Filled With Scripture & Ignorance


Filled with scripture and ignorance? That seems oxymoronic, does it not? After all, we know that the sum of God’s word is truth. We know that the scriptures have been “breathed out” by God. We believe that the words of God are as a lamp unto our feet. How could someone be filled with scripture and ignorance? It is more common than we might think. 

Consider with me a couple of examples. One from the Bible, and one from my own life. 

When we turn our New Testaments to the Gospel of John, and we read the 5th chapter the world that we are stepping into is very different from our own. It is a world that would look quite strange to us. We see the pagan influence on the culture as we read about a pool, that supposedly had mystical/miraculous healing powers. So many of the sick, paralyzed, and afflicted people would gather around and wait for their chance to be healed. Then, Jesus entered the picture and for one man, everything changed. Jesus healed a man who hadn’t been able to walk for 38 years! Possibly, all of his life. What a sight that must have been! Can you picture the joy on this man’s face? Can you hear his shouts of triumph? Can you picture the nonstop tears of joy flowing from his face? 

However, this story wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”. Many Jews began causing some heartache for this man as well as for Jesus. Why? Because the healing took place on the Sabbath. Not only did Jesus heal on the Sabbath, but He even had the audacity to claim that God was His father! Jesus began a lengthy explanation to His accusers concerning His inability to do anything without the Father, He speaks about coming Judgement, He speaks about resurrection, He speaks precious words of life. Then, He makes a statement that should give all believers pause —

John 5:39 ESV

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Notice what Jesus just said? He is addressing people who search the scriptures. He is addressing people who believe that in the scriptures, they will find life. These people, who searched the scriptures and had a high view of the scriptures… missed the whole point. They missed the Son! They missed the savior. They missed Jesus. 

These people were no doubt sincere in their searching of the scriptures, and they obviously had a high view of the text, but yet… They still “missed it”. 

Now it is my turn. 14 years ago I walked into my office for the very first time. I couldn’t believe it. I was now a “minister” I had the title and everything. I sat behind my desk and began to think about what I would preach this coming Sunday. I could think of no better topic with which to “kickoff my ministry” than to preach about the “Word of God”. I wanted to make sure that I held up the scriptures high. I wanted to make sure that I spoke about the inspiration of the scripture, so I went to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. I wanted to make sure I let the people know that the Bible and only the Bible could serve as a lamp unto their feet. So, I went to Psalms 119:105 For the final point that I wanted to drive home, I went no other place than–

Hebrews 4:12 ESV

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Why? Because I wanted to assure the congregation that the Bible is living and active. It has an ability to cut to the heart. It has the ability to sort out our thoughts and intentions if we will allow it to. We need to cling to the Bible for these reasons. I was proud of that sermon. So proud in fact, that I believe I preached it a few more times in various locations. 

There is a tricky thing to keep in mind when studying the scriptures. Context. It changes everything, and yes… Context can sure ruin a good sermon. There was a problem with my preaching that sermon. I ignored context. As a result I made some applications that the original authors were not actually making. I’ll leave it to you to study those texts and arrive at how they should rightly be applied. The point is, I wanted to make some “points” and I went to certain verses to prove my points. The points I was trying to make weren’t bad, but they were not always the same points that the original author intended to make.

There are many more obvious passages that I have quoted in my preaching through the earlier years without realizing the context, or the proper meaning, for instance, did you know that Phil 4:13 is not a pep talk before a football game? Of course you know that, but sadly, there was a time that I didn’t think twice about quoting the passage in that context. 

Back to the point. When I was baptized into Christ I was given a “ready reference” that had lists of verses to go to to discuss any subject, generally aimed at “proving a point”. In some ways, this was helpful to me as I began to grow in Christ. It was helpful for me to see “why” we believed certain things that we believed. It wasn’t a bad tool to have. However, when we begin our study of a given topic with the conclusion in mind, we are often blind to what is in front of our eyes. 

