His Face, my heart


Psalm 27:8, “You have said, ‘Seek my Face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your Face, Lord, do I seek.'”

You initiate this relationship. You invite me. You call me. You choose me.

I respond. I choose. I decide. I seek.

My seeking does not earn your invite; Your invite enables my seeking.

I believe You want me. I believe you call me. I believe you desire my company. You want my face.

You want my face.

So I seek yours.

You have said, “Seek My Face.”
My heart says to you, “Your Face, Lord, do I seek.”

He’s the God of the Hilltops and the God of the Valleys

Fog in the Connecticut River Valley as seen from a hilltop farm in Stewartstown, New Hampshire.

1 Kings 20:23-30

I would like to caution against asserting a theology that declares God is more willing to be present or loving or powerful in one place over another place.  Not in a building, nor “out on the streets” – neither is relevant. There is nothing sacred about geography, buildings, etc. I have heard it repeated time and again that God is more willing to act in third world/overseas vs. North America, or “the market place” vs. in the gathering of believers. It suggests favoritism and smacks of insinuation against the nature of God. He acts according to His Nature and in response to faith – He is no respecter of persons or places, and He does not change like the shifting shadows.

It is pagan, in fact, to think in terms of “out there” or “in here.” It was pagan for the Arameans (1 Kings 20:23-30) to think Yahweh was restricted to a certain jurisdiction or region (hills, but not valleys). The pagan king thought that since he lost a battle in the hills, that perhaps he’d be more successful in the valleys.  However, The Lord displayed his power without locational restraint or preference. Yahweh is “I am” – He is fully present in the moment, in the spot.

(I can’t help but pause to allegorize here a bit – this pagan king’s plan to “get Israel down in the valley” in order to defeat them – sounds all too familiar, right? The enemy often seeks to drag us into valleys of discouragement, depression or distraction – places where we might well be vulnerable or weak – and do his worst to wound us there. But dear friend – the same God who is present in the highest point of our lives is present in the low places as well. He will never leave us nor forsake us; He is faithful; His love endures forever. Yea – even though you sludge through the valley of the shadow of death – fear not! He IS WITH YOU.)

The same glory on the mount of transfiguration was powerfully present to deliver the young boy from the harassing evil spirit (Mark 9). The same authority to drive out devils in synagogue was present to rebuke a fever (Luke 4). We need not worry about when or if the water is troubled (John 5), but determine that we are willing to be made well. Jesus didn’t care about the Jacuzzi; he was after the man’s will.

So, don’t be superstitious about locations or timing or even the right song… Just practice His presence and power and love – all the time. The battlefield is in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our readiness, in the ruling superstitions that still determine when, how, or IF we experience God’s presence and power. He is not fickle, we are. He is not moody; we are. He is not easily distracted; we are. He isn’t even easily offended; we are.

Now, there is more to locations, at times, than I fully grasp. I know that angels attend us, and appear certain places or guard places or etc. I am aware of the inexplicable episodes of divine presence and eruption in certain places and seasons. I am convinced there is more to those stories than we really know. What we DO know is what is important. The emphasis in the Kingdom is the presence of God in/on/among people. You are the temple. Location is irrelevant to God’s presence and power. Faith is relevant. Worship is relevant. Humility is relevant. Hope is relevant. Joyful anticipation is relevant. Obedience and even risk are relevant.

Our mind-set, our confidence, our faith-anticipation often is often influenced (negatively or positively) by location. This habit is at the root of a great deal of our boredom, our dissatisfaction, our lack of fruitfulness, etc. Too often believers contextualize the potential and potency of the Dynamic Presence of God. But the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. His desire is to cover the earth with the knowledge (personal intimate experience) of His glory (Hab. 2:14). Wherever you are – He is fully present and invites your readiness, your anticipation of His Glory, your embrace of His Lavish Loving Presence, and your participation with His power.

  • In your seat at worship service, or in your seat behind the wheel of your car
  • While you’re singing your favorite song, or selling your featured product
  • While you’re standing in the prayer line or the check-out line
  • At summer camp, or at the school dance
  • Prophesying by the fire pit, or small-talking at the water cooler.
  • If it is any other way, it is just religion, superstition.

So – remember He is the God of the Hills and the God of the valleys.  He does not change; He is fully present. The rest is up to us.

