Monday Morning Preacher: Inquire

At every step in the passage from yesterday, David was seen inquiring of the Lord.

  • When he heard that the town of Keilah was in trouble, he inquired of the Lord of whether to fight or to stay in hiding.
  • When God told him to fight, and his men were concerned, he asked the Lord again for guidance.
  • After defeating the Philistines, he asked if Saul would come to try and capture him, and if the people of Keilah would hand him over.

Throughout this passage, David didn’t move, didn’t take a step without asking what was God’s will for this situation, and so I want to ask you this:  Do you have the same mindset?

If I was honest, it would be hit and miss.  There would be plenty of times I would place God first and ask Him for guidance before doing anything.  Then there would be times where I just plow ahead in getting things done without giving God a thought.  I know I can accomplish something with my own power and in my own strength, so why ask for help?  And it’s in that moment I realize I am not acting like a man after God’s own heart.

Whether a task is big or small, easy or difficult, we should never rush into something without asking for God’s guidance.  He is the one who created us, formed us in our mother’s womb, prepared us for the task at hand, and we should be asking if this is what He really wants from us.

And so my challenge for this week is to start every day inquiring for the Lord.  Don’t take a step out of bed before asking what He wants of us this day.  What would happen if all Christians everywhere took those few moments to ask God to provide for the day, show us where to go and how to accomplish what’s in front of us, and how we can be examples of Christ to this broken world?

Monday Morning Preacher: Opinions

We live in a society where we believe that everyone’s opinion is valid and should be shared at all times and at any cost.  We also live in a society that if we disagree with said opinion, it is our right and duty to publicly shame, demean, insult, and discredit the person who wrote the opinion.  And the question I keep coming back to is this: Why?  Why are we doing this to each other?  Why is it that if we disagree with someone’s thought, we can no longer have a conversation with respect, love, empathy, and understanding, but instead, turn it into a street fight where we allow hate to fester?

Yes, there are many times I will go on Facebook and see something that angers me.  Sometimes, it may be something against my political beliefs.  Many times, it’s against the sports teams I like.  And sometimes, it’s a slap across the faith of my Jesus, demeaning my faith and my beliefs.  There are many times I want to speak up.  There are many times, I begin writing a huge response to combat what they have to say…and then I delete it.  While I disagree with what they say, I feel like this isn’t the right way to go about talking to them about it.  Why do I want to have a public debate in front of my friends and their friends that may lead to both of us hating each other more and lessening our credibility to all those who read what we have to say?

And so, for the most part, I stay silent.  I try not to post anything controversial, or things that will really get people mad.  Yes, with sports, I’ll take a few jab in fun, but I won’t destroy a relationship over my preference of teams.  But my main goal with all that I do is to encourage and uplift when I write something.

Here is 1 Samuel 22, we see what happens when evil goes unchecked.  When we allow hatred to fester.  Saul commands the priests of Nob to be executed because they helped someone Saul deemed was an enemy, when he was actually his most loyal soldier.

I just don’t want that hatred to exist anymore, and instead of speaking out in a way that may injure another and destroy my ability to witness and speak the love of Christ into their lives, I rather stay silent.  Instead of chewing out the person, I go directly to the Lord and ask Him to let me see them through His eyes, that this is a person he loves, a person He cherishes, and a person He wants back in relationship with Him.  And isn’t it worth putting aside my petty feelings so that one more person can experience the love of Christ?  Instead of pushing them away so they will reject our words, isn’t it worth pulling them close in love, so they are more open to what we have to say.

So my hope and prayer is that we as a society can learn this again.  It is hard, it will be a challenge, but it begins with each one us being willing to make an active choice to stop the cycle of hate, to stop believing our opinions must be stated and validated as truth in all circumstances, and begin allow God to speak into our lives and to see them as He sees them

***Author’s note:  I realize what I’m sharing here is my opinion.  I understand that by saying our opinions don’t matter and by sharing this, I’m doing the opposite of what I’m writing.  However, my point and hope of this is to talk about opinions where we tear each other down in hate, not, as I hope to do here, encourage us to think before we speak, or in many cases, type.

Monday Morning Preacher: Turnaround

Yesterday at church, we talked about 1 Samuel 21.  It was the story when David began to flee from Saul because he wanted him dead. And in this moment of running for his life, I think like any of us, David was afraid.  But even though Saul wanted to take his life, He also had a promise from God saying, he would be the next king.

