Worship the king!

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory. (Ps. 24:7-10)

Prayer for Palm Sunday and Holy Week:

God of unfailing Love,

We come before you on this day with thankful and joyous hearts because your love knows no bounds. No boundaries, limits, or obstacles—including those of our own making—can thwart your loving kindness from following us all the days of our lives.

Yet during this week, your story of passion mirrors to us how we have tested your love and spurned your compassion. You find no abiding place in those who welcome you in God’s name during this week; you are welcomed with short-lived praise and soon-aborted allegiance.

We kneel before you in awe of the Mystery of your faithfulness. We kneel before you with confession, acknowledging our complicity with friends and enemies alike who through the ages have disowned you through our words and actions. We kneel before you in gratitude, forever thankful that even during passion week your love held strong.

As we enter into Holy Week brace us with fortitude and gratitude and with the assurance that you are with us, world without end. Amen.

Community of Christ

Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Rom. 12:4-5)


Apprehended by Christ

You squeeze me in from behind and in front;
you place your hand on me. (Ps. 139:5)

I read those words yesterday in the NET Bible. The NIV says this:

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

Those words have captured me. He has laid siege to my heart. There is simply no place I can go where he is not. He pursues me… hard.

My life is to be surrendered to him.

Then these words from Romans 6 this morning in my reading:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (v. 5)

All is ours. When we are apprehended by God, the Spirit is so powerful. He has given all of heaven’s power to us. We can live in resurrection power.

There are days when I can write something like that, or read something like that, and all I have done is write it or read it. But over this past week… I have felt it. There simply is no description. All week long has been a stirring in my heart for the presence of Jesus. It would be in prayer. It would be a morning where I was up early but knew it was God and all I could do was weep in his presence.

Yesterday it was a stirring all day long, which disturbed me because I didn’t know if that stirring was an angst from a misunderstanding I had, or the stupid elections in our nation, or what. But this morning, these words have swept over me again and that stirring is still there… I am apprehended by God. He has laid siege to my heart. I am HIS. I want to be his. FULLY.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

The way is made clear. Truly, nothing stops us from living a resurrected life other than ourselves.

I can read these words on this screen… and honestly feel nothing. You can read these words and honestly feel nothing. It’s not these words. It is a stirring. It is a deep calling to deep. It is a life planted in the Word of God where the Spirit of God can then stir the waters and a cry from the deepest part of the soul has the opportunity to rise up.

My life needs a saturated presence in the written word so the Spirit can lead me to the Living Word. I need my heart stirred. I need my heart squeezed in.

I want to live a life apprehended by God.




New Wine, New Wineskins

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21,22)

The power of the Kingdom of God is knowing WHEN to do WHAT.

The Pharisees had a lot of man-made rules for good disciplines. Kingdom power is about knowing when to use those disciplines. It is about the law on the heart, not on stone tablets. There is a time to fast. There is a time to feast. (The subjects being addressed by the Pharisees in this passage.)

The new wineskin is this: knowing how to use good forms in timing with the rhythm of the Kingdom. Fasting is good. Feasting is good. Knowing when those forms take place is Kingdom power.


No rights we claim as the people of God

No rights they might claim protect this community of strangers in the world. Nor do they claim any such rights, for they are the meek, who renounce all rights of their own for the sake of Jesus Christ. When they are berated, they are quiet. When violence is done to them, they endure it. When they are cast out, they yield. They do not sue for their rights; they do not make a scene when injustice is done to them. They do not want rights of their own.… But Jesus says, they will inherit the earth. The earth belongs to those who are without rights and power. Those who now possess the earth with violence and injustice will lose it, and those who renounce it here, who were meek unto the cross, will rule over the new earth. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer (biblegateway.com devotional)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matt. 5:5

The freedom NOT to worry

I have been enjoying the biblegateway.com Lenten devotional featuring Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings. From today:

Do not worry! Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the goods tight, are themselves worries.

Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow.

Lord, free us from the tyranny of STUFF!


Don’t stay empty

The journey of Lent is one that should be inward. As western Christians, we don’t “do inward” very well. We don’t like silence a lot, either.

Protestant emphasis, beginning so nobly in the early Luther, has grown externally rationalistic, humanistic, and service-minded… The dearth of rich Protestant literature on the interior aspect of Christian living, except as it bears on the opening experience of conversion, bears testimony to its emphasis being elsewhere. — Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion 

Don’t allow the noise and busyness of our day keep us running on empty in our spiritual tanks.

Reflect on your day before you turn out the light.

Give thanks for the day ahead as you wake up.

Find Scripture portions to sink into and stay there as you dwell on the richness of God’s Word. I am currently doing this with Romans 8. I am not doing so well at memorization, so I am practicing Lectio Divina through this chapter over and over, allowing the deep truths to sink into my heart.

Don’t go through this Lenten season without an examination of the heart! Don’t run on empty!

CLICK HERE for a place to find daily Scripture reading.

CLICK HERE for devotionals to have sent to you daily during Lent.

Allow your spirit to be renewed in the journey.

Beginning the journey of Lent

 Seek the Lord and live,
        or else God might rush like a fire against the house of Joseph.
        The fire will burn up Bethel, with no one to put it out. (Amos 5:6)

We begin with Ash Wednesday. It is a time to seek the Lord. Amos was written to a nation in prosperity, but spiritually they were in a spiritual death spiral. Too often we can see outward signs we call “good” and not realize our spiritual condition is not well.

This is why we need Lent. We need to take the time in our prosperity and intentionally examine our hearts. We need the work of the Spirit constantly.

Turn your hearts with intentionality to seek the Lord in this season! Find ways to come aside each day and reflect on your heart and its desire to truly seek the Lord.

Lord, our hearts need examination. Don’t let us fall under the spell of “leading economic indicators” to tell us if things are well with our soul. Be with us in this journey. Search our hearts and let your Spirit bring the cleansing we so desperately need. Let us find joy in the journey. Amen.

Devoted hearts will find victory

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

We cannot “will” our way to following Christ. We surrender and then determination to follow will come after devotion. 

“God does not want obedience as the fruit of our willful determination. God wants surrender as the choice of the heart. For what we long for in our heart we will pursue with the totality of our being — not simply with the resolve of our will.” (David Benner, Desiring God’s Will, p. 76)