Wednesday, April 25, 2018


    Do you have a Tobiah taking up residence in your heart?  Well, you'd better get him out!!  Just what is a Tobiah and how would he get in someone's heart and more importantly, how can you get him out?  Well, we learn about Tobiah in the book of Nehemiah, in the Old Testament. Nehemiah was rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and Tobiah was a bad guy bent on destroying the work of God.  As long as Nehemiah was around, Tobiah was powerless, once Nehemiah left, Tobiah made his move and literally moved into the holy Temple. 

           Tobiah personifies sin. Sin allowed to manifest in our lives will have repercussions beyond ourselves.  Like throwing a pebble in a pond, the ripples move out and affect everything on the surface, long after the pebble has settled to the bottom of the pond.  Who sinned in the case of Tobiah moving into the Temple?  The priest in charge of the Temple sinned by allowing Tobiah to take up residence.  Likewise, as Christ's followers, our bodies are Temples of God.  When we harbor sin, even secret sin, as the high priest harbored Tobiah, the repercussions to those around us can be devastating.

The Priest over the Temple emptied the store room, which was set aside for a holy purpose, and in so doing, unemployed all the guys whose job it was to maintain the store room and distribute it's contents.  With no purpose, these guys left and went back to farming their own lands.  With no place to store contributions, the people stopped giving to the work of the Temple, sending the priests out to find work elsewhere.  In essence, Tobiah, single handedly, stopped the function of the Temple and destroyed the ministry of untold men, simply by his presence!

The enemy comes to steal and destroy

     Sin takes resources.  Time, money, and energy are all resources we have in limited supply.  Minimally, at least one of these is expended on our private, and not so private, sin.  If we waste one or all of these resources on sin, we are failing to use it for the purposes God intended.  Obviously, God does not want us to use our time, energy or money to disobey Him so there must be a proper way to expend time, energy and money.   In wasting our resources on sin, we rob God and we rob others around us who would have otherwise benefitted by our obedience.  

John 10:10 - "The enemy comes to kill steal and destroy, but I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly."

Your pet sin may seem small and inconsequential, but...

      Converting a storage room into living quarters may have seemed like a minor thing to the priest in charge of the Temple but the affect it had was disruptive and destructive, negatively impacting the lives of many, effectually halting the work of God.  Your little pet sin may seem small and inconsequential, but how many lives are being negatively impacted because your time, energy or money is being squandered on sin when it should be utilized as God designed.  

God loves you too much to leave you in your sin

       Jesus said, "I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly."  This means God has so much more for you than the temporary pleasure of sin.  God loves you, even in your sin, but He loves you too much to leave you in your sin.  If you are harboring a Tobiah in your heart, he is destroying your ability to serve God according to your design.  Humble yourself before God, ask for the power to expel Tobiah and experience the life God designed for you. Mark 8:36 - For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?"

Be restored to your true purpose

        When Tobiah was expelled from the Temple, the room was restored to it's original purpose and the ministry picked back up.  God wants to cleanse you of the impurity of sin, expelling it from your life and restoring you to your true purpose.  Are you willing to let Him?  Expel your Tobiah and watch God work!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Formerly Christian band Under Oath
      What would you call an organizations whose members ostracize and condemn those who fall on hard times or struggle with addiction?  Tragically, I would call that organization the Church.  This past week, I read of yet another casualty of the one organization whose sole command is to love God and love others. Spencer Chamberlain, of the Christian metal band, Underoath, has renounced his faith, stating, "The most alone and isolated I've ever been in my life is when I considered myself a Christian, personally."  You see, Chamberlain got hooked on drugs and the "Christians" promoting his band were more concerned with his ability to continue performing than his spiritual crisis.  Instead of helping him work through his issues, the "believers" around Chamberlain encouraged him to hide his problems because, after all, the show must go on!

