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Ain Vares son a lamp
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Just as I am? Part 2

Grace becomes cheap for some because even though they were once Beloved (read Part 1) they have chosen if they realize it or not to treat God’s offer of love and grace as cheap. So does everyone that loves other people or things more than God.

Some would argue that if God wants us to change then why does God leave us with selfish desires without a way out?

Who says God does? Continue Reading →

Ain Vares son a lamp
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Just as I am? Part 1

What do you think of when you hear someone say? “God loves me just as I am.” Confession for me it is somewhere between shouting YES, like a high school student being given keys to their first car, and wanting to throw up, like after eating tainted chow mein, when I hear that phrase. Why? Because it means at least two entirely different things depending on who says it.

Continue Reading →

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What I hate about being a pastor

I have pastored in some way for much of the last decade of my life. I have been a youth pastor, a church planter, and children and families pastor. I love many, many, many things about pastoring. I love God. I love serving God. I love serving God’s people. I love the study of God’s word. I love serving God’s people through hopefully teaching them to think about God more, especially those that do not think they are worthy of being God’s people. I love the rhythm of a weekly time of worship and service.

I love pastoring. Seeing people connect with God and his story is amazing.

YET (that conjunction you use when you want to qualify something.)

What I hate about being a pastor is people see you and your family without seeing you and your family. Continue Reading →

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Remember pastors are people too.

Remember: To call to mind. To think of.
Pastors: People called to spiritually shepherd other people.
Are: Present indicative plural and 2nd person singular of be.
People: Made of flesh and blood. Have a heart, head, do things with their lives, and has a soul that lives through the full range of human emotions.
Too: in addition; also.

kivileivaks
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If God is all powerful why did Jesus have to die?

On Reddit someone asked a really good set of questions. They asked about God’s power, his goodness, and the necessity of the cross. There are five basic responses to the following question.

If God is all powerful why did Jesus have to die?
I mean we’re talking about the Creator of everything… Why couldn’t God just forgive our sins?

The answer is grounded in God’s sovereignty (his kingship and will power displayed). In the simplest explanation the crucifixion shows the power of God the Father in the humility of God the Son. Continue Reading →

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The Cut Man

There once was a man whose job was to cut down trees.
His blade slung as strong as a nor’easter breeze.
He cut down the sentinels from morning to night.
Year after year, one at a time each timber fell before his blade,
none were spared, none were stayed.
His hair grew gray, his eyes grew dim, but his blade was sharp enough for him.
He cut in the heat, he cut in the cold.
To him his mission never grew old.
One day he rose from his rest and realized there were no more trees.
He had cut them all down like his prime.

5 Things
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5 Things That Make Me Happy

Five things that make me happy.

1. My wife’s smile and touch. Been married nearly ten years and it still amazes me pretty much every day like it’s the first time.

2. Memories from the days after all my kids had been born. All three births got progressively more difficult. After holding and seeing them especially as they slept on one of us has been such a wonderful set of memories. It would also be rewarding now if the older ones would sleep through the night on their own. Yet, I sometimes lay in bed and remember those little bodies laying asleep on my chest. Their hearts beating in rhythm with mine, their lungs moving in tandem with mine. A melody of grace so simple and sublime.

3. Noise of joyful crying after heart wrenching terrible minutes of silence. Our third child went through shoulder dystocia at birth. He was delivered gray and non-responsive. After two minutes the mid-wife got him breathing and he cried one of the most glorious sounds I have ever heard in my life. Even after 18 months hearing him crying is a little bit soothing. Honestly, It’s also a bit irritating at 3 A.M. but every cry is a bit of grace too considering what so easily could have happened if a very skilled midwife had not been there.

4. Waking up two days after I lost insurance coverage as a unemployed twenty something in a Duke hospital recovery room. I still remember the interim ER admitting doctor. He thought my symptoms were psychosomatic and wanted to send me home instead of admitting me. Glad he did not get his way. I was eventually carried in to exploratory surgery which proved that I was going in to early organ failure. The blood flow to my organs had began to fail. They performed emergency surgery and corrected the blockage from stomach tissue that had somehow twisted and caused the blood flow in my stomach to stop working properly. It has been over fifteen years and the scar has mostly faded yet when I really notice it, it reminds me afresh of how precious and precarious our lives are.

5. Surprise snow days with family in the Wilmington area.  I grew up in northern New England during part of my childhood. Up there snow stopped nothing. If it snows in the Southeast everything is shut down. A few years ago we had a really awesome snow storm. The kids and my wife, who have never really seen so much snow, were so amazed by seeing real snow. I still can picture them making snow angels. Great memory when it is closing in a 100 plus in July.

What makes you happy?

Click here if you want to listen to Pharrell Williams Get Happy.

Continue Reading →