How could Somebody hate Jesus?

hate Jesus

How could anyone hate Jesus? Most people you ask would say they like, love, post about, or talk to Jesus all the time.  Even other religions that don’t believe he’s God will usually acknowledge him as a good man, prophet, or angel.  Most of the majority whether Republican, Democrat, agnostic, Muslim, and even a dash of atheist will say he’s a nice guy…  So why would Jesus make the following statement:

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” –Matthew 5:11‭-‬12 ESV

Why would anyone, if the majority is “pro-Jesus”, hate you for promoting Jesus?  What’s the trigger for this kind of hate?

Notice Jesus mentions the prophets…  If you take any time to read about the prophets you will see that God told them to preach a message to people that didn’t want to hear it.  Jeremiah got jumped by the priests and prophets in the temple (Jeremiah 26:7-8), Elijah got death threats (1 Kings 19:2), and God warned Ezekiel that preaching to the rebellious house of Israel would be like sitting in a thorn bush on a scorpions nest (Ezekiel 2:3-7).  Let that sink in for those of you who want to be preachers one day…

They hated the prophets because the prophets burst their bubble.  They wanted to believe that they were good people that were okay with God.  The Lord would send a prophet to tell them that they were far from good and that because of their sin they were destined for the wrath of God.  The prophets warned them that if they didn’t repent…  God would punish them.  Most of the time the prophets got rejected but some people would repent and be saved.  Centuries later people would read about the prophets they would think “Wow, those righteous prophets standing for God, we never would have rejected them like that…”  But that’s not true either, just see Matthew 23:29-36.

Here is what makes people hate Jesus

People want to believe the parts they like about Jesus: the gracious, kind, forgiving Jesus that served others before himself.  This “Jesus at a distance” is easy to like, but what people can’t handle is the Jesus that says “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  Jesus’s message tells us that we are guilty in our sin before God and that we need to repent and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord (aka King).  Jesus confronts our sins when we want to pretend that they are not a big deal or ignore them all together.  For someone to tell us that what we are doing is wrong and that we need to change can be very offensive.  Frankly we hate it.

Kingdoms never change hands easily

We don’t like being confronted on our sin ever… and many would prefer that Jesus’ kingdom stay up in the heavens “out of sight, out of mind.”  What bothers people is that Jesus is saying His kingdom is here now and that NOW you must choose to either let God rule your life or you rule your life.  Will you surrender your kingdom to His kingdom?  Instinctively, people will fight this in our fleshly human nature.  We want to be in charge, we want to call the shots, and we want to be in control.  This was the issue Jeremiah ran into with the priests. They wanted to pretend that their brand of secularized worldly nationalistic religion was perfectly fine.  But when God sent a prophet it was precisely because it wasn’t fine.

The hard truth is this:  We can’t punch a clock at church, post Jesus memes and go back to living our lives however we want.  Our way and our sin isn’t okay, it’s killing us.  Our religious games can’t cover it up.   We need a Savior from our sins and ourselves.  Sin racks up a debt we cannot pay and the penalty is death (Romans 6:23).  So we are faced with an offensive truth and a major choice.  The truth is if we are running our lives and not Jesus, it’s because He isn’t really our Lord and that means that we are living in rebellion to the King and storing up wrath with our sin.  If we truly want to be saved, we have to come to the point where we surrender  our throne (repentance) to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.  That’s the choice we must make.  Will I remain the ruler of my personal kingdom that’s destined for self-destruction or will I surrender to Jesus Christ as my King.  His kingdom stands forever and He is the Lord of Life who brings salvation to all who come to Him.  Come to His kingdom and have eternal life!  He is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the Life!  There are many who hate Jesus now that may one day find He is the love of their life.

9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  – Romans 10:9

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6



Why I’m not Worried About This Election

not worried about this election

As people go to the polls today, I’m not worried about this election.  Because I know my candidate will always be in power.  His name is Jesus Christ and He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  In the end, He appoints the rulers for blessing or rulers for judging a nation.  If He judges a nation it’s usually to get God’s people to repent and be restored which may be what the church needs.

I’m a conservative and I believe that Hillary Clinton will be bad for our country but I know we aren’t the first of the last nation to face the issues we are facing today.  King David addressed these similar fears in the Psalms. Look with me at Psalm 11.

1 In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2  for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3  if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” –Psalm 11:1-3

David here explains that the LORD is his refuge and asks “Why are you worried about the wicked?”  He quotes the other person basically saying “Run for the hills the wicked are coming to destroy us!  The very foundations of our society have been destroyed!  What can the people of God do?!”  Does that not sound familiar to today’s situation?  We are worried that evil has so taken our country that if we lose this election all is lost.  But the key to curing that fear is not in trusting in the constitutional foundations of this country or in our roots as a “Christian” nation.  The answer is not Trump, Hillary, or anyone else.  The key is in trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who reigns on His throne forever and is still in control.

