Tag Archives: forgive

Celebrating Sin


This blog was originally written for and can be found at www.forhisglorycc.org.

Recently, a Girl Scout in San Francisco made the news for selling her cookies in front of a local marijuana dispensary. Many news media outlets are reporting on this girl’s “crafty and savvy” thought to display outside of the dispensary. Even big organizations, like Entrepreneur Magazine, are celebrating the fact that this girl made a wise business decision to set up shop in front of a place where people are known to eat a lot of snacks (see cancer.gov research here). What is amazing to me is that in the midst of noticing this girl’s “crafty” idea, society has completely overlooked the fact that this young, impressionable, 13-year-old girl (supposedly selling cookies for a good cause) is utilizing sin to succeed. My assumption here is that this is probably not the message that the Girl Scouts of America wants to portray. But with all of the positive media coverage building up her intelligence and her success, why wouldn’t every other Girl Scout or find their local dispensary and do the same thing? Now, I know that there are practical medical uses for marijuana, which wouldn’t be sinful in and of themselves, but the “munchies crowd” probably isn’t looking to cure a sickness when they step into that dispensary.

The Bible has a lot to say when it comes to celebrating the practice of sinful behavior, as well as using sin to succeed.

“It [speaking of love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth.” – 1 Cor 13:6

The Apostle Paul is encouraging the church at Corinth to use love as a way to build one another up, which ultimately brings glory to God. Unfortunately, what he saw were the people of God celebrating the sin of another, which further damages the person in sin, leads to destruction or division in the church, and worst of all, defames the name of Jesus. Truly loving another means pointing out the wrong they are practicing before it’s too late, and they do damage that is irreversible.

Another word against the practice of celebrating sin, as well as gaining from it, comes from Jesus himself. In Matthew 21, the Bible recounts a well-known event where Jesus cleansed the temple.

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”” – Matt 21:12–13

Within the temple, there was a market where business-like activity enabled local citizens to set up shop in order to serve the city and travelers passing through. This would be similar to our present day swap meet or street vendors in popular cities (like San Francisco). They would exchange currency and buy and sell goods. Unfortunately, many were doing it for sinful gain, and Jesus knew it. Instead of fairly exchanging foreign money for the temple currency so the travelers passing through could buy goods for themselves and purchase animals for sacrifice, these money changers were charging an unfair premium to exchange the money, and in turn, would pay off those that had appointed them to the position in the first place (think money laundering and embezzlement). Jesus labeled them a “den of robbers” to compare to well-known thieves and criminals of the day that practiced similar behavior.

While I am not ready to label this young Girl Scout one of a “den of robbers”, I am pointing out that our culture is perpetuating the (potential) sinful behavior associated with marijuana use and celebrating the financial gain that comes from it. To me, that sounds all too familiar to what Jesus reproached in Matthew’s account above. So how do we handle these situations when we face them?

  • Never diminish the potential that sin has to rear its ugly head in all circumstances.Some may look at this Girl Scout as a cute, young girl looking to sell a whole bunch of cookies for a great cause. But we cannot look past the fact that sin is too closely tied to her gain.
  • Examine areas of our lives where sin is profiting from our decisions. I understand that sin is all around us and almost every product we buy nowadays can be linked to some sort of greed or deceit, so don’t go crazy digging, but definitely be wise. Stay away from movies that purposefully distort the Word of God. Don’t watch TV shows that glorify sinful behavior. There are much better companies and causes that can use our money, and much more valuable things that can use our time.
  • Point people to Jesus when they get caught up in these practices. It’s easy for me to speak out against the Girl Scout for doing wrong, and the media for that matter, but it’s hard for me to show them why Jesus is the better answer. I find it challenging at times to explain in a loving and caring way that the wages of sin is death, though it is, and that only by accepting Jesus Christ will they ever find true joy and fulfillment in their efforts, but I must. We must be willing to take the time to lead conversations towards Jesus, who is ultimately the only one who can solve the sin issues in which this world is so deeply consumed.

Love God, love others, and stay as far away from the practice of sin as possible, because Jesus still cleanses and I don’t think we want to be collateral damage when it happens!


Tell It

A few months back, I was blessed to be selected to contribute 4 blogs to 60-Days-of-Second: Please join me on my journey through 4 readings from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Get the “Live Second” book in stores NOW.

Could you imagine if all you ever heard was Jesus?