But we find out that David began to doubt that promise.  He went to the high priest of Israel for supplies, and when the priest asked him what he was up to, David lied.  David had more fear than faith.  David was trusting in himself more than trusting in God.

And so David keeps running until he gets to Gath, the hometown of Goliath.  To David, to be in the hometown of the giant he defeated was better than to be in God’s country.

But in this moment of brokenness, even though he lied, even though he fell away from God, and even though he was captured by the Philistines who had no idea what to do with him, He did what was right.  He confessed to God he was wrong, he asked for forgiveness, he found his trust again, and God saved him from his enemies.

David had a choice, to trust himself or turn back to the Lord. He sees his way is failing, and he turns to the Lord.  Even though he didn’t deserve it; even though he failed; even though his trust was in himself this whole time, he came back to the Lord.

How did the Lord respond to him? He answered his prayer.  He didn’t deserve it. He failed God, and yet God still came through and saved him.  Why? Because he turn and repented.

And so David wrote Psalm 34: a Psalm of Thanksgiving to God. Because God saved him when he didn’t deserve it, he wanted the whole world, he wanted everyone, to know how much God loved him, cared for him, and saved him.

And this song is one that has been sung throughout the generations. David’s response is love and affection for God because God came through in his hour of need.

I just love verse 8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

He’s encouraging people to try the Lord.  To believe in the Lord.  To fear the Lord and just see what happens.  He believe if you just get this little taste of Him, you will never want to go back.

One divinity school hosted an annual picnic, to which they invited one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year, the guest lecturer was a professor, who spoke for two and one-half hours “proving” that the resurrection of Jesus was false.

The professor quoted scholar after scholar and book after book.  He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium.

“Doctor Professor, I got one question”, he said as all eyes turned toward him.  He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. CRUNCH, MUNCH, “My question is a simple question”,….CRUNCH, MUNCH… “Now, I ain’t never read them books you read”…CRUNCH, MUNCH… “and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek”…CRUNCH, MUNCH… “I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger”….CRUNCH, MUNCH…He finished the apple. “All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate…was it bitter or sweet?”

The professor paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: “I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.”

The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at the professor and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”

My question for you today is this:  Have you tasted Jesus?  David did, and he was so overwhelmed by his encounter that he wrote a song to be sung through the generations.  He wanted everyone to know, everyone to understand what it means to fear the Lord, everyone to just try because when we meet with God, there is no turning back.

Monday Morning Preacher: Why Not Him?

So there was a question lingering from this week’s sermon:  If God wanted a godly person on the throne, and Saul’s son Jonathan was godly, why didn’t he pick him?  While this passage doesn’t really address or answer the question, we can find the answer elsewhere in 1 Samuel.

In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan went off by himself and attacked the Philistines, sending them into a panic that Israel was able to defeat them.  But while Jonathan was off being a hero, Saul commanded the Israelite army not to eat anything that day.  When Jonathan rejoins the army, they travel through a forest where there was honey all around.  Jonathan, took his staff, stuck it into the honey and ate.

Later that day, Saul tried to inquire of the Lord, but the Lord was silent all day.  This was a sign something was wrong.  So they cast lots and determined that Jonathan was the issue.  Saul wanted to put Jonathan to death, as he promised in his oath, for disobeying his command.  But the Israelite officers all called Jonathan a hero and spared his life.  Part of the reason Jonathan couldn’t ascend to the throne was due to this event.  His sentence was, and should have been, death and this was just a delayed judgment.

The second event is just a chapter later in 1 Samuel 15.  Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites completely.  Take no plunder and leave no one alive.  So what did he do?  He took the cattle for plunder and left the king alive.  The exact opposite of what the Lord told him to do.  And so Samuel says to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (1 Samuel 15: 28-29)

The Lord has already stripped Saul’s family of the kingship.  Jonathan had already sinned and been marked for death.  While Jonathan did, for most of his life, love and obey the Lord, it was these circumstances that ended up causing him to be rejected.

At the end of the day, God does what He does.  His ways are is ways.  We may not understand the why behind it, but the thing to remember is that this is His story.  Our lives are all about Him and bringing Him glory through our actions.  And even if things do not go as we expect, we must remember that God has His reasons.  The main point for us to remember is to be as submissive as Jonathan, rather than jealous like Saul, when God has different plans that our own.


