Saturday, April 12, 2008


Look around you at the world that you live in. Can you make a mountain? Can you create a tree from nothing? Can you cause a coyote to be born or a bird to fly? Who are we to question the things of God, His reasons for doing what He does or for allowing certain things to happen?

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the LORD’s thoughts?

Who knows enough to give him advice? (Isaiah 40:13)

35 And who has given him so much

that he needs to pay it back? (Job 41:11)

36For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)


The splendor of the King, Clothed in majesty

Let all the earth rejoice, All the earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light, And darkness tries to hide

And trembles at His voice, And trembles at His voice


How great is our God, Sing with me

How great is our God, And all will see

How great, How great is our God

And age to age He stands, And time is in His hands

Beginning and the End, Beginning and the End

The Godhead three in one, Father, Spirit, Son

The Lion and the Lamb, The Lion and the Lamb


Name above all names

Worthy of all praise

My heart will sing

How great is our God

© 2004 songs\Six Steps Music\Alletrope Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)\(Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)\(Admin. by Music Services) Chris Tomlin / Ed Cash / Jesse Reeves , CCLI #2919832

Trust the One Who made you and sent His only Son to save you. Rejoice in His love for you and thank Him for your very life.


Friday, April 11, 2008


In the Old Testament, there were 616 commandments that the Jews were to follow in order to have a right relationship with God. I don’t know about you, but I can barely count that high, let alone remember that many commandments.

When Jesus came to earth, He reduced those many commandments down to two. The first was to love God and the second was to love each other. Here’s a look at the first…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30 (NIV) (also found in Luke 10:27. The occurrence in Matthew 22:37 leaves out “strength”)

This is a quote from the Old Testament that the Jews would have been very familiar with as it was to be recited every day…

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)

Here is a brief look at the meanings of the words in the Hebrew and the Greek (condensed from Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Dictionary and Thayer’s Greek Dictionary)


Hebrew: inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding, mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination (of will) and conscience.

Greek: the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours, of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence, of the will and character


Hebrew : soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion, that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man

Greek : the breath of life, the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing, the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death

Heart and soul have quite an overlap in both the Hebrew and the Greek understanding but, to oversimplify, the term ‘heart’ has more emphasis on what we would consider the mental faculties, while the ‘soul’ has more emphasis on what we would call the ‘spiritual’ faculties. (Chris Johnson:

Strength (Might)

Hebrew: exceedingly, much, might, force, abundance, to a great degree

Greek: ability, force, strength, might


Greek (not in the original Hebrew passage): the mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring, thoughts, either good or bad

Jesus added the word ‘mind’ to the original passage in Deuteronomy 6:5 because the Greeks had a different concept of thinking. Even in our culture, we consider “heart” to have an emotional context and “mind” to have more of a bent toward rational thinking.

What’s that all boil down to? We are to love God, our Creator, with EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE…TO THE MAX…TOTALLY!

That is the most important thing that we can do in life. Why are people having problems in relationships, work and school? Why do people seek out mind-altering, mood-altering drugs and activities? The answer lies in not carrying out the most important thing in the life of a human being…loving God. We must love God totally to find meaning, peace and contentment.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)


Thursday, April 10, 2008


There are over 33,000 denominations in the church today. I know, that sounds crazy, doesn’t it? In our city of a little over 3,000, there are about 30. If 100 people went to each church that would work out ok, but that would mean 100% of the population would be Christian and that simply isn’t the case.

Not all division is bad. Some churches excel at outreach ministry to the lost. Others are more community minded and provide much needed services to the elderly and the poor. Some might have an exceptional music program that reaches out to the more artistic. As long as the central message is loving God and loving others in the name of Jesus Christ, those type of divisions are ok.

The problem comes when others say negative things about this church or that church, this ministry or that ministry. The result is confusion, improper attitudes and prideful actions. How does God fit into all of that?

Recently someone in our town told a friend of mine that they were going to do “everything in their power to see that The SPRING Student Center was closed down.” Imagine my shock to hear that the person was a “Christian.”

Now The SPRING is not, nor does it claim to be, a church. The reasoning of this person was that they saw kids hugging outside The SPRING and walking up the street to a local store. Our goal is to provide a safe haven for teens and a positive atmosphere with the ultimate hope that they would meet Jesus through one of our staff or through His Word.

Fortunately, my friend asked them to consider where those kids would be going and what they would be doing if The SPRING did not exist. Hopefully, that message will sink in. But, it points out the problem of disunity among those of us who love Christ.

