Do You Follow? The Messiah

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This teaching is from The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2 grab your Bible or go here.

King Herod seems to be a particularly brutal king, but I wonder if his response is much different than ours when our kingdoms are threatened. Granted he had more power that we, but the fear produced in him by the euangelion, the royal announcement, is a fear we often deal with. When the fear is real we know that our brains shut down certain parts of thinking and we engage “fight or flight” mode. This leads us to engage in behaviors of self protection and self promotion. We know from John who learned from Jesus that perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).  Jesus announced a kingdom of love based on the greatest command to love God and love neighbor.

Take a listen to the sermon here and let me know what you are thinking.

Take a listen and/or read these lyrics from Clay Crosse and give it some thought.

Artist Clay Crosse (1999)

I have wrestled in the darkness
of this lonely pilgrim land
Raising strong and mighty fortresses
that I alone command

But these castles
I’ve constructed by the
strength of my own hand
Are just temporary kingdoms
on foundations made of sand

In the middle of the battle
I believe I’ve finally found
I’ll never know the thrill of victory
’til I’m willing to lay down

All my weapons of defense and
earthly strategies of war
So I’m laying down my arms and
running helplessly to Yours

I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams
Though the price to follow costs me everything
I surrender all my human soul desires
If sacrifice requires
That all my kingdoms fall
I surrender all

If the source of my ambition
is the treasure I obtain
If I measure my successes on
a scale of earthly gain

If the focus of my vision
is the status I attain
My accomplishments are
worthless and my efforts are in vain

So I lay aside these trophies
to pursue a higher crown
And should You choose somehow
to use the life I willingly lay down

I surrender all the triumph for
it’s only by Your grace
I relinquish all the glory,
I surrender all the praise

Everything I am, all I’ve done,
and all I’ve known
Now belongs to You,
the life I live is not my own
Just as Abraham laid Isaac
on the sacrificial fire
If all I have is all that You desire
I surrender all
© Universal Music Publishing Group



Do You Follow?

Nothing shakes me up quite like the words of Jesus. I’ve embarked on a teaching series through the Gospel of Matthew (The first book in the New Testament) and invite you to join me.

Question for you: Is a Gospel the same as the Gospel? Consider the following from “The English word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell (“good story”). The classical Greek word euangelion means “a reward for bringing of good news” or the “good news” itself. In the emperor cult particularly, in which the Roman emperor was venerated as the spirit and protector of the empire, the term took on a religious meaning: the announcement of the appearance or accession to the throne of the ruler.”

Is a Gospel the same as the Gospel? We’ll see in the Gospel according to Matthew (formerly named Levi and one of Jesus’ apostles) that a Gospel is a biography and that within the story of Jesus we find meaning to our story. The Good News comes to us that the rule and reign of the Creator God on Earth has begun again in King Jesus’ “accession to the throne.” The Gospel is the announcement that God has done a reconciling work in Jesus (life, death, burial, resurrection) to bring us into the kingdom as heirs and partners in his work.

Sometimes Jesus is hard to understand and sometimes Jesus is hard to follow. The Gospel of Matthew has a theme running through it about Hearing and Responding and actually the Hebrew concept of hearing includes responding especially with the Great News that the Kingdom of God has arrived on earth again. Do You Follow?

Listen in on the first teaching “New Beginnings” on iTunes here or from the Issaquah Christian Church website here.

Spice up your Weekend?!?

At Issaquah Christian Church we have a roadside sign on which we can display text to the traffic on Issy-Hobart.  Pondering this responsibility and opportunity, I often wonder what we are trying to accomplish. Are we advertising to consumers? Are we like a kiosk at the fair or a for truck at a market with just a little sumpin’ to spice up your weekend? Add a little bit of church to your Sunday! Isn’t it weird to think that the point of going to church services is to add some flavor to your life?


First of all, we are the church (or we aren’t). That means that we do not go to church (the called out assembly of God in Christ). We are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12). We do not attend the body of Christ. That is nonsensical on the face of it.

Second, our identity is in Christ. The church is not an additional part of our lives, it is the core of our new identity. We are in Christ . We are the church, it is the most real thing about us. Jesus said that family relationships have no claim like the body of Christ does on its members.

Third, when the church gathers for prayer, praise, and proclamation, it is to rehearse this central truth in our lives. We receive from God and we pour into each other.

