Getting Off the Fence

Jeff Spiritual Growth, theology

Have you ever straddled a fence for so long that you get splinters in your backside? I’m speaking figuratively of course, because I grew up in the suburbs and we don’t sit on fences in the suburbs.  My question really is directed to our tendency to avoid commitment in areas where we are unsure of the outcome of that potential …

Faith’s Release… Hers & Ours

Jeff FAITH

“He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name…” – Luke 1:49 Jesus, the words from this precious young woman who was Your mother motivate me this morning. She had not seen Your face, nor had Mary yet held Your little body. She had not yet been awestruck by Your wisdom, nor had she seen …

Conditionally Connecting With Others

Jeff Cultural Observations, Mercy

It is highly likely that our deepest relationships are with people who have something to offer to us that we value.  Our nature is reluctant to enter into commitments that are one-sided and require more from us than we receive in return.  Marriages fall apart often because one spouse feels like there are more withdrawals than deposits from the other …

Getting Above Your Clouds

Jeff Hope

You have likely wondered on occasion whether or not God is actually for you. Most of the time when this occurs, there are some forces in play: unfavorable circumstances which show little promise of improving, guilt over some personal failure, fear of being misinformed about God’s goodness, or maybe memories of some painful loss which causes you to wonder why …

About God’s Timing…

Jeff FAITH

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5 What a remarkable thought: there was a fullness of time that God had ordained into which He would inaugurate the visible unfolding of …

Has Anyone Seen My Wonder?

Jeff Family

Children are precious little gifts to the world.  My thoughts have rested upon children the last several days as Christmas time has again come upon us.  My two children have exited those years wherein Christmas carried with it the air of dreaminess and wonder. For so many years when they were younger, Christmas time revolved around them (insert your snarky …

With Eyes Wide Open

Jeff KINGDOM, Vision

My first surgery occurred before I was in kindergarten.  Born with a shortened muscle in one of my eyes, I had the harmless misfortune of having that one eyeball turn slightly inward toward my nose.  Simply put, I had one crossed eye.  I don’t recall walking around and running into walls or anything, but it was clearly something that had …

Blessed Are the Upsizers

Jeff FAITH, KINGDOM, Spiritual Growth

Two thousand years ago the earliest followers of Jesus Christ were asking the wrong question.  Coming out of the soul-stretching season of watching their Messiah betrayed, crucified and entombed, only then to experience the ecstasy of seeing Him raised, the disciples were eager to understand what Jesus would be doing from that point on. Here’s what Luke records as the …

Confidently Living Within Life’s Tension

Jeff Endurance, Hope, Uncategorized

The Bible does an amazing job at balancing the human experience  with a divine dosage of reality.  Perhaps one of the easiest ways to bring harm to the cause of Christ is for us to upset this balance by a one-eyed reading of Scripture.  Let me explain:  God’s word is constantly revealing both the negative and the positive about our …

Strong Kingdom Currents

Jeff FAITH, Holy Spirit

For many, when they first begin hearing intentional teaching about the Kingdom of God, there can arise an unsettling in their hearts. Because most Western Christians have been indoctrinated with a less-than-Kingdom version of Christianity, the concept of a literal Kingdom of God, currently invisible but fully visible in the future, can seem foreign and awkward to them. Suddenly their Christianity …

Chasing Down Purpose

Jeff KINGDOM, Spiritual Warfare

Scripture reveals that God gives assignments to His children throughout their lives. More often than not, the ones from the Bible that we remember most often are the mega-assignments that are connected with destiny and the grand purposes given to well-known individuals. Noah was called to build an ark in a world that had never known flooding. Abraham was given the …

Pastoring: The Glories & The Groans

Jeff Church Life, Leadership, Pastors & Pastoring

Recently, I saw a pastor post something on Facebook about the pain of being “stabbed in the back” by someone in the church where he serves.  He was not vindictive in what he wrote, and he left it broad enough to where it would be impossible to pinpoint the specific person who had wounded him.  Nonetheless, I understood immediately that …

4 Strategies of Satan

Jeff Uncategorized

Yes, the enemy has a plan for your life. He is organized. He is committed. He is relentless. Satan and his demonic army are real and active. The last thing he wants us to do is to notice his activity. He prefers covert ops. This morning, the Lord gave me four distinct words that serve to describe four tactics by …

Snap the Shackles, Jesus!

Jeff Uncategorized

“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And He said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” – Mark 7:8-9 Jesus, thank You for rebuking leaders who cling to their preferred traditions. Thank You, Lord, for not being neutral about the strongholds …

Smothering Your Strut

Jeff Humility

Since I received the blessing of getting married to Amy Samples in November of 1997, we have worked hard at cultivating a healthy marriage. There have been seasons when we moved perfectly in synch and found ourselves very fulfilled. Truthfully, there have been other seasons which have been very trying with both of us figuring out on the move how …

Shorelines: Personal Encounter With God

Jeff emotions, Holy Spirit

Over the years, I have been asked more than once why and how I went from being a solely expositional, theological church leader to one who believes and practices the more experiential components of Christianity. I usually try to clarify that I have never been ONLY about theology. My very conversion in 1994 was one of profound and inexplicable power …

The Lure Of The 1-Mile Marker

Jeff Endurance

There is something healthy and helpful with the concept of “go a little farther”.  It is not something I am always conscious of, but this principle really does guide so much of my life’s philosophy.  When people, hard circumstances or a diminishing of your abilities all tempt you to stop trying, stop continuing, stop sacrificing…then we need to remember the …

Spiritual Nearsightedness

Jeff KINGDOM

This life is not big enough. My vocabulary is not wide enough. The understanding I have is not deep enough. Our songs do not reach high enough. The sermons we hear and preach are not passionate or precise enough. Our relationships are not committed enough. My love is not lavish enough. Enough for what, you ask? Enough in the level …

God Is Good When We Are Not

Jeff grace, Humility, Wisdom

A friend recently asked me about the oft-quoted verse about Heaven…that is not actually about Heaven.  Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” has been misapplied by many of us to describe the glories of Heaven which await …

How God’s Wind Blew For Me

Jeff Gratitude

When I converse with those who are not followers of Christ I usually note one thing among others that seems to stand out.  Whether or not they are educated or uneducated, moral or unrestrained, American-born or from another country, there seems to be a common thread that is woven in the fabric of their minds.  What is it?  They all …

The Broken People

Jeff Mercy

It is wise to be occasionally reminded that, in the strictest theological sense, Jesus is not here working on earth any more.  In the very same body which emerged from the tomb and walked around Palestine for forty days prior to His ascension, Jesus Christ now sits upon His throne in Paradise. He told His disciples that He would leave …

Mission Accomplished!

Jeff Uncategorized

Below is a short video that acknowledges the success of our raising the money for our friends in Kenya. With the $5,000 raised, we will be able to provide a motorcycle which Pastor Sospeter will use in visiting the members of the church there. Also, children will be able to continue their education as we supply tuition for the schools. …

Celebrating Others

Jeff Church Life, Ministry

“Do nothing from rivalry or arrogance, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3  What a strange charge is given to Christians from the heart of the wise Apostle Paul.  He instructs us all when he tells the church at Philippi not to interact with one another in rivalry and arrogance.  We have to be told …