Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wisdom and Doubt

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8

This is how I used to read this verse:
“I really want wisdom… but I can’t believe perfectly. I better not ask at all.”
Or I would question if I heard Him or it was wishful thinking.
Even simple things- like hearing God say “I love you” were cast into shadows. Maybe I just wanted to hear that but He didn’t really say it?
I assumed that God was speaking to me through events. I determined His will through a series of “open doors” if something fell into place- that must be God.
When terrible things happened, I assumed that God must be putting it in my life. I trusted Him even less. I was in a crazy cycle of doubt and fear. I felt so isolated.

This was all wrong! It clearly says God will give without finding fault. James seems to be appealing to the natural order; waves are blown by the wind. God is not the one who is tossing us about or punishing us for our doubt. A natural byproduct of doubt is that we become double-minded. We cannot hear God because we have put our own fingers in our ears.
The key is to accept that this process is not perfect. God is perfect and able to make us understand, but He wants to cultivate a relationship with us. Like any other relationship, it must be prioritized, guarded, and worked on.
Very often we will misunderstand. God can sort it out. Cultivating a listening heart, working through distractions and fear- this is the NORMAL Christian life.
I dare you to ask God for wisdom- and wait. Oh that is vulnerable! He is trying to slow us down, get us into His rhythm. The first step is simply to try.

Tagged , ,

Toiling in Trials

I tend to think as a person, I’m neither type-A or type-B but rather one whom sits between both characteristics. That being said, I feel blessed to be able to see some things as black and white (and at a broad level) and others in very distinct detail. But where detailed thinking has been very valuable in helping drive my short, near 6 year career with technology thus far, it often creates emotional and spiritual struggles for me. Thinking in detail often leads me to thinking far too much and it develops much more negative thinking than positive. But it’s because of experiencing a lot, and dealing with much, that I’ve matured, so it also has its pluses.


As I have a keen understanding of the stress that comes with technology breaking down and having issues, I’ve come to understand that at the end of day, just as technology is fleeting, I too can be complexly emotional.


As I continue to grow my technical stamina, and it continues to be tried and pushed, it’s beautiful to see how the workload I’ve been faced with works in union with my personal struggles with negativity and anger amidst fear/worry. And then, also my frequent desire to want to control and want to know God’s plan constantly.


With our study in James so far, my knowledge of trials, struggles, and suffering has been deeply extenuated. For a long time, I’ve wondered if there were “levels” to developing wisdom, then also, at what rate does this “wisdom” occur for us – because it’s slow. If there were a pattern to gaining Godly wisdom, I think it could be: trials > toiling > suffering > then returning back to the upside of Godly discernment and joy. I’ve been moved to the conclusion, that trials are short-term experiences, but suffering is long term. But it’s in that suffering that God is always about growing us to more and more joy, no matter how the situation ends. Not happiness, because it is fleeting and can fall at an instant, but JOY. He is beautifully about using his omnipresence to help us see the past, current, and future, in all things.


The first chapter of James to me just doesn’t feel achievable. It would be like not bleeding a drip of blood after being hit in the head by a hammer; it just doesn’t seem “doable”. But I think if our concerns are more geared toward the pursuit of, dream of, and desiring of JOY in any and every circumstance, then our emotions will not waver, as it’s about the heart.


Let us remember that progressive sanctification does not occur

uncharacteristically overnight but rather is a long and slow process, lest we interrupt it.


– Nick Boudreaux

Water Deep

While working as an assistant groundskeeper for a golf course in Winter Park, Colorado I learned a couple of things.  1. The office window view of this job is unbeatable.  2. I have a lot to learn about growing.pole-creek-golf-clubAs the snow melted off of the fairways in the spring I followed the head greens keeper around for weeks getting the course ready for the summer as well as setting it up for the harsh winter which was just around the corner.  One of the phrases he used often was WATER DEEP.  I immediately drew spiritual applications from this because it meant that I water the grass until it overflowed.  But as I realized what the plan was for this grass the spiritual implications became harder and harder to grasp.

Here is the process that I didn’t understand at first glance.  To water deep meant just that.  Get water deep into the soil so that roots learn to dig deep for nutrition.  So, yes, at first there was an abundance of water.  But, the point was for that water to sink deep into the soil where roots have yet to grow.  So then, with great foresight and understanding of his creation, the greens keeper stopped watering the soil… for weeks.
What?  At over 8,500 ft. elevation we are two miles closer to the scorching sun than the sea. Rain is scarce.  No water?
But day after day, as the grass looked as if it may wither, what I didn’t see was that the roots were reaching deep into the soil.  Reaching deep into their true life source.  You see watering deep was not about flooding the surface but rather training the grass for the drought.
At the time my life wasn’t all cherries and roses.  Life was hard.  I felt dry and empty.  I’ll spare the casual reader the details, anyone interested can buy the coffee.   I wanted anything hopeful.  A drop of water on my scorched tongue.  An evening rain shower.  The smell of rain.  But perhaps in His wisdom God held off sending temporary relief for a season.
Today my life seems to be more broken and dry than it did during the summer at Pole Creek Golf Club.  But. I. Am. Sustained.
Yet I cry out with the Psalmist over and over, “How long oh Lord?”  “Forever?”
And with Habakkuk, “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”
And on and on we can hear the question rising up from the scriptures, “How long the night?”
My marriage is tough.  My relationship with family is strained and their lives are falling apart.  Being a parent is harder and scarier than anyone told me.  Finances are shot.  The dreams of my youth are a distant memory.  Close friends have pain in their lives that I can’t imagine.
So, yes, I will continue to be thankful for the way that God is growing me and I will continue to find honey from the rocks.  NEVERTHELESS, I will continue to dance in the desert begging God for RAIN.  I will continue to kneel with Randy and pray for RAIN (  And I will stand with the body of Portico Church as we anticipate RAIN… Bringing what was dead to life in our body, in this town, and in God’s world.