      Even more outrageous was the hate and vitriol Chamberlain received from the Christian community at large.  Chamberlain recounted how he was reviled and attacked during his very public bout with addiction.  Here is a revelation: Christians struggle with sin, just like everyone else, and  before you get all self righteous, would you be willing to share your Saturday night activities, Netflix watchlist or internet browsing history with your church leaders?  Jesus said it best, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone."  

        Of course, there is the debate as to whether or not Chamberlain, now a self proclaimed atheist, was ever actually a Christian.  The theology behind that question goes way deeper than a simple eternal security conversation. Laying theology aside for just a moment, my immediate concern here is how can we better serve those who struggle within the Body of Christ? 

        Chamberlain's story is not isolated nor rare.  I am routinely meeting people who have been shunned or alienated within the church because it is easier to trim the fat than to actually get involved in people's lives.  I have personally served in a church where the spiritually needy were shoved aside, or even out, while those who contributed were lauded and supported, even when they were of questionable character.  I myself experienced the same isolation, in that church, when my commitment to my family was criticized as interfering with my commitment to that church.  

      The Church must do better to serve those within who struggle.  We must consider each member a vital part of the Body of Christ and relate to their personal struggles and setbacks the same way we would tend to a broken or pained body part.  If we were as quick to sever body parts as we are to sever struggling parts of the Body of Christ, we would all be in various states of amputation and not functioning well at all.  Yes, there are times when a diseased body part must be removed, but always as a last resort and after all method's of treatment designed to save the part are exhausted.  It must be the same within the Body of Christ.  How easy is it to cut someone off when you do not consider them vital? What happens when you are the one struggling and deemed unnecessary because you are no longer contributing?  The Spencer Chamberlain's are vital and the church is now without his unique role. 

      Perspective is everything. Seeing one another as vital members of the same body will go a long way to helping us love the way we are commanded in scripture.  1 John is a great place to learn the type of sacrificial, others centered love God expects from His children.  Jesus said, "they will know you by your love for one another."  Let that sink in for a minute...  Where would Spencer Chamberlain be today if he experienced this kind of love from his so called brothers and sisters in Christ?  

    When you see your brother or sister struggling, remember Spencer Chamberlain, consider where his isolation led him.  Pray you would be part of the solution and not the problem.  See your struggling brother or sister as a vital part and think how you would want to be treated in a similar situation. Pray for Spencer Chamberlain that he may reconnect with a Savior whose people let him down.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


   The Emergency Room Statistical Resource Center (ERSRC), has released a report this month on the number of deaths associated with neck shaving.  A little known fact is 33,000 men die each year, having slit their own throats while shaving.  Ben "Goatee" Robinson, President of the Neckbeard Co-op International (NCI), is capitalizing on this report for NCI's annual recruitment drive.  

      "People think neckbeards are a fashion statement, but they just might save your life, or the life of someone you love." Robinson stated at a rally at the  Norfolk, VA chapter of NCI.  ERSRC's report found most deaths were caused by straight razors, however almost one third of slit throat accidents were the result of utilizing safety razors.  ERSRC also went on to report that very few victims survive because they simply bleed out before help can arrive.  

     Robinson has been preaching the dangers of neck shaving for years and believes all men everywhere should either sport neck beards or, at the very least, use electric shavers.  One of NCI's brochures warns: "Every year, parents hand a razor and a can of shaving cream to a young, inexperienced teen aged boy, only to rue a tragedy which could have been easily averted with a neckbeard."

NCI has spent thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to outlaw private ownership of razors and have actually found an unlikely ally in the National Brotherhood of Barbers, who also believe razors of all kinds should be left in the hands of professionals.  

    You can't make this stuff up folks!   Or can you....  Well I just made all of the above up to make a point. Many people will read a ridiculous fake news article and never bother to verify it for accuracy.  Daily, millions see nonsense online then share and repost.  Recently, the topic of fake news has been lighting up both social and mainstream media.  Now, more than ever, fact checking is crucial.  Once a trusted source is found to have delivered fake news, all credibility is lost.  For a news agency, this can be devastating. 