There are over 250 million proclaimed Christians in the United States. I’m not going to debate that number (even though I could) but use it to show something quite shocking. Stats on the web show that in order for a topic to trend on Twitter, it needs approximately 30 tweets every 5 seconds. If approximately 500,000 people tweeted once per day something about Jesus, He would never leave number one. Jesus would be the most talked about (trending) topic on Twitter every single day. And that’s only 500,000. Could you imagine if 1 million people tweeted something about Jesus. What if 100 million people tweeted Jesus? Instead of Jesus, we get trending topics like #20ThingsIDontLike or #TheEndofTheWorld #122112. Those are recent topics that have trended on Twitter. Other days, it’s the name of the latest celebrity that got pregnant, the most recent famous couple to get a divorce, or both. For a while it was all politics. Food probably lands there from time to time. It is just ridiculous to think that anything other than Jesus would be number one.

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, your Savior if you call yourself a Christian. Through none other will you receive the eternal security that you so dearly hold on to.

So how about personally? What do you like to talk about? What trends in your life? As Christians, we are called to glorify God in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). Are we glorifying God when we spend so much time talking about the things that we do? I know I’m not.

Tell It - Wordle

Now let me take a breath for a second so I can say that we don’t need to run around saying Jesus with every breath (though that would be cool). God isn’t asking us to only wear clothes from Christian companies, read books by Christian authors, and watch corny Christian movies (ok, that’s a joke). But really, we just need to think about the things we do and what topics are at the top of our life.

So what do I do to make sure Jesus trends in my life?

I try to wake up every morning before my family gets up so I can pray for 10-15 minutes and then I read my Bible. Sometimes it is a specific devotional (like the Live Second book) while other times I just get into a chapter of the Bible and read a few verses.

I use social media as a tool to share about my faith in and life with Jesus. Not every post has Jesus in it, but I want to be transparent in communicating how I live my life so people see the real me and that Jesus is real in my life.

Professionally, I own my own business so I have a little more liberty than some may to share their faith. All my colleagues and business partners know I am a Christian because I tell them so. I’m the guy that doesn’t drink at business functions and doesn’t cuss with the other guys (and some girls) at networking events, not because I’m a holy roller but because I want to set myself apart from the world when it comes to those things. I have a platform to speak to others and do so with the utmost honesty and integrity so God willing, people see Jesus in me.

The Christian life is not easy. Glorifying God in all you do isn’t automatic. It takes full dependency on the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to let Jesus trend on Facebook, Twitter, at the dinner table, in the grocery store line, while on the job or at school. He is definitely worth the placement!

Thank you for joining me as I shared my story. Now it’s time to share yours.



A few months back, I was blessed to be selected to contribute 4 blogs to 60-Days-of-Second: Please join me on my journey through 4 readings from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Get the “Live Second” book in stores NOW.

The day after…

“But it is a simple story of what we have seen and heard that people want to hear most.” Live Second, page 78

I really wish I would have read that simple part on August 14, 2006 (the day after I got saved). Instead, I took matters into my own hands and began slashing everything that wasn’t “good” for me. You have to know me a bit to know how true this statement is but to explain it best, when I do something I do it with radical abandonment. Remember my gambling problem in my “Before” story? Yup, go big or go home. So I took that same tact when I became a Christian. No drinking, no friends that were bad influences, no this, and no that. I didn’t want to associate at all with the past. The problem was that I was still at the controls. I could only last so long steering that ship in the storm until I lost control again. I didn’t really have anyone discipling me and was left to what I thought I knew about being a Christian and what I was hearing in church week in and week out. Another part of the problem was that I was in church some Sundays hung over from the night before so I couldn’t hear half of what was being said. I was still blind, leading my own blind self!

That changed shortly before the following August when my wife and I decided to get baptized. God began working in my heart to show me that He needed to lead and I was just to follow. It was a tough concept but one that made a whole lot of sense. If I couldn’t do it before, I couldn’t do it now. I mean that’s why I accepted Christ in the first place.

We enrolled in a new believer’s class at our church and began to learn the foundational aspects of Christianity. I started to see how I could apply what I was learning to my life by letting God lead. We enrolled in another class a few months later to get deeper in the word and prayer. I started memorizing scripture. My radical behavior started being used to pursue Jesus. I was soaking things up like a sponge.

Fast forward to August of 2011 where while sitting in Haiti on an 8 day missions trip, I was presented with an opportunity to pray about planting a church with a pastor I had grown to love (the same pastor that was guest speaking the first day I went to church and got saved).

Fast forward to August of 2012 where  I entered a Biblical theology and pastoral training program with Mars Hill Church in Seattle as I began seeking to answer the calling I believe God has on my life. Just two weeks later my family would embark on a journey to help plant For His Glory Community Church in Claremont, California (www.forhisglorycc.org) where I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as executive pastor alongside two of the most Godly and amazing men I have ever met.