Rain…..not Snow

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I found myself wishing for snow.  I immediately found myself wondering why I wished it would snow.  A few reasons are obvious, I suppose.  The sound of children playing, the mischief in which I might become involved and an unanticipated day off work came to mind right away.  But another reason occurred to me.  I like the way snow makes ugliness disappear.  Litter, unfinished projects, barren landscapes, etc. all disappear under a blanket of snow…at least, for a while.
My very next thought was that my life as a Christian is a lot like snow.  I put a lot of effort into activities through which I hope my Christian-ness will cover ugliness in my life and in our world.  And, sometimes it does.  But, just like snow the impact of my religious activity soon melts away and the ugliness reappears.
In the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, Jim Carville, coined the phrase, “The economy, stupid” as a means of giving the campaign a central focus.  It was a way of reminding them that every major issue really boiled down to the economy.
My point is this:  The church (you and I) need to wake up and understand that in 2014….”It’s the gospel, stupid.”  Only the gospel transforms.  My religious activity, as well intentioned as it may be, never transforms.  At best, religious activity, like snow, masks.  The gospel alone permanently and completely transforms.
Want to know what I am praying for these days?  Rain.  The church of Jesus has hidden behind the snow-like temporary transformation that our religious fervor produces.  The church needs rain.  I need rain.  You need rain.  We need the permanently transforming power of the gospel to rain down on the ugliness of our own lives and the ugliness of our world.  We need the power of God’s Spirit to rain on us.
I am not so presumptuous to imagine anyone wants to join me in prayer.  But, just in case anyone does…..I am praying for RAIN!!

Resources for Understanding James

This past Sunday night The Portico Church embarked upon an ambitious verse-by-verse journey through the New Testament “Letter of James.”
During the gathering, I purposed 5 questions that need to be answered to better understand the letter:
1. Who Wrote the Letter?
2. When & Where Was It Written?
3. Why Was It Written?
4. What Does It Say?
5. How Can We Best Engage The Letter Today?

If you missed the talk, you can listen to the podcast here: (

By understanding who wrote the letter and why, we are better able to understand what it says and properly gain application to our own lives.

Below are some of the references and resources I used to better understand the background & overview of James. I hope you find theme helpful as we trek through the letter.


Bob Utley’s Intro:


So as we set out to know Jesus and His teachings, may God’s Spirit bless you with an unquenchable thirst for His Word, an ability to understand it, a heart that is moved to obey it and a life that is marked by behavior that proves it.

Tagged , ,

Straight Talk From James


2014 has dawned and with it a new teaching series for our Sunday night gatherings.

The New Testament Letter of James is one of the most practical pieces of Christian writing available.

For centuries, Christ-Followers have turned to its pages to find straight-forward and simple instructions on how to live, along with answers to some of life’s most troubling questions.

James is full of insightful advice for your everyday life as you walk in faith:

  • Wondering what to do when bad things happen?
  • Ready for some guidance to better your communication with others?
  • Curious about how to handle temptation?
  • Wondering how to plan for the future?

James addresses these issues and so many more with a simple theme: A changed heart leads to changed behavior.

As we endeavor to trek through the Letter of James, you’ll find the messages of the letter to be concise and immediately applicable.  James is full of “one liners” that are easy to remember and vibrant imagery from the natural world around us.

No mysteries here. No wondering, “What does that mean?” or “What’s he talking about?”  Just direct statements of how life should look and what you should do differently.  James takes faith out of a theoretical discussion and into the real world around each of us.  The lessons here are observable, measurable and tangible.

Here are some ways you can get the most out of this study:

  1. Read the Letter of James for yourself: all at once, chapter by chapter, a few verses at a time.
  2. Chose some important portions to memorize.  Tell a friend about your choice.
  3. Start a conversation with someone about what you are seeing in the Letter.
  4. Share your thoughts in a weekly Small Group.
  5. Create a piece of art inspired by something you’re learning in James.  A song, painting, poetry, sculpture, t-shirt… whatever.
  6. Blog about your thoughts right here on The Biz.

See you this Sunday night as we introduce you to the Letter of James.

Title Image Credit:

Tagged ,