In what do you put your trust?

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, March 14, 2018.

root canal

This past Monday I went to the dentist, this was the third visit in two weeks… I’ve got two more to go because what happened to my tooth was so bad.  A few weeks ago, my tooth started to hurt so I waited a few days to make sure the pain didn’t just go away, it did not, so I made an appointment to see my dentist.  When I went to the dentist she showed me the x-ray, I had some serious decay under one of my crowns and we discovered that I had an exposed nerve and I was going to need a root canal.  A lovely procedure where they drill into your tooth and remove the tooth decay, then stick this file down the nerve canal and clean out the dead pulp, finally filling up the empty canal with pink rubbery stuff.

So back to Monday’s visit… my dentist, who I really like and trust, had done all the work to finish up the root canal and one of her assistants needed to take a final x-ray.  This was the worst part of all the visits so far, and it should not have been.  She sticks this rectangular paddle into my mouth to take the x-ray, but this thing is huge and the edges are sharp… basically, it was torture!  I literally was gagging, but I just wanted it to be done so I did my best to handle the situation.  This hurt more than when my dentist shot me with Novocain or when she touched the exposed nerve.  I trusted this assistant not to hurt me too bad (you’re at the dentist, you are going to feel pain at some point) but she did.  It was awful.  She was a poor photographer too, she had to try about five times to get the perfect picture… every time she took a photo it hurt!  I like my dentist but I don’t trust her assistant.  I don’t even know which one it was, she was wearing a mask.

I was angry because I trusted this person and all she did was hurt me.  Sounds like a bad relationship doesn’t it.

2 Kings 13:14-20a  TLB                                                                                                           14 When Elisha was in his last illness, King Joash visited him and wept over him.  “My father! My father! You are the strength of Israel!” he cried.   15 Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did.  16-17 “Open that eastern window,” he instructed. Then he told the king to put his hand upon the bow, and Elisha laid his own hands upon the king’s hands.  “Shoot!” Elisha commanded, and he did.  Then Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, full of victory over Syria; for you will completely conquer the Syrians at Aphek. 18 Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the floor.”  So the king picked them up and struck the floor three times. 19 But the prophet was angry with him. “You should have struck the floor five or six times,” he exclaimed, “for then you would have beaten Syria until they were entirely destroyed; now you will be victorious only three times.”  20 So Elisha died and was buried.

At the beginning of this story, the prophet Elisha is deathly sick when the King Joash comes to him, Joash is worried about their Syrian enemies. Elisha tells King Joash to open a window and to shoot an arrow eastward, to represent the Lord giving victory to Israel against the Syrians. Then the king is directed to hit the arrows against the ground which Joash does three times, Elisha gets angry and replies that God will only give them victory over Syria three times because the king followed the directions halfheartedly… he should have beat the ground 5 or 6 times with the arrows.

Scripture is vague on how he should have known how many times to hit the floor with the arrows, but from Elisha’s response we can decipher that King Joash was just going through the motions and there was a lack of trust.  He was not completely on board with Elisha’s prophecy.  Remember, this is a King who openly prayed to God, but also to idols… we don’t really know where he put his trust.  It surely was not fully in God and it was not fully into his idols… he was halfhearted in what he trusted.

Fear is the destroyer of trust.  Many people do not put their trust in God because they fear they will, in some way, lose out, or that they are limiting themselves.  Those of us who are Christian many times only trust God halfheartedly like King Joash because we don’t want to give up control over our life.

In life we will put our trust into something, most times it’s into ourselves or something worldly, but if we put our trust in things other than God, we will be disappointed.  We are only human, and the things of this world are temporary.  God is the only sure bet, nothing is as solid as God.  Nothing is like him.

By putting your trust in God, you will never lose out, you will have to sacrifice, you will have to rely on him to guide you, which means you are going to have to let go of some control, but you will never lose out!  Your life is not limited, it becomes limitless with God.


