When We Don’t Realize God Is There


A few weeks ago my wife and I drove down to a local lake to take some nature photos. When I snapped the photo at the top of this post there was something in it that I didn’t realize was there until a few days later. How I didn’t see it in the moment is a mystery to me, because what I saw after the fact is quite prominent in the photo. There are broken tree branches positioned in such a way that make the shape of three crosses.

When I saw this a number of thoughts came flooding to my mind. Most prominent of these thoughts was one of reassurance that God is in my and my wife’s current situation.

The past three and a half years have been full of loss and adversity for us.

In the spring of 2013 I found out that my father had cancer. The next several months were spent walking with him through his final days before his eventual passing in December of that same year.

Only six months later, in June of 2014, my brother passed away unexpectedly due to alcoholism.

The period of time from June, 2014 through July, 2015 gave us a bit of a break, and some time to heal from what had transpired in the previous year.

Then it happened again. Another loss. During 4th of July weekend, 2015, one of our dogs, who was a part of our family for about 7 years, developed a ruptured tumor in his abdomen, and we had to put him to sleep.

And then, only one month later, we received news that both my wife and I would either have to relocate to Michigan, to the main office of the company we both worked for, or lose our jobs. Unfortunately, we could not relocate, so we had to accept yet another loss.

For my wife, the end of her employment with this company occurred at the end of October, 2015. For me, after staying with the company on a temporary contract basis, the end of my employment occurred at the end of March of this year. My wife and I are still currently unemployed… still looking for that seemingly elusive job.

I don’t write this to seek sympathy or to whine and complain about this current season in life. My goodness, there are many others who are going through much, much worse than what we’ve been through, and are going through! Rather, I write this to give the backstory to why seeing the three crosses in this photo was so profound to me.

Through this season of the past three years, especially lately, with my wife and I still unable to find work, and finding positives to discover seemingly harder and harder to do, I have struggled seeing where God is working in all of this.

I know he’s there, I know he has never left. I believe that he is beside us fighting with and for us. I believe in the truth of Scripture where he promises that he will never leave us or forsake us, and that the Holy Spirit is always interceding for us.

There are times, however, such as this season, when that is a little more difficult to see. But that does not mean that God isn’t there, and that he is not working in my situation. He most certainly is!

So, when I looked at this photo a few days after I snapped it, and saw the crosses, I felt God reassure me. I sensed him speaking to my heart and telling me that even though I don’t see how he is working in our situation now, there will be a time when I clearly see how he was (is!) working.

In the meantime, until that becomes clear, I need to keep trusting, keep doing what I need to do to improve my situation, let go, and let God work out the rest of the details.

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.” – Psalm 138:8 (NLT)






The Deeper Purpose of Prayer

IMG_8288Prayer is one of the most important spiritual practices we can do. It is an essential part of our communing with God that should never be ignored.

Often, when we think about prayer, we think of it as asking God for the things we want or need, or asking for God to intervene for someone else. It makes me wonder how often we think of the other purpose of prayer; what I believe to be the main purpose of prayer.

The main purpose of prayer isn’t get God to do what we want. Rather, its main purpose is to get us to align with what God wants for us. 

Consider the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6, often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus teaches us to pray that God’s kingdom would come, and that his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Before we even get to asking God for what we want or need, “give us our daily bread” (v. 11), we ask for his will to be done in our lives.

Our desires for what we want God to do in our lives should never get out ahead of God’s will for our lives.

When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for his desire that the cup of suffering would pass him by, he nevertheless submitted himself to the will of his Father (Matt. 26:39). Aligning our lives with God’s will should be a top priority in our practice of prayer. There is nothing wrong with asking God for what we need or want, but it must first be prefaced with our desire to be aligned with His will in our lives, even if at times it may not be our preferred outcome.

When we are faithful to seeking God’s will above all else in prayer, it changes us. 

Pastor and author Eugene Cho says of prayer:

Such a good word! When we stop treating God in prayer as our personal assistant, solely trying to get him to do things for us, it is then we can truly align our desires to his will, and our hearts will be changed. Our hearts will sync more closely to God’s and we will grow deeper in our relationship with Him.IMG_8337

At the heart of the matter, this is the point of prayer. To be transformed from being me-centered, focusing on what I need and want, to instead being centered more on what God wants from me in my current situation.

