Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who knows your heart?

I have always loved the brutal honesty and transparency of Paul, the apostle. While many people in the public eye carefully groom and massage their image, Paul shows us himself, with all the warts. He says very candidly to the church in Corinth: “our heart is wide open” (2 Cor 6:11), and pleads with them to “widen your hearts also”!

Paul sets the example. First he opens his heart, and then he urges others to do the same. Can you imagine doing this yourself? Why would you do this?

Because you want to know your own heart! You want others to help you see the motives, inclinations, and even the sin in your own heart so you can move toward greater wholeness, health, and holiness. You will never have integrity without transparency. A trusted brother or sister in Christ is a means of grace in your life as you get to know one anothers hearts. And get to know your own heart!

So, seek out a spiritual friend with whom you can be open and honest. And open up your heart!

(click here and here for some helpful resources)

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life by Death...

To be “on mission” with Jesus means something very hard. Jesus says, “deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). That means:

  1. The renunciation of our sinful self-orientation.
  2. Choosing to die daily to our self interests.
  3. Following Jesus by living for him and for others.

But being “on mission” with Jesus also means something very powerful. Denying ourselves and living for Christ and others is the path to the richest life imaginable. The very “self” we long to preserve is what is killing us! A life turned in on itself is a very bitter life indeed. The life lived for others in the power of the Holy Spirit is the only life worth living! So as we give ourselves away (as Jesus did) we begin to experience the joy of “self-forgetfulness.”

As a church, we’ve got a lot of opportunities to live for Jesus and for others (Matthew’s Hope Homeless Ministry, Operation Christmas Child, Food for Families, Angel Tree for Edgewood Children’s Ranch, etc…!) Think of each opportunity as a chance to free your soul by denying yourself and serving others.

I love serving with you!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


First, let me thank everyone for the encouraging cards and notes Nancy and I received last week. It was a joy sitting at the kitchen counter reading through them. And the gifts were well appreciated, especially the overly generous Wal-mart gift card! (We tried it out – it works!).

I have never failed to feel appreciated by our church. I really do count it a privilege to share God’s Word with people who are so hungry and receptive. And I am always glad to commend our church to others knowing that they will encounter warm and genuine people there.

Paul referred to the believers in Philippi as “my joy” (Phil 4:1). I hope you all do know that you are my joy as well! I love walking with Christ with you and my hope is that God would take us to new places of growth as we seek His glory in all things.

My we see the kingdom advance in our community as it advances in our hearts. May we take the words and the works of the Kingdom to the streets and neighborhoods of West Orange County. May we see the mission of Jesus advanced especially in our hearts!

Thank you for the honor of following Jesus with you.

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom