Category "Life With God"

The Case of the Sneaky Title

- - Life With God, Uncategorized

You know how the Bible has section titles, chapter numbers and verse numbers?

Well, those aren’t inspired.

They were added much later for our convenience (having chapter and verse numbers helps us look up specific portions of Scripture).

They’re not Scripture – they’re like navigating reference points.

Generally, they are helpful.

Occasionally, they are sneaky.

Here’s an example:

Ephesians 5:21-22 (NIV)

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

Notice how the section title “Wives and Husbands” breaks up the flow and makes it seem as if there is a new topic being introduced.

Sneaky, sneaky.

I bet the editors who wrote that section title were dudes.

Seriously, I’d bet money on it.

Here’s my point: submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ is connected to the instructions for husbands and wives. In other words, husbands are being told to submit also.

In the New Living Translation, this portion of Scripture reads like this:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means…
25 For husbands, this means…

Yup, submitting is the job of both wives and husbands.

Don’t be sneaky and try to write yourself out of the “submit to your spouse” instruction.

No Perfect People, Marriages or Families

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Let’s be honest, there are no perfect people.

We all have flaws, weaknesses, issues, problems, quirks, shortcomings and failures.

Heck, even Martha Stewart went to jail.

And the very first family – Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel – they messed things up pretty bad.

The Bible doesn’t give us stories of perfect people, marriages or families. Instead, we have raw stories of real people who had raunchy problems… people whom God loved and used to do great things.

No, there isn’t formula that will give you the perfect marriage or perfect family.

Marriages and families have PEOPLE in them – that’s why they’re not perfect.

Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect, it just makes you annoying.

What if we just admitted that we’re not perfect?

Wouldn’t it be freeing to be honest about our issues?

The great Apostle Paul had a problem – he called it his “thorn in the flesh.”

He asked God to take it away.

God said, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” (2 Cor. 12.9)

Paul’s response? “So – I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses, then Christ’s power can live in me.”

What do imperfect people need? Grace.

What do imperfect marriages need? Grace.

What do imperfect families need? Grace.

We don’t need to pretend. We don’t need to fake it.

We already have God’s grace.

We need to give it to each other – to our spouses and our children, to our parents and our siblings.

Give some grace!

We Laughed, We Sang, We Danced…

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There was a party on Sunday, a Welcome Home Party.

We laughed, we sang and we danced the Cha-Cha Slide.

It was a big fun day – fo reals.

30+ vehicles in the car show!

A live DJ deejaying (and no joke, his name is DJ – Daniel Jose).

Cotton Candy. Big inflatable bouncy things. BBQ. Seahawks game opener. Spontaneous electric slide…

We’re getting over our “awkward partyer syndrome.”

And we should.

We have so much to celebrate.

We love God. We love people. We love life.

“Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout in the bright presence of God. Delighted, they dance all day long; they know who you are. what you do – they can’t keep it quiet! You’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!” – Psalm 89.15-17 MSG

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true… We laughed, we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people. – Psalm 126.1-3 MSG

We Must Party

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Ya ever been commanded to celebrate?

Or told to party?

Yeah, me neither…

However, in the Old Testament, God told his people to party; He commanded them to celebrate.

Of course, we live in the New Testament era.

So… it’s a new day. We have grace and the heavy, impossible burden of the law has been lifted.

Unfortunately, we act as if God’s desire for us to celebrate has been lifted too.

But shouldn’t we have even more to celebrate today?

Check out some of God’s (Old Testament) party commands:

“You must begin celebrating; this festival continues for seven days.”

?“Be careful to celebrate.”
“Celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days.”

?“This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters… and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns.”

?“For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the Lord your God, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.”

I believe God still wants us to party and celebrate.

Remember Jesus’ first miracle? He turned water into wine at a wedding reception.

Remember the Father’s response when the prodigal came home? He said, “We had to celebrate!”

In fact, Jesus told a parable explaining how the Kingdom is like a king who prepared a great wedding party for his son and invited everyone to come…

Yes, we have much to celebrate.

And yes, we must party!


Leviticus 23:6
Leviticus 23:27?
Leviticus 23:40?
Deuteronomy 16:14
Deuteronomy 16:15
John 2
Luke 15:32
Matthew 22:2

Old Gold: Repost on Lightening Up & Being Serious

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This is some old gold… a repost from July 8, 2008 –
“The Importance of Having a Sense of Humor & Being Serious.”

Some people take themselves too seriously and need to lighten up.