It can be tempting for preachers to litter their sermons with 100 scripture references (I know, I’ve done it) in order to “prove” a point or worse, in order to “sound better”. It can be tempting as listeners ( I know, I’ve done it) to hear sermons like that and think, “Man! That guy knows his Bible!” and walk away more impressed with the messenger than we are the message. 

My challenge for myself and for you is a simple one. Do your best every time you approach the Bible, to take off your blinders. Empty your mind of “conclusions” until the study has been done. Do not ever, in preaching or personal study set out to “prove” a point. Set out to see, know, understand, and follow God. We all have biases. We all have a few scriptures that are ready to be quoted from memory that may not mean what we think they mean. Let’s learn from the Jews in John 5. Let’s not be content with searching the scriptures but missing the point. Even if that means that the context of a passage is going to ruin my next sermon… it probably wasn’t a good sermon in the first place. 🙂 Let’s press on to greater study, and love for the text. 

in Him,


“Church: Something is Wrong, and It Hurts”

Yoga practice as a band aid – babycrowyoga

I fear that something inside of us is broken. I am not speaking about the institution of the church, I am speaking about us, as the sinful individuals that sometimes mess it up. This is something that has weighed on my heart for some time, and I cannot hold my tongue any longer. We need to talk about it.

*Note: I love you with everything that I am. That, is why I am writing this letter. I want you to be who our Lord designed you to be, and yes, I am writing this to me as well as to you. This is not aimed at anyone in particular, rather, it is aimed at a diseased mindset (let’s call it “stinkin thinkin”) that I have watched grow through the years*

Perhaps, the best way for me to begin to say what is in my heart, is to ask you to remember a man we read about in Acts 18. His name is Apollos. Apollos was everything you would want in a preacher/teacher of God’s Word. The Bible tells us, he was very eloquent in speech. Don’t you prefer listening to eloquent speakers? (It’s ok, you can admit it.) He was passionate, not just a “happy to be here” attitude, the man was on fire for Jesus! Those people are a joy to be around. 

The Bible tells us that he was competent in the scriptures (that’s pretty important!). Then we read that Apollos did the unthinkable. Are you ready for it? Brace yourselves, it’s not pretty. 

Acts 18:25 (ESV)

25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Did you read what I just read? Here is a man, who is one of those energetic, charismatic, eloquent speaking guys. The crowds love him. You hear him preach and you can’t believe what you hear. This man is preaching publicly… a wrong message. He is not just preaching something you disagree with, he is messing up the truth about Baptism!

Now, let’s stop the story. Let’s pretend you hear a man preach this sermon. What is your reaction? 

Sadly, the normal reaction would be to call this man a false teacher. Label the man as liberal. Assassinate his character. Assume the man hasn’t poured his heart and soul into his study, but is just teaching nonsense because he thinks it’s what the people want. Or you could let the world around you know that you care about the Bible but he does not! He just ignores it! You could tell the world that you have the “sound doctrine” and this man is only trying to “please men.” 

Boy, we are good at letting men like this “have it”, aren’t we? We are the kings of “cancel culture” in this arena. Someone steps out of line from what has been taught before… canceled. Where did this sense of duty come from? Surely, that is how the first century church handled this issue…. right? Let’s check back in with the text.

Acts 18:26–28 (ESV)

26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouragedhim and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Did you just read what I read? Here we have Christians who heard a false teaching being proclaimed publicly, and they handled it by… Taking the man off to the side, in private and studying with him? They didn’t yell at him? They didn’t mark him as a false teacher? They didn’t tell everyone around not to listen to him, because he couldn’t be trusted? Weren’t they worried about the problems that could create? 

It appears they were more focused on that man’s soul and the souls of those that he would influence in the future. 


Before anyone gets the wrong idea… I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that it is God’s only revealed will to mankind. I believe that I can be wrong and the Bible is always right. I believe we should strive with all that we are to understand it’s riches. I am not “ok” with false teaching where it exists. I am also not ok with handling difficult situations in an ungodly manner. I am outraged at the thought of handling situations differently than Christ would handle them, all the while, doing so “in the name of Christ.” 