Touching the Untouchable!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, March 6, 2018.

do not touch

In Biblical times, it seems like there were so many different ways for us or things to become “dirty” or ceremonially unclean… meaning these items or us were unfit to go and worship God.

The book of Leviticus itself (just one book in the Old Testament) used the word unclean almost 100 times to describe how one would become unclean or describe how objects became unclean.  For example, pigs were thought of as unclean in ancient times so they were never used as a sacrifice for God, offerings/sacrifices were an act of worship so pigs were never allowed.

If you had a serious skin disease you were thought of as unclean, so you would have to isolate yourself from others, you could not touch them and they could not touch you or they would become unclean, just like you.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live life where no one wanted to touch you or even be close to you.

Leprosy was one of the worst things that could happen to you in ancient times, if you did have it whenever you got near people you had to, “tear your clothing and leave your hair uncombed. And you had to cover your mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!”

Nothing made you feel more unwanted than leprosy…

Luke 5:12-13  NLT 1996                                                                                                                 12 In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground, face down in the dust, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you want to, you can make me well again.”  13 Jesus reached out and touched the man. “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Did you catch Jesus’ reply to the man’s statement, “If you want to, you can make me well again.” … Jesus says, “I want to.”  That is the heart of Christ!  He is a God who feels your pain, who understands your struggle in life and he wants to take action on your benefit.  That’s compassion.  Several times in scripture Jesus is described as being moved with compassion and that literally means to feel it in your guts.  To feel for someone else’s pain or suffering.

Did you catch that Jesus reached out and touched the man.  Jesus did not care what society thought was dirty or not dirty, his goal was to make that man feel wanted and loved.  That’s compassion.

By this act of compassion, he told this man, “I love you.”  He demonstrated that this guy mattered.  God is compassionate.

Psalm 103:8  NLT                                                                                                             The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

Our God is compassionate.  When you hurt, he hurts. And he wants to do something about it.

There is something worse than leprosy, or any other disease… it’s our desire to live separated from Christ, a God that loves us.  Life is better when we are complete in him, when we are connected to him.

It doesn’t matter what you have done, God loves you with an unfailing love and he is always ready to reach out to you, acknowledge you, love you, and make you complete.  God is compassionate, as Jesus, he lived on earth and experienced life.  He knows the pain and suffering we deal with, he understands being unwanted and rejected.

If you feel unwanted, please know God understands what that is like and he wants you to know that he created you with worth.


You are Significant to God!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, January 31, 2018.

wedding ring

We love being known by others.  We love getting attention and it feels good to be recognized by others.  But there are things about us that we would like to keep to ourselves… to remain secret or hidden.

Before God nothing is hidden!

Psalm 139:1-6  NLT                                                                                                                 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

God is All-knowing!  That can be scary!  We can’t hide from him.  This is what makes God sometimes scary, the fact that he knows us completely, through and through.  He knows every thought.

But God being All-knowing is also good and it tells us something about how he views us.  Why would the all-powerful, all-knowing, supreme ruler of the universe be interested in knowing us?  Everything he seems to have done (is doing) points to the fact that our lives matter to him!  If God is real then Him being interested in knowing us gives us great significance, great worth.  He knows everything about us and yet we still matter to him.

Here is an interesting idea, God is pursuing you.  That’s how much you matter to him.

I lost my wedding ring once.   I had laid my ring on my night stand next to my bed for some reason and I forgot to put it back on when I went to sleep that night.  When I woke up in the morning I went to put it on, but it was gone.  Apparently, the cat had gotten it and played with it.  I searched for that ring for days and could not find it… but I never stopped looking for it.  The whole time I was without my ring I felt sick.  I had to find it.  It was constantly on my mind.  Then, one day, I stepped onto a rug in my bedroom and I felt something underneath, there it was, my ring.  I was ecstatic!  I could not wait to show Ms. Gail.  I was so happy I had my ring back.