Monday Morning Preacher: Waiting

Waiting for the Lord.  It’s one of the hardest things to do.  We live in a fast-paced culture.  We want something, we can get it right away.  We want food, we can drive down the street and have it ready in a matter of minutes.  We can even have Amazon deliver something in a couple of hours, if necessary.  Needless to say, but we can have our needs met within a quick period of time.

But when it comes to God, He works on His timetable, not ours.  We want things to be dealt with right away.  We want our prayers answered immediately.  We want Him to overcome everything in a matter of minutes, or when we first pray something.  But then God comes through by telling us to wait.

God throughout the Bible has shown Himself as One who can make His people wait.

  • Abraham was 99 when he had Isaac.
  • Joseph was a slave and in prison for decades before becoming 2nd to Pharaoh and being reunited to his family.
  • Moses spent 40 years away from Egypt before God called him to lead his people out of slavery.
  • The Israelites waited 400 years to be saved from slavery, and when they left, they waited 40 years before entering the Promised Land.
  • David was anointed as God’s choice for king over Israel, but after being chased from the palace, he had to wait 20 years to be recognized as the true king.

Many people have a misconception of what it means to follow God and allowing Him to lead. Many think when God gives a promise, it comes true, right then, in the moment, or in the not too distant future.  But sometimes, God will 100% come true, but it just won’t be according to our plans, or our timeline.

So how do we act in this moment?  We don’t get frustrated and question God, we stay vigilant and keep trusting that He knows exactly what He is doing.  He is God, and we follow Him, not the other way around.  So let’s move forward knowing God will be leading the way, and what He says would happen, will come true.

Monday Morning Preacher: Broken

Yesterday morning, I felt like I dropped the hammer.  I ended the sermon asking a question, and the question was this:

Are you ready to humble yourself as David did so that God can transform you into who He destined you to be?

Here’s the deal: We can go through the motions with our faith.  We know all the stories.  We know what we should and shouldn’t be doing.  We can just sort of skate our way through life, doing just enough to be called a Christian, but not really going that extra mile.  But I need to say something that’s not going to be popular or win me any accolades:  That’s not what we were called to be.  That’s now how we should be living.  That’s not really true, honest, pure Christianity.  It’s only a shell of what it’s meant to be.

Every time we go to a church service, every time we open a Bible, every time we pray, it should impact who we are.  It should give us that passion and desire to change to be more like Him.

It should transform us.

But for God to transform us, we must be humble.  We must submit to Him.  We must be willing to let Him do the work.  I want you to picture a plate.  You are that plate.  When you go to church and listen to a message, it should shatter you into a thousand pieces.  And when you’re broken and shattered by the truth that God just laid on your heart, who puts you back together?  Do you do it or do you allow God to do it.

See, if you’re the one putting your life back together, how is it going to be done?  It’ll be put back so it looks like it was never shattered in the first place.  All those areas God wanted to remove, all those areas that needed to be altered or replaced are still there.

But if we allow God to do the work, we will be put back together differently.  We may not look, act, or feel the same as we did before, but we will be transformed into a beautiful creation.  We will be the men and women God wants us to be because we will be more like His Son Jesus.

Too many times, and I’m speaking for myself and from my experiences, I don’t humble myself to allow Him to do what needs to be done.  I hear something that cuts me to the core of who I am, I am broken and shattered by that truth only God can speak into our lives, and I choose to stay the same.  I choose myself, and my wants, and my dreams, and my passions, and my life, rather than laying it down so I can offer it to Him.

Honestly, I want it to stop.  I want to stop acting this way.  And I want all of you to join me.  When we are broken by the truth, will be lay ourselves down and ask God to use us, mold us, and shape us into a new creation, or will be just try to scrape by?  And what would happen if one church, no matter how large or small it is, would be full of everyone being willing to be repeatedly broken and rebuilt until we stop resembling the world, and begin to resemble our Savior?

My hope and prayer is that all of us, all people who call on the name of the Lord, become who we are destined to be, but that can only begin if we’re willing to be built and rebuilt by the Lord on a daily basis.