  • A father attends a youth rally with his son, looking forward to a time of encouraging worship and study to help the boy grow stronger in his love for Jesus. Yet, the sermon is anything but encouraging. The sermon does not amount to much more than complaining about “culture” and demonizing people who are outside of Christ. Rather than leaving encouraged, this small family walks away angry, confused, and if anything… feeling more distant from the one they came to be near. 
  • A preacher fresh out of school, cannot contain his excitement to begin speaking from the scriptures in a deep and meaningful way. Only to be told that something he said was “not sound”. When he asks, what was wrong with what he preached, he is not met with reasoned explanation from the text. He is told that it didn’t match what their favorite preacher used to say. No scripture is given, but the young preacher learns that to many people, “Sound teaching” simply means, “Teaching that I agree with.”
  • Something is said in the assembly on Sunday morning, and the next thing you know, it is on social media. Someone is now “calling out” the person who said the “unspeakable thing.” You reach out (privately) to this person who is venting publicly and encourage them to keep the matter private, (in keeping with biblical principles.) They retort, “The teaching was public! The rebuke will be public!” I’m still waiting to see that as a Biblical way to treat a brother in Christ, because that certainly isn’t how it was handled in Acts 18.  

I could go on, but I do not want to. I want to point out, that I fear that there are some who have lost their way. There are some who think that the world will know that we belong to Jesus if we condemn all the false teaching. They forget that the world will know us by our love. (John 13:35). There are some that want to spend all their time focusing on “pet topics”, and their emphasis on these tend to elevate their status. When Paul would say with zeal, “I decided to know nothing among you except for Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2

As disciples of Jesus, we have a mission (Matthew 28:18-20). If we want to bring God glory in our mission we must SHOW our love for one another (John 13:35) We must fade into the background as we elevate our king (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Simple suggestions for each of us:

  • Preachers, spend less time bashing culture and more time exalting Jesus. You can do one without the other. One tears people down, while one gives people life. 
  • Christian, love your brother. Even the ones that you disagree with.
  • Christian, if you ever have a problem with something someone has said or done. Do what Jesus would tell you to do. Go to them alone and try to win your brother (Matthew 18:25). (Name calling, blame shifting, and public bickering do not count.) Please Christian, stop naming reasons that you won’t follow Jesus’ words on this point. Far too many are unwilling to speak to the person face to face as the Lord said, but are all too willing to gossip with their friends. If you do not handle these situations the Lord’s way, it is best that you avoid them altogether. 
  • Christian, do not neglect to study. Sometimes, maybe sometimes… I can’t believe I’m going to say it… Here it goes… Sometimes, that brother that you thought was teaching “unsound doctrine” was right, and you were wrong. I have been the “wrong” brother more times than I care to admit, that is how I know this painful truth. 

Allow me to leave you with one thought from the apostle Peter – 1 Peter 3:8- Finally, all of you, have unity of mindsympathybrotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.[1]

Peter wrote these words in the context of relationships and suffering. He deals with all kinds of relationships. Marriage relationships, relationship with government, masters, elders and the church under their care. Peter offers these words a lens through which to see and interact with each other. The next time you see or hear something with which you disagree, whether it be presented in private study, in the assembly, or online. Pass your response through this filter:

  • Is my response going to help or harm the unity in the church? (unity)
  • Have I taken a moment to truly consider the other person? What is going on in their life, their perspective, their reasoning, their emotion? If not, I am not qualified to speak on the issue at hand. (Sympathy)
  • Have I prayed for this person and their soul? Have I done anything, anything, to show this person that I love them? (Brotherly love)
  • How can I show my love and concern for this person so that they will know they can trust me? (tender-hearted) – Think Pricilla and Aquilla in Acts 18
  • Have I considered that I might be wrong? No, I’m not asking if you quickly reminded yourself that you are right. Have you really considered that you might be wrong? Only a (humble mind) can do that. Only a humble mind can still be taught. 

