Placing Faith

Where do you place your faith? When you need to be healed, do you believe God will heal you? When you need to pay your bills, do you believe God will provide the resources? When you come before God with an intercession, a request for a friend, do you believe God will do as you ask?

As for me, I answer the first question, by saying I place my faith in God. I purposefully and intentionally choose to trust Him. This trust means I have to allow Him to make choices which affect my life in ways, which might not be what I think I want. He might choose to allow me to suffer in order to refine me. He will, sooner or later, chose some method of death. Death will be His way of bringing me to heaven. In cases like these, I might well be asking for something other than His will and His sovereign choice. Therefore, I would be placing my faith contrary to God’s will if I believed God would or should do whatever I am asking. I believe it is more faithful to voice my request and to trust God’s choice, knowing it might be different than I requested.

I am aware many teach the right way to use faith is to believe God will do whatever you prayerfully request. To me, this sounds more like manipulating God than trusting Him. Who really is on the throne, if you think God has to do whatever you ask, as long as you can muster enough faith in the request?

Placing your trust in God should inherently mean you trust His choices to be best. This does not mean you cannot speak to Him with your prayerful requests. Letting God know what you desire is a part of being in relationship with Him. However, if you allow God to be the boss of the discussion, you might find Him changing your desires, instead of giving you everything you think you need.

Place your faith in God. Allow your trust to be a path to a deeper relationship, instead of a way of manipulating God to give you what you want.



Exploration of Worship

I believe one of the activities a Christian should participate in is worship, but I also believe worship can be a highly variable experience.

It can be either an individual experience or a group event. It can be a highly structured liturgical service or a single person in a stream of consciousness conversation with God. It can be centered on prayer, music, singing, listening, preaching, Bible study, rhythmic movement or any number of other things.

The only thing which is really fundamental to worship is human beings living out their personal relationship with God. God deserves to be worshipped. Humans have an innate need to worship Him. These two factors come together in the moment of worship. In this equation, God never changes. Therefore when the moment doesn’t come together, it isn’t the God side of the equation that is at fault.

Neither is the music, the message, the hardness of the pews, the passage chosen or the temperature of the room. It seems to be a common practice to blame something external when worship is dry or lifeless. But in reality it is always the fault of the individual, not the setting. We have gotten so spoiled by worship leaders taking us into the moment of worship, that we blame them when we fail to worship. Or even worse we have mistaken being entertained with worshipping God.

If this last conjecture is correct, then a lot of people in church, thinking they are worshipping, have never really done so. The reasonable response to this conjecture is to examine yourself in worship, even going back to consider the validity of your initial salvation experience.

Personal Holiness

Personal holiness is a difficult and somewhat unpopular topic. Roughly defined it is the ability to keep oneself from the stains of sin. But this is far easier said than done. Our world is very good at throwing all manner of temptation our way. And without a definite plan to stay away we will be negatively affected.

So what kind of a plan can we develop that is Biblically accurate and theologically sound. Here is a three part plan.

First there is a need to deal with our past sins. Scripture tells us we were born sinners, but even if we reject that principle, we have to admit we found plenty of sin on our own along the way. It’s too late to avoid it, but Christ went to the cross to provide forgiveness for it. This salvation is offered to us as a gift. We just have to be willing to receive it. Christ will cleanse the stain by the blood He shed on the cross.

But after being cleaned up we need a strategy to stay clean. If we do not change our patterns of behavior we will simply mess up our nice clean status by going back to sin. This change of pattern is repentance. While it is a lot of difficult work, it’s worth it. This change will be a big part of what improves your life.

But even when we are striving hard at repentance, we will fall short. We all still mess up—a lot.  But Christ still has us covered. Just like we were saved by grace, He will continue to forgive us. All we have to do is to go to Him and confess our sins. And then He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.

So here is my three part plan. Get saved by grace, strive at repentance, and continue in grace through confession of sin.

Northern Mockingbird


The Northern mockingbird is a remarkable mimic. What this means is it is a bird which will imitate the calls of other birds.

A male will learn up to 200 songs in its lifetime, and it will maintain a different set of songs for spring and summer than he uses for winter.

Any sound he hears repeated often enough will become a part of his repertoire. This has included doorbells, cell phones and car starters.

May I suggest believers should imitate the mockingbird? No, I don’t think you should go around mocking your friends and coworkers. I do however think we could learn to listen better.

The primary person we need to listen to is the Lord. He can and will direct our lives but I am sure our spiritual habits hinder this process.

We often do not think of listening to Him as a part of our daily spiritual routine. We might include intercession without expecting Him to lead our hearts in prayer. We might read our Bibles everyday but forget to open ourselves up to the application of it. We might be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but not give Him time to speak to us in the course of our day.

But listening to God is a central part of our relationship with Him. In Matthew 13 Jesus emphasizes this by using the word listen six times in a short span. Half of those uses were a repetition of the phrase first used in verse 15, “Anyone who has ears should listen!”



One of the central aspects of religious expression is prayer. But what do you believe about prayer? The practice is radically different for a Christian than it is for a Moslem. Since I am Christian, and assumedly so is my audience, I want to help you think about prayer for the Christian.

I often describe prayer as talking with God. Conversation or communication is an important part of any relationship, and since our salvation is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, our prayers become important in keeping the relationship strong.

Set times for praying are not necessary, but they do have some strong benefits. If you set a habit of praying when you wake up, praying for meals, and praying in personal worship, these prayers will anchor you to the habit of prayer and help you to remember to pray when things come up through the day.

Prayers can be prescribed, but I feel more comfortable with spontaneous prayers. This is because less is communicated of the one praying when they are not speaking from their own heart, thoughts and ideas.

Prayers will change the world. I am always amazed when I hear individuals who say God has it all planned out and nothing we do will ever change the plan. Scripture speaks of God redirecting history. Just because He already knows what is going to happen doesn’t mean He doesn’t take our prayers into account.  After all, He also knew you would pray in advance.

God may choose to communicate back to the person praying as a result of their prayers. The intention behind this communication may be clearly understood immediately or it may come through later from Scripture, life experiences, or any other way God chooses.