Waiting and the Promise of the Father


man in praise

On one occasion, after His resurrection and during the season prior to His ascension, Jesus was meeting with His disciples and He gave them this command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5). I would like to lean into the brief imperative in verse four, where Jesus says, “Wait for the gift promised by my Father.”

This phrase told them three things: what was coming, where it was coming from, and what they should do.

What was coming was the Gift, the Promise, the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus had told them (some of which “telling” we have record particularly in John’s Gospel, chapters 14-16, but I posit that after His resurrection Jesus spoke more of the Promised Spirit).

He, The Spirit, was coming as a gift from The Father. Wow. Just really: wow. The Holy Spirit is The Promised Gift from our Heavenly Father. He’s not just A gift, He’s The Gift. He’s not a bonus, an extra, an option, an ancillary or an elective. He’s the very “thing” (it pains me to use impersonal nouns in reference to the Spirit – I use them metaphorically only) – the very thing that Heaven yearns to give. He is the final expression of the vibrant, brilliant love of God to us: the Promised Holy Spirit. This gift is what Jesus paid for, prayed for and triumphantly poured out (Acts 2:33).

And they were to wait. Wait. Not beg, and not earn, but wait. The word wait is a compound word that stretched-out could be understood as “to abide concerning,” or “to wait with purpose.” They weren’t just biding time or punching a clock; they were focusing their attention, their affection, as well as their time on anticipating the arrival of the Promise. Of course we know from hindsight that their waiting was necessary until the fulfillment of prophetic timeline. There is no indication, however, that the disciples had idea when the promise was coming. They just kept waiting. A day went by, and two, and three.  They continued to meet together in anticipation for ten days.

I sincerely believe that this period of waiting had far more effect on them than on heaven. They weren’t asking (that we know of) for the Holy Spirit to be poured out. Jesus had already told them He’d prayed for that already. Jesus in no way exhorted them to pray for the promise – rather He gave them assurance the Promise was coming. So their waiting would, I think, have affected them. It would have crystallized the significance and import of this Promise. I think, even, that their waiting would have cultivated a hunger, desire, and appreciation for this Promise.

If they did this – waited in expectation, waited in submission, waited in worship, waited in prioritization… only knowing a promise and a portion of what was to come – what of us? We know what happened. We know Who came. We know what effect He had. We know that those in that room were never, ever the same after His coming. Further, we know that the church was never the same, nor was the world. Everything thing changed when the Comforter came. We know the testimony of fulfillment; we know the explosion of power.

And we, you and I, have the same promise. If they waited, why not us, and how much more us? No, we are not waiting for Him to come – for He already has. Our waiting does not bring Him – but neither did theirs. Their waiting affected them, and so will ours.

How might we posture ourselves toward the promise of the Spirit? Even and ESPECIALLY those who have drunk from His fountain? Even and especially those who have been warmed by His fire? Even and especially those who have felt the blessed bliss of His presence? Even and especially those who have seen and heard of His magnificent power? Might we also wait? Might we also set aside distraction? Might we also submit? Might we also wait in reverent wonder and gratitude? Might we also wait?

For we do not wait like those waiting for something that is not. We wait like those who stand before the magnitude of something that is. We wait like those basking under the radiance of the noon-day sun. We wait like those who with open mouths stand beneath the spring rains. We wait like those who linger over the extravagant fragrance of the finest rose. We wait like those who lay quietly near the serenading sounds of ocean tides. We do not wait in the valley of lack, but in the sea of abundance.

We do not wait with worry. We do not wait without assurance. We do not wait in hopes that time will pass quickly.

We wait with wonder. We wait with boldness. We wait in hopes that time will NOT pass quickly – so that nothing might pull us away from the pristine awareness of His blessed outpouring.

Our waiting is not confined to a room, or a building, or a city.

Our waiting is practiced wherever our hearts and minds are willing. Our waiting is shared, multiplied, intensified when we wait together.

And so – we wait. We wait upon Him; we wait for more of His power and influence. We wait in submission and surrender and in wonder and in worship. We wait.


Leaders Pray for Those in Their Care

prayer hands


Of all I have read about how to be a super-ninja-hip Christian leader, one of the fewest emphases I’ve seen is this: Leaders are intercessors. Or, at least they should be.