Church, I love you. I am eternally grateful for the countless blessings that I have received from the Lord, through you during my lifetime. The vast majority of my brothers and sisters are not only great models of what is written here, but have taught me better how to be more like this (I still have a long ways to go). The future of the church is bright because our King is on His throne. I am honored to call you my family. Please consider this letter as nothing more than an encouragement to myself and my closest friends/family to eliminate the “stinkin thinkin” from our lives, and be better at treating people the way Jesus would. Let’s do everything that we can to build up His kingdom. Remember, you cannot build the church with a wrecking ball. 


Christian, Take Care of Your Body

Picture1I will never forget the lowest point of my life. I was sitting in a doctor’s office still grieving the loss of my dad. I had made the decision to have some tests run on my heart because of my father’s unexpected passing. As the doctor came in the room and went over their findings with me, one thing kept drawing my attention on the papers that they gave me… I was 45 lbs overweight.

Realizing that I was so much overweight was hard for me to take. I had always taken pride in being a guy who was always in the gym lifting weights. I liked being a strong guy, I constantly had goals of bench pressing more, squatting more, deadlifting more… However, I was faced now with a wakeup call. I was inconsistent with my exercise and my diet was absolutely terrible. I had convinced myself that I was “pretty healthy”, not wanting to honestly evaluate or really even think about the topic much.

What I was now faced with, was not a pretty sight. Worse, it was a dangerous way to live. Worse still, it was ungodly.

*Disclaimer- Weight and health issues are no laughing matter, and some people have other reasons for their battle with weight. My issue was I had no discipline in my diet and I had grown lazy in exercise. Maybe you can relate, if you can, please read on*

Something had to change for me. Something had to change for my family. I had a lot of excuses as to why I was not in better shape. Maybe some of these sound familiar to you:

  • I am too busy to work out every day
  • I don’t make enough money to eat healthy! Everything healthy is expensive!
  • It’s my genetics, it’s just harder for me to lose weight and keep it off. If I just look at food, I gain weight.
  • I’d eat healthier if healthy food tasted good!
  • I had knee surgery, and now it’s hard for me to do much running, or heavy squats, or lightweight squats, or… (anything else I didn’t really have the desire to do)
  • I am more focused on my spiritual well-being than my physical well-being

I’ve said all of those, repeatedly. However, it’s that last one that I want to focus on for a minute. I had convinced myself that I was really ok, because I had a greater and a more important focus than just physical wellness. I would often quote to myself

1 Timothy 4:8to justify my thinking. I am convinced now, that I was dead wrong then. I was wrong on a couple of levels.

Bodily training is of value

Often times, in these discussions people are quick to point out the same things that I would from 1 Timothy 4. The Bible says that bodily training is of some value BUT godliness is of value in every way! Quickly passing by that physical stuff and focusing only on the more important spiritual training. Please hear me, spiritual training is of more value. Because, it not only impacts the life we now live, but the life we will have eternally. This does not diminish the value of bodily training.

God has given us one body. One. We ought to use it well. We ought to strive to glorify God in our bodies. We ought to be good stewards of what has been given us.

You damage your spiritual life, with a lousy physical one.

This is the one I want you to consider deeply. A Christian who takes the approach that our bodies aren’t that important and that essentially everything else is more important than caring for it in a proper way, is not just misinformed, but are hypocrites who are ruining their reputation. I know, I was one. How can we teach people not to be fleshly, self-indulgent people who give in to desires concerning drugs, alcohol, and sexual sins all while living a gluttonous/lazy lifestyle that is spoken about numerous times in scripture? How can we condemn with such fervor some sins of the flesh while ignoring the one we struggle with? The answer, we can’t. At least, not effectively. It is hard to hear someone offer you instructions concerning a matter that they clearly do not grasp. It is hard for people to hear God’s messages concerning self-control from individuals who appear to have none.


I write these things with a couple of goals/desires in mind:

  • I hope that someone reading this who can relate to where I was and the excuses I had grown comfortable with using, will snap out of it and get on the ball.
  • One of the things that turns many people away from the church is inconsistency. You know, “You need to control your desires!” all while, we are not.
  • A reminder for myself to do better.

