Monthly Archives: January 2012

Herod’s Sword Drill

In Matthew 2 we read about King Herod being visited by Magi who had traveled to Bethlehem to see the new born King of the Jews.  Prior to the Magi knocking on Herod’s door it seems clear that Jerusalem was anything but atwitter about the Messiah’s arrival.  Life is business as usual. Only after the Magi’s appearance is Herod and all Jerusalem said to be troubled.  So Herod calls in the Jewish authorities and asks them where Messiah is supposed to be born.  Not surprisingly the Scribes and Chief Priests get the right passage and the right interpretation.  According to Micah 5 the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem.

What is surprising to me is that no one from Jerusalem seems to have tagged along with the Magi when they headed out for Bethlehem.  These Scribes and Chief Priests would have prided themselves on their expertise concerning the scriptures.  When Herod asked the question not only did they get it right but they even knew the scripture reference. (Does anyone else picture a little sword drill right here to see who can find Micah 5:2 first and read it?) But no one seems to have thought it might be worth while to go see what the fuss was about.  Their long awaited Messiah was I a house just a few short miles away and they didn’t know it.

Now I’d like to think that I truly enjoy reading and understanding God’s Word.  Lately I’ve been all about trying to get people to pick a Bible reading plan for the coming year.  I want my kids to memorize verses and I have every intention of teaching them a Christian Worldview.  But this passage teaches me that it is possible to know a lot about the scripture and still not get it.

I’m reminded once again of 1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  Our goal isn’t to always get the right answer or win the debate.  We don’t saturate our minds with scripture just so we can impress people with what we know or feel good about ourselves.  We read it and meditate on it and listen to it taught anticipating that a better understanding will lead to love and faith and repentance.

There were a lot of people who knew their Bibles who missed Jesus’ first coming and there will be those who know their Bibles and aren’t ready for His second coming (see Luke 17:26-30).  Let’s be warned by this text so that we will never desire to know the Bible for any reason other than that we might know Christ.

Thoughts on 2011


The fact that I sent away 2011 asleep in my bed shouldn’t in any way reflect the kind of year it was.  I can’t think of another year in my life when so much happened.  I’m really thankful for all that God did in 2011.  Sitting here this morning on the precipice of 2012 I look back and see all the things that are different from last year this time.


Last year this time we thought we were soon headed to Ethiopia to adopt a little girl.  Here we are one year later back home with a little boy.  2011 saw us make two trips to Ethiopia.  The whole process was a remarkable experience but the high point had to going there to get Gus.  I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to see it and meet so many great people.  And now we have him and sometimes I just can’t believe it.  The adoption process is great and hard and exciting and gut-wrenching all at the same time.  I feel like God has repeatedly used my children to show me what it means to live on the strength of Christ.

Last year this time I was still in youth ministry.  I’ll say it again:  I didn’t mean to be a youth pastor after I left Chicago.  But God had other plans.  I’ve loved being a youth pastor for these last 10 years or so.  There are so many relationships that have been born out of that time.  I came back from Ethiopia and left 2 days later and headed to Louisville, KY for what will most likely have been my last Summer Camp.  It was a great time seeing old friends and enjoying the company of the students who came along.

Last year this time I didn’t think of myself as a church planter.  In God’s providence I am now doing something that I am certain I can only do with His help.  I’m so thankful for Cornerstone Church.  I finally get to preach every Sunday.  I’m praying that God will use this little church to bring the light of His Word to Savannah.


As if those things weren’t enough there was so much else!  I finally made it back to California after about 5 years.  It was great to see old friends there.  I finally made it to Israel and it was amazing.  There were definitely some heart breaks along the way.  But I understand more and more that God uses all of it to mold us and shape us.  Oh, and more than one person commented on the amount of gray in my hair.  I hope the gray hair combined with the heart aches mean I’m at least getting a little wiser.