1 Samuel 7:8, “And the people of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.’”

The people of Israel urged Samuel not to cease to make intercession for them that the Lord would intervene, saving them from their oppressors / attackers.

I fully understand that we do not live under the same dynamic as Israel, that the nature of the Kingdom is less hierarchical and that every believer is a priest. In Christ, each of us can and should come to the Lord in prayer on our own, for our own concerns, and have gratitude and confidence that our prayers matter to heaven.

However, there remains a leadership principle here.

Samuel was their leader. They trusted him; he served them. And what they asked of him was to pray for them. Specifically – to “not cease to cry out to the Lord for them.” Regardless of the differences between contemporary settings and the religious system of ancient Israel, this remains true: part of our calling and responsibility as Christian leaders is to pray for those we have the responsibility to serve. They need us to; we need us to.

The examples are blazon. Jesus, our Lord, Savior, High Priest and King interceded for His followers, and for those that would follow them. He prayed so much and so often in secret that we don’t know what and how He prayed. But what is recorded for us in John 17 is sufficient to know that He interceded for us before the cross. And Hebrews 7:25 affirms that Jesus is still interceding for us – in whatever mystical manner that implies.

Paul interceded much for his churches. Each letter from him contains includes the contents of just some of his prayers. A casual reading of his letters leaves no question that the Apostle understood it was his apostolic responsibility to “not cease” crying out the Lord for those he led.

Furthermore, with Samuel, Jesus and Paul – those for whom they prayed were aware that their leaders were praying for them, and (at least somewhat) aware of what their leaders were praying for them. The same should be true for those we serve. They should know we are praying for them and even what we are praying.

Consider how important this is and what effect it has.

First, there is the effect that prayer has – period. Prayer matters. It makes a difference. Heaven partners with praying leaders. Samuel’s prayers mattered – they helped secure the Hand of the Lord to save Israel from the Philistines. Jesus’ prayers matter (nuff said). Paul’s prayers mattered – and have for 2000 years. Our prayers matter. No, not necessarily more than the prayers of those we serve. But they DO MATTER. Our prayer – our intercession – over the lives of those entrusted to our leadership is sacred currency to heaven. Our prayers matter over our children, our friends, our staff, our students, our teams, our churches and our organizations. The first and greatest responsibility for any and every Christian leader is pray over and for everything and everyone under their responsibility.

Further, there is the effect that knowing they’re being prayed for has on people. How do you suppose the readers of the epistles felt when they read Paul’s prayers for them? How were they encouraged? How was their faith informed? What did knowing the content and passion of Paul’s prayers for them do to help them feel the love and commitment Paul had toward them? People really appreciate knowing that their leaders are praying for them (obviously this is truer in organizations where there is a shared, corporate faith. In secular contexts, it may not be plausible or even proper for people to know leaders are praying for them. But we should pray none-the-less). Sometimes I have observed that the more specifically people know what we are praying for them, the greater the impact it has on them. They appreciate it more deeply and more encouraged. People want and need to know we’re praying for them.

Finally, there is the effect that praying for those we lead has on us. When leaders intercede for those in their care, they tend to care more. Praying for those we lead keeps the heart of the leader connected to the perspective and passion of heaven. It protects our perspective from the influences of carnality, competition, and conflict. Praying for those I lead keeps Heaven’s purposes for them in my heart and on my mind. And Heaven’s purpose must be my singular goal. I cannot lead well anyone for whom I have not prayed well.

Therefore, leaders of whomever and whatever you lead – do not cease to cry out to the Lord for whatever and whomever is in your care. It matters.

Thanks for reading (and for leading, and for praying)

The Fruit of the Spirit



The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is not a list of things to try harder to attain or maintain. This is a list of exemplary ways the Spirit will manifest His influence in our lives. The text says, “The fruit of the Spirit is…” not “the results of trying harder are…”

Paul uses the word “fruit,” which is something that is produced when trees are rightly connected to the flow of nourishment. It is not the result of striving or straining, but abiding and yielding.

The emphasis of the passage is on the effective role the Spirit has on the ethical life (5:16, 22), as He is the source of life (3:3, 5:25). When He is yielded to and trusted in, He produces these effects.

By supplying a list of virtues, Paul has informed our expectations with regard to the result of the Spirit’s rule. We are to believe that the Spirit is present, that He is powerful, and that He is producing (see what I did there – “produce” and “fruit”?).

