Preach With Mud | Stephen Jones

Do you remember the story of Jesus healing the blind man by rubbing mud on his eyes?

Did you notice what Jesus did not do?

He did not tell the blind man who He was. He simply met his physical needs, and then went on his way. Not to say that Jesus had no intentions of revealing Himself to the man, He just knew how to do it.

I find it fascinating that when the Pharisees asked the man who healed him, he could not give an answer. His reply was, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” It was only after speaking with the Pharisees and thinking about the situation after the fact that the man came to realize who Jesus was.

Isn’t it a bit strange that we tend to get this whole evangelizing thing backwards? We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, yet I find myself trying to be the mouth of Jesus.

I get nervous in certain situations because I feel as if God is calling me to tell the guy next to me about Jesus, and I am not sure exactly what to say. And that might be exactly what God is asking you to do at that moment.

But it is more likely that God wants you to simply be the random act of kindness they are praying for.

Or the ear to talk to that they have been missing out on.

Or the love that God is so desperately trying to show them.

People don’t want your theology. Family Guy already taught them all they want to know about Jesus. But what they need to know about Jesus is that He is alive and active. And that He is at work in YOU.

The best way to tell someone about Jesus is to show them Jesus.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
– John 13:35


Z-Verse | Science Vs. God | March 9, 2015

What I told an atheist online who said science disproved the existence of God.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:25

Quick Quote | Pastor Paul Sheppard: On God’s Word

I was just listening to a message from my Pastor in California. The guy who led me back to faith and dedicated both of my children to the Lord.So grateful for Pastor Paul, for his ministry and his faithfulness to God’s Word and his fearlessness.

The following is taken from his message entitled, “Lessons From The Battlefield.”

“Your Bible is God’s eternal word. No book on the planet like it.

Don’t you dare put the Bible in the category with the Quran, or the writings of Confucius, or with anybody else.

It doesn’t belong in that category. I know that’s not politically correct, but it just happens to be truth.

The Bible is the only book in the universe that was written by over forty authors, on three different continents, in three different languages, over a period of 1500 years.

They didn’t consult with one another but when it comes together it reads like God’s story of love for us, his redemptive plan and his plan for you to walk in victory.

It tells you that we were hopeless and helpless.

It tells you about a God who wrapped himself up in flesh, came down through 42 generations and came into this world to save you and to save me.

No other book like it on the planet.

I’m sold out, I’m standing on this Word because heaven and earth will pass away but this word shall stand forever.”

More: Pastor Paul


Quick Quote | Tullian Tchividjian: On One Way Love

“Love must be one-way to be worth anything.”
– Pastor Tullian Tchividjian

quick quote tullian tchividjian

I realize that statement may shock the system.

In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, where, too often, we keep meticulous score and only mete out love as we feel it’s deserved, that’s almost hard for the brain to process on first read.

So, go ahead, read it again.

Love must be one-way to be worth anything.

It certainly turns conventional wisdom and pop psychology on their heads, but it’s the truth.

Remember, Jesus said it’s easy to love the people who are nice to us, the people who treat us well. “What credit is that?” is actually how He put it.

Relationships are healthiest when each person is practicing a radical, unconditional love that goes beyond reciprocation or obligation.

Think of the way most of parents love their newborn babies. That radical, unconditional, overwhelming love despite the fact that they can’t do anything for us. We stay up late, wake up in the middle of the night, get up early, feed, clothe, hold, bathe, play with, provide for, clean up after and totally rearrange our lives for them. THAT is the one-way love we must capture and live out in our relationships.

Here’s another great thought on this from @pastortullian:

More from Tullian’s book One Way Love, as published in an earlier post entitled 3 Minute Marriage Counselor: Got Grace? (by Matthew Reid):

We are the recipients of abounding, incomprehensible and undeserved grace, yet we tend to treat others more like the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) than the man who told that story.

“The world tells us to stand up for ourselves, to stick to our guns. But the Gospel frees us to lay down our arms.” (via Pastor Tullian Tchividjian)

Pastor Tullian makes the case for cultivating more grace in our relationships in his new book, One Way Love. While God’s way often seems more difficult, in the end it not only brings Him glory, it’s what’s best for us, too!

A few quotes jumped out at me from this book…

“The fire to love unconditionally comes only from being soaked in the fuel of being unconditionally loved.” ~Pastor Tullian

When we live for our happiness, as opposed to God’s glory and the good of those around us, we miss out on a whole lot of awesome. Putting ourselves first may be natural, but even putting aside obedience and choosing the narrow path, it just doesn’t work.

“Every marriage is the union of two selfish people, fighting for their way, desperate to win. That’s why an apology so often feels like we are betraying ourselves. We would rather see a marriage fall apart than cede any ground…” ~Pastor Tullian

We’re so stubborn. We’ll act in a way that’s counter productive to our own best interests just to “win.” That victory, however, is no such thing. We don’t get what we really wanted in the first place, we hurt the people we love and we miss an opportunity to give God glory.