The words of Jesus on this subject are recorded in three of the Gospels…

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? Matthew 12:25-26 (NIV)

We that claim Christ as Head of His Church and Savior of our very lives must be unified if we are to reach the lost, especially the younger generations. We must heed the words of Paul in his letter to the church in Ephesus

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:3-6 (NIV)

Now, with all that being said, am I worried about the status of The SPRING? No! God, Who created the universe and planted The SPRING here, will be faithful and successful in standing against such obvious attacks of Satan.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Do you get upset with people that don’t act as you think they should? I think we all do at times. But, can we hold them to the same guidelines that we ourselves have adopted? What if they are not Christians…can we expect them to act according to Biblical principles?

Listen to what Jesus said according to the Gospel of Luke…

That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47-48 (NIV)

Those that don’t know how they are supposed to act will be punished less severely than those of us who claim to be Christians, are supposed to know God’s will and then DO NOT carry out God’s will.

That should scare us a bit. We have quite a responsibility and we have been given everything we need to be faithful to our calling…

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

So, the next time you are tempted to criticize someone else’s actions make sure you take a long hard look at yourself first. How is your response to them? Are you being loving to them? Are you acting toward them the way Jesus would want you to?

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (NASB)

Remember, only God knows the heart…yours and theirs.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


What do you think Jesus meant by the following phrase, “Be ready for service?”

“Be ready for service and have your lamps lit. 36 You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once.” Luke 12:35-36 (HCSB)

He was referring of course to His own second coming, knowing that He would be crucified and return to the Father in heaven. Do you think He meant that we should sit in church every Sunday and simply wait for Him? Or do you think He meant to be ready to serve Him in whatever circumstances came our way?

What do you think Jesus meant about having our lamps lit? Could He have been referring to us, His church, being the “light of this world” (Matthew 5:14-16)? After all, are we not supposed to be doing the work of Christ, since we are called the “body of Christ?”

Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out to…

8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! Matthew 10:8 (NLT)

As His followers we are to do the same things…meet the needs of the hurting, the dying and the lost.

All too often, we Christians adopt a Pharisee-type attitude. We worry more about the “outside of the cup being clean”, instead of examining our hearts and motives and aligning them with the mind of Christ. Remember what the Pharisees said to Jesus when He was having dinner with Matthew, whom they considered a “sinner”…

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:11-13 (NASB)

If this was the attitude of Jesus, should it not also be ours? Jesus associated with tax collectors, prostitutes, demon-possessed people and the poor. Those are the people Jesus came to help and the people that He wants us to help and to heal. Healing someone is not the same as condemning, or avoiding them, but being right there with the person that is sick and helping them to understand how Christ can help. That is what we are trying to do at The SPRING Student Center, be there with hurting kids that do not know Christ, helping them with their problems, as Christ would have. We don’t expect them to act like Christians because they are not. We want to show them the love of Christ so that they will want to know Him as well.

We found that the “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that” doesn’t work as well as “Please do this.” After all, In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), Jesus didn’t say, “Cursed are the rich in spirit,” He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Let’s all use His example of teaching those who do not know Him in a positive way. We can’t expect those that don’t know Christ to act like they do. We need to introduce them to Jesus so they will want to modify their behavior out of love for the Savior.

Now, with that in mind, are you ready for Christ’s return? Is your lamp lit? You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Are you a busy person? Does it seem like you’re always doing something? Perhaps, you’re even too busy to take much time to pray.

I was having a conversation the other day with a couple of girls (teenagers) and one made a comment that they pray when they’re in trouble and ask God for help. That’s cool. But, as I pointed out, why not talk to Him at other times as well, thanking Him for things He has done and asking Him for direction in life.

Then I remembered reading this passage from the Gospel of Luke…

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. Luke 10:38-39 (NIV)

While it is great to ask God for help and direction and thank Him for what He has done in your life…It is equally as important to LISTEN to what He is saying to us. Have you ever taken time before the Lord just to listen?

I was listening to the radio on the way to town the other day and Charles Swindoll was speaking on “waiting before the Lord.” The message was the same as simply being quiet and listening to what God was trying to say.

Young’s Literal translation translates verse thirty-nine as follows:

39and she had also a sister, called Mary, who also, having seated herself beside the feet of Jesus, was hearing the word, Luke 10:39 (YLT)

So “listening” to what God says to us in stillness is not the only way to hear what God is saying. He speaks to us through “the word.” The Greek word here is “logos” which we have come to know refers to Jesus as the expression of God’s thoughts (John 1:1-14). The written word, the Bible, is God’s written communication of His thoughts to us.

So, practice “listening” to God this coming week, in the quiet and stillness of your day (even if it’s only 5 minutes!), and by reading His Word and asking Him what He wants to say to you through that particular scripture you are reading for that day.