to carefully analyze the surface of the canvas.

Zest It Cold Wax Painting Medium Review - Jackson's Art Blog

Thus, when a painter would paint their masterpieces they would sign their paintings with ‘Sincerely’ at the bottom in order for the buyer to understand that the artist had created this masterpiece “without blemish”, or without the use of cover up wax. This was a guarantee of honesty, vulnerability and transparency…

Regardless if the origin of the word “Sincerely” didn’t come from these painters and artists, I find the context here to be absolutely stunning and profound. Painters did indeed use wax to cover up blemishes on their canvas and many times without owners ever knowing that they made a mistake.

This is how the Lord has whispered into my heart this week as I approached Pentecost this year. For the first time in fifteen years I am no longer an ordained minister. For the first time in my career as a pastor, I have found a sense of emptiness that had been occupied by busyness and it was all my own doing. There were times that I covered over mistakes on my canvas. Times where I could fool everyone else of my sincerity and yet there I was waxing over the obvious blemishes without ever acknowledging them to anyone, let alone God.

This isn’t some sort of deep confession of moral failure, this is an admission of pride and arrogance. I was the painter covering things up and feigning my innocence. And through it all God wanted and still wants my sincerity.

Many of us approach Pentecost, the day where God’s holy presence literally fell upon those in that upper room with a certain amount of wax covering our canvas. We cover up the mistakes and pretend that God doesn’t see them. Perhaps deep down we know that He does, but as long as we keep fooling everyone else, all is well. But you see that isn’t the way things work with God. He wants us blemishes and all. He desires our vulnerability and our honesty. He wants for us to admit to Him that we haven’t got it all worked out yet. That’s okay. He wants us to stop pretending to be some thing we are not. God longs for us to just take the wax off of our canvas’ and SINCERELY come before Him with contrition and reverence.

So let me ask you today, how sincere is your relationship with God?
How honest are you being with your walk of holiness? How much are you truly striving to live like Jesus every day? I know that there is so much to unpack here. I know that perhaps you will have to do some soul searching. Don’t wait to do it by saying “I’ll get around to it”. Don’t hesitate to come before the Father spiritually naked and without wax. He sees us completely and already knows. So if we truly want to experience Pentecost today in our lives, we MUST be sincere in our minds, hearts and lives.

The Way of Love | Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Federal Way

Something more to ponder on this day of Pentecost.
God Bless you today!

Are Your Robes Clean Or Is It Laundry Day?


Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves the practices of falsehood.” Revelation 22: 14-15

There’s a blessing and a curse within this passage.  

Blessing: to those who have been cleaned they are blessed with entrance into the city (the new Jerusalem).  
Curse: to those who have not been cleaned and have embraced the practices of falsehood they are cursed with being an “outsider” and are barred from entrance into the city.  

These are the words of an post-ascended Jesus spoken to John in his vision of what is to come.  Recently I taught the book of Revelation in our bible study class and we went through each chapter together.  This wasn’t some sort of theological teaching of eschatological theories and dispensationalism.  This was a study of what is written within this book.  This was a look into what we understand and what we do not understand.  It was also understood that it is okay to acknowledge that we don’t have to comprehend everything in the text to understand what Christ is and will be doing at the end of all things…and at the restart/beginning of all things. Salvation and justice will be handed to out to us all.  Reward and punishment, blessings and curses.  His reign will be absolute in that there will be no question of who He is and will be for all time.  His city will shine because God will be at the center providing light and love.  The vision of John is both glorious and too majestic to fathom.  We cannot grasp it all.  Yet His wonder and might will be all consuming and powerful.  

“Behold I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:7)
 This isn’t some billboard or poster board written by a street preacher who is screaming through a bullhorn and attempting to scare the hell out of people (Sorry if I offend you with that, but isn’t that their purpose?).  These words of Jesus aren’t supposed to be interpreted as horrifying and foreboding, yet many times that is exactly how people use them.  This isn’t some catch phrase to a horror movie.  These words should be read and interpreted with loving expectation and with a heart of preparation.  Jesus doesn’t say these words to scare us but rather prepare us.  In the Apostle John’s day these words would have evoked in the listener (the early Church) a sense of longing and hope in a world of fear, evil and Roman oppression.  To us, we should see Jesus’ words as not just a warning of His return but of a time to prepare our hearts, souls and minds for Him.  

Direct Questions: 



How is your heart today?  Is there peace in your heart and life because you have a relationship with Jesus?  Are you in a good place spiritually?  What things still need to be surrendered to Him today?  The Holy Spirit still works within us to prepare us and to “cleanse our robes”.  Are you willing to surrender every nook and cranny of your soul?  Jesus doesn’t want to rent a room in your heart, He wants you all to Himself.  He longs for this right relationship with us, and we must decide how full our surrender to Him will be. 

I want blessings not curses.
I want His presence, not the “outsiders” view of the city.
I want to be completely His, not an ‘on again, off again’ relationship.
Is this your desire?  

Chorus and Prayer: 


If on my soul a trace of sin remaineth,
If on my hands a stain may yet be seen,
If one dark spot a weary soul retaineth,
O wash me, Lord, that every part be clean;
For I would live that men may see thyself in me,
I would in faith ascend thy holy hill
And, with my thoughts in tune with thy divinity,
Would learn how best to do thy holy will.

Be Blessed today, not cursed!

-Just something more to ponder.-

Blog at

Up ↑