Sunday, September 5, 2010



Tonight I saw a dead person. A 23-year-old girl who hung herself with an extension cord. It rocked me to my core. Over and over that vision has come back into my mind. From that vision so many words scream in my head; hopeless, lost, suffering for eternity, un-reached, too late, separated from God, lost opportunity…

I watched as those around walked over to look at the still hanging body. Some had sad faces, but many looked unfazed. Children peered into the house and then ran away talking excitedly about what they had seen. Death is a way of life. It is just another cold body. And without Christ, that is exactly what you have. Another cold body. There is nothing to look forward to, nothing to console or comfort, simply another person who departed from the earth.

That image keeps replaying in my head. In a way, I hope the immense feelings I got after seeing that total stranger dead stays with me for the rest of my life. What I saw today was not just one person hanging there, but a whole nation hopelessly going to hell unless we tell them about Christ. I hope that image stays with me for a long time. Not in a morbid way, but to push reality into my thinking.

Far too often we think about the lost, but simply stop there. We think, “there are lost people in the world, I hope they find Christ”. But that is not enough. The thought has to move from our heads, to our hearts.

Look at the words of Paul in Romans 9,

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

Paul had moved from thinking about the lost, to hurting for the lost. “Great sorrow and unceasing anguish” - have you ever felt that for a lost person? Have you ever spent hours on your knees pouring out your broken heart before God, requesting He bring one of His children safely home? Ever spent hours investing in a person, showing them the love of Christ and sharing with them how they can have that same love? Ever walked across the room and shared with a complete stranger the one cure for their fatal disease of sin? Ever witnessed to that relative who everyone else saw as a lost cause, but who’s soul was still searching for the one thing that can truly bring him peace?

Heartache. Tonight I felt genuine heartache. The intense, visible image that I will never forget stirred in me a desire to live my life helping as many as I can end their lives with the hope that 23-year-old girl didn’t have. I pray that God will give me an incurable heartache for the lost. That like Paul, I would have such great sorrow in my heart that I would be willing to change places with those who don’t know Christ.

People of God, pray that God would break your heart for the lost…and then do something about it.


“Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up....”

“Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouths, but only such...”

“Let no unwholesome words come out…”

My fingers are getting really sore. I have written the same verse 22 times already and still have 18 more to go. At this rate I figure my thumb and index finger are done for, I will probably lose the use of both of them soon.

I had made a fatal mistake. The thoughts in my head were accidentally verbalized.

To my mom.

She basically made me say it. She kept bugging me about cleaning my room, even though the trails I had blazed through it were still perfectly usable.

Her request came at a bad time for me, I was right in the middle of a G.I. Joe war scene. Things were getting intense and it was clearly no time to stop and clean up.

After she asked me, a million thoughts rushed through my little head,

“Who does she think she is? She doesn’t have the right to tell me to do that. Can’t she see I am busy? How dare she ask me to stop what I am doing! This is so annoying! I am not in a good mood right now. WHATEVER! I don’t feel like it, if you want it cleaned do it yourself…”

Oh snap. Those last three were out loud. Please hand over that death certificate, I can sign it myself if you would like.


They wield a great deal of power. The power of life or death. Love or hate. Kindness or rudeness. Forgiveness or bitterness. Acceptance or denial. Encouragement or despair. Wisdom or foolishness.


Ever said the wrong thing at the wrong time? Or the wrong thing at the right time - just when it hurt the most? Ever slammed someone with a “zinger” and immediately regretted it? Ever had to eat your own words after finding out your assumption was false? Ever been “that guy” who made the room go silent with your hurtful comment? Ever trashed someone behind their back?


We’ve all done it - said that stupid thing we wish we could take back.

I am the king of eating my own words. Better yet, if words could be cooked and eaten, I would be the head chef of a five-star restaurant. If you can relate, we could both learn a lesson from the wise words of King Solomon:

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and his shame.”

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge; and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”

Wait. Put your mouth on hold and let your brain catch up. No matter what the situation, give some thought to your answers first. Bring the car to a complete stop, then go through the intersection. Too often we spout out words with no thought to the hurt they will bring. We verbally explode and the damage is enormous and far-reaching. Once words are out there though, they are out there. You can put water back into a kitchen faucet about as easily as you can put words back into your mouth.

So take a lesson from Solomon and ask God to help you process your thoughts before you say them. As believers in Christ we are His chosen representatives here on earth, so let’s give Him a good name through what we say to others.

And NEVER say whatever to your mom. She hates that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Laffy Taffy

“I will trade you one Laffy Taffy for one Star Wars Lightsaber, deal?”

The nine year old and his five year old brother are standing in a sunlit, messy upstairs room. Mom is downstairs; negotiations are safe.

The crafty older brother clearly knows the Laffy Taffy is no fair trade for the Lightsaber. But in the secrecy of the upstairs playroom he also knows he can mold the young mind of his gullible younger brother into thinking he is getting the deal of a lifetime.

