Fix our eyes

What more can I say? I would run out of time if I told you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, put out raging fires, escaped from the edge of the sword, found strength in weakness, were mighty in war, and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured and refused to be released so they could gain a better resurrection. But others experienced public shame by being taunted and whipped; they were even put in chains and in prison. They were stoned to death, they were cut in two, and they died by being murdered with swords. They went around wearing the skins of sheep and goats, needy, oppressed, and mistreated. The world didn’t deserve them. They wandered around in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground. All these people didn’t receive what was promised, though they were given approval for their faith. God provided something better for us so they wouldn’t be made perfect without us. So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (Hebrews 11:32—12:2, CEB)

Faith in God is what gets us there.

And when we fix our eyes upon Jesus, the pioneer and perfected of faith, we will live the way God has called us to.

Jesus questioned the plan and yet followed it by saying in the garden, “not my will but your will be done.” Can we do this?

If we can fix our eyes on Jesus and follow the example we have been given, we will change the world and live the life God has called us to.

We will be grace, mercy, and peace for a world that needs the love God has for it.

Love out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.

Judge Less! Love More!

Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “Because you are testifying about yourself, your testimony isn’t valid.” Jesus replied, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, since I know where I came from and where I’m going. You don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. You judge according to human standards, but I judge no one. Even if I do judge, my judgment is truthful, because I’m not alone. My judgments come from me and from the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the witness of two people is true. I am one witness concerning myself, and the Father who sent me is the other.” They asked him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You don’t know me and you don’t know my Father. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” (John 8:12-19, CEB)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

There is no darkness in Jesus.

When Jesus comes into your life you see differently.

You think differently.

You act differently.

Jesus said he doesn’t judge, but if he did his judgment is truthful because it is from God.

Can we be like Jesus?

Light for the darkness in the world, and not judging anyone but loving everyone?

What a way to start a new year!

What a great New Year’s resolution.

Judge less! Love More!

Loving People. Loving God.

temporary minor

So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, CEB)

What does Paul mean by temporary minor problems?

Like my issue with my car where the car doesn’t know when I open the driver’s side door?

Or maybe the fact that my body doesn’t work right and I have to take pills to help regulate my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar?

Or the fact I don’t seem to have enough money, or I spend more than I have?

Are those the temporary minor problems Paul is referring to here?

yes. I would say those are the things that are temporary minor problems.

They are things that are hindrances to us living the life God has for us because we let them get in the way.

If we focus on what God is bringing us to, the temporary minor problems will be just that, temporary and minor.

Loving People. Loving God.


At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes. “Be careful that you don’t look down on one of these little ones. I say to you that their angels in heaven are always looking into the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn’t wander off. In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn’t want to lose one of these little ones. (Matthew 18:1-14, CEB)

Why is it some people want to take some parts of the Bible literally but other parts are allegory? I mean I have never met someone who has cut off their hand or foot because it caused them to sin, but Jesus clearly says that is what we should do here. Also, I have never seen anyone with one eye because they took one out because it caused them to sin. We seem to think we can pick and choose what we want to be literal and what we want to be allegory. But it doesn’t work that way.

And it is interesting the part before all the mutilation. Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me, and whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to fall into sin should tie a millstone around their necks and throw themselves into the sea. How many evangelicals cause those who are not like them or fit their mold for who is a follower to be hating on themselves and doubting God loves them? And in my book that is a sin. To cause people to think that God doesn’t love them is like saying Jesus didn’t die for all. God loves everyone and no one is worthy of that love but all of us get it and if anyone says that someone is not loved because they don’t fit the mold, then they are wrong and are causing others to sin.

We all need to accept everyone as they are because God loves us as we are. It isn’t about becoming perfect and then joining in. It is about knowing you are loved as you are and being welcomed.

Everyone is welcome.

And we all need to love like God loves us, unconditionally and prodigiously!

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.

faith = life

Understand that in the same way that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, those who believe are the children of Abraham. But when it saw ahead of time that God would make the Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith, scripture preached the gospel in advance to Abraham: All the Gentiles will be blessed in you. Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham who believed. All those who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse, because it is written, Everyone is cursed who does not keep on doing all the things that have been written in the Law scroll. But since no one is made righteous by the Law as far as God is concerned, it is clear that the righteous one will live on the basis of faith. The Law isn’t based on faith; rather, the one doing these things will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us—because it is written, Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. He redeemed us so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:6-14, CEB)

Abraham believed the promise that God gave him. And it was credited to him as righteousness.

Abraham was made righteous by his trust/belief in God’s promise.

We are made righteous when we believe that the baby we wait for, was/is God and God came into this world to take on our suffering, to teach us to love, and to help us see love incarnate.

When we believe and trust it is credited to us as righteousness. We live by faith.

Faith = Life!

The baby we wait for showed us how to love and how to live.

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


Tell me—those of you who want to be under the Law—don’t you listen to the Law? It’s written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. The son by the slave woman was conceived the normal way, but the son by the free woman was conceived through a promise. These things are an allegory: the women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, which gives birth to slave children; this is Hagar. Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and she corresponds to the present-day Jerusalem, because the city is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. It’s written: Rejoice, barren woman, you who have not given birth. Break out with a shout, you who have not suffered labor pains; because the woman who has been deserted will have many more children than the woman who has a husband. Brothers and sisters, you are children of the promise like Isaac. But just as it was then, so it is now also: the one who was conceived the normal way harassed the one who was conceived by the Spirit. But what does the scripture say? Throw out the slave woman and her son, because the slave woman’s son won’t share the inheritance with the free woman’s son. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we aren’t the slave woman’s children, but we are the free woman’s children. Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again. (Galatians 4:21—5:1, CEB)

Christ set us free why would we choose to live in bondage?

