Category Archives: Personal

The Burden of Being a Leader

Jeremiah 28:15-16

15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.16 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.'”

God calls leaders and teachers to a higher standard. It’s a responsibility, a calling and a burden.

Roughly 13 years ago I felt God calling me into ministry. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew it’s what God was preparing me to do. As I learned more about what it meant to be a leader and what God’s standards are for leadership, the fact that leaders are called to higher standard.

The words that we speak as leaders  are words that people live by. As leaders in the church we are looked at as the mouthpiece of God, so when we speak people hear them as the word of God. Man, what a responsibility. What if I mess up, what if I’m wrong, what if that “feeling” from God that I had was just bad Chinese food?

My prayer is that by the grace of God, I will be sensitive to His voice and that the words that I speak would always be the words of God. I pray that I never forget the significance of the call that God has placed on my life and never take for granted the fact that God uses me to be his mouthpiece to His children. Thank you God for the grace you give and privilege of being your child.


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Embarrassing Moments

A few days ago we brought my 3 month old son Ethan to JCPenny to get some pictures taken. After his rock star photo shoot (pictures to come in a week or so) we were waiting to see the proofs and Abby was playing with some blocks in the waiting area.

After a few minutes Abby moved onto something else so I (trying to be the good dad) asked her to go and pick up the blocks that she literally dumped all over the floor. Of course, Abby didn’t want to do that so she said no. I told her she had to and we went back and forth a couple of times before I picked her up and made her put them all away. This only happened after a rather loud and attention getting temper tantrum. I felt like a horrible parent.

Not only did I feel terrible that my daughter was having a meltdown, but I felt horrible that I couldn’t get her to do what I asked her to do and I couldn’t take control of the situation. Needless to say, I was totally embarrassed.

It got me thinking about my relationship with God. What does God feel like when I totally and completely disobey Him? Not just when I say no God, I’m not going to read my Bible today, or I don’t feel like praying. I mean when I really disobey him, like when I disregard the feelings of my wife for what’s easier for me, or when I keep my mouth shut instead of speaking up when I see a student or another person alone in the corner not being talked to.

Do I embarrass God?

Genesis 6:5-6
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

When God first created the earth, He created such a beautiful world with such potential for living a life of perfection with Him. Then sin entered the picture. Sin corrupted this perfect world that God had created. As humans continued to sin, sin took over mankind and this is what saddened and possibly embarrassed God. When we sin, we make God sad, essentially embarrassing Him.

So what can we do?

As a parent all I can do is talk to Abby, discipline her and help teach her how to strive to do what is right, because I love her and want to see her live the best life she can. It’s the same way between us and God. All God can do is teach us what is right and love us with his unconditional love and grace. All we can do is strive to follow Christ to the best of our ability, relying on His grace, mercy and love to forgive us when we make Him sad and learn from what He is teaching us.

Who knew that his whole parenting thing would teach me about my relationship with God.

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The Importance of Being Present

I’m on my way to Phoenix, AZ today. Why you ask? I would love to tell you that I am going down to watch the San Francisco Giants or some other baseball team during spring training, man that would be awesome. Unfortunately, I am on my way to funeral. The funeral is for my cousin, Sgt. Mark Wells. He was killed on Sunday, March 6 while on deployment in Afghanistan. I don’t know all of the details of went on, but I do know that Mark was part of the bomb squad. He we diffussing a bomb and somehow set off another hidden bomb. He leaves behind His wife Danielle, son and his unborn daughter. It’s a sad story to say the least, but I am honored to have known and been related to Mark.

When I first heard about Mark there was a sense of shock and sadness. That’s still how I feel now, but now I have regret. In the last week I’ve thought about the times that Mark and I have had. You see, when we growing up, we were pretty close. Some of my best memories are spending the night at each others’ houses and watching The Goonies every time. I also remember playing video games on the Apple IIe, (yep, green monochrome screen and all). I remember spending holidays together and playing in the backyard (Mark always wanted to play G.I.J.O.E. go figure). Anyways, we had a good time hanging out together. As we got into junior high we spent less and less time together, until we didn’t talk at all. It’s actually been years since I’ve seen or talked to him and that’s where the regret comes in.

When I think about how Mark and mine relationship went in our lives, it makes me think about the importance of being present with the people around us. I don’t like the feeling of regret that I have, i know that God doesn’t like it either. So here’s what I’m doing about. I refuse to feel regret about anyone else in my life. I don’t want to live my life in regret, but live a life that is present with those that God has put into my life. I challenge you to do the same. Find those in your life that are close to you. Talk to them, share life with them, know them, be present with them.

So, I’m on my way to Phoenix to pay respect to a great man who gave his life for my freedom. A man that I had the privilege of growing up with even though I have the regret of not knowing him better. I look forward and continue in hope that I will see him again for eternity in heaven. My prayers now, are not for me, but for his wife, children and parents who will need to find the new normal in their life without Mark and I pray that God will help show you what that is.

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We are God’s joy

3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Naming a child is a weird thing. Before a child is born you spend so much time thinking of a what their name is going to be for the rest of their life. You haven’t met the child yet, you haven’t gotten to interact with them in any way, yet as a parent you are entrusted with the job of labeling what people will call your child for a lifetime. Different pressures come into play too. Do you name them a family name? What’s their middle name going to be? Does the first, middle and last name sound good together? Is the name spelled too crazy that your child won’t be able write their own name in Kindergarten? Is it too long, is it too short? Is is going to be hard to yell their name down the hall? It’s ridiculous how much time and energy goes into naming your child.

Names in the Bible were important. They labeled who you were and how you acted in your life. The meaning of your name sets you up to the personality you will have. When Abby was born, we had a list of about 5 or so names that we liked. They met all of the criteria, they had a good meaning, they flowed well with our last name, they were easily yelled down the hall, etc. Several hours after Abby was born, it was time to make the final decision. We looked at her and finally landed on Abigail Elyse Gold. Elyse was a family name and Abigail means Father’s joy.It’s crazy how she has become just that.

It brings me such joy to just watch my daughter. I love to just see her interact with the world around her. Everything from toys, to animals, to people, it’s even a joy to watch her eat. It amazing to watch her bring joy into a room of people as she walks in. In the past 2 years, I think I’ve really come to realize what God must feel like when He looks down on us.

As followers of Christ, when we walk into the room, God smiles. When we interact with the world around us and portray the joy and love of Christ to them, it gives God so much joy. When we walk in the truth of knowing that God loves us, God is filled with joy. The joy and happiness that fills me when I see Abby bring joy to the people around her, is the same joy that God has when we bring the joy and truth of Christ to the world around us.

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Knowing God = Knowing Justice

Jeremiah 22:15-16

Your father, Josiah also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.

We live in a culture that is about getting what we want at any cost. In corporate America it’s all about build our own little empire full of big homes, cars, money, status and wealth. In the process of achieving “The American Dream” we are willing do whatever it takes even if it means ruining relationships, hurting others or turning a blind eye to the background workings of companies. When we fall into this trap, I think we miss out on knowing God like He would like us to know Him.

Throughout the story of the Bible we see a God that is about seeing justice fulfilled and the poor and needy cared for, yet many times as followers of Christ, we get so caught up in the American Dream that we forget that knowing God is about knowing about the things that are important to Him. Seeing justice fulfilled and the poor and needy cared for.

God, open my eyes to knowing what is close to your heart. Show me how I can pursue justice and seek your dream for the life myself and my family.

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