This is what I want you to learn about God.  Just like how I would not give up looking for that ring, God does not give up pursuing you.  You are his most precious treasure, you are always on his mind.  The evidence that he pursues you is that he got on a cross for you and died in your place for something he did not do.

You matter to God… you are his most precious treasure.  He knows you through and through and he wants you to know him.  So, he pursues you… even with all your junk, you matter to him!  You are significant and have worth.

Be Authentic!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, January 23, 2018.


Was there ever a time you expected to get something and you did not get it?  Mr. Crouse was expecting to get a Chic-fil-a sandwich but what he got was a Mom’s Touch sandwich instead… not quite the same.  Mom’s Touch is good, but it’s not Chic-fil-a.  We can sometimes be just like this, we look like one thing on the outside but are really something quite different on the inside.  So, the lesson today is really about making sure that your inside matches your outside, in other words… you are what you say you are or you do what you say you will do.  Don’t be a fake!  Nobody likes a hypocrite.

Matthew 23:27-28  ERV*                                                                                                                   27 It will be bad for you teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You are like tombs that are painted white. The outside of those tombs looks fine. But inside, the tombs are full of the bones of dead people. And all kinds of unclean things are inside there. 28 It is the same with you. People look at you and think that you are good. But on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil.

That’s a gruesome description… I love it!  When it came to the Pharisees Jesus did not pull his punches, he’s brutally honest with them.  The Pharisees were the religious leaders of their day and their claim to fame was that they were strict about observing every law of the Hebrew tradition, the Torah.  They were so strict that they even created new laws like hedges to help guard from even getting close to breaking the real laws.

In our passage Jesus spoke extremely clear about how the Pharisees lived compared to how they instructed others to live… it didn’t match up.. The Pharisees looked good on the outside, but on the inside, there was no real love of others or compassion, exactly what the spirit of the law was trying to achieve… the Pharisees just wanted to look righteous.  They did not love others and this is what made them hypocrites.

You could say the Pharisees were using filters to portray who they wanted people to see them as.  We all use filters from time to time.  We all have moments where we live in a state of hypocrisy, where our outside doesn’t match up with our inside.  But we know living behind filters will create a warped sense of life… it’s not good.

Someone who is the same on the outside as they are on the inside we call them authentic or genuine.  This is the best way to go through life.  Authentic people do what they say they will do.  They keep their commitments, are generally on time to scheduled events, and are reliable, they keep their promises.  Authentic people do what they say they will do.

Genuine people also tend to attract others towards them.  We like being around people who are genuine, mainly because when they show mercy, compassion, and/or love it’s believable, it’s felt.  It’s real.  They’re not trying to get something out of us, they truly care.  When they do something you know it’s really them.  You get what you see… there’s no lie, there’s no filter.

New Year Re:Solution

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, January 5, 2018.

happy new year

The beginning of January is the time of year where we get to reset our lives in a sense.  This is the time of year where we get to rethink and replan who we are and what we’re doing… it’s the New Year and with that comes New Year resolutions; those things that you declare you will do or not do during the year.  Things like: eat better, eat less sugar and fat, or exercise more, not be so lazy, whatever!

Think for a moment… What are your New Year Resolutions?  What if anything is possible, what would your resolutions be then?

Above all, I want you to understand that the “solution” to any question, issue, conflict, or need you have now or will ever have is found in someway through a connection with Christ Jesus.  Making a resolution (whether it’s a new year or on any day) is fine, but so many people do it without tapping into the power necessary to see it through.

What I want to share with you is this idea…

Philippians 4:13  NKJV                                                                                                                    13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What does this mean?

Philippians 4:13 means we are able to face this world and keep moving forward.  When the world knocks us down or puts up an obstacle we’re able to get up or climb over it.  But I also think it means that in divine moments (moments where God calls us to something extraordinary) we have the ability to tap into unbelievable power.

