Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry who?

I'm in need of a study break, so I'll pop on and write a blog that nobody probably reads anymore! I heard on the radio the other day that a child was sent to the school office for saying a naughty word in class. Turns out the kid just said "merry christmas". Apparently Christmas has become to offensive to say in a society that trys to be tolerant of everyone's beliefs.
I find it a little sad that we see this happening. First, I guess I find it funny that most everybody, Christian or not, celebrates the holiday. Yet, there are so many who refuse to acknowledge Christ. He is the true reason for the season. I get convicted reading the accounts of Acts of the sacrifices the disciples made to preach the Good News that Jesus himself commanded them to. These men were unashamed to speak the name of Christ to all, regardless of the consequences, and make no mistake, the stakes were high. Most paid the ultimate price for their allegiance. Why would they do this? I think a big part is love. These guys were able to experience the love of Christ in could they not share it?
It is true that most of us will never have to pay such a price for our allegiance to Christ. Maybe it will manifest as a sideways look from a classmate/coworker or some other source or simple ridicule. Perhaps others will be called to go to the dark places of the world and face more severe persecution. It is my prayer that this Christmas and into the new year that I would have the conviction to proclaim my faith, both in words when necessary, and perhaps more importantly in action, just as the first disciples did. Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Second year of medical school has started and I find myself already incredibly seems like far too much information to synthesize in such a short time. I find myself missing the people and places I enjoyed throughout the summer. It is easy for me to get down when I'm down here at school. I still do believe that my career as physician will one day make all of this worth it, but right now it's hard to see it.

I took a study break and listened to Kutless's song "Everything I need". It really reasonated with me. I have found myself buried in worry over how I will do on this test and how I will prepare for boards, etc. etc. It's funny how much "stuff" in our lives we feel we need.

I don't feel like a materialistic person...but I sure do have a lot of stuff. I wouldn't say I overvalue it, and I'm not saying it is a bad thing to have stuff for yourself. With me I guess I'm thinking more about my desire for success. I need to do so well on everything to feel satisfied.

There's a problem with this kind of thinking....I'm not perfect. I will always fall short of perfection. Success is not all I need.

The song says that Jesus is all we need. This is so true. I am thankful for the fact that I know Him and can rest easy in the fact that he will be by my side no matter the circumstance. I pray that as medical school gets busier, I find time each week to glorify the Savior of the universe. May I be reminded daily, that Christ is all I really need.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Settling Nature of being Unsettled

So I've got this thing I do...I'm sure everyone struggles with it, but it's something that I've recently thought a lot about. It centers all around control. Control of my circumstances and how my life turns out. After all, good things happen to those who work hard in America right?

Several things have led me to think more and more about this. One, I've been reading a couple books lately called Crazy Love by Frances Chan and Jesus wants to save Christians by Rob Bell. Both books have been making me take a hard look at what a committed life to Christ looks like. Both seem to hit on the trust concept and how a relationship with God that is fully commitant is one in which all of needs are brought to God with the trust that he will come through. Sounds easy on the surface right? It is hard for me though, hard to give when I have little, hard to not worry about what's going on in my life, hard to not relinquish control.

One of the major struggles lately has been with med school and residency. Worrying that getting grade "X" on test "x" will lead to me not getting a residency spot, etc. I've felt an immense burden lately that I must perform at a high level at all times in order to be successful. My fiancee Taya and I have also been worrying about her finding a job close to where I'll be for clinicals. With the cuts SD has been making to its education programs, it has made the process of finding her a job more stressful.

Both of these issues seem important but there's a problem with how I've been (and I'd dare to say most people view these things) viewing these challenges. See all the times I used "I" in the previous paragraph. In the society we live in it has become far too easy to live a life with God's provision being the "back up plan". If we get in over our heads, then God, help us. Until then, we've got it.

Ever had it that when you are struggling with something, you start reading the Bible and keep finding verses that speak to that particular issue you are struggling with? Phillipians 4:6 and Romans 8:28 have both been speaking to me this week. "Do not worry about anything" is how the Phillipians verse starts, "instead pray about everything". Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God".

It sounds cliche but everything will work out. This doesn't mean that we can't petition for God to help us with a particular goal of ours, but it ultimately means it will be his will. A friend in Bible study laid it out well. In Gasthemane (spelling?!) Jesus himself asked for a way out of the suffering he was about to endure, but he also added, "your will, not mine, Father".