Others don’t seem to have the ability to focus and get serious.

The truth is, we need both: we need to have a great sense of humor and we need to be seriously focused.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3.1, 4)


We, of all people, should be full of joy and fun to be around!

We’ve had our sins washed away, our destiny is secured for eternity, we have God’s Spirit in us, we’ve been given an inheritance, we have hope and we have purpose!

We have no reason to take ourselves seriously – it’s God who has made our lives good.

We should be able to laugh at ourselves and laugh with others.


We should be the most focused, unwavering, determined people on the planet!

We are not confused, lost, hopeless or dismayed. We know who we are and we know what we’re here for.

We “fix our eyes” and “press on towards the goal to receive the prize.”

The kingdom is no joke to us – it is our passion and our life.

When we take the “wrong” things seriously…
We become no fun – we are religious, uptight, grumpy, judgmental, mean, policemen, bossy, small-minded and bound in tradition.

When we take the “right” things lightly…
We become worldly – slaves to our flesh, sense-oriented, undisciplined, ungodly, ineffective, hard-hearted and a bad testimony for Christianity.

Have a great sense of humor about…
Yourself, your agenda & plans, and people “stuff”.

Be serious, focused and unwavering about…
Helping others, advancing the kingdom, and God “stuff”.

Party Rumors Leaking

Rumors are starting to leak out…

There’s a party happening this Sunday.

The Cha-Cha Slide.


Cotton Candy.

Car & bike show.

Big inflatables for the kids.

Seahawks game.


Happy older brothers & sisters.

Younger brothers & sisters returning home.

Let’s celebrate!

So the Party Began

“So the party began…”

Live music. A feast. Dancing. Celebrating.

When his prodigal son came home, the Father said, “We must celebrate.”

It must have been some party.

As the older brother approached the house, he could hear music and dancing.

When I read this part of the prodigal son story, I’m convinced that we (the church) don’t really know how to celebrate.

I’ll just own it: I don’t really know how to celebrate.

I don’t know how to party.

I don’t know how to dance.

Maybe the only part I know is how to eat (Christians are good at eating).

Why are we such awkward partyers?

Why am I such an awkward partyer?

I don’t know the answer(s) but I know I don’t want to be so stiff and stuffy.

I don’t want the church to be stiff and stuffy.

I’m on a journey – the journey of discovering how to celebrate.

So let the journey begin…

So let the party begin!

Score-Keeping Loses / Grace Wins

A man had two sons…

The younger son took an early inheritance, broke all the rules, left his family behind and made a big mess of his life. Humbled and broken, he came home looking for a minimum-wage job.

Instead, the Father received his wayward son – as his son.

The younger son’s dignity was restored. He was given authority. He was celebrated.

Meanwhile, the older son was flipping out.

He’s ticked.

He’s speaking in ALL CAPS.

The older son has been keeping score…

“All these years, I’ve done EVERYTHING you asked – I’ve SLAVED for you.”


“This SON OF YOURS comes home and you are throwing the BIGGEST PARTY EVER for him!”

“Are you kidding me? This is like one of those parties on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen.”

“How much money did this party cost anyway? WHAT A WASTE!”

“And did you see all those TATTOOS he has now?”

“I’m pretty sure he has some STD’s too.”

The older brother’s rant went on and on as he continued down his checklist / scorecard.

Here’s the deal: score-keeping always loses. Grace wins.

Don’t be on the score-keeping (losing) side of things.

Be on the grace (winning) side of things!

Two Sons, Both Needing Grace

A man had two sons…

The Father wanted both sons to be happily at home: part of the family and personally invested in the future of their estate.

Both sons broke their Father’s heart.

The younger son broke his Father’s heart by leaving home, living foolishly – jeopardizing his own health and well-being.

The older son broke his Father’s heart by being selfish – a score-keeping, self-righteous jerk, unwilling to celebrate the return of his lost brother.

The Father responded with grace to both sons.

Grace really does change everything…

Grace takes tattered rags and gives royal robes.

Grace takes bare feet and gives them new shoes.

Grace speaks compassionately to the stubborn, angry, self-righteous score-keeper.

Grace invites the pouting child to come inside and celebrate.

Here’s the Good News:

Wherever you’re at, whatever you’ve done, whatever you’re struggling with… there’s grace for that!

Are you a prodigal, wayward son?

There’s grace for that.

Are you a grumpy older brother?

There’s grace for that.

Your Father wants you to be happily at home: part of the family and personally invested in the future of the estate.