Dead Things

The following is my article that was published today in The News Tribune (Tacoma). It is actually an article I initially wrote in 2013 (revised a little bit now) that still holds true for today. To God be the glory!


In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee,
[Luke 24:5-6]

I have always been captivated by those words; “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” It is because this is the way of things in the world and it saddens me. I am not passing judgment on others because, if we are honest with ourselves, then we have to admit that we are included in this question: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” It’s the way of sin; looking for something that you feel will give you life when all the while we are looking among the dead where there is no life. Sin deceives us into thinking we can find life among dead things, but if we open our eyes we will realize that this is like looking for the living in the midst of a cold, dark, tomb.

In the case of the women in the text above, they were looking for a dead body, but deep down inside they were looking for something/someone who was alive (they just didn’t know exactly what or who they were looking for). The question by the angel is meant to reorient their thinking to look for Jesus elsewhere and to remind them that what Jesus said he would do, he did: Rise from the dead. The living Jesus is not found in a tomb. Jesus is alive!

I think about this and I wonder if this is more of a commentary on our own lives. Whether we admit it or not, we are looking for the living among dead things. In the act of sinning we are looking for that which makes us feel alive, happy, satisfied and fulfilled. And when we do not find what we are looking for or when the good feelings fade, we keep on sinning; keep on looking; and keep on finding “dead things”. But in Jesus there is life. In Jesus there is joy. In Jesus there is a future. In Jesus there is hope.

In what “dead things” are you looking for life?
In what “dead things” are you looking for happiness?
In what “dead things” are you looking for fulfillment?

Look to Jesus and see your life unfold. Seek him in scripture. Seek him in prayer. Seek him in worship. Seek him with your whole life. But as you seek know that we seek not because Jesus is hiding, but we seek him as a way of turning away from the “dead things” of this world that can only promise death. Seek Jesus not as a destination in this life, but as a journey through this wasteland of death. Seek Jesus as a way of life with the hope of everlasting life waiting for you on the other side of death. Seek the Living. Seek your Hope. Jesus Is Risen! He has Risen Indeed! Alleluia and Amen!

Yes, Jesus Died For You, O Sinner

The following is my article that was published in The News Tribune (Tacoma) yesterday (Easter Sunday). To God be the glory!


He has RISEN! He has RISEN indeed! ALLELUIA!

Yes, Jesus has risen, and he reigns on high with the Father. Jesus, though crucified, rose and defeated death and thus gave all believers the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. And Jesus did this because you needed to be reconciled to the Father.

From the prophet Isaiah, the 53rd chapter…
Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—everyone—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

This prophecy from Isaiah, written about 700 years before Jesus, foretells Jesus’ death and resurrection for sinners. Jesus was pierced. Jesus was crushed. Jesus died as God laid upon him the iniquity of us all. Yes, you are a sinner. Like sheep, you have and continue to go astray. Like sheep, when given the chance, you turn to your own way. And, like sheep, you are defenseless against the wolf – Satan.

You may think you are fine. You may think you are faithful. You may even think that at the very least you are not as bad as some other people out there. This Easter thing is just a tradition you do that includes the pastor preaching the same ole message about Jesus rising from the grave. But let me tell you something – there is much more to Easter than that. In fact, you are worse than you think. I love the quote from one of my favorite pastor/theologians – Charles Spurgeon – that says, “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be.”

Peter thought he was a faithful follower of Jesus and would even die for him. But of course, Jesus knew better. From Mark 14:27-31…
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

The fact was, Peter was not faithful. He denied Jesus three times as Jesus said. And neither are you faithful. You deny/sin at least three times before the rooster crows. Yes, you. You are a sinner, but praise be to God, that Jesus is faithful and that YES, he even died and rose for you. No amount of sin will ever drive Jesus away from you. And so, say it with me: Jesus is RISEN! He has RISEN indeed — for me. ALLELUIA and Amen!

Alleluia and Amen!

Weeping is done,
The stone has been rolled away,
just look in and see.
Death is no more,
Dry bones now have Life,
Rise up and praise Him.
Receive the Good News,
and shout your praises,
for sorrow has been turned to joy.
Turn from this old life,
confessing your sins,
Forgiveness is yours today.
Jesus is Risen!
He has risen indeed!
Alleluia! Alleluia! and Amen!

May You Know

May you know the peace of God raining down on you –
soaking every part of your being and causing you to drip with compassion and kindness.

May you know the love of God embracing you –
squeezing out every insecurity that weighs you down to which your heart clings.

May you know the grace of God coursing through you –
bringing healing to your sin-stained soul through the forgiveness of your sins.

May you know the power of God guarding you against every attack of the evil one –
sheltering you in the Rock that is Him and defending you with His might.

May you know the family of God receiving you as you are –
bringing you to repentance as you advance in holiness to the glory of God.

May you know the joy of God rejoicing in His salvation that reconciles creation –
worshiping Him and singing his praises with all the saints forever and ever.