Simply put as I once heard pastor Brian Zahnd say in a sermon, “The goal of prayer is spiritual formation.”

As we pray for God’s will do be done in our lives, and as we pray for God to work in our situation, to bless us and take care of us, with a heart that is centered on what God wants over and above everything else, we are truly aligned with his will, we are spiritually formed more clearly into the image of God, and we enter into a deeper level of communing with God than we had before.

Dance With Me: God’s Call to Prayer

I am currently reading Christopher Hall’s book, Worshiping With The Church Fathers. The book is a survey of and interaction with the thoughts and practices of worship from the early Church Fathers, including the Desert Monk Abbas of the early Church. It’s been a fascinating read thus far.

Chapter three, titled “The Basics of Prayer,” as you may have guessed, addresses the topic of prayer in worship as understood and taught by the Church Fathers.

At one point the question of why God wants us to pray if He already knows what we need is brought up. Further, since God has always been in communion, even before creation began, why does he desire this prayerful interaction with these created beings called people? The short answer is simply, “Love.”

Love is the foundation for it all; for creation, for God calling forth a covenant people through Abraham, for the Father giving His Son for the forgiveness of our sins, and for the direct access and communion with God through the Holy Spirit we are blessed with now.

Indeed, God’s love is so great, and God’s desire to share that love so powerful, that it transcends any borders between the divine and the created through an invitation to join Him in a beautiful cosmic dance; to join in intimate communion with Him.

Prayer is our response to this invitation, and is an intricate part of our worship.

Here’s what Hall has to say:

“Before time ever existed, before God’s creative Word commanded the first atom to pop into being, Father, Son and Holy Spirit danced timelessly and lovingly, always giving, always receiving, always loving. To be God, then, is to be love in communion. 

The triune God has freely chosen to share this love with his creation. God did not create because he was lonely; God was always in communion, always dancing, if you will. Yet the divine love was willing run beyond its borders and is rippling through the universe, if only we have eyes to see. He has invited us to join the dance.” 

This is indeed a beautiful picture of this invitation to prayer, but it only deals with the subject of God wanting us to pray. But what about the question, “why should we pray?” If God already knows everything, and he already knows what we need, why does he want us to pray and ask Him?

Hall says that, “the answer could be as simple as this: love often likes to be asked something, even when it knows the answer.” 

He then goes on to quote Richard Foster, where he writes:

“We like our children to ask us for things that we already know they need because the very asking enhances and deepens the relationship … Love loves to be told what it knows already…. It wants to be asked for what it longs to give.” 

So, then, why does God want us to pray?

Hall and the Church Fathers would answer by saying that it’s because God, always existing in communion, always dancing, full of a love that cannot be contained by any borders, wants to share with us in this communion.

Prayer is one of the main responses in worship to this invitation, and the fact that God already knows what we need does not make this practice moot or unnecessary.

Instead, prayer is a intricate part of this beautiful dance in communion with God, where he loves for us to ask for what he longs to give, because he  loves us so immeasurably.


And He Talked To Them About the Kingdom of God


Acts 1:3 (NLT)

“During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”

I can only imagine how amazing it was for the disciples and other followers of Jesus, to be able to walk with and talk with him. I mean think about it. They walked and talked with the Son of God! What an amazing experience to be able to have that direct face-to-face experience with God incarnate!

I have recently begun reading through the Acts again, and this verse, especially the second half of it, “And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God,” jumped out at me. I began thinking of what that would have been like, after having their hopes temporarily dashed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, to be able to see him and talk to him after his resurrection.

Random Thought – Can you imagine the social media posts that would have ensued from those experiences and conversations! You think people are quoted incessantly on Twitter, etc. now? Just imagine if they had Twitter or Facebook back then!

“Jesus is alive! Hanging with him by the lake and he just told us the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed! #mindblown!”

“Selfie with Jesus. Did I mention he did this little thing called rising from the dead?! He’s alive! Blowin’ my mind with Kingdom of God stuff! #resurrection #kingdomofGod”

But I digress.

