Letting Go

For most Christians, the greatest struggle is not resisting sin but in being willing to let go of our hurts. More than sin, we allow our hurts to define us, and find it difficult to leave the familiarity of our pain for the unfamiliarity of a truly new life in Christ. Even among Christians, few risk the grace of confession, forgiveness and repentance to become whole and complete in Him.

Really, it’s not that difficult…

Here’s a story of one man’s journey: Getting to Simple.

Slaying Giants

Slaying Giants

On Christmas eve, Marianne and I spent time with about thirty brothers in the jail. During our time of fellowship, one of the men read the poem below. Here’s the story behind the poem, then the poem….

Earlier in December, I had shared with those men how our journey in the Lord is like Israel’s journey from slavery in Egypt, through the desert, and then into the promise land.

God takes us out of the bondage of Egypt, but then uses the wilderness to burn Egypt out of us.

In the wilderness, God prepares us to take possession of the promise land – that place where we are able to own and responsibly manage the things He has created us to both be and do.

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The Power of God

We don’t go looking for or emphasize miracles, but in our fellowships we’ve been seeing the miraculous happen time and again.

We had one man collapse and then die right in front of the paramedics and the fellowship he had been helping to start in the jail – and then come back to life shortly thereafter on the gurney in the jail infirmary after brothers gathered together to pray for him.

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Becoming Our Past

Often, longstanding hurts, disappointments and emotional wounds are like old, familiar friends. We let them become so engrained into our sense of identity that they begin to define us.

When that happens, we often aren’t willing to transparently expose and turn them them over to Jesus, but tightly hold onto them like a child clinging to a security blanket.

Instead of finding transformation and wholeness, we become our past.

If this is a struggle for you or someone you know, let me suggest an old blog I wrote years ago called God Shows Up. It’s a good starting point on the road to healing.

A Hollow Gospel

Sometimes I get angry and need the Lord to settle my spirit.

I am so frustrated over the shattered lives of man after man who I help find the Lord in jail, who then go to some on-fire, podium-focused, pastor-centric church when they get out.

Inevitably, I will see those men back in jail again a year later, or I’ll hear that they have relapsed and fallen back into addiction or bondage.

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I Saw Satan Fall

On Tuesday evening, I understood how Jesus felt when his disciples finally “got it” and reported back, after He sent them out to minister on their own for the first time, that the sick were healed and darkness conquered. In His joy, the Lord said He saw Satan fall from Heaven because of them.

On Tuesday I’m teaching and mentoring a class of students on how to minister in the areas of confession, forgiveness and repentance. After seven weeks of foundation laying, the students this week started doing ministry sessions on their own and – wow! – it was amazing what God did through them that evening.

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Government Run Amuck

Government Run Amuck

S&P downgraded the United States last night.

I hope and pray that this will serve as a wake-up call for the Church to realize that Biblical precepts can’t be mocked if any nation wants to survive. If God’s people don’t begin to understand, articulate and follow those precepts, then there is no hope.

One of those precepts is that God has ordained certain roles and responsibilities for civil government, and Scripture has lots to say about how individuals, families, the Church, the State and voluntary associations are to function.

However, there is not a single verse or example in all of Scripture which lends any credence to the view that God has given civil government the right or responsibility to re-distribute wealth or provide for our individual health or income. See The Growing Idolatry of Civil Government.

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Freedom

In return for a little less freedom, civil government ever seeks to solve problems we should be solving on our own through individual responsibility, family support, personal charity or voluntary associations. As we’ve continued to trade liberty for government “solutions” (which never in reality actually solve much, but often make things worse), little by little we’ve become increasingly enslaved.

Every American should watch this cartoon from 1948 and heed its warning about Utopian promises to fix all of our problems. It is more relevant today than ever before.

May we once again find the courage, and the common sense, to stand tall as free men and free women.


For a related bog, take a look at The Growing Idolatry of Civil Government.

God Shows Up

As “Mr. Analytical,” I’m the least probable person I know to be doing pastoral counseling, but God seems to have given me a special grace to walk with people to those places where He wants to meet them in very powerful, transforming and healing ways. I guess it’s one of those spiritual ironies that God uses to confound us. He works through the least likely to insure that the glory is His.

Whether in the jail or in my home study, I deal weekly with issues that – believe me – exceed anything you might imagine. But the Lord meets us in amazing ways, and men and women find freedom in just one or two sessions from decades of emotional and spiritual bondage.

God shows up!

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