What have I learned (and am still learning) along the way?

  • Jesus loved us enough to die for us (Romans 5:8)
  • When God wants us, He will grab onto us and not let go (Daniel 4:35)
  • We must allow Jesus to be Lord over our whole life (Romans 10:9)
  • No matter where we are in life, God’s plans are greater and He will blow our minds (Isaiah 55:8)
  • Jesus loved us enough to die for us (Romans 5:8) YUP, I SAID THAT ONE TWICE

Join me tomorrow for “Tell It”, the next chapter in my story.


A few months back, I was blessed to be selected to contribute 4 blogs to 60-Days-of-Second: Please join me on my journey through 4 readings from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Get the “Live Second” book in stores NOW.

“We all have a ‘before’ story. For some of us, that story was before we met Jesus. For others, it was before we took our faith seriously. For others still, that story is the up-and-down journey of a long walk with God. But we all have a ‘before’ story.” Live Second, page 76

Before that Sunday morning in August of 2006, who was I?

Well my mom always said that when I was little I was a “good boy”. I don’t remember getting in a whole lot of trouble other than an occasional reprimand from my grade school teachers for talking too much in class. Oh ya, and I argued with my little brother but anyone that has siblings knows that fighting between them is pretty normal. When I got to junior high, it was much of the same.

High school so a lot of things change. I was still a pretty good kid, but I found myself hanging around a lot of the wrong people and honestly, I became one of them. I did a lot of stupid and shameful things. Things like drinking, experimenting with drugs, getting into lots of fights, messing around with girls and stealing. As I look back on high school, especially my junior and senior years, I thank God that He had His hand on me then though I did not accept Him. There were many instances where I could have died but didn’t. Two of my close friends sit in jail 17 years later for a crime I was almost a part of one summer night. Now I wasn’t all bad. I respected my mom (most of the time), didn’t hit or intentionally hurt women and would do an occasional good deed. But that in no way made up for the hurt I caused others.

I should have learned my lesson after high school but I didn’t. Instead the messes I played in simply changed. I did a lot of partying from 18-28. I was married at 22 to the love of my life and together we had our first child the following year. My little baby girl was such a blessing but I didn’t take the time to appreciate her as much as I should have. Instead of enjoying my wife I chose to complain about every little thing she did. She spent too much, complained too much, didn’t do this, and didn’t do that. I was so busy pointing all my fingers at her that I had none left to point in the mirror. And even if I had a free finger, I wouldn’t have pointed it there anyway. There were times when I flirted with and garnered the attention of other girls. I visited strip clubs, sometimes with my wife and sometimes without which only fueled the fire more. When it came to money, I was making way too much of it and spending even more. Cars, clothes and casinos were at the top of my interest list where my wife and child should have been.


There must have been someone in my life pointing back in the right direction, RIGHT? Well not really. You see, from the outside looking in I had it all together. Before that day in August of 2006, I wore a great game face. My friends and family saw a 28 year old man with a beautiful wife, a healthy young girl, a successful and lucrative career, a nice house, multiple cars and everything else necessary to live the “American dream”. My friend Dean tried many times to tell me I needed to go to church and drop all my bad habits but I definitely wasn’t listening. I thought to myself, “What could God give me that I didn’t already have?” and “I don’t want to quit having all the fun I am”.

But the week leading up to that day revealed the true weight that was on my shoulders. It was unbearable and I had nowhere to turn. I was destroying my marriage and at risk of becoming a weekend father. I was at risk of losing the two most important people in my life. It was then that I began to realize there had to be something more. There had to be someone who could remove the weight and show me the true sense of joy I sought everywhere but never found.

Join me tomorrow for “The Moment”, the next chapter in my story.


It’s The End of the World As I Know It

With all this talk of the world ending today I just couldn’t help but comment.

REM said:

“It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”

I wanted to reflect on that idea biblically so here some of my thoughts about the end of the world as I know it.

First, I already experienced the end of the world, well more like my world. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that the day I became a Christian, the old nature inside me died and a new creation was birthed. All my old desires, thoughts, and frankly my whole world was dead. Looking forward, everything was new. So on August 13, 2006 I experienced the end of my world at that time. But it doesn’t stop there (and didn’t for me). The Bible continues to be clear on the topic of “death to self”. It can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:31, Galatians 2:20, Luke 9:23-24 and many other places. Some passages refer to the death we experience upon acceptance of Christ while others speak of a daily event. But can you really die every day? Well kind of.


Every day of my life is a new day. Every day I wake up and ask God to forgive the things I did the previous. Every day I ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit to renew me. This is my process of Christian growth (santification). The junk inside me must die every day. I must allow the old world of mine to end EVERY SINGLE DAY. My world ends over and over again, but how about you?