There are lots of wonderful aspects of life that add flavor and spice. Church, being the church, however is not one of them. Christ is your life and he has called his people in his name to live out that life together. #BeTheChurch

Sunday Morning

It sounds as if it’s been raining still in the PNW, so you’ll be glad to know that we’re in a downpour last night. We were surprised to show up early to the church service in Sarazon today where Russ was to preach. We showed up fashionably late (on Haitian time) at 6:30am for a 6 am service, but found they observed Daylight Savings Time, which left us arriving in the middle of classes. 

Kids, women, teens, new converts, men had various classes being taught by animated teachers who would often have the people reciting Scripture and explaining. A small handbell rang at 7am to call them together. And then again at 7:15 and then a song leader called them together with a song and then . . .

They seated us on the stage/porch at about 7:45, which was awkward but a honor I presume. Probably 12 different people came up to address the church and sing, pray, make appeals, or read Scripture. At about 9am our team was introduced and we brought greetings from the church in the PNW. Russ brought the Word with energy and clarity until 9:35 translated by Pastor Yves. He encouraged them to have courage through the difficulties they experience and to have no fear because they are greatly loved by Jesus. 

We greeted the church and went to the building site where they have a new project. A group from PAP was singing and blessing the new construction and I was able to pray for the work. 

We were blessed with a wonderful Haitian meal by Pastor Jethro’s wife and started back to the orphanage in Mirebalais at 11am.


On the way back we dropped off Pastor Ludwig at his home and were treated to fresh sugar cane.

Early Service

It’s not Easter, but it’s a sunrise service. How early do you meet with the church? We’ve got a 6 AM service which is usually 3 AM Pacific time. Today it happens to be 4 AM Pacific time because of daylight savings. Chris usually doesn’t wake up until the crack of dinner. He looks great doesn’t he?

Our Corner of the Compound

The six of us have an amazing set up. I’m sure it is hard to get a sense of what it is like. Inside the gate on the right is our bunk room. On the left is the outdoor arena where Russ and I will hold the pastors conference training sessions. We are excited about what God has brought us here to do and to learn.


Into Haiti

As we flew from Miami over the blue waters of the Atlantic and then toward the Islands the beauty was breathtaking. We had the “privilege” of circling over Port-Au-Prince (PAP) while waiting for a spot on the tarmac and had sweeping views of a mountainous countryside scarred by dry valleys. The airport was clean and organized well and the staff was polite and helpful. We waited in Customs a while for the arrival of our fifth member, Chris. Greg had arrived earlier and was already reconoitering and acquiring electrical supplies in PAP. Greg came back to airport customs with Jean (Lebron James look alike) from GVCM and Chris arrived soon after. ​​

We loaded the truck and the 7 of us took off into the wild traffic in the capitol city.

Don’t worry about the guy that cut us off in his overloaded tap tap (custom made truck/bus)! Jean got out and had a talk with him. 😉 It helps to be huge. 


Steve and Greg are in town getting major electrical parts for a project they surveyed last night. 

Doug and Chris are exploring a dozen other projects of mechanical and computer-related. Russ and I have been planning out the pastors conference and had a chance to connect with Pastor Yves pronounced Eve) today. Please, I beg you, pray for this man who literally bears the weight of this country’s conditions and takes care of the children that they cannot. Along with that he pastors other pastors of 48 churches and on and on it goes. Every moment of every day is filled with requests from other people.

To the orphanage

After a ride through really crazy traffic the 7 of us made it to the countryside and stormed up the canyons like we were attempting land speed records. Riding in the back of the truck was pretty dusty but the high rate of speed kept us mostly clean.

​​Arriving at the orphanage was a unique experience for me to say the least. Each of us piled out of the truck to a waiting throng of children. They grabbed each of us and fought over who would be our forever friend. So much hand holding and so little personal space. Welcome to Haiti! My arm hair got a LOT of attention as did the hair on my head and my starter beard ;).

Bound for Haiti

Last summer, I agreed, in principle, to help out with a pastors conference hosted at Global Vision Citadel Ministries in Haiti.

Tonight, I travel with three other friends on a redeye flight to Miami and then Port Au Prince, Haiti in route to the orphanage. We will meet up with two others for a total of 6 team members. Along with training about 60 rural pastors the team will be accomplishing all sorts of electrical and mechanical repairs at the orphanage. We would appreciate your prayers. I also have a starter beard, with four days growth, which I hope will make me look older and wiser. 😉 Wish me luck on that!