That’s lose, lose, lose.

It’s pride.

We need to remember that the people who hurt us are not the real enemy. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8)

“Husbands and wives are often so hard on one another, merciless with their demands and expectations, their criticisms and silences.” ~Pastor Tullian

We’re in a battle. A battle for our marriage, our family, our kids. We’re fighting for our futures, a war for the souls of family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers who are far from God and are watching us.

We can point those around us, including our own children, toward God and show them a better way. We don’t have to do what everybody else does, we can be more.

As my pastor, Sean Sears, often says, we won’t have extraordinary lives if we keep making ordinary choices.

But 1 Corinthians 13 points toward the hope that’s there for us: “Love believes, hopes, endures, never ends…”

“For the marriage grounded in one-way love, there is always hope, always a way forward.” ~Pastor Tullian

Read the more quotes from Pastor Tullian’s new book One Way Love.

[Originally published November 3, 2013]

More: Tullian Tchividjian

Love Believes | Five Years Later

On November 30, 2009, I received some devastating news. The kind of thing that knocks you off your feet and causes a lot of strong people to completely crumble.

There have been many difficult days, some torturous. Some where I honestly didn’t know if I’d make it through.

I’ve felt immense pain and heartache every single day.

I’ve watched those I love dearly hurt deeply, and felt worries and challenges I never imagined.

Yet God has sustained, provided and seen us through it all, one day at a time.

But don’t mistake strong faith and confidence in God for easy. It’s not. It’s also not supposed to be.

Tom Petty was right, the waiting is the hardest part. At least for me. I’m naturally impatient, maybe we all are to some extent.

We want answers and easy fixes RIGHT NOW. And it’s easy to be discouraged when we don’t get them.

But God grows us through trials and difficult circumstances.

And it only seems like nothing’s happening.

God is always at work on the other side of the mountain.

I don’t regret, for even a minute, making the decision to not give up in the face of seemingly hopeless circumstances. And I have found joy in perseverance, even on the worst days. (Romans 5:3-4).

Again, I’m not pretending it’s easy. If you want to give up, good. That means you’re normal.

What I’m saying is, just don’t.

Nobody’s walking around with massive stockpiles of faith, reserves they can just dip into on demand. That’s not how God works.

He says to renew our minds daily.

Even Jesus had to make time to be alone with God at the beginning and end of every day.

God really does give us the manna our soul needs today.

I’m convinced that the greatest place to be in life is totally dependent on God.

He’s got this.

And so do we, if we trust and obey and if, as Galatians 6:9 says, we do not quit.

Isaiah 40:31 promises strength for those who wait on God. And Psalm 40:1 reminds us that even the king had to wait.

I love what David Mathis says about waiting:

“When you feel the first resistance, let it be a reminder to go Godward. Recalibrate the focus of your faith. Move the weight of your trust off self, where it keeps gravitating back, and consciously reorient on God. Whether it’s simply spare moments or seemingly endless days, waiting is no waste in God’s economy. It is in the delays and the pauses, and in becoming aware of our lack of patience, that he works to save us from self-reliance and revitalize our faith and hope in him.”

I trust in God’s perfect timing and His ability, and desire, to do the impossible and to truly heal.

Don’t you dare tell me that my God can’t. He specializes in fixing what’s broken, breathing life into that which was dead and doing the impossible.

So, yeah, I believe God can. And I believe God will.

And although there isn’t a pretty little bow on this story yet, I can look you in the eye and tell you that I believe more today than ever. (Hebrews 11:1) The fact that I can say that is a testament to God’s grace and love. Nothing else…

For all those who’ve prayed, believed, encouraged or lent support throughout this time–emotionally, logistically, provisionally and/or spiritually–all I can say is, thanks. Especially you late night pep talkers. I am grateful beyond words.

Keep praying. Keep believing…



Praising God in the storm

I was in the middle of writing on this same subject when this piece popped up in my feed. I put the pen down, because it cannot be said better than this.
As we heed into the week of Thanksgiving, this is an absolute must read!

“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:20-23

daughter by design

I am thankful for, thankful for, thankful for hardships, thankful list

I’ve always wished that my life was perfect, pain-free, and easy.

But that’s never guaranteed when you are Christian.

God says that the path He calls us to walk is narrow, not wide.

It’s not a path that many people will choose because it’s hard.

It’s a path that leads you through valleys and storms.

It’s a path that includes dying to your own self and being different from the world.

It’s a path where you learn to grow in Christ daily and that doesn’t come without pruning, breaking, and pain.

November is the month everyone likes to make a list of things they are thankful for.

And we always include everything that is good.

The food on our tables and roofs over our heads.

Our families and friends.

The daily gifts God gives us from above.

And those are all things we should always be thankful for.

But that’s…

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What God's Teaching Me Today

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