The five year old is not a complete idiot. He has a feeling something is up, but Laffy Taffy, with its funny jokes and its stretchy, sugary goodness is just calling his name! I mean yeah, the Lightsaber will last longer, and is a cooler toy, but he needs some sugar now and he could chew on that Lightsaber all night long and get nothing.

So, to fulfill his need for instant sugary gratification, the five year old hands over the Lightsaber, they shake hands and the deal is done.

Ever been on the wrong end of a trade? Realized too late the thing you craved would melt into nothingness in your mouth? Ever traded something of great value for something cheap and unsatisfying?

The Israelites were masters of the bad deal. Moses, God’s chosen leader of this often confused crowd, was on a mountain meeting with God. The people of Israel felt homeless and unsure of their future. So, instead of turning to the one true God, they made a golden calf and worshipped it instead.

Referring to this, David cuts right to the heart of their sin in Psalm 106:20-21;

“They exchanged the glory of God, for the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt.”

The glory of God! That is big. What could possibly be better than the glory of God? The people of Israel had already seen God’s glory. What could be more fantastic than seeing plagues, Pharoah defeated, the parting of the Red Sea, a pillar of fire by night and a cloud during the day; delivery out of slavery and being led by God every step of the way?

Yet they traded that…for a few moments of worship to a cow. To the image of an animal that eats the very grass the One True God created. They forgot their God and Savior.

What a vivid picture of how we can easily fall into Satan’s lies. There is no other way to explain why an entire nation would choose an image of a cow over such an amazing God. But they did, and so very often, we do as well.

As God’s children we can experience a taste of God’s glory on earth. By sharing our faith, seeing Him change lives, seeing new truths in His Word, intimately praying to Him, enjoying His creation, there are so many ways we experience His glory. One day we will be in His presence and will realize to the fullest the incredible glory of our King. We are entitled to a personal relationship with the One True God if we believe in Him. That is an amazing gift only available to us by His grace and the death of His Son.

Like the five year old boy and the people of Israel, you have a choice. You can lust over the things in this world that give you instant gratification and empty results, or, live your life experiencing the glory of God. Satan will offer you some amazing “cows”, but remember; it is never as good or as lasting as it appears.

Hold on to your lightsaber, Laffy Taffy jokes are cheesy anyway.


The sun is filtering through the trees, the air is crisp, leaves are falling, it is the perfect evening to just sit on a bench and soak it all in. The old man reaches over slowly and slips his wrinkly fingers into the hand of the woman he has loved for over 60 years. She glances at him through her thick-rimmed glasses and lets a simple smile curl up on her lips.

No need to talk, no need to explain further, he knows. With that simple smile a million feelings and emotions were conveyed. With that smile his heart is filled with joy that could only be expressed by that perfect setting God had planned for him and the love of his life that night.

Ever seen that cute old couple before? You know the one I’m talking about, the one you just want to pick up and squeeze together? The one that you wish you had a camera to capture? The couple that makes girls want to be married and 60 instantly?

I love that old couple! There is just something about them that portrays intimacy and long lasting commitment in a time when that is so rare. It is such a great picture of genuine love and affection. It is a great picture of being deeply known by someone.

They have spent sixty years figuring each other out, living life together, going through the good times and the difficult times together, making mistakes and forgiving each other, learning to trust each other, and growing more and more in love. And all of that culminates into a simple smile that instantly brings immense joy into an old heart.

Oddly, the picture of this committed couple in some ways looks very similar to the relationship between King David and God. In Psalm 139 we see this,

1O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether…

7 …Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Okay, let me just put this out there: God and David did not have an old-person-wrinkly-love going on. That is not what I am trying to point out here. Honestly, my first thought was about how older couples often finish each other’s sentences. Ever heard them do that? And as I read David talking about God knowing his thoughts before he said them I began to see some of the sweet similarities these two relationships shared. I began to think about how great it is to be so intimately known by someone. Ever wanted to have someone like that? Think about that relationship, maybe even now you have a relationship like that.

What a freedom to be yourself with that person. What a joy it would be to spend time with them. What a comfort and encouragement it would be just having them near.

But think for a second about how much time it took for that couple to know each other that intimately. Sixty years is a long time. We spend our earthly lives trying to know and be known by someone, when the whole time we’ve had someone who knew us even as we were being formed in our mother’s womb. God already intimately knows you!

You are deeply known. Feel good?

God knows your thoughts, your steps, your words, your ways, your body, your heart, your soul, and your mind. You are deeply known.

And He loves you with an unchangeable, unstoppable, unfathomable, everlasting love. Feel good?

So like David, turn to the One who knows you the best. Live your life trying to know Him as well as He already knows you. David was keenly aware of how well God knew him. David had an intimacy with God that few people experience, but not because it’s not available, but because most people are too busy seeking to be known by others and neglecting the One who knows them already.