May your know the hope of the resurrection that is yours through faith in Jesus Christ –
giving you courage in the face of death and fortitude through the taunts of Satan.

Oh sinner, may you know God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

A Gospel Poem

This poem is something I wrote as I prepared a sermon on Romans 10:8-17 — thinking about “beautiful feet” carrying the Gospel. I want people to call on the name of Jesus, but first we need to constantly reacquaint ourselves with the Gospel. So the Spirit placed this on my heart. May you receive this Good News again and again. To God be the glory, Amen.


You are a sinner, that is true.
God’s wrath you’ve certainly accrued.
Condemned to die, yes, you deserve.
A judgment from which you can not swerve.

Salvation you can not obtain.
You can’t do it, i’ll say again.
You need help, you certainly do,
In order to be made brand new.

So, what’s our hope? Well, i’ll proclaim –
You’re saved by Jesus holy name.
God’s holy wrath, he took for us.
For His love is in great surplus.

Jesus took your sins to the cross.
So your life would not be a loss.
Jesus died but death did not win.
Jesus rose much to death’s chagrin.

Now look to him and see God’s grace.
For this gift is yours to embrace.
You are a sinner that is sure,
But Jesus lives so you’ll be pure.

So repent and run fast to him.
And know peace filled over the brim.
Confess your sins, Yes, every one.
You are forgiven through the Son.

Now, Jesus lives and so will you.
And it excites me to review.
You are precious – his beloved bride.
Forever with him, you’ll abide.

Winning Side

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV

When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Christ is Risen

Christ is risen,
let everyone shout.
He lives! He lives!
for there is no doubt.

Christ is risen,
his love is so true.
Amen! Amen!
I am made anew.

Christ is risen,
all my sins removed.
Praise be to God!
I have been approved.

Christ is risen,
he lives evermore.
Glory! Glory!
death has no encore.

He is ALIVE!!!

He IS risen! He IS risen indeed, ALLELUIA!!!

There are no amount of words that can adequately express what the resurrection means to the redeemed sinner. Below, is a beginning — words I wrote for the Great Thanksgiving liturgy for Holy Communion. May the joy of the resurrection be an everyday occurrence, not just something reserved for a special Church holiday once a year. Jesus died and rose FOR YOU, for the forgiveness of your sins, and for that, God is to be worshiped and glorified each and every moment of your life. He IS Risen!!! ALLELUIA!!!

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God.
For You began your plan of redemption
from the very moment sin entered the world.
You did this because of Your amazing love and grace.
It’s hard to comprehend,
that You would save sinners such as us,
but yet, You did,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
He suffered a horrible death on the cross,
though he was without sin,
that we would not experience eternal torment.
To think on such an act of love,
how does one not fall to their knees in thanks and praise.
Oh God,
You are an awesome God;
worthy of all worship, honor, glory and thanks.
And so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven,
we join in singing Your unending praise…

Everything

I’ve been reflecting on Nike’s new ad campaign that features embattled (former) NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who infamously started the “kneeing for the national anthem” movement. The campaign features a black and white close-up of his face with the words…

Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything

A couple thoughts come to mind:
(1) Kaepernick has NOT sacrificed “everything”. He still sits on a nice little nest egg and is receiving national attention. The only thing he has sacrificed is playing in the NFL, and if that is “everything” then he truly has nothing.
(2) Jesus sacrificed EVERYTHING that we could have ETERNAL LIFE, which is everything we need.
(3) When you only believe in “something” you have nothing. When you believe in someone, namely Jesus, then you have everything.
(4) When you truly sacrifice “everything” for Jesus, you have lost nothing.
(5) Our brave men and women serving in the armed forces have sacrificed far more than Kaepernick will ever know.

With that being said…

I am in no way attacking what Colin Kaepernick is claiming he is protesting. I am in no way advocating some boycott of Nike like some are doing. But this believe in something/sacrificing everything crap that Nike is dishing out has rubbed me the wrong way. It has also saddened me and stirred something up in me. If people don’t get that Jesus sacrificed everything that, through faith in him, you can have eternal life, then I need to step things up more.

So here you go…

PEOPLE: You are SINNERS. You are under God’s WRATH. But wait, there is hope…JESUS. He died FOR YOU and rose from the grave FOR YOU, that you could have ETERNAL LIFE. Believe not in something, but believe in someone…JESUS.

There you go…

To God be the glory!

The Pastor -|—

Jesus Lives, AMEN

Death is the great equalizer,
for no one is immune,
and death is the great divider,
for some are not attuned.
For Jesus conquered this enemy
and shattered its mighty power,
therefore some will be on his right,
and others will be left to cower.

Death still runs wild,
threatening to devour.
Death still strikes blows,
trying to exert it’s power.
But Jesus lives and reigns,
thus I will live too.
So take your best shot, Death,
for you will be left the fool.

So when Death comes a knocking,
to claim another life,
just shrug him off with a smirk,
knowing that he is not right.
For my Lord has won the victory,
thus I will live again.
Death can have its moment now,
but Jesus lives, AMEN!

The Pastor -|—