God does not call us to be professional athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness experts. (Thankfully!) However, we must do all that we can to remove obstacles from people hearing the Gospel. Someone may say, “Well, people shouldn’t be concerned with appearances” and that person would be right. People shouldn’t be. However, people are. Since we know that they are, let us do all we can to remove one more obstacle.

Some will say that there is no need to be concerned with the physical because we are all going to die one day anyways. Those people would be half right. We are all going to die one day anyways (assuming the Lord doesn’t return first). We should still be concerned with the physical nonetheless.

Let’s say with a healthy diet, and consistent exercise you can prolong your life by a few years. What could you do with those few years? How many more hours could you spend instilling faith in the hearts of your children/grandchildren? How many more people could you potentially reach with the Gospel? How many more cherished moments could you spend with your spouse? Not to mention the LIFE you would be adding to your years by living healthier, getting sick less, and having more energy to do what needs to be done.

Let’s be more aware of how we are perceived, and give some thought to our ways concerning our physical health. In all things, let’s try to do better.

In Him,


A Confession and A Lesson

confessionRecently, my children were exposed to something that I really wish they hadn’t been. There was an individual who started behaving very poorly in their presence. The details aren’t important, so I will leave them out. However, my children heard some things that were untrue, and were presented in a very ungodly way.

Confession: When I heard about the situation, Immediately I was angry. Not just angry, but so angry It felt like my blood was boiling. Maybe angrier than I have ever been. Not just because of what was said and done by this individual, but because it happened in the presence of my children. You have heard of “Mamma Bears” well, I was morphing into “Daddy Tyrannosaurus Rex”. I wanted to fly off the handle. I wanted to “fix” the situation by taking a “stand”. Never mind that whole, being slow to wrath thing (Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:18). I must confess, I was not following these principles in my thinking.

            The Lesson: As I was putting my children to bed that evening, I told them that I was so sorry that they heard the things that they did. My daughter said, “Daddy, the Bible tells us that we should pray for those people. Can we pray for them together?” As she held out her hand towards mine.

Wait a second! That surely couldn’t have been what Jesus meant when He commanded His disciples to love their enemies, and to pray for those who persecuted them?!? (Matthew 5:44). Surely Jesus wouldn’t actually expect us to take a situation where someone behaves so poorly, and for us to not retaliate (Matthew 5:38-42). Surely all of those things are nice, well and good, but… Certainly are not principles to be applied when someone is being so incredibly rude. Surely then, we have a “right” to fight back… Then we turn our eyes to the cross, and we find Jesus praying for those who were literally, actively killing Him (Luke 23:34). I guess Jesus meant those things He said.

I thank God for my children daily. I also thank Him for the lessons that they teach me. Adults (like me) hear the teachings of Jesus, and we like them. They sound great in a book, but when we are faced with the situation in front of our face, we look to justify why that teaching really doesn’t apply here… Children, remind us that it does. It is no wonder that Jesus also said, “unless you become like children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3). I write this as a reminder to myself, Jesus meant what He taught, even when it hurts. He preached it, He practiced it, children understand it. It is time I do as well.

In Him,


“Does God Hate Your Prayers?”


That is a shocking question, and a shocking idea. How could God hate it when we pray? After all, we all readily admit that we don’t pray enough, our prayer life is not meaningful enough, and every time we examine the life of Jesus we are reminded how important prayer was to Him, and how much more we need to pray.


We are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) so why should we be cautious in prayer?

Proverbs 28:-9- “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination”


To be clear, the word used here for “abomination” literally means a “detestable thing.” Don’t miss that. There is something that we can do that would actually cause God to hate it when we pray.

What is that thing? Turning our ears away from the law. Turning our ears away from what He has said. Why would God be ready to listen to us, when we fail to listen to Him? Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and you just can’t seem to get a word in? You listen as they dominate the conversation, and are obviously not interested in what you have to say, but are only wanting you to hear from them? Don’t do that to God. He doesn’t like it either.

in Him,