Furthermore, the fun thing about fruit is that there is always more. To hold one apple in my hand is to know that I also hold the potential for an orchard. Likewise, there is no limit to the abundance of fruit the Spirit can produce in and through my life.

All of my expectation, all of my confidence, is in and upon the Holy Spirit. But my expectation is informed, and my confidence is focused. I know what qualities His influence should produce, and I choose to walk in those qualities, believing the Holy Spirit is fully present and powerfully working, and that His work is working.

So, I respond to Galatians 5:22 in prayer this way:

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Love and produce your love in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Joy and produce your joy in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Peace and produce your peace in me.”

“Holy Spirit, I believe you are Forbearing, and produce your forbearance in me.”

“Holy Spirit, you are kind, and you make me kind.”

“Holy Spirit, you are good, and make me good.”

“Holy Spirit, you are faithful, and make me faithful and full-of-faith.”

“Holy Spirit, you are gentle, and make me gentle.”

“Holy Spirit, you are perfectly controlled, no one and nothing enslaves you – and your presence in me fully empowers me to control myself.”

Let us deeply, gratefully, and confidently depend upon the Holy Spirit to increasingly re-produce in us His own life.

Thanks for reading; share if you’d like…


Come, Holy Spirit


“Come, Holy Spirit!”

What does this mean?

When I pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” I offer no erroneous assertion. I recognize He is already present – I could never go somewhere where He isn’t. Nor am I capable of summoning the Sovereign of the Cosmos.

For me to pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to ask that He manifest His presence and influence in my life – in my person and circumstances. There is little question that there is a difference between the acquiescent (omnipresent) presence of the Spirit and the dynamic, manifest presence. Even if that difference is often (or mostly) only realized by faith (and not necessarily the senses), it is in fact faith that I exercise with the words, “come, Holy Spirit.” By faith I embrace and make myself aware of His presence. Often this results in some form of sensory awareness, ranging from a mild, personal, subjective sensation to a shared, powerful experience with others.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is an expression of my own submission to Him. I consciously yield my cognitions, my affections and my actions to His immediate influence and infilling. With gratitude I patiently reflect on my circumstances, surroundings, and concerns and visualize all things surrendered to Him.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to honor Him, to reverence Him, and to welcome Him. I am expressing a sacred awareness of the Presence of the Holy One in my heart and life. I am deeply humbled and pristinely happy to host His Presence.

For me to say, “Come, Holy Spirit” is to value Him above the pressing matters and urgent concerns of the moment. It is to give my attention to Him first and most. It is to magnify Him in my perspective so that He eclipses all other things. Only in this light do I see clearly.

So I quite often, throughout the day, quiet myself and focus with joy uttering the phrase, “Come, Holy Spirit.” And to my immense awe and wonder, He always does; He always “is.”

Blessed Holy Spirit, Come!

*Come, O Creator Spirit, blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest;

Come, with Thy grace and heavenly aid, to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Great Paraclete, to Thee we cry: O highest gift of God Most High; O Fount of life! O Fire of love!  The sweet Anointing from above!

The sacred sevenfold grace is Thine, Dread Finger of the hand Divine: The promise of the Father Thou, Who dost the tongue with power endow.

Our senses touch with light and fire; our hearts with charity inspire; And with endurance from on high the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far back our enemy repel, and let Thy peace within us dwell; so may we, having Thee for Guide, Turn from each hurtful thing aside.

O may Thy grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know, and ever more to hold confessed Thyself of each the Spirit blest.

Thanks for reading! Share if you like.

*The Hymnal: Published by the authority of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895

Arrogant Spirituality and Other Oxymorons


In the New Living Version, Proverbs 21:4 reads, “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.”  Of note is that the scribe equates haughty eyes and a proud heart with evil. While this warning seems fairly clear from scripture, I am often struck by how easily people veil their arrogance with a cloak of spirituality.

It is not uncommon to hear someone imply, via criticism, that they are more spiritually aware, mature, sensitive, or otherwise superior. They know what the Holy Spirit would prefer to occur in a given meeting (although they’ve not spent the last week laboring in prayer and preparation for the gathering). They are acutely aware of how displeased God is with an event, song, statement or idea – and uniquely so, because they are the only individuals so enlightened – until, of course, they inform several others how displeased God is. They boldly defy the reasonable expectations and requests of leadership because they must obey God and not man (this means they must interrupt a service, must speak their mind, must act out of order, must be heard or seen… because God insists on it).