4  The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5  The LORD tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6  Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7  For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face. –Psalm 11:4-7

David reminds the reader of this truth.  God reigns in heaven and He sees all that man does.  He tests the righteous to live by faith and He will judge the wicked.  In the end, those who walk in His ways will be blessed and in His presence.  So for this election I know: MY GOD IS IN CONTROL!

The persecuted church knows this all too well.  That’s why in the middle of their persecution legally, physically, and in every way; they are still thriving and preaching the Gospel more boldly than the majority of Americans.  If we are to see this country turn to God, may we abandon our easy Christianity and be bold for the Gospel.  Only when God restores the hearts of men will this country see righteous leaders yet again.  Be bold knowing this:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20

Photo by Lorie Shaull 

When God Always Agrees with You

When God always agrees with everything you are thinking you may be mistaken about which one of you is God….

Today’s culture, morality, and ethics are often driven by how people feel. I will often see this when trying to talk to someone about a sin issue in the Bible. I’ve had some totally ignore scripture and say “well, I don’t feel like I’m in sin”, “I feel like God is okay with it”, “I don’t think it’s a problem, that’s your opinion”, or “Me and God are fine, God wants me to be happy.”

It doesn’t even have to be that blatant. Sometimes we tell ourselves excuses that make sense to us and we are able to numb that nagging feeling in our heart. We justify why we didn’t do that thing that God kept bugging us about in every sermon or quiet time. We justify things by saying “yeah that was a little on the margin of being sin, but hey nobody’s perfect. God understands.” These things kind of make sense to us and because “hey it’s me… and I trust me” I will give myself the benefit of the doubt. Even though you and I both know I would never cut another person that much slack. We figure that because it makes sense to us, that God must agree because it makes perfect sense… to us. This is where we make our biggest mistake: thinking that God always agrees with us. It doesn’t matter what carefully crafted excuse or opinion we come up with… When we stand before God it’s only going to matter what God thinks about the situation. If we are going on our opinion rather than the Word of God we may find out that we were playing God rather than obeying God.  When our opinion doesn’t line up with God’s then it doesn’t line up with reality. When we ignore or avoid God’s Word we are deceiving ourselves. After reality sets in we wonder why things turned out so bad…  It turns out we were in sin. Look at what God said to Israel once about this:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord !’ Thus says the Lord God , Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord . They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord ,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord ,’ although I have not spoken?” Therefore thus says the Lord God : “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God . My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God . Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’ Therefore thus says the Lord God : I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end. And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord . Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord God. -Ezekiel 13:1‭-‬16 ESV

The Antidote to thinking God Always Agrees with Us

In order to get to the point of agreeing with God we need to address 3 different areas. First, we must address the heart. Second, we need to address our understanding and assumptions about life. The last thing we need to do is make sure our mind is in tune and on the same page with the Lord.

Our Heart

We need to recognize that our heart and its desires can be deceptive and rather than trusting in our hearts we need to trust our hearts to the Lord.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord , whose trust is the Lord . He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” -Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬10 ESV

Our Understanding

Rather than relying on our own understanding we need to acknowledge that God’s way is best. Just because it makes sense to us doesn’t mean it’s right. We need to acknowledge that our understanding of the universe is limited and that’s God’s is infinite. When we disagree with an infinitely wise God… there is a really good chance that we are wrong.  So we need to submit our ways to Him.  Rather than assuming God always agrees with us we need to make sure we agree with God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord , and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Proverbs 3:5‭-‬8 ESV

Our Mind

So how do I make sure that I’m being guided by the Lord and not just stuff I come up with in my head??? First, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…” (John 10:27 ESV). Have you ever talked with someone on the phone so much that when they call you don’t even have to look at the caller ID, you just know it’s them because you know their voice. That’s same as a we grow in Christ. The more time we spend in His Word hearing Him through the Bible we recognize what He sounds like. Second, We have to refresh our minds with God’s Word on a regular basis. Romans 12:2 says that in order not to fall into the pattern of this world (“conformed”) we have to “renew” and refresh our minds with God’s Word. So the key is to fill your heart and your mind with God’s Word. Then you can check your heart and mind by comparing it to God’s Word. Look what King David says about how God’s Word has kept him on the right path.