In the hustle and bustle of life it is far too easy to start worrying about seemingly insignificant things when eternity is considered in the equation. God will place me where I need to be in regards to residency...Taya will get a quality job where God wants her. We are still called in my opinion to work hard for these things (using the gifts God has given us), but in the end of the day it is about trusting that God will work everything out for "the gain of those who love Him".

To God be the glory for whatever this life throws our way....we've got a great reward waiting us in heaven!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Continuing to read through Frances Chan's book, Crazy Love in the small group that I am helping to lead. Read a chapter about what a lukewarm person looks like. Kind of a heavy hitter, as many of the things listed were things I can struggle with on a daily basis.

Jesus tells us so much in the Gospels about how we are to live. He sets the standards high...real high. I think it is so easy to pull the "well, he was exaggerating for effect" or "he was speaking specifically to people back then, it doesn't apply for us" especially when we get to parts of His teaching which are hard to follow.

The question I thought of do we know when we are being lukewarm. Despite the fact that I have lukewarm tendencies (I think we all do), I feel confident in my relationship with Christ and that I'll be with Him one day in heaven. The key in my opinion lies within a verse from Corinthians..."Examine yourselves....test yourself repeatedly". I think deep down we really know where we are falling short and where we are flying high.

I think of it this way. Some days before class I really struggle with getting up early and sleep in later than I should. This results in some bed head. While I can feel it, I don't bother looking in the mirror and fixing it, I just throw on a hat (which will stay on my head the whole day of class) and go out the door. Clearly, I know that there is some issues with my hair, yet I don't choose to look in the mirror to see how I can fix it...I go for the quick coverup (which doesn't really change anything"....see where I'm going with this?

Often times I think my spiritual life resembles this. I know that there are areas in my walk that are not up to par. Yet, I don't always examine myself to see where these areas are. So many excuses can crop up, but let's be honest a lot of times I and I think we as people don't look, because we don't want to accept what we see on the other side of the mirror. We want a quick fix (hat), not the painful process of dying to ourselves...seperating ourselves from the cancer that is sin. It's about saying..."Hey God, there's this sin in my life that I can't deal with....give me Jesus". That's the whole crux to this matter...we can examine ourselves and see our shortcomings, but we are utterly and completely unable to fix our own "bedhead". I believe through careful self examination we can reveal the areas of our lives that we've tried to hide. Christ died for the wholeness of our sins, but I believe that we need to make a conscious effort to acknowledge them and bring them to him. Kind of like Paul said in Romans "Shall I sin more to get more of God?" We need to take off our "hat" that we try to hide behind.

Let's try to live our lives not lukewarm, but burning hot for Christ. While there will be times we don't measure up, may we continually be examining ourselves (not others!) to look for areas to bring glory to God.

PS I love Phillippians 4

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


"How deep the Father's love for vast beyond all measure"

As I take a study break to listen to Owl City's take on this classic song...I have to stop to think about what it's really saying.

God's love is such a puzzling thing isn't it? It literally vast beyond all measure. I mean think of it....think of someone you love with all your heart...your parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, and magnify that to an extent you can't even think of. Yup, that's right...we can't even comprehend how much God loves us. In a society where if we don't know something, we can just google it (or wikipedia) until we get the's disconcerting to have something we can't figure out. He loves us so stinking much and while we can't understand how much fully we are given a picture of it in Scripture.

God's clue to us as to how much He loves us is given in Jesus. Christ came to be one of us. He lived as a man, experiencing all that it meant to be human. Think for a moment how humbling that had to be for God. Then He really steps up his illustration by allowing Jesus's wounds "to pay our ransom". Now, I'm not a parent, but I have seen my parents in action and others as well...the love between parent and child is one unlike I think I've seen elsewhere in our world. It's something impressive, something selfless...the kind of "I'll do anything to make sure you are ok" type of love.

Hard to imagine such a love turning over a child to be condemned and die a terrible death for guilty people. Everyonce in a while you hear about a parent allowing a child to pay for their crimes, but it's almost impossible to imagine a parent allowing a child to die for something they didn't do. Yet....this is exactly what God did.

"it was our sins that held him there" To top all of this off...Jesus did this very well knowing that the people He was dying for wouldn't be quick to change their acts. How many times on a given day do I still live like I did before Christ changed me? Sin is like running over a skunk at times. Hear me know when you run over a skunk, you go to the car wash and are clean of it...yet sometimes it still takes awhile to get that stench out of it.