I observe this type of arrogant spirituality across the board – it is not the exclusive practice of one sub-culture. There exists the church leadership culture that is too sophisticated for tongues or prophecy, and too enlightened for such barbaric practices as healing or deliverance. In contrast are the groups that view themselves as a form of the spiritually elite, carrying the deepest and most profound and quite recent revelation from heaven – or the third heaven or fourth or seventh or whatever. It pains me in ways that mix nausea with embarrassment when I hear speech or see social media that asserts superiority, self-righteousness and outright arrogance. No such boasting is the voice of the Holy Spirit, but a different spirit altogether. The voice of the accuser isn’t just shame; he’s just as happy to flood our souls with feelings of superiority.

It is grieving to witness some who seem to believe they possess the parameters of knowledge to such a degree that they can (and do) answer every question, confront every heresy, and settle any argument. It is embarrassing to behold when one’s arrogance is only surpassed by their ignorance – when they distort and proof-text their opinion with a flawed premise and consequent flawed conclusion.

It’s not enough for the arrogant to disagree with you (that is their right), they also must inform you of their disagreement and where, how, and why you are wrong. This might be the thing I least understand. I don’t agree with everyone. There are some with whom I agree very little. But rarely, if ever, am I compelled to tell someone why I think they are wrong and I (clearly) am right. I can get along with you for a long way even if we don’t agree. I don’t need you to agree with me for me to love you and be kind to you and encourage you and enjoy your company. Unless it falls under my responsibility to protect those under my care, I really don’t need to discuss why you are (clearly) wrong. And no matter what, I am going to treat you with honor.

Personally, the most significant wounds I have incurred in ministry have been from those who have presented themselves not as enemies, but as benevolent “better-thans:” those who have come into my life, weighed and measured me, and found me lacking. Their complaint is usually opaque; it’s more a general feeling without specific infraction. I just don’t measure up to their degree of spirituality (interestingly enough I am usually too crazy or too conservative).

The problem with arrogant spirituality is just that: it is arrogant; it is condescending. It has no kinship with honor or humility. Condescension is not wisdom. Arrogance is not insight.  They are ugly and odoriferous both.

Further, arrogant spirituality is like the skunk which the bear must carefully consider swatting. He could swat it, but the resulting stink may not be worth the effort. When the impression is given that one is more spiritual, more aware, more discerning, more enlightened, or more sophisticated, it allows only a handful of responses: I can believe you and therefore submit to your superiority, or I can ignore you and thereby likely empower your arrogance by my acquiescence, or I can confront you (in the best way I know how) and risk the wrath of an offended spiritual giant who may act more like a toddler refused his toy. At the very minimum, the arrogant will be “hurt” by correction and refuse to accept any form thereof.

Basically, I am “done” with such arrogance. My being done with it will have no real impact on its ongoing activity.Nor will my assertion of “done” prevent further hurt inflicted by the arrogant. But I will do my best to keep my eyes on real spirituality. Spirituality should bear the character and nature of the very Spirit we claim to represent. One of the critical ways we do this is by doing “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility [we should] value others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3). Did you see that? Real spirituality values, treats, considers others as if they were above us, not below us. Just as arrogant spirituality is an oxymoron, humble spirituality is redundant. To be spiritual is to be humble, honorable, and to treat people, even those with you whom deeply disagree, with profound respect.

Our genuine encounter with, revelation and illumination from, and ongoing influence of the Holy Spirit must absolutely produce in us a humility and kindness that is only surpassed by unfailing love and unyielding joy.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18).

Thanks for reading,



Awareness and Expression


I have been ruminating on something lately. A friend of mine texted me just prior to a speaking engagement, praying that I’d have an acute awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirt. Ever since, I have been reminded of the powerful relationship between awareness and expression. In short, I believe that our awareness of the Presence of the Holy Spirit has a direct impact on the strength and substance of what we express (in ministry and in all of life).

Cultivating a deeper, deliberate awareness of His presence has a causative impact on His influence upon and expression through my life – in word and deed.

