Don’t worry about your life

During the economic collapse of October 2008, a Stamford, Connecticut, man threatened to blow up a bank. When he lost $500,000 of his $2,000,000 portfolio, he planned to bring a gun into the facility and take the lives of innocent people if necessary. As if a shooting spree would do anything to restore his loss. Fear has never been famous for its logic.

If there were no God, stuff-trusting would be the only appropriate response to an uncertain future. But there is a God. And this God does not want his children to trust money. He responded to the folly of the rich man with a flurry of “Do not worry” appeals. “Do not worry about your life. . . . Do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind” (vv. 22, 29).

Don’t follow the path of the wealthy bumpkin who was high on financial cents but impoverished of spiritual sense. Instead, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). This is the only occasion when Jesus calls us his “little flock.” The discussion of provision prompts such pastoral concern.

I once rode on horseback with a shepherdess through the Black Mountains of Wales. The green valleys were cotton-puffed with heads of sheep. We came upon one member of the flock that had gotten herself into quite a fix. She was stuck on her back in the rut of a dirt road and couldn’t stand up.

When the shepherdess saw her, she dismounted from her horse, looked at me, and chuckled. “They aren’t the brightest of beasts.” She righted the animal, and off it ran.

We aren’t the brightest of beasts either. Yet we have a shepherd who will get us back on our feet. Like a good shepherd, he will not let us go unclothed or unfed. “I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread” (Ps. 37:25 NLT). What a welcome reminder! When homes foreclose or pensions evaporate, we need a shepherd. In Christ we have one. And his “good pleasure [is] to give you the kingdom.”

Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless. It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Prayer is the practice of sitting calmly in God’s lap

My father let me climb onto his lap . . . when he drove! He’d be arrested for doing so today. But half a century ago no one cared. Especially in a flat-as-a-skillet West Texas oil field, where rabbits outnumber people. Who cares if little Max sits on Dad’s lap as he drives the company truck (oops, sorry, Exxon) from rig to rig?

I loved it. Did it matter that I couldn’t see over the dash? That my feet stopped two feet shy of the brake and accelerator? That I didn’t know a radio from a carburetor? By no means. I helped my dad drive his truck.

There were occasions when he even let me select the itinerary. At an intersection he would offer, “Right or left, Max?” I’d lift my freckled face and peer over the steering wheel, consider my options, and make my choice.

And do so with gusto, whipping the wheel like a race car driver at Monte Carlo. Did I fear driving into the ditch? Overturning the curve? Running the tire into a rut? By no means. Dad’s hands were next to mine, his eyes keener than mine. Consequently, I was fearless! Anyone can drive a car from the lap of a father.

And anyone can pray from the same perspective.

Prayer is the practice of sitting calmly in God’s lap and placing our hands on his steering wheel. He handles the speed and hard curves and ensures safe arrival. And we offer our requests; we ask God to “take this cup away.” This cup of disease, betrayal, financial collapse, joblessness, conflict, or senility. Prayer is this simple. And such simple prayer equipped Christ to stare down his deepest fear.

Do likewise. Fight your dragons in Gethsemane’s garden. Those persistent, ugly villains of the heart—talk to God about them.

Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless. It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Do you think statues of Confederate war heroes should be torn down?

Josh HuntWe would like to imagine that all questions have easy answers. This is not usually the case. I could argue either side of this. On the one hand, if we tear down every statue of every imperfect person, there would be no statues left. Many of our founding fathers were slave owners. And, if we found a statue that was 2000 years old of a slave owner, we would surely preserve it for the sake of history. There is just something about something that is old that feels like it needs to be preserved.

On the other hand, to celebrate the life of someone whose main accomplishment—the thing he is remembered for—is fighting for the right to own slaves… this is obviously offensive. (As I understand the Civil War story, there is actually more to it than the right to own slaves. I do think that was a strong driving force.)

Perhaps a compromise would be to move statues to a museum. Advocates of preserving the statues might be pleased that in this way, the statues would be protected. And, they could be given context. An explanation of this person’s life as a historical figure—not a hero could be provided.

I think I could benefit from the thoughtful consideration of thinking people on this one.

I have a prepared a small group Bible study on racism in America. See http://mybiblestudylessons.com/racism

Faithful in obscurity

The team needs more linesmen than quarterbacks.

The company needs more cashiers than CEOs.

The church needs more staff members, more deacons, and more Sunday School teachers, and more preschool workers than it  needs Senior pastors.

The kingdom of God needs more pastors that serve in obscurity than it needs pastors of mega-churches.

In every arena of life, we need more workers than we need bosses. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, the workers are few. It is not a boss shortage; it is a worker shortage.

Yet, the world says we need more leaders. More people at the top. More important people. We constantly hear appeals for us to “do great things for God.” “Dream great dreams! Rise above the ordinary! Don’t settle for mediocrity!”

God needs lots of ordinary people to do His work. For every Nehemiah, there are hundreds—no, thousands—of workers on the wall. For every Joshua there are thousands and thousands of people that simply need to march around the city and shout when it is time to shout.

Anyone can dream great dreams. Anyone can dream of being a great leader leading a great multitude of willing followers. “A man can only receive what is given to him from Heaven.” (John 3.27) Blessed is the man who plays second fiddle and plays it well. Blessed is the man who serves faithfully in obscurity.

Imagine John had dreamed of greatness. Imagine he refused to play second fiddle. Imagine if being John wasn’t good enough for him. Imagine he wanted to be Jesus. There is a word for a person like that: the Messiah Complex. Blessed is the man who serves faithfully in obscurity. A man can only receive what is given to him.

From Lesson #5 in the lesson Series, “Second Nature.” Part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service.