If you ask King David, Philippians 4:13 means you can face any giant.  If you ask the disciples it means you can weather any storm.  If you ask Gideon it means you can defeat your enemies, no matter how big their army is or how small your army is.  If you ask Peter it means you can do the impossible, like walk on water.  If you ask Jesus it means life never ends.  Can you imagine that kind of power… so amazing!

What if anything was possible… what would you do this year?

Stranger Things (Part 1)

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, December 1, 2017.


We like the familiar.  We like things that confirm what we know or agree with what we think.  But there are things out there that are just weird or strange to us because it doesn’t fit the norm.   The Bible is full of “stranger things”.  We are going to talk about a scene in the bible that is a little strange!  Not too weird, just a little strange.

Several nations had formed an alliance to fight Joshua and the Israelites.  People had heard of Joshua coming and they were afraid of him, they were afraid of the Israelite army.  They had heard how he had defeated Jericho so they were preparing to fight.

Well, one nation was determined not to fight the Israelites so they did something strange, something weird…

Joshua 9:3-6  NLT                                                                                                                           But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”

No one likes to be lied to, it’s painful, you feel betrayed… the Israelites did not like being lied to either.  About three days into this peace treaty Joshua and the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites had deceived them.  The Israelites were ready to kill them, but because of their oath they did not harm them.  They did however keep them as servants as woodcutters and water carriers from then on.  But the Israelites kept peace with them and even fought for them when they were attacked later by the Amorites.

What are we going to take away from this story?  The Gibeonites deceive the Israelites so one lesson could be, “Don’t lie!  You could wind up enslaved.”  If that’s all you get today, that’s cool, that’s a good lesson.  But I think there is a better message for us… “Don’t trust your own sight.”

Life is trying to trick us constantly!  We can’t trust what we see right in front of us.  Joshua didn’t seek God’s wisdom but went off of what he saw and he was tricked into believing that the Gibeonites were travelers from far away.

I know this sounds weird but going through life hoping for the best on your own wisdom is crazy!  We live in a world that pushes us to trust in our own intuitions and snap judgements… but, there’s a better way!  Seek the counsel of God.  Pray!  Soak your life in prayer!  If anyone has the answers out there it makes sense that it’s the Creator.

Thank Full!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, November 22, 2017.

black friday

The Thanksgiving season is a time of the year we are supposed to really focus on being thankful.  It’s hard to do that when the very next day is Black Friday!  It is amazing just how quickly we can go from being thankful to just plain ugly towards each other.

Being thankful can be a difficult thing to do when you hit life.  Life is hard at times, it seems almost impossible to be thankful when you get back to the real world.  We have good times, we have bad times, but Paul instructs us to live life the following way…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV                                                                                                        18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In all situations and circumstances Paul says to give thanks.  What he means is to be thankful in the good times and the bad times.

The most surprising thing we all are always amazed at on LASA Trips is the fact that the people we visit, especially the kids, are always extremely joyful and happy.  They are thankful for what they have and they are content in life.  They have very little but they seem so happy.  They are thank full!

Looking back at our verse the thing to notice is that it reads “In all circumstances”, not “for all circumstances”.  We don’t have to be thankful for the bad things happening to us and around us, but Paul is telling us to be thankful while we are going through the bad times.  It’s easier to accept when things go bad afterwards when we learn something or our situation improves; but Paul instructs us to be thankful in the midst of the bad stuff.  Now that is difficult but it is doable!

Being thankful is just not ingrained in us… and it ought to be, it actually should come pretty easy to us.

No matter what is going on praise God, you’re alive, you’re breathing, you are loved, God has given you a path to eternity.  You are blessed people in so many ways… yes, you may still have things going on in your life that are horrible, but all that will pass.

Being thankful all the time isn’t easy. It requires work and sometimes we may have to go out of our way to really find that path to be thankful. We have to learn to look beyond the situation we’re in or we just need to focus on the blessings God has given to us, either way you can be thankful in every situation.

Practice Thankfulness.  Live it!  Because the more thankful you are, I believe, the more joyful you become!   Thank full lives lead to joy full lives!