Tag Archives: Jesus

What if we’re wrong about the harvest?

A little while back I was at a great church planting seminar, and right in the middle of his session the alarm on the speaker’s phone goes off. Amateur. It was an iPhone with the motorcycle sound, so it was really loud and annoying, and I assumed he would quickly turn it off and apologize to the group. Why is this guy so unprepared? Instead, he grabs it and asks us to… pray. What?

He went on to share that everyday at 10:02am he and many others all over the world stop and ask God to send workers out into the harvest. The strange time of day comes from Luke 10:2, where Jesus tells his own people to do this. This guy had intentionally left his alarm on and allowed it to sound, because it was an opportunity to pray together. Clever.

A closer look at Luke 10:2 is revealing, both of God’s work and of my own heart. It says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

I tend to be convinced that the harvest is small and difficult. And of course we’ve seen that be true at times, so experience speaks to that in some ways. But unless Jesus is lying or crazy, the harvest is plentiful and the lack of workers to bring it in is the problem. And in response to this problem, we are told to ask the Lord, who makes things grow and who is in control of the harvest, to send out more workers to bring it in.

And I ask myself: If I am honest with my own heart, do I doubt God’s willingness or even his power to bring in the harvest? Dagger. The answer to this question says absolutely nothing about God, but it says everything about the condition of my own fickle heart.

Or am I expectantly looking for the harvest and earnestly asking the Lord to send workers to help bring it in?

1) What does your own heart believe?
2) Will you pray regularly and ask God to send workers into his harvest?


court is tomorrow, easter is today

I don’t get to be at home to preach on this fine Easter Sunday, so this is my version of a sermon. Really this is what I am thinking today, so you guys get to share in it. It is adoption related since that is how my mind works right now. We also have some court day thoughts mixed in here.

Adopted. It is who we are at our core if we are in Christ. We were predestined to be adopted according to God’s favor and will (Eph. 1:5). But the predestination in itself didn’t finish it. It established what was to come, and even settled it, but it had not yet come into effect.

But then came Jesus. Jesus. The one who would pay the debt for the sins of the world. Jesus. There is no sweeter name.

So many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, give lip-service to the name of Jesus. He was a good man. He helps us in life. He saves us and loves us. He was our example. He is who you need to “pray to receive.” In some ways he has become cliche and maybe even vintagey or possibly even cool in some weird, sick way to talk about. Not that Jesus being cool is a sick idea. To those who have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness he is very “cool.”

But honestly Jesus is not “cool.” John Piper says a good word about this in his book Don’t Waste Your Life, but cool is just too flippant and idiotic to call Jesus. He is the Savior. He is holy. He is the King of all kings, the God of all gods. He stands in judgment over the entire world and everything is laid bare before his eyes. Knowing who I am, that doesn’t sound cool. It sounds freaking scary. Like I would rather pee in my pants than give him an ongoing, dap, slap, shake, grab, snap, cool handshake.

But the glorious thing in that is that he knows who we are. He knew who we were when he chose us. He didn’t choose us because we impressed him or because he thought we might make good pastors, or church planters, or parents, or accountability partners. He knew we were wretched and gross and filthy with the guilt of our sin and that we would continue in it up until the day he saved us and only get slightly better about it afterward. He knew us before and knows us better than we know ourselves…and he saved us and called us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace (2 Tim. 1:9). We are his because he chose us to be his, and he chose us to be his knowing exactly what he was getting and what he would need to do to make us who he wanted us to be.

He adopted us. And our adoption was not cheap. His grace to us was not cheap. It was costly…deep…overcoming.

He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6 

You were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19

Not sure we can live up to the standard of our own adoption in our adopting process. Not sure we can really even come close. But what we hope is that this process and the final outcome will be such a clear picture of the gospel to anyone who cares to observe it that they will rejoice in our own adoption as sons and daughters. The blood of Jesus is rich, and it changes everything. His resurrection gives us victory over death. Amen.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul. 

Tomorrow we go to court. It has sobered us some. It’s a really big day. This is the day we have been working two years to get to. It’s tomorrow at 3pm. We have been working 2 long years to get to tomorrow at 3pm. How glorious is that? How stinking scared should we be. But we’re not. We’re nervous of course, but we are confident that the Lord will do what seems best to him, and we trust him.

Please pray.
1) that these 2-3 issues that we have been warned about will not come up or be minor, passing issues.
2) for peace in our hearts as we prepare and as we listen and speak.
3) for favor and a soft heart in the judge.
4) for clarity and favor as we make our statements to the judge.
5) for all the details that will go into tomorrow by a lot of people.
6) for approval.

Thank you for walking with us. Maybe, just maybe, we are getting close to the end of the road. Or at least to the end of this road before a new one goes in a new direction.

what is real family?

No pictures today. Sorry I just don’t have the energy, but instead we posted a new video on youtube.com/igoac. And I am working on some good Sam video, but I actually lost the one I had been working on. Sorry. Now on to some thoughts and a story.

Sam is one of 13 cute, awesome little kids in his class. They are mostly boys with a few girls mixed in. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and have been there for different periods of time. Sometimes new people come in, and other people leave. They have several different caretakers who rotate shifts. There are probably about 6 of them, so they see a lot of different people. But for these little people, this is their family.

These are the people they live with day in and day out. These are their brothers and sisters. These are their parents. These are the people they are comfortable with and the people they recognize. While we believe that we are doing a good thing by bringing Sam into our family, and we also believe that every one of these little people need families, there is something hard and painful about them leaving their home and their family.

When they leave here, everything they know disappears, everything. While the lives they move on to may be better in many ways, nothing is familiar or comfortable, nothing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave everything that gives me any level of comfort and have no one ask me if I would like to do that or not. Ultimately these little guys may not know what’s best for them, being around 2 years old, but being adopted is in may ways painful for them.

It’s painful for their adoptive families in many ways, too. It’s hard. It’s inconvenient. It’s uncomfortable to live in Kazakhstan for 2 months. It’s expensive. It’s freaking cold for two Texas people. And we thank God for all of it and pray with all our hearts that God would speak to more families and that more families would respond and answer the call to adopt. Because there’s another thing about it: it is absolutely not about us.

In many ways it’s about these kids and about hope and relief. But more than that, as we have said from the very beginning, while Sam was still a stack of paper called a dossier, while he was still an agency application, it was always about the gospel. It was always about Jesus because everything is always about Jesus. As we were reminded very painfully and clearly and beautifully our first week here, it was always about 2 Timothy 1:9: “…God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.”

Now, the story you’ve all ben waiting for:
Sam has a litle friend in his class, one of the 13, named Matisse. That is his name given to him by his parents who are French. He is a cool little guy and is very active and very happy. His favorite word is”tata,” which means “look!” And he is always pointing at something. We have noticed that every time we come to pick Sam up, if he is not already pretty close to the door or if he doesn’t notice us, his little friend Matisse gets very excited, starts making all kinds of noise and runs over to Sam and starts patting him and making sure he knows that we are there. He knows instantly that we are there to see Sam, and he is very excited for Sam that we are there. It’s so cool. These guys are family.

And no news on anything else yet. Just visiting the boy and waiting. Thank you for walking the long, hard, refining, beautiful, inspiring road with us.

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