I believe fully that God completely wipes our slates clean when we ask him to, but the fact is that our stubborn sinful nature makes sure that that "stench" stays around. I'm so thankful that this vast love that God has for us, covers us in spite of this.

Finally, let me close by expanding this one step farther. God's love is so vast that He sends his son to die for those who accept Him. But...his love is also vast enough that He loves those who reject Him. God doesn't make junk in my opinion. That is, that He loves all that He creates regardless of their feelings towards Him.

"I will boast in Jesus Christ" Let's aim to honor God's love for us by making a statement in the way we carry ourselves. May we boast in what Jesus has done for us by the way we live our lives, the way we interact with others, and most of all by the way we interact with a God whose love for us runs deep....real deep.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Been another long, solid, good chunk of time since a blog entry. I love writing down thoughts but am sorry to say med school has taken over my life. I eat, breathe, and sleep science. Good news is I'm's not easy but I'm doing well. There are still days I wonder if this is indeed where God wants me. I have such a desire to go into ministry someday...I'm interested to see how this will all play out someday.

Other big news is that I'm engaged! Yup, pretty excited about it. I thank God for the wonderful opportunity he has given me to marry someone who not only cares about me but cares about Him and the people he has created. I'm looking forward to having a partner on the many adventures that God will take us on.

I also started to help lead a Bible Study down here in the Verm. (Vermillion, SD for the non-SDakotans). It is a book by Francis Chan called Crazy Love. It is a book that challenges us to wake up out of the status quo that is so easy to fall into as Christians.

The first chapter, entitled "Don't Pray" was very challenging. A key chapter of the Bible that it focused on was Isaiah 6. This is a passage in which Isaiah finds himself in the presence of the holy God. I love picturing the mighty seraphin flying around. Six winged creatures sound pretty BA. These creatures simply exist to glorify God. "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty!" Isaiah is speechless before the throne.

The point Chan brings up and that I find a major challenge for me and others today is that we don't have that Isaiah like awe and wonder before the throne. Think about it, everytime we pray we are stepping into the throne room of God. Yet, if anyone is like me, how often do we have that attitude of total respect and awe for who we are talking to. Now, I'm not saying that every conversation with God needs to be face down and full of "thee" and "thou"'s, but I do think, as Chan points out, we need to keep in mind who we are talking to. It's all about fearing God (no, not the afraid of the dark type fear, but rather a respect for who He is).

I think that once we start doing this, breaking out of the status quo will be easier. God is amazing, no doubt about it. When we realize the magnificience of the person on the other end of our prayers, we will be filled with awe. Pretty "awe"some huh?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Really?? Me??!

Survived the torturathon of tests that was November. Did well, giving me yet another thing to be thankful over the Thanksgiving holiday. I had a good one with friends and family. The end of Thanksgiving is always an exciting time as we start decorating for Christmas at my house. By far my favorite holiday of the year. I love the anticipation of Christmas and all the traditions that go along with it, the songs, presents, movies, etc.

I was thinking about the real Christmas, ya know the one with the baby Jesus. It's such a powerful story of God's love for us. Arguably the most interesting part of the story occurs near the beginning. I find Mary's story to be such an interesting one. She was the one God chose to be the human mother of His son. Mary, a 14 year old virgin pledged to marry a noble man, Joseph. An angel explains to Mary, "for you have found favor with God". Wait...did Mary earn this honor? I don't think that's what this means.

Think about this really such a blessing for Mary? Not only will she be thought of as an adulterer and possibly shunned by her family and friends. Not to mention embarrassing her husband to be, Joseph. She will then have to deal with the task of raising a young boy who runs off to the temple to teach scholars, who has to run from a King that wants her son dead, will have to watch her son grow into a man whose teachings will infuriate the religious leaders. She will be forced to watch her son die a horrible, humiliating death. Sounds like quite the blessing huh?

A pastor brought up the point that the Greek in the text actually means that God bestowed his grace on Mary. Basically, when he chose Mary, he didn't leave her high and dry...he gave her the grace she'd need to complete this task.

Mary was an ordinary person....I am an ordinary person, and I'm guessing any readers of this blog are as well. What does this story mean for us?? God can choose any of us at any time to do His work. We must keep our eyes and hearts open for His calling and be willing to accept the gift of His grace to complete the task he lays before us.

Check out Luke 1-2 to read into Mary's story...until next time.