What a MAN!

Oh my, what a man! He jumped out of a boat and was one of the first followers of Jesus. Leaving behind a father (Zebedee) who was wealthy enough to have other workers, he and James (his brother) risked it all because of the life they found in Jesus. 

He witnessed miracles, ran in Jesus' inner circle, heard transforming messages and watched crowds flock to the Savior of the world. He heard the call on his life and waited for the Holy Spirit to fall on the few that still believed in the King of the Jews (and the world). 

He survived the massacres of Claudius, Nero, and Domitian. He watched Saul become the new-born Paul. He outlived Paul by 30 years. He was the last surviving original disciple. 

John penned his letters with accumulated wisdom after decades of faithfulness. He saw people come and go. He was a valiant leader and a brilliant champion of Jesus. His writings were not in his thirties, fifties, or seventies...He penned his letters in his late eighties or early nineties.

Now my appeal: If you're wanting to know where you stand with Jesus and if you are on the path to eternal life...read First John! That's why he wrote this beautiful book (I John 5:13). Meditate and pray that God would give you wisdom as you read the wisdom of man who walked strong to the end! 

Rise Up...Rocks can't keep the good news down!

There's very little balanced behavior in our broken world and the fallout is significant. Taking a stand for almost anything makes you a target. Either people are rock stars or they're getting kicked in the teeth. The higher the profile the greater the emotional swings. And the shift from hero to zero can happen in a moment. It's true of anyone who rises to the surface in almost any setting. From being a 1st grade playground leader to the President of a nation and everything between, fans and friends can feel like a fragile emotional commodity. And here is the brutal reality we must get our minds around: The gospel is very costly to the messenger. The Apostle Paul was clear - "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God".


In the city of Lystra, Paul went from being worshiped as a god to being stoned as an accused fraud. Through it all the gospel remained strong. Paul was left for dead after a horrific stoning. Then a few faithful disciples of Jesus circled around him. Two miracles happened. 1. Paul actually got up. 2. He went back into the city. He went on to "strengthen" and "encourage" the folks to "continue in faith". Wow! So what does this mean for us? It's gut check time. We have to wrestle with what we believe about the gospel. When we finally pin down that Jesus is the only true hope for our communities, nation and world, it puts a fire in our belly that carries us through the highs and lows. Our strength as messengers of hope parallels our level of core conviction that Christ can transform lives and cities. 

And here's God's invitation to us. Whether cheered or jeered, keep your feet on The Rock and the gospel at the center. The good news can penetrate darkness and God uses his kids at the tip of the spear. The weapon we wield is lousy at traditional combat, but it slices through spiritual conflict like a hot knife through room-temp butter. Rise up...and go into the city with the confidence of Christ. Rocks can't keep the gospel down! 

Acts 14