Lock, Stock, and Barrel










“The point is simply this: Biblical Christianity knows nothing about compartmentalized living. There are to be no areas of the life where the Lord is not allowed to invade and take charge. In other words, there are to be no spiritual “junk closets” or areas we reserve for ourselves. We are to be His lock, stock, and barrel.”

From “Qualification for the Evaluation of Elders and Deacons,” J. Hampton Keathley III

One Warrior….Bringing Us All Back

My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. – Isaiah 53:2

He was humble and lowly in appearance. Yet, this was the King.  Walking plainly, openly among His people.  He was the Warrior showing us the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  And his battle was waged and won on a cross.  His infinite glory veiled.  But when he returns, when he Rides Again…there will be no mistaking his appearance as a warrior.  As the King of Kings to whom every knee shall bow.

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (‭Revelation‬ ‭19‬:‭11-16‬ NLT)

I am grateful for the ONE…the Warrior Jesus Christ who is bringing us all back….

Out of every one hundred men,
ten shouldn’t even be there,
eighty are just targets,
nine are the real fighters,
and we are lucky to have them,
for they make the battle.
Ah, but the one,
one is a warrior,
and he will bring the others back.

Heraclitus (Circa 500 B.C.)

Gifts from God

And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. ~Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬


God created work in the very beginning and said it is good! Then the fall of humanity brought a cursing of the ground by God and a reality that humans would scratch a living from it and by the sweat of their brow have food to eat. Still, God says eating and drinking and enjoying the fruits of our labor are gifts from Him.

As we celebrate Labor Day in the USofA, I pray that we will connect what we have from our work as being gifts from God. We do work hard and God does provide. Thank you for your great gifts God and the ability to work that you gave us.

Now and Not Yet Forever

Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭11‬:‭18‬ NLT)

Ever notice how some of the people with the least amount of character seem to just succeed and get further and further ahead in life….more promotions, prestigious positions, awards, money, possessions, etc. It happens all the time and can be quite frustrating to those who strive to live with relational integrity, honor, and respect. The temptation is ever present to bend our ethics just a little in order to get ahead and catch pace with the world. That’s where verse a like Proverbs 11:18 are helpful.

While the ways of world may outpace the ways of righteousness in many categories in this life…they leave the accounts empty for the life to come. Right living in view of the now can feel like a sacrifice. Right living in view of the not yet can feel like a steal. The return on investment of a life surrendered to Christ is so ridiculously huge it cannot be fully quantified.

Life is long, and hard, and filled with many trials….and yet, it’s but a breath, a blink of the eye in comparison to eternity. The way of the now seems right…

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭12‬ NLT)

Live for the not yet and the reward…will last forever!

Man of Understanding & Knowledge

Proverbs 28:2 says…

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. (‭ESV)

The world is a land of transgression with many rulers. Jesus is the man of understanding and knowledge who’s stability will long continue.

It amazes me that Jesus loved the transgressing world so much that he gave up everything in pursuit of us. Living and dying as one of us. Defeating the grave and ascending as none of us. He’s the King of Kings, ruler over everything seen and unseen, and His stability will long continue.

When life is a roller coaster…His stability can hold your heart and hope secure.

What is a man of God?

A man or woman of God is someone who above all understands their place in the universe. A man or woman of God is just that…human. They are not God and know it. Knowing it, they do not try to ignore God or act as if he does not exist. Men and women of God choose to seek God above all else and pursue a constant relationship with God who is the sustainer and source of all life. They see their connection to their Creator as more important than food or water or even air. The very breath of life first entered humanity by the Spirit of God Himself and only He will sustain in the land of the living.

A man or woman of God is someone who loves the Lord with all their heart, all their soul, all their strength, and all their mind. They seek to live before an audience of One. Pleasing God is their desire and what fuels their fire. They burn with a passion deep within for His Name and Renown. They want their life to count and make a difference for the Kingdom of God. Yet they understand that the weapons we war with are not of this earth and that the greatest battles take place in realm that our facilities cannot fully grasp. Thus, a man or woman of God leans into the Father for power and purpose. They do not strive on their own accord for it is like a shadow boxer beating the air. A man or woman of God fixes their gaze upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith, and seeks to understand where God is at work in their midst and how He would have them join Him. There is a deep trust in the man or woman of God that as they walk with Jesus, their life will be filled with purpose and meaning and indeed, advance the Kingdom as God sees fit.