Where to find courage

Courage emerges, not from increased police security, but from enhanced spiritual maturity. Martin Luther King exemplified this. He chose not to fear those who meant him harm. On April 3, 1968, he spent hours in a plane, waiting on the tarmac, due to bomb threats. When he arrived in Memphis later that day, he was tired and hungry but not afraid.

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” he told the crowd. “But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

He would be dead in less than twenty-four hours. But the people who meant him harm fell short in their goal. They took his breath, but they never took his soul.

Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless. It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Jesus is in your storm

If you will receive Him in the middle of your contradictions and in your trick bag, He can take a storm and turn it into peace. When Jesus shows up in your messed-up situation, things change. When Jesus shows up in your stressed-filled, jacked-up scenario, ground gets covered quickly. When Jesus shows up—not simply because you hear His Word but because you receive His Person—He can close the gap of time, the gap of a situation, the gap of not enough and the gap of resistance. Jesus can immediately turn what looked like certain disaster into a supernatural miracle.

The principle is this: When you’re between a rock and a hard place or out in the middle of a storm with darkness all around you, receive Jesus into your situation. He will join you. Not only will He join you, but He can get you where you needed to go all along.

What’s best about that is that He can do it immediately. If He can cross four miles of sea in a wooden boat in less time than it would take to stick an oar in the water, then He can easily handle where He’s taking you.

When you hear His voice in the middle of your mess, receive Him. He wants to join you. He’s just waiting to see what you are going to do.

Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

What is a parent to do?

Some years ago I witnessed a father taking this priority seriously during a Sunday morning worship service. As we took communion, I heard a small boy asking, “What’s that, Daddy?” The father explained the meaning of the bread and then offered a prayer. The boy was quiet until the cup was passed. Then he asked again, “What’s that, Daddy?” The father began again, explaining the blood and the cross and how the wine symbolizes Jesus’ death. Then he prayed.

I chuckled at the colossal task the father was tackling. When I turned to give him a knowing nod, I realized the father was David Robinson, NBA basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs. Sitting on his lap was his six-year-old son, David Jr.

Less than twenty-four hours earlier David had led the Spurs in scoring in a play-off game against the Phoenix Suns. Within twenty-four hours David would be back in Phoenix, doing the same. But sandwiched between the two nationally televised, high-stakes contests was David the dad. Not David the MVP or Olympic Gold Medal winner, but David the father, explaining holy communion to David the son.

Of the events of that weekend, which mattered most? The basketball games or the communion service? Which will have eternal consequences? The points scored on the court? Or the message shared at church? What will make the biggest difference in young David’s life? Watching his dad play basketball or hearing him whisper a prayer?

Parents, we can’t protect children from every threat in life, but we can take them to the Source of life. We can entrust our kids to Christ. Even then, however, our shoreline appeals may be followed by a difficult choice.

Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Max Lucado’s book, Fearless. It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Jesus is walking on top of their problem

But when you feel like all is lost, that is the time to open your eyes the widest. You never know what you might see on a dark night. As we discovered when we read through the passage earlier, Jesus came to the disciples walking on the waves at night.

Jesus’ solution is both strange and intriguing. Jesus came into their chaos by walking on the water. He entered their struggle while walking on the sea. I don’t want you to miss this point, because Jesus walking on the water is the point.

Jesus is walking on top of their problem.

Their problem was the water. Jesus walked right on it. Water whipped by the wind had created havoc in their environment. Yet Jesus Christ came to them on top of the very thing that was causing them so much fear.

When we are in a trick bag, we generally look for God to take us out of our situation. That is a normal response because we don’t want to be in conflict, confusion, or pain. But what God often wants to do is to join us in the trick bag.

Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

The God of the Extraordinary

How do you know when God is ready to break through your rock-and-a-hard-place situation? He will invade your ordinary with something extraordinary. He will create a scenario that doesn’t make sense.

When God creates a scenario that doesn’t make sense, it is not supposed to make sense. Don’t ignore God showing up in a way that you can’t explain. The reason you can’t explain it is because it is God showing up in it. The Bible is replete with examples of a person or a group of people wedged between a rock and a hard place who saw God show up in a way that their human understanding couldn’t explain.

If you are between a rock and a hard place and can’t find a good way out of what seems like a never-ending situation, look for God to show up in a way that you can’t explain. His ways are not your ways. His thoughts are not your thoughts (read Isaiah 55:8—9). God is not like you or me. If God were living in the era of soul music, His favorite song would be, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)?” Didn’t I show up in a way that you couldn’t explain? That’s what God does. Look for it.

Moses saw the bush that wasn’t burned up and probably thought, I don’t understand. I’ve been out here for forty years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I must turn aside, because I can’t ignore what I can’t explain. So he turned aside.

Please note from Exodus 3:4 that God did not reveal Himself to Moses until Moses turned aside to look. In other words, Moses had to act before God acted. Remember what we learned from the life of Abraham? Much of what God wants to do with us will take place when we move. Your movement will incite His movement. In our last chapter, we read, “When Israel cried to the Lord, He remembered His covenant.” And in our current passage, we see, “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called …”

Until Moses responded to what God had placed before him, God wouldn’t give him more. A lot of us want more from God, but we haven’t turned to look at what He’s already doing. We haven’t responded to what He’s already done. We don’t do anything, and then we wonder why we aren’t getting more.

We aren’t getting more because God doesn’t see us doing anything with what He’s just given us. He just gave Moses something that he had never seen before—a bush that would not burn. He couldn’t ignore that. When something cannot be explained in our lives, we need to turn aside and take a look at it as well because it could be God trying to show us something at another level.

Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

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