The Gospel Is Not As Crazy As It Seems

Yesterday me and Kassi finished reading the gospel of Luke, which has taken us around 3 months to finish. We took it really slow as we wanted to absorb everything it taught as much as possible. Also, to be honest, we didn’t read it every day. So that also made it take quite a while. Nevertheless, we finished it.

As we rounded out the last few chapters it made me think about just how crazy of a story the gospel is. If I never grew up around it and was only exposed to it just now, I would be shocked at just how many people believe in this religion. There’s one man (Jesus) that 2,000ish years ago was born of a virgin and died for our sins by being crucified. He was raised from the dead three days later and will one day come back for His church (the rapture). Through believing in Him and asking Him to be a part of us we may enter into heaven. It’s a little outlandish, right?

But what brings this all home for each and every one of us is the peace in our hearts that we have in believing this gospel. This peace comes from God alone, and it’s through His presence here on earth that all of this is possible. God is alive and active in the world today. He’s there when you call on him. In Matthew 7:7-8 it says:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I have so much faith that God will answer your prayers. I believe that God is there on the other side waiting for you to look for him, knock on his door, and seek after him. Jeremiah 29:13 says:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God is an awesome and mighty God. He desires a relationship with us all and actively wants all of us to come to a better understanding of him. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 it says:

“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

2 Peter 3:9 says:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

I think it’s our job to reach the nations with the message of Jesus Christ, and I believe that God in his faithfulness will meet each person on the other side and reveal himself to them. I think in all of humanity there is a longing for a connection with something greater than ourselves. I think deep down we all know that there is something besides ourselves in existence, and I think that God uses that in all of us to seek after Him. And it’s there in that moment that God will reveal himself to you.

I hope that this message find you well. I hope that my understanding of how God works helps you better understand it. I also hope that your perspective on how God works is explained in the comments below; because God is working through all of us together to be in better relationship with him. So don’t hold back!

God,

Bring people who need Jesus to watch this video and to read this blog. Be with me in my words and in the video as I share them. In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

The Power Of The Internet

This morning I was looking at the satellite version of my maps app looking for cool places to visit around Sydney. You know, like anything with a bunch of light blue water and white sand. Then I was looking at some of the Southern Pacific Islands that I never even knew existed. Some of them were formed in the shape of a crater, which I thought was very cool. (After you read this, Google the Marshall Islands)

I’m a big geography buff. I always have been ever since my best friend gave me the enlisted passrider status on United Airlines. The world was my oyster, essentially, and I felt that I could fly anywhere I wanted to. I started studying maps, trying my best to figure out the best ways to get where I wanted to go. Even after hours of studying maps, there is still so much of the world that I don’t know about.

In Matthew 24:14 it says:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

As I was looking at the entire world on the map, it was almost overwhelming to think about how much of it there is. But it’s already been 2,000+ years since those words were spoken, so how much of it do we have left to preach to? Only God will know, but it’s our job to do our best to advance the gospel. We must:

Matthew 28:18-20 “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

That’s our duty, our calling; God’s will for our lives. You may have a different gift in which that is done, but essentially, that’s what all of us are called to do.

Jesus says in John 14:12:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

When I first read that verse I was 19, and I was shocked and in disbelief. At that time I thought that no one could ever surpass the feats of Jesus. Recently, God has given me some insight into how we can do greater things than He did; it’s called the internet. I truly do believe that the next wave of salvation will be because of the internet. And I don’t think it’s going to be just a wave; I think it’s going to be a tsunami. It might even be the last big thing before Jesus comes back for His church.

So this morning, as I was looking at the map, I saw just how much work needs to be done; but at the same time, I also saw how easily it could be done because of the internet. I also see how skillful our generation is with the internet, and I have a feeling that there are more willing hearts, just like mine, that can be used to glorify our King.

God, it can be overwhelming thinking about the work that needs to be done in order to truly preach the gospel to all nations. You’ve given me a vision, and I ask that you give me a plan and a passion to execute it. I pray that you provide for me and Kassi so that I can continually work towards this goal that you have set on my heart. I know we’re not going to boil the ocean instantly, but I pray that you set in place other willing hearts in my path to aid in the execution of your plan.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

Selling Everything For God

Kassi and I had a very interesting discussion the other day about the story of “The Rich Ruler”. It’s in Luke 18:16-23. It reads:

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

Think about Jesus standing in front of you asking you to sell everything. What if you had several million dollars to your name? Would you do it?

Our lives in Australia are pretty simple. We have a couple weeks worth of clothes each, a handful of Apple products, and a couple bikes. It would take one good yard sale and some steep discounts, but we could pretty easily sell it all and give it the money to the poor; ESPECIALLY if Jesus was standing right there in front of us asking us to do it.

But if we were back home in Reno, Nevada, it would take more than just a yard sale to sell everything. It would take a solid month at least to get rid of everything; and the amount of money would be significantly higher. Would we still do it? Not that easily, that’s for sure, but I think we still would. Or at least I like to think we would.