As an outflow of their relationship with their Creator, a man or woman of God seeks to love others as themselves. At times, they love others because they are commanded to, even when it’s hard, choosing to act out of their faith rather than their feelings. Often they love others because they find deep joy in serving and loving others just as they have experienced Jesus loving and serving them. The man or woman of God experiences God as they love others; their hearts desire is to love others well. And while they may not always get it right, they press on to love and serve another day.

A man or woman of God see the beauty of God’s grace and embraces it daily. For as much as the man or woman of God desires perfection in Christ, they understand it is not to be completely realized on this side of Heaven. Only when they stand in the presence of their Savior King, the King of Kings will they truly be made perfect in Christ. And it is to that end that they strive; step-by-step, day-by-day men and women of God move ever closer to that incredible day when they will cross the finish line of life and be enveloped in the arms of their greatest champion. The one they walked with, talked with, and trained with. The one they listened to, learned from, and leaned on. The one they watched, followed, and obeyed. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the God of all creation will greet them at the line and welcome them Home.

Having fought the good fight, and finished the race marked out the man or woman of God will hear the sweetest words one could ever hear, words that will reverberate in their mind and heart for all of eternity. Words that the man and woman of God know they are completely unworthy of hearing if it were not for the grace of God in their life (the love of a Father, the obedience of a Son, and the encouragement of the Spirit). And because they know they are unfit to hear the words on their own, they experience God’s love in the most profound way when God looks at His son or daughter with complete joy on His Face and proclaims…

Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master.

It’s not about perfection. It’s not about all you can ‘do’ for Him or even what you bring to the table. It’s not about you. It’s about God. It’s about this Trinity God who created everything that exists. It’s about His Story that He’s telling…day after day after day, ever since He created the first day. Being a man or woman of God is about letting Him make your life beautiful in His Story.

Cared For

What does it look like to care? To care about someone else? To care about a stranger? To care about the neighbor next door? To care about people outside our circle of friends and family? Is it even possible to show a complete stranger that you care about them? My personal experience suggests that it is possible.

A few months ago I was getting ready to renovate our basement bathroom. After much deliberation we went to our local big box hardware store to purchase some supplies.  The largest undertaking was going to be the shower.  When I arrived in the floor adhesive aisle I was overwhelmed.  Before me were dozens and dozens of options.  I went into a glazed stare while thinking to myself, “I wish I knew someone I could ask about this.”

Just then a gentleman to my left, who must have noticed the deer in headlights look on my face, introduced himself and asked if he could help. This man was not a store employee.  He was a professional contractor who specialized in tiling. Though he was there with his son on a day off, this man spent twenty minutes talking with my wife and I about our bathroom renovations.  He walked us through several aisles to show us different materials and tools required for the various steps.  He shared tips and and gave advice specific to our job.  It was an incredible experience.

When he shared his final thought he wished us well and walked off with his son to check out.  Moments later my wife said, “Did you get his card?”  I hadn’t.  I actually had to run to the front of the store in order to catch up with the guy.

Imagine that.  A contractor who didn’t offer his card.  He wasn’t looking for anything in return.  He wasn’t looking for a job.  He didn’t want to be networked.  He was simply sharing his expertise with someone who looked like they could use some help.  Just giving his secrets away freely with no strings attached.  Priceless advice, free of charge.

Is it possible to show a complete stranger that you care about them? As a stranger myself, I attest that it is possible to feel cared for by someone you don’t know.  I was cared for by a complete stranger at a big box hardware store for twenty minutes

So how did I feel cared for…

  1. I was noticed
  2. I was engaged
  3. I was given two priceless gifts, time & wisdom
  4. I was offered further relationship (told to call anytime)

Think about that list.  Four levels of caring; each slightly more involved than the next.  Having your eyes open to those around you (1).  Taking the initiative to get involved with someone around you (2).  Open handedness towards the other person in gift or service (3).  Invitation of relationship beyond your initial encounter (4).

I find this contractors example challenging in my life.  Do I notice those around me in a store or am I too focused on my own shopping list to acknowledge their existence?  When I see needs what keeps me from engaging?  Is my agenda for the day too packed.  Do I leave no room for strangers?  Am I as generous with my time and wisdom as this man was to me?  Am I willing to offer more of my time to a stranger?  What if they begin calling me every day?  What if I actually don’t like them?  What if they’re crazy?  What if? What if?  What if?