Yet many of us do live in bondage every day.

We live in our old ways of sin that separate us from God.

We live in our old ways of sin that oppress others.

We live in the ways that keep us from God.


Christ set us free to live lives of abundant love.

Love Out Loud!

Share grace, mercy, and love everywhere you go.

Loving People. Loving God.

loss about you

At the time, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved by things that aren’t gods by nature. But now, after knowing God (or rather, being known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless world system? Do you want to be slaves to it again? You observe religious days and months and seasons and years. I’m afraid for you! Perhaps my hard work for you has been for nothing. I beg you to be like me, brothers and sisters, because I have become like you! You haven’t wronged me. You know that I first preached the gospel to you because of an illness. Though my poor health burdened you, you didn’t look down on me or reject me, but you welcomed me as if I were an angel from God, or as if I were Christ Jesus! Where then is the great attitude that you had? I swear that, if possible, you would have dug out your eyes and given them to me. So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They are so concerned about you, though not with good intentions. Rather, they want to shut you out so that you would run after them. However, it’s always good to have people concerned about you with good intentions, and not just when I’m there with you. My little children, I’m going through labor pains again until Christ is formed in you. But I wish I could be with you now and change how I sound, because I’m at a loss about you. (Galatians 4:8-20, CEB)

Here Paul is telling the Galatians that they seem to have forgotten what he taught them. When Paul was in Galatia, he was sick. He actually didn’t intend to be there but was not physically able to leave and they took care of him and he taught them about the gospel.

And now they are going back to things that aren’t God.

And as I read this passage I was struck with the line, “You observe religious days and months and seasons and years. I’m afraid for you!” I don’t really remember reading this before. Is Paul telling them not to celebrate religious days, months, and seasons? Yes, that is what he is saying and we usually read this as pagan religious days/months/seasons. But is that it?

When I read that sentence and the following this time, I thought about how sometimes in the church we are hung up on our days/months/seasons. Take now for instance. It is Advent. And the world around us has been celebrating Christmas for 25 or more days. (25 because that is how many days it has been since Thanksgiving.) And we say it’s not Christmas. The 12 days of Christmas start December 25 and go until January 5. Is that important, yes. Is it a reason to get huffy and tell people they can’t listen to Christmas music until December 25? Also yes, I mean no. Our seasons are important, but God and Paul would say we need to connect to the world and show them the gospel. We need to connect where we can and not force our religion, but share grace, mercy, and love and invite people to see they are loved by God.

So let us not focus on the seasons we celebrate, but on inviting people into an understanding of the baby we wait to come and the savior we wait to return and the love that is shown in both of those by a God who created and loves them.

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


The one who comes from above is above all things. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all things. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever accepts his testimony confirms that God is true. The one whom God sent speaks God’s words because God gives the Spirit generously. The Father loves the Son and gives everything into his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever doesn’t believe in the Son won’t see life, but the angry judgment of God remains on them.” (John 3:31-36, CEB)

When we believe the promises from the Hebrew Scripture and the promises Jesus gives us, we confirm that God is true.

When we hold fast to the truth that God gives us, we speak the truth in love to the world.

The Father gave everything to the Son and when we believe in Jesus, who is the Son of God, we have eternal life. That is not something we are waiting on, but it is ours now.

So love Out Loud and share the love you have been given and help others believe in the truth.

Loving People. Loving God.


My dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both letters to stir up your sincere understanding with a reminder. I want you to recall what the holy prophets foretold as well as what the Lord and savior commanded through your apostles. Most important, know this: in the last days scoffers will come, jeering, living by their own cravings, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? After all, nothing has changed—not since the beginning of creation, nor even since the ancestors died.” But they fail to notice that, by God’s word, heaven and earth were formed long ago out of water and by means of water. And it was through these that the world of that time was flooded and destroyed. But by the same word, heaven and earth are now held in reserve for fire, kept for the Judgment Day and destruction of ungodly people. Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a dreadful noise, the elements will be consumed by fire, and the earth and all the works done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:1-10, CEB)

I remember in seminary this was one of the verses I and 2 other classmates in an advanced Greek class used to figure out what year would be the end of the world, the return of Christ. Now I do not remember the actual year and it was all in jest. But don’t we all really want to know when, and how much longer we have to wait.

This translation says, “Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day.” The one we used way back in 2007 said, “to the Lord the blink of an eye is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a blink of the eye.” So one day or the blink of an eye is a thousand years. God is way more patient than any of us.

So when will Christ return? We do not know. But the letter continues, “The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives.” God is patient towards all of creation, not wanting any to perish. And God is patient.

Maybe Christ will return when we all get it. When we all understand the love of God and actually love neighbor and love God. Maybe?

So do your part, Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


“Either consider the tree good and its fruit good, or consider the tree rotten and its fruit rotten. A tree is known by its fruit. Children of snakes! How can you speak good things while you are evil? What fills the heart comes out of the mouth. Good people bring out good things from their good treasure. But evil people bring out evil things from their evil treasure. I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak. By your words you will be either judged innocent or condemned as guilty.” (Matthew 12:33-37, CEB)

A thing is either good or it is evil. It is not both.

We will all answer on judgment day for the things we have said. As the above text says we will answer for every useless word we speak.

Are the words you say uplifting?

Do your words tear people down?

You will be judged guilty or innocent on your words.

Speak love. And live love.

Loving People. Loving God.