Kassi’s response was very similar to mine, “If Jesus was standing right here in front of me, then yes. But that’s what it would take – God himself standing right in front of me.”

That’s one of the biggest questions you can ask yourself when you are pursuing Jesus and his discipleship. Would you be willing to give all of it up? Luke 14:33 calls us to do just that:

“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

God also says in Luke 16:10:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

God also says in Luke 12:32-34:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

All of those verses are cited to say that God is calling us to have willing hearts to give up everything. None of our possessions are our own, but they are God’s. That’s the attitude we are supposed to have. God says in Luke 18:29-30 that,

“no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

That’s a promise from God. So what do we have to be afraid of?

God,

Give me a willing heart to obey when you call me to give up everything for your sake. Help my wife and I evaluate our hearts as you teach us and give us the faith to think of our our lives and our possessions as not our own. Help give us vision for what our lives would look like completely reliant on you. You are happy to give us the kingdom, you just need the right heart to trust. Help mold and shape our hearts as we investigate your word and strengthen our faith.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

 

Using Australia To Increase My Faith

I mentioned the work holiday visa opportunity to Kassi before we were even engaged. I think it might have been before we even said “I love you”. Whoa. It’s funny to think about how crazy we were! I had this plan in my head to build up my resume at a job in America for 2 years and if nothing happened i.e. I didn’t get married, buy a dog, buy a house, etc., then I would move to Australia on the work holiday visa for a year. If I got married during that two years then I would try and convince my new wife to make it a year-long honeymoon in Australia.

We didn’t quite make it our honeymoon, but four months after Kassi and I got married we moved to Sydney. As we were gearing up for the move, which consisted of a big decision for Kassi not to pursue her internship after she graduated and a TON of saving, I started to change my motives for the move. It would still be centered around a fun trip with my wife, but also, I wanted it to be a time where I could recenter myself in God’s word.

Right after we got married I dedicated time almost every morning, Monday through Friday, towards reading God’s word. In that time God started to reveal to me more and more how he wanted to use my talents (Matthew 19:14-30). Day after day, I really started get an idea of how he wanted to do that. I had felt that God wanted to use my YouTube channel. I had felt that God could use it to reach a TON of people. I also felt that a daily word could go a long way in encouraging people to dedicate time towards God every morning. Especially a short video, not a big commitment, something short, like around 5 minutes.

So I quit my job after a while and immediately began filming these videos. Now I have about 15 of them up on my YouTube channel and the response has been fantastic. I am growing so much by producing this content for people and it has increased my faith tremendously.

But this morning as I was reading in James, I felt another little tug from God. James 2:17 says:

“In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.”

So…I’m going to have to put my money where my mouth is. God doesn’t want me to JUST increase my faith while we’re here in Australia, but he wants me to do something about it. God wants me to not only proclaim what I have learned each morning, but he wants me to live it out every day. I feel like today marks the day that I am going to start noticing where I can be God’s hand extended while I’m here in Sydney.

It takes action to assign living memories of what we’ve learned in the bible. It’s always a challenge and it ALWAYS gets my heart racing, but acting out what God has laid on your heart is one of the best ways we can grow our relationship with him. It helps us listen to his voice!

God,

Strengthen my Holy Spirit to be receptive of how I can be your hand extended in today’s world. Show me; open my eyes and ears to be receptive of your calling. Give me courage to walk out the actions that you have called me to do for you. In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen.

Trusting The Father Like A Child

I’ve been reading over this verse for a while now, and no interpretation of it has ever had me very satisfied. I never knew what “receiving the kingdom of God like a child” meant. But the other morning Kassi and I were reading something in Luke that made me think of this verse. So we flipped to a different gospel other than Luke and read it over. I had something else impact me that day while reading God’s word so I decided not to make a video about it. But today is the day!

Kassi and I read this passage in Luke 18:15-17. It says:

“People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

I asked Kassi what she thought it meant to “receive the kingdom of God like a child”. And she just said something to the strum of being “worry free”. And that really struck a chord with me. God does want us to behave like children. Think about how worry free children are. All of life’s hardships are never comprehended by them. They just go through life being provided for. They have a roof over their heads, friends to play with, food to eat, and a bed to sleep in. Some people out there had to be adults much earlier than I had to; and that’s unfortunate. But for me and my wife, we were beyond blessed with our upbringing, so thinking back to acting like a child made us smile.

Can you imagine not worrying about how you will provide for yourself anymore? That would be incredible. But that’s exactly what God is trying to say here! He’s calling us to trust him just as children trust their parents. Their parents don’t have to reassure the children that they paid rent that month, they just do! And if they couldn’t afford it, well then, I guess they’ve figured something else out. But none of the stress ever reaches down to the children, most of the time. All of the tough decisions are made without them and they can continue on their merry way.

God has this all under control. There’s nothing that we should be worrying about. We shouldn’t be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition we should present our requests to the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7). When I Google’d this verse I came across this translation from the “Living Bible”. I’ve never heard of that translation, but it was very good.