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. –Psalm 119:9-11 ESV

That’s the key. Knowing God by knowing His Word. Not trusting in ourselves but trusting in God. That’s the difference in believing imaginary voices and walking by faith. If you have been born again, you are walking with someone. That someone is the Lord and He is leading you. Check your heart and mind with His Words to make sure you are in step with the Master. “Not my will but thy will, Lord.”

Evil Grows in a Vacuum

When parents tell a child no and do not back it up: they have taught him nothing. When Christians tell the world no and do not back it up: they teach the world nothing. In truth, both the parents and the Christians have taught them hypocrisy. They have taught them that there is no justice or penalty for sin, so why does it matter? At that point, sin is not a matter of right and wrong but only opinion. Evil will only grow in such a vacuum like weeds in an untended garden.

Churches and parents are called to uphold God’s standard. When we see sin in the church and do not correct it or sin in the world and don’t take a stand: we will make no difference whatsoever.  

Preach the love, grace, and redemption of the Gospel available for all who repent. But if you fail to warn them about sin they will see no need to listen to you at all because they are just fine.

Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:10‭-‬13 ESV

The Christians 3 Step Plan

3 step plan_edited-1

Hey Christian! Are you tired of floundering in your faith, running out of steam, and wavering in and out of defeat?! We have something special for you today! Starting with Christ and using His church we have developed a simple daily three step plan out of Ephesians 4! :

  • Step 1: Throw your old sinful life off like a dirty shirt!
  • Step 2: Refresh your brain with God’s Word and prayer! (See also Romans 12:1-2)
  • Step 3: Put on the new refreshed you by living out what God has taught you!

Sometimes we over complicate things thinking that we have to have some new plan or some new craze from the Christian book store in order to really grow in our faith. The thing is that the early church didn’t have any of that. Yes, there are many wonderful Christian devotions, books, and strategies that can encourage us in our walk, but sometimes we forget the simple words of Christ: “Follow me”. The secret to growing in Christ is bond up in that cross. We daily crucify our old self, embrace Christ, and live out the new life we have in Him (Matthew 16:24).

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4:17‭-‬24 ESV

When Brothers Dwell in Unity

I think God gave us children to help us understand Him more. Few things fill my heart with joy like when I see my little ones loving on each other and being sweet to each other. Few things make me as mad as when they hurt each other. I know that when we love one another it makes God smile. He is our heavenly Father and He loves when His kids dwell together in unity.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 ESV

Judging the Wicked to Preserve the Righteous

I found something interesting reading Psalm 7 today. The Psalmist being persecuted by a group of wicked men is counting on God’s judgement to deliver him. You know, I have seen this often through out the Psalms but it has taken a while to realize this concept in the Psalms: God judges the wicked in order to save the righteous. It’s strange to me how in today’s culture we celebrate the superhero when he defeats the villian, yet often when God judges the wicked He gets criticized as unloving. Perhaps we need a paradigm shift, a realization that sin isn’t just a personal failing but wickedness. Because when we water down sin, God looks like He is overreacting but in reality we are under reacting to sin. Like toddlers we may be ignorant of the real danger that sin poses to each one of us and that God is the hero delivering us from sin and from the wicked.

Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord , the Most High.
Psalms 7:9-17

Now before any witch hunts begin for wicked people let’s make a few things clear. God gives them the option to repent and be spared (Psalms 7:12). God does not rejoice when the wicked die and wishes that they would repent (Ezekiel 33:11). So we should not delight on the death of the wicked but seek their repentance so they can be saved. It’s not our job to take revenge on the wicked, it’s God’s. Don’t play God, obey God and love your enemies (Romans 12:19-21, Matthew 5:38-48). Preach the Gospel to them!

The final point is that we should be grateful for a God who not only has mercy on us for our sin but we should also be grateful for a God who will deal with and judge the wickedness of sin. God judged Pharoah and set the people free from his wicked rule. One day God will judge the wickedness in creation freeing us from a fallen world.

Digging Up My Coin


The Lord has been on me about launching this website for a while. I struggle with being a perfectionist and in having the faith to leap when I don’t know all the answers. God’s been showing me that if He tells me to do something I better get started and let Him work out the details. The parable that sticks in my mind most is the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). I keep waiting for the right time but the time is now. I say to God “well I will get on that when it’s a better time.” But God’s plan is best. Sure I don’t know a thing about websites, sure I feel insanely busy all the time already, and maybe the site isn’t going to look that good at first… But God said get started and I don’t want to be the guy who buries God’s investment in the ground with nothing to show for it. Because If I become that guy and don’t repent; God’s not going to keep investing where there is no profit. God is never wastes his time or energy. So here it goes! I hope this site is a blessing to all of you.

In Christ,

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 25:14-30 ESV