Sabbatical Reflections

June 26, 2016 — 27 Comments

JJFireIt’s good to be back. I’ve been on a Sabbatical of rest and reflection for the last seven weeks. What a tremendous gift from Grace’s elder team and the Grace family. I can’t believe the seven weeks are already over. But I’m ready to jump back into the joyful grind of preaching, leadership, and ministry.

In the coming days and weeks I know I’ll be getting questions about my sabbatical. So I thought I’d answer a few here. Continue Reading…

JJ

Getting the last laugh

March 28, 2016 — 2 Comments

 images (1)“A laugh freed forever and ever” wrote poet Patrick Kavnagh in his description of Jesus’ resurrection. If true, then today is Easter Monday. Tomorrow is Easter Tuesday. This summer is Easter summer.  Jesus’ resurrection is not a holiday hope but an everyday hope for the believer. Jesus dances on his own grave, forever. You’ll dance with him, forever. Jesus’ resurrection will give you the daily strength and courage needed to face head-on the painful sorrows of life, and bear the deepest scars of life.   In fact, His resurrection simply means you will get the last laugh…forever.

skeptics-dont-want-answersLast night Christie and I had the pleasure of seeing Fellowship of Performing Arts’ C.S. Lewis Onstage (“The Most Reluctant Convert”) performed by Max Maclean in New York City. My assistant and dear family friend, Denise, gifted tickets to me and Christie for Christmas. She knows how to speak my love language!

Prior to the play we enjoyed dinner at a restaurant where the seating is uncomfortably close. Vintage New York City, I’d say. We were so close to tables beside us I could have reached out my arms and embraced the couples sitting next to me. I considered it.

Upon the arrival of our food I took Christie’s hand and we gave thanks to God. Later, Christie and I couldn’t help but overhear bits and pieces of the conversation at the table to my left. I wondered if our praying invoked their conversation. Continue Reading…

saltine-crackersGeorge Bernard Shaw once wrote, “There are two great tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”

Heart’s desires, soul hungers, push us away from God or to Him.

Sexual hunger: The desire to fulfill our passions sexually lest we die.

Relational hunger: The desire not to be alone lest we die.

Emotional hunger: The desires, needs, and longings, to be filled lest we die.

Spiritual hunger: The desire for more lest we die.

To satisfy your hungers your way simply leads to more hunger—emptiness, regret, even pain. That is the great tragedy. The initial sweetness becomes stale; the shine, dull; the memory, haunting; the satisfaction, fleeting.

This was once the tragic story of my life.

To satisfy your hunger God’s way and in God’s timing leads to cosmic joy… and satisfaction.

This is the triumphant story of my life today.

How to satisfy your hungers God’s way? Jesus. The One who died… for you.

Seek. Trust. Obey.

Then tragedy becomes triumph.