Luke 18:16,17: “For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children’s. And anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get within the Kingdom’s gates.”

God is calling us to trust him – just as a father is trusted by his children. It’s simple to act like a child, so when life has you stressed out, resort to receiving the kingdom of God like a child. Trust in your heavenly father. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We don’t have to worry, just like your children, if you have any, will hopefully never have to worry. And how much better is God at being a Father than we ever could be. It mentions that in Luke 12:22-32, and again in Matthew 7:11.

God,

Thank you for caring and providing for us just like we would do for our own children. Thank you for carrying the burden and making my yoke easy. I will release my worries and give them up to you, because you care for me. Help me in my struggle to not be anxious about anything. Let me continue to live out the will you have for my life without worrying about exactly what that looks like. Let me walk my path and be ready for when you are going to change my steps. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen.

Thanking God For Answered Prayers

This morning Kassi and I read Luke 17:11-17. It reads:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.””

How often does God answer our prayers without our recognition? Sometimes people only focus on the unanswered prayers instead of all the ones that God has been answering all along. I am majorly guilty of that. Even this morning these verses reminded Kassi and I of all of the prayers of provision that God has answered with our move to Australia. I have a job, we just put a deposit on our “Nanny Flat” that we will be living in – which is under budget and exactly what we were after. And did I mention there was a dog?? Yes, a 1-year old boxer named Macy. That’s beyond what I have asked for, maybe not so much for Kassi (haha), but regardless, I’m very thankful.

We took time this morning to thank God for all that he has provided. We are truly blessed and have been blessed with all that God has provided for us. We prayed, in faith, before we left for Australia that God would provide for us just like he promised he would in Luke 12:22-34. We stepped out in faith and continued knocking on doors over here in Australia and God opened the perfect door for me in less than 5 days. Within a week we found a place to live and the landlord loved us. Our landlord even offered to give Kassi a few shifts of work at her catering business, so we’ll see how that develops over time! It could be promising.

God has shown us an incredible amount of love and provision in our lives. We are so blessed to have each other and all of the opportunities that he has provided. This is a season of thanksgiving and growth, and we will revel in it as long as we can.

God,

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and from the depths of my spirit for all that you have provided for us. We are completely taken care of and I am so thankful for all that you have done. I continue to pray that you satisfy my wife’s heart by giving her a rewarding job that is exactly what her heart desires. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are beyond blessed.

Amen.

My Duty and My Calling

First of all, before I start on what I read this morning, I want to highlight what I wrote about yesterday and how true it is for my life today. I’m writing this while looking out upon a beautiful aquatic reserve right from our bedroom. We rented a second story room on AirBnb that is literally 20 feet from the ocean. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17). Amen to that!

This morning Kassi and I were reading in Luke 17. There are a lot of powerful verses in this chapter of the bible, but what stood out to me were the verses 7-10. They say:

“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”

This is the duty of a servant, and I believe that it mirrors our duty as Christians and disciples of Christ to enact this in our own lives. It doesn’t make it easy, but I do believe that this parable shows us another example of what it means to be a disciple. Jesus puts a very high calling on his disciples. In Luke 14:26-27 Jesus says:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

The disciples respond to all of this by saying “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). Because it does seem a little overwhelming. We are called to give up EVERYTHING. When you really try and apply it to your own life, not hypothetically like I have in the past, but in actuality like we’re trying to do while we’re in Australia; it can be unnerving.

The verses 7-10 really had me jumbled this morning, but I got some clarity as I thought on them a little more. God, I believe, is calling us to have the attitude and mentality of servants. They serve the master and they do their job (their duty) as good servants should do them: timely, without grumbling, and to the best of their ability. Jesus says through this parable that we shouldn’t expect a thank you from God for doing the things that he has called us to do. We shouldn’t do part of our job and expect to eat first before the work is all done. We should eat last. God calls us to be last while we’re here on this earth. We are supposed to, out of humility, consider others better than ourselves. (Philippians 3:3) Then when we get up to heaven we will be exalted. “The last will be first and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)

This concept of being the least of these while here on this earth is what God is calling us to do (Luke 14:10). It’s about being a servant to all in the name of Jesus Christ. Does that mean that it’s easy? Absolutely not! In fact, after reading all of this I’m wondering if there is a way to be a Christian and not be a disciple. But unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what God is calling us all to do. I think that following Jesus inside of our comfort zone is what all of us end up doing, but I don’t believe that is God’s intent.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

I know that God did not give us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), but I can’t help myself from feeling overwhelmed by this calling and being intimidated by what it might look like in my life. God calls us to give up everything and follow him. The more I read the bible the more this rings true.

God,

Give me the spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline. Enable me to fulfill your calling on my life by allowing me to be faithful with little. Speak to my Spirit and guide me in the ways that you want me to go. Give me courage as you start to move my steps in different directions. Show me more verses that help answer my question “Is every Christian called to be a disciple?” Draw me closer to you, and draw my wife closer to you in the name of Jesus.

Amen.