It seems to me that Jesus made this connection clear in Luke 4:18-19. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah (and immediately claiming “these words” were fulfilled in their hearing), Jesus said “The Spirit of The Lord is upon me…” I am intrigued by this rather straight forward statement of fact. He stated what he believed to be true – what he was aware of by faith (faith that was affected by experience, perhaps even informed by experience). The Spirit of The Lord was “upon Him” and had anointed Him to be a liberator, healer, deliverer and herald of good news. I find it fascinating that Jesus professes His awareness of the Spirit’s presence and proclaims how that presence will be expressed in a cause-and-effect manner.

Later in Jesus’ ministry, when touched by a suffering woman who believed that touch would make her well, Jesus claimed that He knew he was touched because He felt power come out from Him. He was aware of the Presence of the Spirit upon Him so acutely that He sensed the movement of His power from Him.

After Pentecost, Peter carried an awareness of the Spirit’s presence and power – with an apparent expectation of expressing that power. In Acts 3, when the man at the gate beautiful asks for alms, Peter answered famously that although did not have money, “what I DO have I DO give.” What I have (what I am aware of, have a deep, acute, assurance of – by faith and by experience) I give (I express now – by faith).

Awareness is often informed and affected by experience (like Luke 3:21-22 or Acts 2:1-4). Awareness is also determined by a decision. Peter in Acts 2 quoted Psalms 16. The quote in Acts is slightly different in some words than the OT version – probably due to Peter’s LXX version or something. But what Peter says, in close proximity to the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit, is this:
~ I have set The Lord always before me:
Do you see this? The Psalmist confessed that he has made a choice to place The Lord ALWAYS before him – in front of him, before his face. It is fair to say the Psalmist says, “I have decided to be always be aware of the Lord’s presence.” The Lord’s presence is “front and center” – the centerpiece of his consciousness.

In the interest of brevity (there are many more passages of scripture and a significant amount of biographical testimony that is relevant to this thought), I offer just one more passage for consideration – or two more. 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19. In both passages Paul is arguing for attitude and behavior changes on the part of the Corinthian church. And his argument is basically this: awareness should influence expression. “Know ye not?” Paul asks. Do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you not know that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If they were aware, then they surely would not have been engaging in divisive and dishonorable behavior.

For me, I believe that this means I can (and should) cultivate a confident awareness of the Spirit with a specific anticipation and assurance of that Presence being expressed in a manner congruent with the strength and substance of my awareness. Awareness of His anointing will produce a powerful expression of that anointing. Awareness of His abiding will produce a joy and a peace and a boldness. Awareness of His Holy Presence will produce a life-style that honors and cherishes it.

So, I jot these thoughts down mostly as a way to reinforce my own commitment to cultivate a deeper, stronger, more deliberate awareness of His presence. That awareness will, I hope, continue to be informed and enriched by experience, while remaining secured, protected and promoted by faith.

I share these loosely worded thoughts with you in hopes that, as always, you too will be encouraged.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share

Seven Reasons to Invite Someone To Church This (every) Weekend

casual hands shaking

What if we sought to cultivate a habit, perhaps already present for some but maybe new for others, of inviting someone to church every weekend? No pressure; no gags; no gimmicks; just a happy and sincere invitation: “would you come to church with me this weekend?”

I hope to encourage many in our home church to embrace this habit, and maybe a few others, too. And there are at least 7 good reasons why.

First of all, inviting people to church who currently do not have a home church significantly increases the probability of them hearing the gospel, which in turn significantly increases the probability of them believing said gospel. This is a two-fer: two good reasons summed in one.

Secondly, when you invite someone to church, it will likely increase your propensity to pray for them, pray for your church, pray for the actual gathering to which you are inviting them, and even pray for “me” (Lord, help the pastor to say something that somehow connects with my friend/family/neighbor/colleague). This, too, is a multi-faceted benefit, as is usually the case when we pray.

Next, when you bring someone to church with you, it increases your sensitivity to and awareness of the environment. You are desperate for the other people at church to appear friendly and warm and genuine (and maybe not unnecessarily weird). You yourself might sport a metaphorical “hey I am happy you’re here and care about you” button. This, often, in contrast to when we come guest-less to church with the temptation to just slink in and keep to ourselves (often too distracted by the eclipsing importance of what irritated us on the way to church or what we want to eat afterward – and “why is this church coffee so bad”). Furthermore, you might well pay more attention to the appearance of the facility, the need for improved sound equipment, and for pens in the back of the chairs that actually work. Who knows, you might even become aware of how important the hospitality crew is, finding yourself volunteering to serve on those front lines.