      Tragically, fake news is not something exclusive to the media. Fake news has found it's way into the church and with it the loss of credibility.  When a news agency gets caught presenting fake news, revenue is lost and maybe a job or two.  When the church gets caught promoting fake new, lives can be destroyed.  

     How can you protect yourself from fake news in the church?  The only way is to learn the truth so well, you recognize error when you hear it.  2Timothy 2:15  Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. 

      If you don't know the truth, you cannot detect a lie.  Millions of Christians trust their local congregation or minister to reveal Biblical truth, without ever actually reading the Bible for themselves.  Beware any minister who discourages you from reading the Bible for yourself.  No different than a husband who refuses to allow his wife to look through his phone, guaranteed, he is hiding something. 

      Blind Willie Johnson, the famous Bluesman, sang: Momma she taught me how to read... if I don't read and my soul is lost, it's nobody's fault but mine."  We have unlimited access to the Word of God.  If you don't read and you get deceived, it's nobody's fault but yours!  God has given us His word, it is our responsibility to read it.  

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is literally The Good News.  The Good News is God has prepared a way for us to have a relationship with Him. The true news is Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and no man comes to the Father but by Him.  The fake news is there are many pathways to God.  If your church or some other so called religious authority is presenting a way to God other than Jesus or teaches He was just a man, if your church or some other so called religious authority is telling you the Genesis account is not true, you are being presented with fake news!

     Do not trust your soul to man, read the Book God gave you and if men teach something different than what you read, run away.  Don't be a victim of fake news in the Church.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


   Friday night began Passover and with it commenced the Feast of Unleavened Bread or as I affectionately refer to it the FOUB.  Most people are at least familiar with Passover, but the FOUB, not so much. The FOUB is a seven day period in which Israel was commanded to not eat any bread with leaven (yeast).  The day before Passover, Preparation Day, every Jew is to search their home for leaven, including bread crumbs that may have fallen from the table or even in the cracks of the table, bundle it all up and burn it. For seven days only unleavened bread, matzah, is to be eaten. 

          "What in the world does leaven and the FOUB have to do with me," you may ask.  Whatsa matzha with you?  You know 2Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 

     So, if everything in the Bible has value and the lesson of the FOUB is in the Bible, we have to ask ourselves, "what's it all about?"  It's all about sin!

         We find this command in Exodus: Exodus 13:6-18  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.   Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.' 

     In my experience, much of scripture has a three-fold purpose, the literal re-telling, the practical application, and the spiritual meaning.  In the above passage, the spiritual meaning is so deep, one could almost drown in it! When scripture says, "No leaven shall be seen with you..." the spiritual application is no sin shall be seen with you

        Consider for a moment what removing the appearance of sin looks like in your life.  There are basically two ways to remove the appearance of sin: One is to stop sinning and the other is to do a better job of hiding sin.  Jesus condemned the religious leaders who hid their sin behind religious practices, so that is probably not what God had in mind. That leaves us with door number one - STOP SINNING!
      God is not so much interested in us appearing sin free, He wants us to live free from sin.  It is only when we begin to understand God's heart toward us that we begin to see sin from His perspective. What we may see as fun or normal, God sees as destructive.  Our pursuit of holiness - removing the leaven - is less about looking good and more about honoring God.  For more on that CLICK here   We have all experienced the destructive consequences of sin.  

       God's desire is His best for you.  Poor behavior hinders God's blessing. Can we attain a sin free life - theoretically yes, realistically no. 1John 2:1  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 
God desires us to be free from sin, the consequences of sin and the guilt of sin.  God takes away the guilt, but we control the consequences by whether we give in to temptation or not.  

     What leaven do you need to clean out of your heart and life?  With God's help, you can overcome anything.  Remember, God loves you!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!