Monday Morning Preacher: Facing Giants

David and Goliath. It was the original underdog story.  The one, whether a Christian or not, knows and understands.  This is something that is spoken a lot of in sports.  The scrappy underdog that has to go up against the polished team with the elite players.  And for that one game, this lowly team gives a Goliath-sized effort, and takes down this assumed unbeatable juggernaut.

But in most cases, people miss the true point of the original story.  Some will look at it and say the moral of the story is this:  Even when things seem impossible, go and give it your all anyway, because you never know what’s going to happen.  Even if you lost 99 out of 100 times playing this team, this may be that one.  And while they’re close, they’re missing a key element.

The key element missing from this equation is God.  You see, while David was the one fighting, he was not the one who defeated Goliath.  God was.  God worked through David, and He had to work through David because no one else was willing to go.

  • You have King Saul, the largest man of all Israel, the champion of the people, because he was their king. He was the one who was a foot taller than any other Israelite there, and yet, he chose to cower in fear.
  • You have Abner, Saul’s commander of the army. He would be the next logical choice because a role of army commander is only given to one who is a superior fighter, a strategy expert, and above all, bravery in every situation.
  • Then there’s ever single other soldier in the field. Every single one of them, looking to their leaders cowering in fear, chose to do the same.

But then you have this young man of 15, smaller than all the rest at his age, bringing his brothers some food and making sure they’re okay.  He just hears what this Philistine says one time, and is enraged.  And he tries and tries to tell these soldiers to stand up and fight for their God.  That God will be with them and God will defeat their enemy.  And they all said no.

And so that’s why David did it.  He believed and had faith that his God would come through.  That by accomplishing this impossible task, it will prove God is above all.

So that’s the true point of the story.  Not that an underdog can overcome the odds, but our God is the God of the impossible.  And this God is within every believer of Jesus Christ.  And that same power is given through the same Holy Spirit that was running through David’s veins as he hurled that stone.

So the question for us is this:  What are you going to do with that power?  Are you going to trust it’s powerful enough to take down the giants of this world, or will we live as people of fear, afraid to wield it?  My hope and prayer is that we are people of faith.  That we trust God. That we trust that nothing is impossible for Him, and when giants stand in our path, instead of running and fleeing, we run to meet it head on.

Monday Morning Preacher: Forcing the Issue

Have you ever watched a show that had to do with time travel?  On these shows, if someone comes back from the past, they would refuse to explain what would happen to someone in the future.  And there’s a good reason for it.  If someone knew what the future would hold, and they didn’t like it, they would do everything in their power to try to alter it.  Unfortunately, in trying to make sure there would be a different outcome, they usually end up leading to what they were hoping to avoid.

In our passage from Sunday, David was already told the future.  He was anointed by Samuel to be king over Israel.  The only problem is: Israel already had a king in Saul.  One day David would be king, but there’s something else I want you to notice: David did nothing to force himself to the throne.

When Saul was looking for a gifted lyre player, and someone mentioned that David was one, where was he found?  In the fields with the sheep.  After Samuel came and pronounced that he will be king over Israel, David went back to his job in the fields.  He didn’t begin training.  He didn’t brush up and begin reading books of how to be king.  He took a step back and believed that God will act in His own time.

And so David waited in the fields, and God got to work.  It’s just amazing to think of how many gifted lyre players there were in all of Israel.  There were probably so many men and women who knew how to play that could be brought before Saul.  And yet, the one person they find is David.

And how important is it for David to be in the palace?  First, he would learn the etiquette of what it means to be king from Saul. There is a certain way one should hold himself when acting as God’s representative to the people.  David would also earn favor with Saul and the people.  We see immediately as David is brought into the fold that Saul loved him and made him an armor bearer.  This is not a small task.  David would be the one who would stand beside Saul while he planned for battle and then stood by as he executed that plan.  David would learn about strategy and also make a name for himself as a skilled warrior.  And third, he would find favor with the people.  This is what caused the downfall of Saul, and as we will learn later, David would become the champion of Israel by defeating Goliath, and in doing so, would be more popular than the king.

And all this was done by God’s hand. And I just want to mention what you don’t notice.  David pushing the issue.  He knew that not only was he God’s anointed, but Saul was God’s anointed as well.  If God wanted Saul gone from the throne, he would have to do it Himself, and David would never left a finger against him.