Back to my point… I love how that verse tells us that he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

I so deeply desire to be so intimately connected… so in tune with.. my Savior, that when I am in my time of prayer, meditation and Bible reading that I can hear Him speak to my soul so clearly that it is if he is sitting there in person talking to me about those Kingdom of God things!

It is my prayer and hope that you would desire this deep connection with Jesus as well.

God bless you on the journey! 

Quote From The Worship Architect by Constance Cherry


“As contemporary worshipers in a sound-bite world where interactions can be brief and attention spans short, we do well to remind ourselves that Christian worship is a sustained encounter with God – a journey from our place of origin (physically and spiritually), through meaningful acts of worship as a community, to transformation from having been in God’s presence. The journey is the point.” – Constance Cherry in The Worship Architect

New Post For All About Worship – 5 Tips For Preventing Burnout

ImageSince the beginning of this year, I have been contributing to an online ministry called All About Worship , led by my new friend Wisdom Moon .  I have been contributing articles, devotions and album reviews. It has been an honor to be part of such a great ministry reaching worship leaders, and followers of Christ all over the world. I will be posting excerpts of my posts here, with links to the full article on the All About Worship website. Here is my latest post over at the All About Worship site. 


5 Tips For Preventing Burnout

One of the first major lessons I learned in ministry is the importance of remaining intentional about preventing burnout and maintaining a balance between family, work and ministry.

This is a lesson, unfortunately, that I had to learn the hard way. A few years ago, I ended up having to leave a pastoral staff position at a church, because I was not intentional about striking a balance between being a full-time undergraduate student, work, family and ministry. I said ‘yes’ to almost everything at church. It left me very little to no time for my family. My relationship with my wife began to suffer. I burned out – BIG TIME! And it left me feeling hardly any passion for ministry (or anything else for that matter). Everything was a chore. It was terrible…….

For the rest of the article, click here

A Clearer Direction In Ministry

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog! I have just been too busy to do any kind of writing over the past year. A lot has happened since that last time I posted anything original here. I graduated from MNU in May 2011 with my B.A. in Ministry. I was brought on staff at Faith Journey Church in Olathe, KS as the Youth and Media Pastor and Wednesday Night Worship Leader.

Post graduation life has been adjustment. I’ve been working full-time from home for a company based out of Michigan that is in the freight logistics/transportation business, in addition to my ministry responsibilities.

Up until and for some time after graduation, I was not 100% sure the direction that God was leading me in ministry. I was praying over three potential paths: 1) Lead Pastor 2) Youth Pastor 3) Worship Pastor. When I was brought on staff at Faith Journey I was given a diversified role in ministry there – hence, Youth and Media Pastor/Wed. Night Worship Leader. While at times a little exhausting because there is much I am responsible for, it has been an incredible experience of prayerfully and practically sorting out the direction God is leading me, in ministry.

It has become abundantly clear over this past year that God is leading me to be a worship pastor. It’s where my passion, talents and ability most closely align with God’s mission in the world. I have a strong desire to disciple people in the area of worship and help them understand and embody what it is. Worship is a lifestyle. It is not a 4-6 (or longer!) song set in a church service on Sunday morning. It is what we are to offer to God in our faithful obedience to the call to holiness He has given us. Whenever, and wherever we glorify God, we are worshiping Him. Whether it’s serving others, singing songs during a worship gathering, reading scripture, preaching the gospel (or listening to and responding to the gospel), building each other up through fellowship & discipleship, doing our jobs with integrity and excellence, displaying solid Christ-centered, God-glorifying Christian character, etc. – those things can be an act of worship. This is what I want people to grasp, become passionate about, and embody, as I – as a worship pastor – model that to others.

Undeniably, a large part of what I do as a worship pastor will involve  leading others in worship through music (written by other people), but I also feel, as part of this direction in ministry God leading me. to write songs for the Church from my own heart, experience, intellect, etc.

I have already begun this journey of becoming a songwriter, and from here on out, I will begin to chronicle my journey as a songwriter as well as my life in ministry.

Under the Music tab at the top of this blog page you will find the spot where I plan to put the songs that I write, and co-write with others up there as a way to chronicle this part of my journey in life as a follower of Christ and in ministry. Feel free to check out the page and leave feedback!

God bless!