So it begins

Today begins something I hope to look back on a year from now and say that God was at work in all of it. 

Since April’s Men’s training day, the 4 big things in my mind have been Jesus, family, work, and ministry. I haven’t taken the time to flesh it out and I’m looking forward toward the next few weeks in seeing how this looks like. 

Here are some ideas that have come up through prayer, counsel, and reading scripture.


  • It all starts with him. I’m seeing that all of life is connected to him whether it be family, finances, work, mission, etc. All purpose and all life begins with him. What would it look like to nourish the relationship that Jesus is pursuing me with? How has he pursued me in the past? How does this affect me now and how he is pursuing me for the year to come?


  • Very convicted that I have not loved them well at all. It’s easy for me to do a drive by once in a while, but I believe the Spirit is convicting me to demonstrate, display, and proclaim the gospel with my life and words toward them however that may look. Scripture that comes to mind is the one about providing for family as well as James’ call for works consummating the faith that has been given to me. I’ve grossly neglected familial relationships and there needs to be some consistent and substantive time to develop the relationships God has put in front of me – in hopes of not only loving them better, but ultimately desiring to see them know and experience the love of Jesus. 


  • By God’s grace, I passed the pharm tech exam yesterday after much hesitation, uncertainty, and even fear. I’m praying that opportunities will open up for work to be closer to home, but also strategic work to not only put me in a position for potential pharmacy school, but also to lead, serve, and love well in the upcoming year. I’m looking forward to praying about how to really leverage work and not be a slave to it as a means to serve my idol of comfort or security. Learning to really take advantage of it and be ambitious and worshiping Jesus or the security a job promises can at times be a fine line. The DreamJob Course is underway for another month before I can get a refund – I’m giving myself another month at this and we’ll see. 


  • Just finished membership class today. Lots of things to pray about with that. Is Mars Hill where Jesus wants me for the next few years? Will I build my life here and invest here even if Jesus doesn’t use me to leverage resources for underground churches or immigrant churches in LA? What is the most important thing right now? I think taking a step back, I’m already seeing that I’m in a season where some critical foundations must be set – who is Jesus, what does it mean to follow as a disciple (hence, reading Disciple), what is the church and why is she important, how does this affect family and preparing for one, what does mission look like, – the list is endless. I know for a fact that in this coming year, Jesus wants me to focus on the basics and the foundations – knowing him, leading in repentance, and letting him work on my heart in bringing about boldness as I see him at work in my life and in others in the body. Whatever implications this may have for LA, immigrant churches, underground churches, etc will come as it may. I can trust that Jesus will continue to build his church and that he can completely do it without me – he’s been doing it for thousands of years and he will continue to do it today. 

Some questions to start thinking about for this week that Nollan helped bring to mind:

  1. See where God has put me. Pray about where he has put me to know where you want to be next year. Look back at God’s grace before you plan on where you want to go. This is all encompassing – finances, tithes, devos, discipleship, books, communion with God, work, education, serving. 
  2. Then pray about how God wants to use you by looking back at what God has done by the convictions he has given you. 
  3. Look at how he has sanctified and pursued you in which you were challenged by the gospel of grace.
  4. Most importantly – pray that in these plans, you go about it with the freedom he has purchased for you so that you are not enslaved by or condemned if the plans are not accomplished. 
  5. Important to cultivate and nourish the relationships God has you in.



What Do I Really Gain?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Eventhe demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.


I’m convicted and at times haunted by that verse on many days. I feel convicted of it every time I don’t love my parents and family well. I feel convicted of it every time I cower away from either speaking or displaying the gospel with my life. In other words, when my faith internally does not translate externally – it’s like someone got in the way of the train – everything comes to a halt because there is no more progress or continuation. 

The end of tonight is particularly convicting. I just finished a week with quizzes an exams – looking to another big one on Monday. Yet, through it all, I didn’t live with gospel fluency or intentionality. To be honest, most days, I just wanted sleep, great grades, good production at work, and a quiet home to go to. I didn’t really care about family. I didn’t really care about others at work. I didn’t really care. I was just exhausted and burnt. After passing the pharm tech exam today, it was definitely a huge weight off my shoulder, but what type of weight was I really feeling? Was this an idol of security manifesting in different ways again? Why do I feel defensive and angry when my parents tell me to tithe less? Shouldn’t I be seeing it as an amazing opportunity to tell them what Jesus told me about my heart and my money? Wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to tell them why I give? Why Jesus is amazing and why he calls me to be a part of his people and that money is only a means to a greater end of joy, glory, and satisfaction in him and the good of others? Sometimes, I don’t get my heart and why it reacts the way it does. 

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin not to shame me, but to show me another area where he wants to throw his weight around, pour out grace into so I can become more like Jesus, and grow and follow him. In other words, it’s an opportunity to repent because I have been loved and shown grace. I will be praying about how to love my parents better using these opportunities as well as praying about careers – bringing it up both with community and family to see what they think and weigh the counsel carefully. 


War, Death, Hope, and Jesus

War is brutal and taxing not only to the body, but to the mind, to the heart, and to the soul.

Spiritual warfare is in a whole other dimension. The battle is outside. The battle is around you. The battle is within you. It is constant, hand to hand, day to day, slugging it out for the glory of God, to the joy and good of all peoples – starting with yourself, your family, the church, and the city. 

Casualties of war are everywhere. The enemy mocks continually. He deceives, lies, destroys, and ultimately kills – sometimes slow, sometimes quickly and swiftly. 

The ravages of war are intense, yet the hope is that Jesus has already won the war. The war has been won by our King. He has disarmed the enemy and we are the mop up crew. We can rejoice! Even though the body is weak, the mind is failing, the soul is shaken at times, our hope does not end nor does it fade because it rests in Jesus himself. He has won the war and calls us to fight with him by his power.


The Deceived Slave and the Enslaved Free Man

The Deceived Slave says to himself I am free! I have freedom to choose more chains for myself. I have freedom to choose which chambers I would like to be imprisoned by. Look at my freedom! Oh let me boast in my choices! You fool that walks freely not in slavery – you miss the blissful freedoms of choosing the yolk and the noose. Come – experience this freedom of choice with me!

The enslaved free man has no chains and is out of the cage. Yet, in his mind, he still believes that he is enslaved. He believes his life is still in chamber 3 with the noose. He believes his freedom is found in choosing chambers and different quality rope for his noose. 

The Master says to both men – my sons, you both are enslaved. He says to the deceived slave flee folly my son! Do you not see you are enslaved? You choose your chambers believing you are free – you deceive yourself into a reality that is not there. You believe in a freedom that is short sighted of what is true freedom that I will free you with. He says to the enslaved free man – my son do you not see that you are already free? Walk in your freedom son, for I have set you free. Do not go again back into chamber 3 with the noose. Your freedom does not lie there as you have once believed. Your freedom is not being in bondage, in the cage, or your ears between the rope. Your freedom has been given to you son – open your eyes and see! Let me lead and walk with you each step out of this enslavement you have placed upon yourself. My sons, be free and do not turn away at my instruction and call. Come to me and your chains will be free. 


The Father’s Love, Repentance, Identity, and ….

What do you think about when you think about a father’s love?

Is it non-existent for you because your father was never there? Is it disappointment, frustration, and anger because of all the ways he has failed you and your family because he didn’t lead well? Is it just resistance because you are rebellious and you hate him?

God as Father has been showing me more of himself this week. He’s showing me that He is a perfect Father. One who never leaves, who never quits, who is always watching out for me, and doing what is necessary to help me find my rest, life, and joy in him. Correcting me (in love) when I am wrong. Leading me through fears of what may come. Focusing my eyes on him and off distractions. Helping me see others as he sees it. He’s shown me that he is good. Not pretty good, but perfectly good. So good I can only see a glimpse of it and I can’t even handle it.

It’s the Father’s love that has helped me to see my sin. To see ways in which I have failed. To see how he guides me away from it. To see how he walks me through it. To reveal it and destroy it because it gets in the way between us and the family.

It’s the Father’s love that secures my identity. Seeing that he gives my identity to me. I don’t need to restlessly and hopelessly work for it. I don’t need to attain it. I only need to receive it from him as he gladly gives it.

It is the Father’s love that helps all these things consummate in obedience. As I start to see that he is good, I see my sin, yet I see the newness of life he calls me to and gives me in Christ – all these things compel me to respond. And I can’t help but to respond in thankful, restful obedience.

It’s definitely an amazing life.

Random note – NBA journalists, bloggers, and sports writers are modern day false prophets. They draft up proposals and what ifs that never happen and they get paid for it.

New D Rose commercial talks about something interesting. His identity is not in the wealth, fame, or lifestyle of the NBA, but basketball is his idol.


Things The Government Can Do to Positively Impact the Legacy of Our Children and Grandchildren

  • Make pornography illegal. It’s destroying men, the future of the family, women, children, and the basic unit of society. I don’t care how much money our government makes on taxing this industry. It is unjust blood money at the expense of millions of lives that cut deep into their souls, physical, mental, and relational well being. It must end. 
  • Develop programs that develop, train, and discipline men to lead and love their families 
  • Get the heck out of debt. It’s ridiculous
  • Not just look at our reputation or image as a country, but rather rightly assess the health of our people. If our people aren’t doing well, we should be focusing our efforts here. A good portion of our problems are preventable – i.e. social, economic, physical, etc. 

Things we can do as citizens

  • Don’t give the government crap. Provide helpful insight, but with a heart willing to serve, not to be served. Not a sense of entitlement or nonsensical criticism, but one of collaboration and submission. 
  • Do anything and everything you can to be a part of the solution and not the problem. 
  • Leverage whatever situation you are in to either bring about awareness or change.