Were you afraid for 12.21.12? Do you fear death? You don’t have to. Jesus Christ conquered death so those that accepted Him would not have to fear it. Instead, Christians embrace the reality that when we leave this world, we will immediately be with Him. Maybe you weren’t worried about today because you were sure of your place in heaven but you struggle with getting rid of the daily junk, truly letting your old nature die.

Let me leave you with these words of encouragement:

  • Jesus died for you knowing that you weren’t perfect nor would you ever be.
  • From God, by Jesus and through the Holy Spirit you don’t have to live like you always have. You can overcome your world!
  • Ask for prayer, help, and support and you’ll be surprised at how refreshing the end of your world can really be!

Past, Present and Future

Everybody sins and there is no getting around it. And if that’s not bad enough, we are told that because we sin, we have to pay the penalty of death. We are totally depraved and cannot help ourselves. Thankfully God sent Jesus down to pay the penalty for those that will be saved. In one of the most incomprehensible acts the world has ever seen, our sins our erased.

But it doesn’t stop there!!!!

The more I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the less I will sin (hopefully). But I will still sin and the wages of those sins is still death. Wonderfully, Jesus’ death on the cross paid for ALL my sins (not just the past).


Today in church my pastor shared a bit on the security of our salvation. We were studying 1 Corinthians and in chapter 1, verses 7-8 the apostle Paul says Jesus will sustain us to the end. It is an awesome promise and stems from the perfect payment Jesus gave on the cross.  There are plenty of other verses in the Bible which confirm our eternal security in Jesus. Check out Colossians 1:21-23, 2 Timothy 2:11-12 and Philippians 1:6 to name a few. 

There was nothing that I did to earn my salvation.

There is nothing I can do to ever lose my salvation.

I love knowing that I am eternally secure in Jesus because while I want to live in such a way that obeys Jesus’ commands and glorifies God, I am bound to have days that just aren’t so good.

You can be confident in that too!

It Has Been Redeemed

At the age of 6, my parents divorced and I began visiting my dad on weekends and extended holidays. Though I didn’t see him as much as a child should see his father, I have fond memories of spending time together. Memories of being in the desert for his birthday (and many other times) riding motorcycles, burning Christmas trees and just laughing like crazy. Other memories include vacationing to the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. We had a great time. 

In the middle of high school, I moved in with my dad wanting to know more about him and experience life with him every day. I have fond memories then too. He worked with me to get my driver’s license and taught me to drive a boat as we were out in the ocean fishing. 

But as the years passed and I started becoming an adult, the fond memories faded as the negative ones came front and center. I began to feel the hurt from years passed and they were strong. In 2001, I severed all ties with my dad and it stood that way for almost 10 years. They were years of complete silence on my end. I had hardened my heart so much that when he would call to talk, I would ignore all attempts. Thankfully, God began to lay on my heart the need to reconcile with my dad. God said that not only did I need to forgive for what I was angry for, but I had to ask for forgiveness for my wrong doing as well. 

I thank God every single day for burdening my heart for that. I’ll never forget the day I walked into BJ’s Restaurant in Temecula, nervous as I had ever been in my life. I wasn’t expecting much, but when I saw my dad and the emotion on his face I knew that the restoration process had already begun. As we talked, we shared with each other that during the time apart we had both come to salvation in Jesus Christ. It was amazing.

It’s been about a year and a half since that day at BJ’s and our relationship is the best it has been in the 34 years I have been alive. I see things in my dad I never saw before. I remember all the great times we had from when I was just a little boy. If I died today, I know that God has already redeemed every single minute we were apart. 

I am not good about sending cards and didn’t send my dad one for Father’s Day. Instead I choose to write this blog so everyone reading it would know what God did for me and my dad. And I write this as a gift to my dad so he could hear maybe for the first time ever how grateful I really am. For what you say? Here are a few reasons:

  • For running up and down Walnut Street as I learned to ride my first bike without training wheels.
  • For giving me opportunities to enjoy vacations I may never be able to provide for my kids
  • For instilling in me a strong work ethic and a sense of pride in all I do
  • For teaching me to fix things that are broken and improve things that need it
  • For being the strongest dad a little kid could ever know
  • For accepting every fault I ever had and still loving me the same
  • For reaching out to help when my pride tried to stand in the way
  • For giving me an excuse for being loud, for being outspoken and for getting into a new hobby every other week 🙂
  • For waiting patiently when I wouldn’t give in
  • For accepting Jesus Christ into your life so we will spend eternity together in heaven
  • For loving me