Amidst all these questions Jesus words echo clearly…

And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“And who is my neighbor?” you might ask…well it just so happens that Jesus answered that very question with a story.  My personal thoughts on Jesus story are here.  But thoughts are just thoughts until we act on them.

Here’s to a an incredible neighbor I met at a hardware.  Cheers to you and your example.

Thank you!



This is the work of a friend from grad school.  One line continues to stir in my mind.

“If you don’t have a Passion Worth Dying For,
you have Nothing Worth Living For.”


I do have a passion worth dying for. Jesus Christ is worth dying for and living for. In fact, as I die to self more each day, I find I’m living more. That’s because my life is found in him. Everyone’s life is found in Christ. The more we let go of our selfish desires and personal focus the more His passions and desires can become ours. I say can because the release of our own desires does not mean the embrace of God’s. To grow in God’s passion and desires we must grow in our own passion and desire for God.
As we seek His face and not his hand. We live for His presence, His Glory, His Fame, His Name. When we grow in our passion for Him we will spend more time with Him. Spend more time with Him and it’s hard not to want to be like Him. We begin to want to live like Him, live for Him. And it is then, as we spend time with Jesus and want to be like Him and want to live for Him that we find we have a Passion Worth Dying For…and a Life Worth Living.

Thank you Jaeson Ma for your Passion!


A couple weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a 3 minute mp3 of Francis Chan speaking on 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”  I was instantly challenged by this short clip and committed to listening to it every day for 30 days as a way of meditating on this one verse.  The audio clip is below as well as an excerpt from an article by Chan conveying the same thoughts.

Audio File

As Christians in America, we often complain about how antagonistic people are toward Christ. Personally, I’m not sure that Americans are really rejecting Christ. Maybe they just haven’t seen Him.

Try to be COMPLETELY honest with yourself right now. Is the following true of you?

You passionately love Jesus, but you don’t really want to be like Him. You admire His humility, but you don’t want to be THAT humble. You think it’s beautiful that He washed the feet of the disciples, but that’s not exactly the direction your life is headed. You’re thankful He was spit upon and abused, but you would never let that happen to you. You praise Him for loving you enough to suffer during His whole time on earth, but you’re going to do everything within your power to make sure you enjoy your time down here.

In short: You think He’s a great Savior, but not a great role model.

Full Article

Cultural reality check: Sara Bareilles

This post was written by a friend of mine from grad school, Jason Coker at Pastoralia.org.  The essence of the song that Coker speaks to and the issues it hits on reveals the need for a missional approach of ministering within our society. I appreciate Coker’s words and have included his post in full.  What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment.

Cultural reality check: Sara Bareilles

by Jason Coker at Pastoralia.org

The churches I attended growing up regularly engaged with pop culture  – in a condemning way. Pastors often read rock-and-roll lyrics from the pulpit as evidence of the  “satanic” influence of the world.  Back then we still thought we were in charge.

As an adult I’ve enjoyed engaging with culture from the perspective of a missionary. That is, borrowing from the anthropologist, I enjoy trying to understanding this strange culture into which I’ve been called. When I quote here from pop songs, films, and literature, that is the perspective I tend to represent. Most of you know this already, but one thing is painfully obvious:

We’re no longer in charge (and it’s a good thing, too).

Case in point: Sarah Bareilles’ recent song King of Anything. Using thinly veiled evangelical catch-words and images, the lyrics portray the response of a woman who is triumphantly bitter about being evangelized. That kind of expression simply wouldn’t be tolerated in Christendom.

If you haven’t heard it already, I’ve embedded the lyrics and video below. Listen for yourself. Then, post your thoughts. What can we learn from Sarah’s song? How should we respond?

Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table
While I look outside
So many things I’d say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by

You’ve got opinions, man
We’re all entitled to ‘em, but I never asked
So let me thank you for your time, and try not to waste anymore of mine
And get out of here fast

I hate to break it to you babe, but I’m not drowning
There’s no one here to save

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

You sound so innocent, all full of good intent
Swear you know best
But you expect me to jump up on board with you
And ride off into your delusional sunset

I’m not the one who’s lost with no direction
But you’ll never see

You’re so busy making maps with my name on them in all caps

You got the talking down, just not the listening

And who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy
While I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Let me hold your crown, babe

Return top

What is jAy2 News

Jay: a nickname for Jason
A2: a nickname for Ann Arbor
Together my news.
Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Myspace button Linkedin button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Youtube button