And this is an important lesson for us.  When we get a promise from God, do we step aside and allow Him to do His work, or do we try to bring it about in our own power?  I feel too many times, we try to do everything ourselves, instead of allowing God to be God.  Yes, He promised something, and when He does, it comes to pass, with or without our help.  The question is: Are we placing more faith in ourselves, rather than allow Him to be God and do what He has set out for us to do?


Monday Morning Preacher: Be Faithful


If there are two words that stuck with me as I wrote this week’s sermon, it’s “Be faithful.” When we read our passage from yesterday, David was anointed as God’s choice of king over Israel.  Some argued that he was somewhere between 10 and 15 years old when this happened.  However, did you know how long it took before he became king?  Twenty-two years.  In fact, the rest of our study through the book of 1 Samuel will be chronicling most of these years

This wouldn’t be the first time that people in the Bible would need to wait to fulfill the purpose of their lives.  Joseph was sold into slavery and reveal himself to his brothers for 24 years.  When Moses killed the Egyptian hurting a fellow Israelite, he fled for 40 years before being sent to rescue Israel for their captivity.

In many cases, there is always a hardship before the blessing.  Many people like to think that coming to God, believing in Him, and trusting in Him will cause all obstacles and all problems to be removed.  If this was the case, when God anointed David, David would have assumed the throne immediately.  All the people would rally around him and dispose of Saul, whom the Lord rejected.  But that’s not how it works.

Instead, there are times when the going is going to be rough.  And why is that?  So we learn a valuable lesson:  That God is faithful.  That when we are struggling with something that is so far beyond us and our abilities, God will be there and God will come through.  God made David a promise to become king, and it would take him through battles between him and Saul, with other nations, and even after Saul’s death, another claiming his throne, but in all cases, he would do one thing:  he would wait for God to remove the king and place him on the throne.

So as a church, we have had time when so many families have been struggling with one issue or another.  And right now, we may feel like we’re in the middle of a desert, all alone.  But there are two things that will help us get where we need to go: our love for each other and our love for God.

And all we need to do is to be faithful.  Be faithful to God. Be faithful to our church.  Be faithful to our mission.  If we continue to do what God has placed us here to do, if we continue to be faithful in the little things He is giving us right now, He will give us the opportunity to do greater things for Him and in His name, so this whole area can know that Jesus is Lord.

Monday Morning Preacher: Christmas


Today is Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus coming into the world. It’s important for us to stop and reflect on the meaning of the season.  Between the parties, the ugly sweaters, and the gift-giving, the meaning of the season can be lost between everything else that is taking our attention.

But instead of just going through the Christmas story, I want to focus on the importance of this day outside of the typical manger scene.  Jesus came into this world in the midst of darkness – a darkness that we have caused to fall on this earth.  The world God created was perfect, but because of sin caused by Adam and Eve, our perfect world is now broken.

The crazy part is that God had a plan to restore us before He even created us.  Think about that for a moment. We sinned against God, and He knew it was going to happen, and He created us anyway.  He knew that He wouldn’t be able to exist or have a relationship with broken people, but yet, He found another way and that way was His own Son.

The only way to break the bondage of sin was through death – a sacrifice.  Something pure that all the sin could be passed to and then executed so that the person offering the sacrifice could walk away pure.  But not matter how many times an animal was placed on that altar, there would always be a need for another, and another, because we just can’t stop ourselves from failing God and breaking the commands He gave us.

And so God thought of this plan.  A plan to send His Son to be the last sacrifice to end the need of sacrifices.  By having no sin of His own, He would be able to take the sins, all sins of past, present, and future, upon Himself and redeem the world forever.  But only if we make the choice to have a relationship with Him.

So all this happened because God placed it into motion before the world even began.  And all I can say is how much more love does God need to show us?  What more could He do?  We sinned.  We failed. We walk away.  And God reached out and said, “It’s okay.  I have a better way.  I know what to do.  I’m going to fix this.”

And so as we reflect on Christmas, we need to remember one thing:  None of this would have happened if Jesus wasn’t born.  There would be no salvation if there wasn’t first a birth.  There would be no salvation if there wasn’t first a manger.  There would be no salvation if God didn’t love us in such a deep, remarkable way.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8

So the question remains: what is your response to this gift?  Will you accept it or reject it?  And if you have accepted it, will you share it with those you love and care about today?