Inviting people to church has an ego-involvement benefit. By that I mean that when you invite people to church, it becomes “your” church. You are a greater stakeholder than when you remain simply a visitor emeritus.

The general likelihood of your church (and hopefully my home church) continuing to grow numerically is increased in direct proportion to… new people coming there. So, inviting people to church regularly is a really terrific way of causing your church to grow. Luke 14:23 hints pretty strongly that our Lord is a fan of His House being full.

Many Christians can trace their family’s faith to the salvation of a parent or grandparent. Others encountered Christ as a child or teenager – because somehow someone brought them to church. What I am saying is that inviting one person to church might impact the destiny of generations. Whole families might well be saved. Marriages can be restored. Children can hear of hope and promise. Teens can learn security and integrity and purpose. A man (a godly prayer warrior, helper of the hurting and servant of children) in my church is the great-great (maybe another “great” I can’t remember) grandson of General William Booth of the Salvation Army. Consider what generational avalanche might occur if we invite people to church – this weekend.

Finally, if we make a habit of inviting people to church, for all the above reasons and more, we will change the world. So, essentially, the fate of the world really hangs on you inviting someone to church this weekend. (Too much? Well, you get the idea anyway).

Thanks for reading.

~ Dav



After a somewhat grueling workout at my Crossfit box one morning, I was feeling a little disappointed in my overall conditioning progress. I approached the head coach, Adam Neiffer, to ask his advice on perhaps picking up a couple more classes a week in order to improve. His response surprised and challenged me. His answer: “No.” He told me it wasn’t more volume (more time) that I needed. Instead, what I needed was focus. I needed to rest a little less between sets; I needed to increase the intensity I gave to the workouts I was already doing. As I listened to and reflected on what he was saying, I was reminded of how his words, though true for my Crossfit workouts, were true across the spectrum of my responsibilities and goals. There is nothing more effective than being “fully present.”

Without focus, everything is blurred. Nothing is clear, and nothing worthwhile develops. Too often I am guilty of somehow trying to be two (or more) places at once. I am at home while thinking about what I need to do for work. I am at work thinking about how I should have left for home already. I am at the gym sweating and gasping for breath thinking about how soon I will be able to rest. And when you’re only half-way up, you’re neither up nor down.

Focus, on the other hand, is so much more effective AND enjoyable. It is effective because focus facilitates the full investment of my affections and attention. All of me is in the now. I am much better when all of me is there. I’m a better husband and father when I am “fully present” for my wife and kids. I am a more thorough scholar and speaker when I am fully vested into progression of thought and word. It’s true even for the time I invest in private prayer. I’ve often thought that the “more time” I set aside for prayer or meditation would produce greater results in my life. But if I just mutter out prayer while keeping an eye on the clock – I’m neither up nor down. I’m not doing heaven or earth much good that way. But prayer that is fully aware of His presence, and that embraces Him fully – makes the ticks of a clock irrelevant.

Lack of focus often is the result of hurry-sickness. Trying to multi-task. Trying to get more than one thing accomplished well at one time. Trying to cut a corner. Hurry. Quick. Microwave everything. John Ortberg  writes, “It is because it kills love that hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life. Hurry lies behind much of the anger and frustration of modern life. Hurry prevents us from receiving love from the Father or giving it to His children….If we are to follow Jesus, we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.”

Finally, being “fully present” is the most divine way of living. Jesus was fully present with people. Whoever was right in front of Jesus had his fullest affection and attention. Though Jairus’ daughter lay dying, Jesus still paused for the woman in the crowd who touched him. Neither of them received a partial Jesus. The Holy Spirit is fully present in this moment; all the attributes and power and promises of heaven are breathing into this moment. “Now” is too precious, too sacred, and too powerful to waste by forfeiting it in anticipation of “next.” Now is the right time to be all here. This moment deserves and requires my focus.

Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr, famously said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” Thanks for the reminder, Adam.

Thanks for reading; I hope to have encouraged you today.
~ Dav