So the next time you are walking through the park and see that old couple sitting side by side; think about your loving Heavenly Father and remember that you too, are intimately known. And with that knowledge, live a life of freedom and joy and intimacy with Him. Get to know God so well that a simple prayer, a simple passage, a simple reminder from Him will flood your heart with a million feelings and emotions that only a perfect setting in a park could portray.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Through the Smoke

The smoke is getting thicker now, my lungs are gasping for clean air. My vision is getting a little blurry; I’m getting a little lightheaded. Knowing if I pass out I might die, I keep going, I push through and try to get to the place where I can finally escape the smoke.

My mind is filled with many thoughts, many questions.

Why me? How did I get in this situation? What did I do to deserve this? Does God not see me down here? Does He not know that I am struggling right now?

I put the emergency brake on and get out of the smoke-filled 1988 Ford Bronco II.

My clothes have the fresh scent of anti-freeze thanks to the leaky heater core and my first twenty minutes or so of school will be a daze as my head clears from the smoke intake. Walking across the parking lot I am assaulted by the sound of a very powerful engine revving. A powerful engine attached to a very expensive car I might add. The guy driving it is a jerk. No really, he’s a jerk. He doesn’t know or walk with God, he treats girls like with no respect, he has a dirtier mouth than any sailor I’ve ever known…which is none, but you get the point. The guy is a jerk.

And again my mind is filled with all these questions.

Why me? Why do I have a smoking car and this jerk gets a Lexus? What did I do to be the lowest guy on the totem pole? I’ve tried to walk with God, is this how I get repaid? Doesn’t God see what I do for Him? Doesn’t He know it’s tough to smell like anti-freeze all day when you’re trying to get a high school girlfriend?

Ever felt like this before? In Psalm 4 we see David dealing with people who had some of the same feelings…

1Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

2O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?

3But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.

5Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.

6There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!"
7You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

8In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

God is so good. It’s almost as if in His sovereignty He put tailor-made examples in the Scripture to teach us personally through the struggles of those who have gone before us. He has an perfect understanding of human nature and the issues we face…because He created us in the first place!

A perfect example is in Psalm 4 where King David was dealing with the same problem I was addressing earlier. He was crying out to God about the “men of rank” who were around him. He was asking God to please give him an answer, please hear his prayer.

Now I don’t know all that was going on when this was written. But it appears the “men of rank” were seeking after worldly things and David was teaching them the same lesson that I needed to learn in my smoke-filled Bronco.

He says, “How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?” Lies such as a nice car is what you need to live a happy life. Or maybe it’s a different lie for you. Maybe it’s your friends are getting married before you - so their lives must be so much fuller than yours. Maybe it’s that other guy who has the successful job - his financial worries must be over. Maybe it’s that other girl’s personality or looks - she must have an easy life, people probably love her, how could they not? Any of these sound familiar? Ever believed these lies? Are you believing them now?

How long will you love these vain words and seek after these lies? They alone will never bring you true joy or fulfillment. “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself, the Lord hears when I call to Him.”

Read verse 3 again. The Lord has set you apart for Himself if you walk in obedience with Him! You are different; you don’t need those things to have joy!

You will be set apart for Christ, something that is of infinitely more value than a nice car, beautiful wife, or good job. He will use you to bring Him glory! What an incredible privilege.

And by the way, He hears you, of course He hears you! If He doesn’t give you something it’s not because He didn’t hear, but because He has a different plan than you at the moment.

Now don’t take this all too far. I am not saying those things are bad. I am saying the lie that they bring true happiness is bad, and will blind you from something much greater.

David then says in verses 4-5, to paraphrase: don’t get mad and sin because of this, don’t do anything stupid, but work this out in your heart. Offer the right sacrifices-your life, your money, your rights and then trust God. Simple enough right?

But many will still say, who is going to help me get these things? Who will show me some good? God look at me! Pay attention to my needs! (vs6)

I love this part of the passage, David begins speaking to God in prayer: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

You see? If we will stop seeking lies, walk with God in obedience, offer right sacrifices, and put our trust in God, He will put more joy in our hearts than any of those things we think we need!

So when you are trying to push through the smoke, with your mind full of questions for God, I pray you will decide to trust God and focus more on Him and His plan to use you for His glory, than dwelling on the things you think you lack.

Then like David you can say, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trip To Indo!

Here are some pics from my recent trip to Indonesia to visit a friend. I went to many exciting places and also got to visit a good friend and see his work there. Enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

So, It's Been Awhile...A Little Bit of Everything...

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I last put up pics, and I am so sorry about that! Well, I am going to put up some pictures from my parent's trip here in February and our trip to an orphanage with the students. Hopefully within the next few weeks there will be more...

I had a great time with my parents here. They got to go to my classes, eat a traditional meal with our landlord's family, tour Angkor Wat, visit my favorite coffee place, and even get our feet cleaned by fish!